My primary sewing machine, a more expensive dealer brand, decided to quit just as I was in the midst of sewing Christmas gifts. Thankfully Walmart sells sewing machines! I carefully read review after review and settled upon this Brother LX2500. Why? It is inexpensive, yet it performs smoothly and strongly like a more expensive machine. It isn't a "must" to spend hundreds at a dealer! Walmart is a wonderful place to find a wonderful sewing machine. I've sewn through thick layers and through just one layer of thin fabric, and regardless, the machine handles it all without skipping stitches or tension trouble. This machine comes with an excellent, simple DVD, making it a breeze for the novice sewer to get started and make basic stitches and also a buttonhole. I was really impressed that Brother included a nice DVD even though this was just an inexpensive machine. The manual is EXCELLENT and actually works like a nice sewing supplement to a basic sewing reference guide for a new sewist. This manual would really help a brand new beginner. Brother offers many feet for purchase at a minimal price that allow you to use this machine to do just about any sewing necessary (except for something more advanced like embroidery - - though someone with a bit of skill could use the darning plate to cover the feed dogs and do some free motion embroidery). This machine is lightweight enough to take to a class or for someone whose health requires lifting lighter loads; but it isn't so lightweight as to be flimsy. It actually feels substantial and sturdy. So overall, I think this is a wonderful sewing machine, which will be able to sew lightweight materials and thick layers both. Did I have any negative thoughts about it? Truthfully, for the price, it probably is fine as is. Nevertheless, price notwithstanding, I honestly do think they could have included a little cleaning brush; the zipper foot ought to be metal not plastic; and there ought to be an included overcasting foot. But these amount to inconveniences, not reasons the product isn't good. It's a fine sewing machine that I'm happy with, and that I feel confident in using, and confident in its longevity, with care. Do I have any tips? I do want to stress especially to new sewers that while thread and bobbin and tension issues are sometimes the most common problems, they are, thankfully, the most easily preventable **with care.** (1) Be meticulous to clean your bobbin area after every project. (2) Make sure that you've chosen the right thread and fabric and needle combination. (3) Start sewing with the needle IN the fabric, not above. (4) Turn the hand wheel TOWARD you not away from you. (5) Thread your upper thread with the needle in its highest position and move precisely through the threading steps. (6) Change your needle after at least every 6 hours of sewing. (7) Hold the thread ends for about three stitches at the beginning of stitching every time. (8) When you are done sewing and ready to remove your piece of work, FIRST raise your presser foot, and THEN raise your needle - don't reverse the order of those steps. These sound like small points, yet as minor as they sound, they can cause vast amounts of trouble if not adhered to. So just do them! :) Your machine won't balk and make trouble for you and you will be happy and sew smoothly! Happy sewing, and should you be in need of an inexpensive (but not cheap, poorly-made), sewing machine, I can recommend this Brother LX2500.
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