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on October 15, 2008
I too was having a ton of problems with the lower thread looping under the fabric. It was very frustrating. Finally I figured out how to fix it. Refer to the owner's manual section on inserting the bobbin for photos. What you want to do is drop in the bobbin, and pull the thread through the little slit like it says. But, you have to make sure that the thread goes into the slot in the "tension-adjusting spring" (this is hard to see; pull up the plastic tongue that forms the slit a little with your fingernail to see where it is), although it should go in by itself, then YOU HAVE TO HOLD THE BOBBIN SO IT DOESN'T MOVE AND PULL THE THREAD GENTLY TO SEAT IT INTO THE SPRING. That is the key. After I made sure the thread was all the way in, like magic my lower thread was working perfectly.

Aside from that I am happy with the machine. I especially like the needle threader and think that the top thread is very easy to thread. Now that I figured out the lower thread issue, I want to experiment with all the stitches! I wish the presser foot lever was on the back instead of the inside, but oh well. Be careful taking off the tape because I ripped some off and it pulled up a little plastic on the green part of the machine.

The owner's manual IS hard to read. The Spanish is right after the English, and sometimes they repeat the same instructions twice, and it's not laid out well. It is manageable, though.

They make you think you have to buy special bobbins, but on the box it says you can replace them with class 15, although I have not tried that yet. The accessories seem quite acceptable, except I wish they had given you some ball point needles for knits and stretch rather than just more sharp points.

Overall, it sews fine once you get everything threaded right, and I've made several tops already. Definitely good for a beginner or someone who doesn't want to do anything too fancy.
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on October 6, 2010
I did a lot of research before buying a machine. I had owned a Kenmore for 30+ years (never liked it much), was raised on Singers (my grandmother was a LGWU member and swore by her old cabinet machine). I'm no great shakes as a seamstress, but I like to do crafts and wanted something for quilting. The price was amazing and I opted for fast shipping because I'm an impatient cow. *G* I could have waited and gotten it shipped for free.

Ten minutes out of the box, I was winding a bobbin. Twenty and I was doing some practice stitching. The needle-threader is amazing! I doubt that I'll ever use half the 25 stitches but it's great to know that I have them! Easist thing in the world to adjust the tension for the upper thread.

So far, I love it. And I'll try to stay on top of it so I can report on how it holds up.

Six months later: I'm just finishing up four elaborate Ottoman Ren-Faire costumes, complete with millinery and this machine has been SUCH a trooper! It managed to sew through layers of material and heavy upholstery bullion fringe and not break a needle. I made hats, turbans, used a bunch of the embroidering stitches---they were very pretty! Throughout all of it, the machine has been amazing. This is a great purchase!
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on January 17, 2008
This is a great machine for the price. I am teaching my teenage daughter to sew and she is turned off by my clunky old Singer. So I keep that around for the tough jobs and use this new Brother for the light weight stuff.

The only major limitation of this machine is that it can't really handle heavy weight fabrics or multiple layers very well. There is no presser foot adjustment, so the foot can only be raised so much, and can't be adjusted for variable feed, depending on fabric thickness. There is only one setting. That means you need to use plenty of pins, and keep the old Singer around for the heavy duty stuff. Otherwise, a fun little machine.
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VINE VOICEon August 10, 2008
I'm an intermediate beginner. I have some experience with industrial machines from a sewing class but haven't made any completely successful garments yet. A more experienced sewer suggested I buy a cheap Brother machine. I bought this machine in June largely because of the positive reviews it received on Amazon. Here are the pros and cons I've encountered to date:

PROS

--Price

--Bobbin winding and threading are straightforward (especially the threading function)

--Makes a nice stitch so far

CONS

--The manual is difficult to understand in parts and the layout and index are poor. It also confusingly includes a Spanish-language version immediately after the English text instead of following the English version at the end, as is usually the case with dual- or multi-language manuals. (Some users over at the Wal-mart site had the same problem.)

--The markings on the soleplate don't run the entire length because the feed dogs and bobbin case (on top of the machine) get in the way. The start of the gauge is fairly far behind the presser foot.

--The thread spindle can only handle small spools. To accommodate larger spools I've had to tape chopsticks to the spindle. I also bought a standalone thread hook to create height and tension, but haven't used it yet.

--The needle threader gets in the way. It's not that hard to thread a needle, and this is unnecessary.

--Has a somewhat toy-like feel. But for $114, that's not surprising.

--Some of the optional feet are not snap on.

--Many desirable presser feet will not fit this model. I think, but am not sure, that this machine is classified as a "5mm presser foot model." The "7mm" accessories don't fit. I went into a store after having researched another foot online. The place talked me into a $40 foot that does not fit and then would not take it back. Make sure any feet you buy will fit on this model, or at least buy from a reputable source like Amazon.

--It has a lot of stitches that I don't really have much use for. All I really want are a reliable and well-formed straight and zigzag stitch.

--The numerous dials are confusing and I can't but wonder if so many functions won't make the machine more likely to break down.

--An invisible zipper foot is not included. That would have been much more useful than the accessory feet provided, which I believe are (they aren't labeled, which they should be), a 1/4 quilting foot, a narrow hemmer foot, a quilting foot and a blind stitch foot.

--It doesn't come with a carrying case.

Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if I wouldn't have been better off applying the $100 I spent on this machine towards an entry-level Bernina or an industrial Juki. More often than not you get what you pay for and sometimes cheap tools are more costly in the end.

Perhaps I will edit this review after a few more months of experience with this machine.

UPDATE, October 2011: I used this machine a lot this summer. My impression remains the same. It's OK, but even for a first machine, I would invest a bit more money for a little more machine.
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on January 21, 2014
This was my first sewing machine ever, and used it to make a backpacking quilt for my first sewing project.
After a few practice runs on some scrap fabric and making a quick beanie, I hammered out the quilt in a day.

The finished project can be seen here: [...]

The machine is really easy to use. I did have some issued with the top thread jamming in the bobbin area early on, but I think that was just user error as I haven't had any problems when making some wind/rain pants and down balaclavas.
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on August 18, 2015
Ordered this for my granddaughter to take to college: She opened it immediately and couldn't wait to get started the next day designing tote-bags from large dogfood bags; as she says, she's "SAVING THE PLANET ONE DOG FOOD BAG AT A TIME"....how cute! This little machine is lightweight and easy to use with everything you could possibly need! Be sure to order the Brother 5300 carrying case; its perfect and still leaves room around the machine for extras, patterns, fabric etc. I'm absolutely pleased with this little machine!
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on November 24, 2013
This machine is literally the best thing that ever happened to me. It legitimately changed my life, and I LOVE it.

The Brother XL2600I comes in easy-to-open packaging that seriously takes 2 seconds to open. It came in perfect condition, unharmed and pristine. The best part about opening it? It took me less than a minute to get it working!!!! This machine is SO STRAIGHT-FORWARD AND SIMPLE TO USE. I am, by the way, a first-time sewer under the age of 15 and I only had to glance at their easy instruction guide before putting my machine into action.

I am so impressed by this machine, I am at a loss for words. The drop-in bobbin, needle-threader, thread cutter, and the rest of this machine's many, many features make sewing quick, convenient, simple, and fun, while remaining to provide lots of advanced (yet uncomplicated to use) functions and features for ALL TYPES of levels and abilities...

BEGINNERS WITH ZERO EXPERIENCE:
-extremely easy to learn on
-TONS of features that aren't overwhelming
-can be used without touching any of the features if necessary
-can be used without adjusting settings and dials all the time!
-sews steadily, quietly, and not intimidatingly
-can be used at whatever speed you feel comfortable at
-will meet your needs continuously as you gain experience
-simple directions written ON the machine
-easy to thread, easy to prepare, easy to wind bobbin
-very forgiving and durable machine that DOES NOT break every 10 minutes
-HIGH QUALITY unlike other "BEGINNER" machines (which are cheap and break a lot. NOT easy)
-No, you will not sew over your fingers! It's really hard to do that!!!
-great for ALL ages of beginners!!! (Children may need some guidance, as with ALL sewing machines)
TIP: This may seem a bit overwhelming at first. To tell you the truth, sewing in general can be. There can be a lot to think about, but just take it step by step. Watch some Youtube videos, ask some friends, OR go to your local craft store if you need a little help. Or, you can always ask questions here at Amazon.com. But don't worry, once you get the basics down, there is SO much to discover, and so much fun to be had. Plus, once you get going you will never stop. The more you play around with things, the more you will learn and the more you use the machine the easier everything will seem! Don't worry about doing things wrong. Machines may SEEM scary at first, but TRUST me; there's nothing you can do wrong. Just GO for it and HAVE FUN!!!!

INTERMEDIATE BEGINNERS:
-Simple functions, easy to use
-Lots to explore
-you will have so much fun playing around with settings, stitch patterns, stitch widths and lengths, and even different feet!
-you can make anything on this machine; from clothes to quilts to curtains to stuffed animals. Anything!!

INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED:
-although this machine is easy to use, it is not OVERLY simple for more advanced users
-provides all the necessary stitch patterns for more professional sewing projects
-can go fast, has some speed to it (if necessary)

The manual is good, but I found it helpful to go through and outline the parts in english with a colored pencil. (Half of it is in spanish, and there are a lot of some-what-unnecessary precautionary things, but it's still very easy to read.) I don't really have to use it often, because the machine is extremely straight-forward and easy to use, yet not overly simple for advanced sewers at the same time. I do really like the detailed pages that provide clear information on thread, stitch size and width, fabric, tension, needle, and foot combinations. For instance, if you were sewing stretchy fabric, you would look at the chart and it will tell you what tension, needle, stitch pattern, etc, you should use. Very convenient.

The ONE THING I found slightly confusing at first about this machine was that it seemed as though only half of the stitches were accessible. I then realized that in order to access the second half of the stitch patterns on the dial, (13-25 the little numbers on the inside of the dial), you simply have to turn the stitch length dial onto 'SS' (stretch stitch). Problem solved.

I had SO much fun playing around with all of the stitch patterns. There are 25 in all, and I think it's the perfect amount. It has all the stitches you will ever need, and there is something for anything you could possibly sew. There are simple stitches (like straight stitch, zig-zag, etc.), there are stitches for stretchy fabrics so the seams won't pop while being used, and lots of gorgeous decorative stitches that I found EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE FOR THE PRICE.

And speaking of the price, I am BLOWN AWAY at the quality of this machine for how much it costs! INCREDIBLE. To tell the truth, I was almost a bit concerned that the machine would be a bit on the cheap and beginner-ish side. I was worried that it would be a bit toy-ish or overly easy-to-use. NEVER WOULD I IMAGINE the OUTSTANDING QUALITY in this machine. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT TELL YOU ENOUGH how amazing this machine is. It's almost like they're giving it away for free. In fact, I know a lot of people who own machines that are extremely expensive and advanced, and this one beats them all by miles and miles. It's unbelievable to me. This is the best purchase a human being could possibly make.

I love my machine SO much. Whether this is your very first sewing machine and you have little to no experience, you are a sewing-mom who needs a speedy and durable machine, or a professional sewer who wants an extra machine around to put a specific foot on or to use as a portable machine (this one is very light and easily portable), or you are the average sewer looking for a new machine, the Brother XL2600I is perfect for EVERY NEED, EVERY LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE OR CAPABILITY, ANYTHING YOU COULD EVER DESIRE.

Thank you, Brother, I thank you millions.
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on May 14, 2007
The first one I got through Amazon broke half way through my first project. I requested an exchange through Amazon and had my new sewing machine at my door the next day!! Before I even shipped the old one back to them. The machine works great, the button holes on this machine are soooooo easy, such a relief and pleasant change from my Singer with the 4 step button hole. This machine also worked very well with my appliques and all my normal sewing needs. For the price you can't go wrong here.
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on October 26, 2015
I learned how to sew in High School but I have never owned my own Sewing machine. Even though I learned on a Singer, I have heard really great reviews about this sewing machine so I bought it. For $80 it's a great piece of machinery. I can now sew my husbands military uniform patches, my daughters costumes, and clothing with no problem. The Brother XL2600I Sew Advance 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine is amazing.

I am going to teach my 17 year old sister how to sew, so I like that it is great for beginners. It looks just as pictured and has everything I need. It comes with all the tools, the needles, and the footers. It was easy to setup and start sewing within 20 minutes of me opening the box. You have more than enough to choose from with the 25 stitches. I have not personally use them all but I like that most are great for any sewing project. I knew what I was doing but for those who don't it does come with instructions. The instructions touch base on everything from how to thread the bobbin, drop it in place, to picking the right stitch for the fabric you're working with. I would highly recommend this.
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on May 19, 2007
My mother taught me how to sew the summer before I went to college and over the summer I really enjoyed learning and decoded I wanted to continue. I found the Brother for cheap and decided to go with it. It is a very hardy machine and has moved with me from home in New Mexico to college in Wisconsin for the past two years and I took it with me on a trip to Oregon. Each trip it was bumped and banged and buried under a pile of other things but came out working just as good as ever... a real plus in the life of a college student. I have learned how to do much more in the two and a half years that I've been sewing since I bought the machine and I am happy to report that I have not year found a project I could not do with this machine. It is easy to thread both the needle and the bobbin and rarely breaks a thread or catches. It has been a great machine to learn and grow on
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