Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2015
I sew professionally (though not super high volume). After trying for several months to get a new Janome HD3000 to cooperate, I finally threw in the towel and admitted that I shouldn't have to waste so much time coaxing and begging a brand new machine to do its job! I returned it and decided to go with a Brother (not my first Brother machine). Even though I got dinged a little on a re-stocking fee for the Janome return, I'm still glad I got rid of it and went back to a Brother! This machine is wonderful! I also currently have an industrial, heavy duty Juki machine which I use for super heavy duty sewing, but wanted something that could do light and medium work, plus some decorative stuff. This machine definitely fits the bill. Reading some of the other reviews, I think that folks are having some "user error" issues that they're attributing to the machine and that I learned over time with my old Brother (and which I've found to be the same with this one).
1.) Folks saying they can't get the feed dogs back up after putting them down. This is really confusing on Brothers! Your machine will arrive with the switch all the way to the right (feed dogs UP). Then you flip it to the left and you see the feed dogs visibly go down. Then, you try to flip it back to the right and the switch won't go all the way over. And to add insult to injury, you don't see the dogs come back up! It seems like a defect! Alas, it isn't. The switch will NEVER go back to flipping all the way to the right, BUT, as soon as you either start sewing or simply turn the handwheel, up will pop the feed dogs! They DO come back up, but that weird switch and the fact that they don't pop back up without advancing the handwheel or sewing is kind of misleading.
2.) How does the thread cutter work? It DOES leave about 2" of tails, but the nice part is that it pulls both threads to the BACK and cuts them both. You will still need to give them a little trim though.
3.) Needle threader doesn't work. Unless someone has a truly defective machine, it works perfectly when the needle is all the way in the UP position.
4.) Heavy duty sewing. The piercing power is pretty darned good considering this isn't sold as a heavy duty machine. It also feeds well with thick layers. Going over humps is difficult even for my Industrial Juki (DNU 1541), so this isn't a matter of power, just mechanics. Try a humper jumper if you do this regularly. It's not the machine. And finally- don't think you're going to sew through leather with a size 12 needle! Get the appropriate size and type of needle and thread, play around with the tension and presser foot pressure and you should be good to go!
5.) Knee lift. Anyone who has ever worked on an industrial machine will appreciate this. It really does make life easier! I piece lots of curves which requires me to stop and adjust the fabric pretty frequently. With the knee lift, I don't have to take either hand off the fabric which saves a lot of time and aggravation. Plus, this combined with the thread cutter makes it really easy to quickly sew a piece, cut, lift and toss it aside while you grab the next one or even just to go to another seam on the one you're working on. Big time saver if you spend any considerable amount of time at your machine.
6.) And on an related note- if you really want to take advantage of the overcasting stitches and don't want to invest in a serger, the $20 side cutter foot works PERFECTLY on this machine! I've used it on cotton sherpa (a soft, fleecy material), cotton/lycra jersey knit (stretchy!) and flannel and it worked like a dream. Very worth the $20 and the instructions included in this machine's manual will have you up and running in no time.
I think those were the main things I saw mentioned in the reviews. Great machine for a great price. Obviously, if you want fancy monogramming/embroidery, serging, super heavy duty sewing, etc., then you need to invest in the appropriate machines for those things! For what it promises and the price, this machine is awesome!