Well, as per the description, it is very lightweight, which made it super easy to return five days after I bought it. I'm so disappointed that I'm going to a different brand for my next sewing machine. This was billed as an intermediate model, and seeing as how for the last ten years I've been using a 12 stitch mechanical Brother that's been repaired twice and no longer sews a straight line, I thought it would be a great upgrade-- not too fancy so I wouldn't be overwhelmed by too many bells and whistles, but a shiny step up from what I've been using. And the automatic needle threader, that really made my spine tingle. In the end, I had this thing less than a week, and was so fed up with it that I couldn't wait to return it-- I actually went to the Wal-Mart customer service department on a Saturday morning! What I well and truly disliked about this machine was the design of the sewing area. The first (and only) thing I tried to make was a quilt block, and immediately saw that there was going to be a Big Problem. The drop-in bobbin (sweet!) is right in front of the feed dogs (bogus!) so the hatch mark for the 1/4" seam is a good two inches away from the needle well. There are no guides on the recommended (zigzag (?)) presser foot, although you could use a 1/4" foot (not included) or the zipper foot. On my old machine, I put the needle in the far right position and use the right-hand side of the presser foot as my guide. But the go-to needle position on this model is at the far left, and when I tried to get the needle on the far right using the "computer," the thread tension went all wonky and I gave up on that idea (already suspecting that this was going back to the store.) So, since you have to sew a 1/4" seam with the needle at the far left, you only have half of the feed dogs under the fabric-- the fabric's position is incredibly sensitive to any of your hand movements. I got some impressive wobbles going at times. But there's more backwards engineering in the sewing area layout. At the right of the needle, there is a large grid marked out in centimeters instead of the typical inch-based sewing guides. The standard US guides (5/8", 3/4", 1") are marked BEHIND the presser foot. Really, way at the back edge of the sewing area-- not at all where you need a guide if you're sewing a curve or setting a sleeve. Who cares what's going on backstage if the production has fallen apart right in front of the audience? And there's nothing etched on the bobbin cover in front of the feed dogs, either-- just a big no-man's land of guess-where-your-seam-will-be. The metric grid does not align (of course) with any of the other guides--should you try to use the near edge of the grid as your 5/8" guide, because it is kind of close, you'll be eating into your seam allowance by nearly 1/8th of an inch. I'm only in my thirties, but I've been sewing since I was about fifteen-- I'm not new at this. On the other hand, for the last ten years I've been using the same machine exclusively so I'm sure I've missed some important innovations in sewing technology. But I really have no earthly idea what that grid is about-- maybe it's for a universal continuum transfunctioner you can get on Ebay? This awful, impractical-- no, completely useless setup is the main reason I returned the machine. It looks to be standard on all the other non-embroidery/serger "I just want to sew things, please" Brother models, so I'm looking to Singer or Janome next. There were more things that bothered me about this sewing machine, if you want to know. The Brother website claims that it's "exceptional feed system enables effortless sewing on denim, tweed and other thick fabrics." But every time I hit a seam on my quilt block, I thought the machine was going to fly into pieces. It actually toddled on my table, and I was just sewing regular quilting cotton. And not incredibly fast, either (see previous chapter regarding the goosey fabric movement.) Also, something about the presser foot recommended for the straight stitch (the "zigzag" foot) seemed to work with the non-adjustable presser foot pressure to shear every seam I tried to match-- whether the seam allowances were pressed in the same or opposite directions. Yes, I use pins when I sew, but the only way I could get seams and points to stay matched as I joined them was to stop sewing a half inch before the seam, lift the presser foot, nanny the fabric into place, lower the foot, manually advance one stitch, raise the presser foot, fool with the fabric etc etc. I changed to my old walking foot and that helped the shearing problem. (I'm including a picture of a sheared seam in case a new crafter doesn't know what I'm talking about. And yes, I even quilted it in! Arg!) After I solved the shearing problem, I realized that I was still going to have to babysit every single seam, because the super-advanced positronic feed dogs were flipping, folding, or bunching the seam allowances if I didn't stop and manually finesse them back under the presser feet. And naturally, when I was packing this item back up, I looked at the manual again, and lo! there is a way to level the presser foot over bulky seams by raising it and fitting a little pin into the back of the foot hinge (page 31) which I tried and it didn't stay in and anyways I was only sewing a seam of four layers of cotton fabric, and the solution still involves stopping the machine and tinkering with it---meargghhh! The "computer" is an extremely attractive feature, it's probably what sold me on this model. Can't we all use a little extra brain now and again? The LCD screen displays the recommended presser foot for the stitch you choose, and automatically sets the machine to the optimal stitch length and position, so you need to look at the manual only frequently instead of constantly. However, the "computer" has no memory, so anytime you turn it off and back on, it resets everything back to its default. Since even the left-right needle position is "computerized" that will reset as well. This seriously bothered me because even my $5 phone can recall the last number I dialed, and this is an expensive and sophisticated piece of equipment! Every time I turned the machine on, I had to take the $10,000 Stitch Settings Challenge, which would make a multi-week project like a quilt top, Halloween costume, or in my case a simple potholder complete torture. My basement was blanketed in post-its and ripped out thread in no time. There were two more little things that just added a stinky cheese topping to my casserole of dissatisfaction... First, the thread cutter is not on the presser foot shank, or even close to the needle. It's way over and up on the side of the machine, so you can expect to waste a good 3"-4" of thread every time you use it. Or, if you like to be thrifty with your materials, be sure to keep your nippers handy. Secondly, the manual that I mentioned before is pretty good, but was written to serve several models, and you have to figure out which instructions you don't need to read. Because of all the different features mentioned throughout the manual that you'll read and try out before you realize that they don't apply to this model, be prepared to get sewing-machine envy right away, even if this is your very first one. Yes, there are models out there with adjustable foot pressure, speed adjustment, manual start/stop features, push-button needle raising/lowering capabilities, easier utility stitches, automatic reinforcement, and more and prettier decorative stitches. Seeing that did not help me love this machine. On the plus side, the automatic needle threader was just as cool as I thought it would be.
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