Sometimes you just want a simple sewing machine that gets the job done with no fuss, no fanfare, and no fooling around. The Brother XM3700 37-stitch sewing machine is about as uncomplicated as it gets, and at a very decent price. But sometimes “simple” and “inexpensive” amount to cheap. Is this the case here?
Our Brother XM3700 review will give you the lowdown.
The Brother XM3700: Review and Analysis
For more than one hundred years, Brother Industries has been a leading name in both industrial and home sewing machines. Their home machines are typically reliable and easy to use. You might also notice that many of them also have a very low price tag for the features they offer.
Design-wise, the Brother XM3700 is about as simple as it gets. It’s a mechanical sewing machine, which means that you control a very small number of functions using dials and levers rather than buttons or a touch screen. The stitch selection is limited, and there is exactly one buttonhole design.
In short, this is a basic sewing machine.
Sometimes, that’s what you want.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to use right out of the box
- Large selection of stitches and stitch designs
- Twin needle included
- Automatic one-step buttonhole
- Overwhelmingly positive consumer reviews
- Mostly plastic construction
- No start/stop button
- Minimal accessories package
Who is the Brother XM3700 for?
If you’re looking for a first sewing machine, a simple mechanical machine is exactly the right thing. You can do a lot with it, and it won’t overwhelm you with an intimidating array of options, functions, and gimmicks.
This sort of machine is also good for general household sewing and mending. If you do occasional projects, like whipping up a set of placemats or a curtain for the bathroom window, a basic machine will get the job done.
The Brother XM3700 would make a fine machine to take to sewing classes and meetups. Not only does it have the essential stitches and functions, but it’s also lightweight and compact. It would be even better if it came with a hard cover, but at this price point, you could buy yourself a cover and still come out on top.
Will it handle continuous heavy-duty work? Probably not. And if you’re looking for a sewing machine with advanced quilting or embroidery features, this isn’t it.
But if you want an affordable, easy-to-use all-purpose sewing machine, you could pay a lot more for a lot less machine.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Brother XM3700, include:
- Darning plate
- Needle set, including a twin needle
- Four bobbins
- Extra spool pin
- Power cord
- Brother XM3700 manual
- Instructional DVD
- Limited 25-year warranty
Choosing an Entry-Level Mechanical Sewing Machine
No matter how much, or how little you’re spending, no one wants to throw their money away. And, to be frank, some entry-level machines are better than others. A mechanical sewing machine may appear straightforward, but choosing one isn’t necessarily so. Here are some things to consider when looking at entry-level mechanical sewing machines.
One of the most noticeable differences between mechanical and computerized sewing machines is the number of stitch designs. The number of designs is limited to the size of your selection wheel. While you might see several hundred stitch designs on a higher-end computerized machine, many mechanical machines have just a handful of designs.
One way that the Brother XM3700 gets past this limitation is by providing additional stitch functions.
What’s the difference between a stitch and a stitch function?
You might see the Brother XM3700 sewing machine advertised as having either 37 stitches or having 74. Which is it?
Technically speaking, the Brother XM3700 has 37 stitch designs and 74 stitch functions. Stitch design refers to the shape of a stitch, like straight stitch, zigzag, and so on. Stitch functions are ways to alter the parameters of a stitch to create a new stitch. For example, a zigzag stitch with minimum width is, effectively, a satin stitch.
So, while the Brother XM3700 has 37 actual stitches, you can double that number by playing with the stitch parameters.
Heavy duty vs. everyday use
Several manufacturers produce both heavy-duty mechanical sewing machines and lighter-duty machines for everyday use.
What’s the difference?
A lot, depending on your needs.
A heavy duty sewing machine is designed to sew heavy fabrics, leather, vinyl, and multiple layers. Heavy duty machines typically have a metal chassis and a small stitch selection.
The Brother XM3700 is made for ordinary use. Its plastic construction makes it extra-portable. However, it’s not designed to stand up to continuous heavy work.
Features of the Brother XM3700
The Brother XM3700 stands out from similar models in a couple of ways.
First, like many Brother home sewing machines, the price is right. In fact, many Brother machines have features beyond what you usually see at their price point. Here are a few.
A lot of entry-level mechanical sewing machines have a limited number of stitches. The Brother XM3700 gives you an already large-for-this-category number of designs, and shows you how to double this number by altering the parameters.
A lot of mechanical sewing machines have a four-step buttonhole. It’s fiddly, complicated, and difficult to produce consistently. The Brother XM3700 has an automatic one-step buttonhole. This alone puts it ahead of the pack.
Some entry-level machines have a free arm. Others do not. A free arm is essential for small, circular mending and sewing projects like cuffs, collars, and trouser leg hems. The Brother XM3700 has one, and we’re glad.
What Else Is Out There? Brother XM3700 Alternatives
There are a lot of mechanical sewing machines on the market, and they’re all slightly different. One of these might suit your needs better.
The Singer 4432 is a heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine. It has a similar number of stitch designs as the Brother XM3700, and also has a one-step buttonhole.
Unlike the XM3700, the Singer 4432 is designed for heavy work, such as multiple layers and heavy materials. It also has a significantly higher stitch speed: 1,100 stitches per minute, compared to the XM3700’s 800.
Janome Sewist 500
Janome machines are pricey, even the very basic ones. However, they’re also reliable and well-constructed.
The Janome Sewist 500 has 25 built-in stitch designs and a one-step automatic buttonhole. Two features that it has that the Brother XM3700 lacks are adjustable pressure foot pressure and a hard storage case.
Are these, plus the Janome name, worth paying almost four times the price? For some users they may be.
Budding quilters might find a new best friend in the Brother XR3774 mechanical quilting and sewing machine.
Like the XM3700, the XR3774 has 37 built-in stitches, a one-step buttonhole and an intuitive interface. However, it also comes with a detachable wide extension table, which lends itself to free motion work.
The low price may make you wonder about this machine’s quality and durability. However, the large number of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews may convince you otherwise.
We love Brother sewing machines for their cleverness, ease of use and value for money. The XM3700 is no different. It’s a terrific, feature-rich example of its category, and for the right buyer, it could be a winner.
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