- 1 A Bit of Background
- 2 Considering a Budget Sewing Machine? Read This First.
- 3 Features and Benefits of the Brother XR3774 Sewing Machine
- 4 Alternatives to the Brother XR3774
- 5 Brother XR3774 Review: Final Thoughts
The Brother XR3774 is one in a line of very similar machines. Like the XM3700, the XM2701, and others, it’s a mid-priced mechanical sewing machine with some unexpected features and functionalities. Many of Brother’s models are surprisingly good value for money, and customer reviews bear this out. But is this model special? Our Brother XR3774 review takes a look.
A Bit of Background
You’re probably familiar with Brother Industries as a manufacturer of printers, printer cartridges, and office machinery. But Brother has been a leading name in sewing machines for over one hundred years.
The company started in 1908 as the Yasui Sewing Machine Company of Nagoya, Japan. After the founder, Kanekichi Yasui, passed away, leaving the company to his son, Masayoshi Yasui, the company shifted its focus from sewing machine repair to sewing machine production. At the time, Japan had no sewing machine manufacturer of its own. 
Masayoshi, along with his brother Tokio, produced the first Japanese sewing machine: a chain stitch machine for making straw hats. A lockstitch machine followed. Then a third Yasui brother, Jitsuichi, invented a mass-produced shuttle hook. This, in turn, led to the invention of the first Japanese-made home sewing machine. The year was 1932.
The Yasui Sewing Machine Company eventually changed its name to Brother, to honor the contributions of the three brothers. Today, Brother Industries comprises a range of equipment manufacturing interests that bring in more than six billion dollars a year in revenue.
But Brother has remained faithful to its roots as a sewing machine manufacturer. Today the company produces a wide range of domestic and industrial machines. Its domestic machines, in particular, are well known for being affordable, full-featured, and reliable.
About the Brother XR3774 Sewing Machine
Like many of today’s sewing machine manufacturers, Brother produces a variety of home sewing machines, from very basic mechanical machines to advanced quilting and embroidery models. But Brother appears to have discovered a niche that other manufacturers aren’t yet exploring: the feature-packed budget sewing machine.
The Brother XR3774 37-stitch sewing machine is a mechanical machine. Mechanical sewing machines tend to be simple and light on features. They have a handful of stitch designs and manual controls for stitch length, width, and thread tension. They may have a one-step buttonhole, but many have a four-step buttonhole. And so on.
Brother does produce some of these inexpensive, boiled down mechanicals. But they also produce models like the XM2701, XM3700 and, yes, the XR3774, that offer a surprising range of features.
All three of these models, for example, have between 27 and 37 built-in stitches. They all have at least one one-step automatic buttonhole. And some of them come with extra crafting accessories, as well.
These three models aren’t appreciably different, in our opinion. The XM3700 and XR3774 come with a larger number of built-in stitches than the XM2700. The XR3774 has a detachable wide work table, which will interest quilters. The XR3774 also comes with a larger number of presser feet. But these differences are largely cosmetic.
Under the hood, the three machines are pretty much the same.
This is reflected in customer reviews. All three machines have a huge number of positive reviews from satisfied customers. They also have similar complaints about plastic construction and thread tension issues. And all three come at a similar price point.
At the time of this writing, prices for the XR3774, XM2700 and XM3700 can vary by quite a bit, depending on your retailer. So do your research and choose wisely.
- A good variety of built-in stitches
- Extra wide detachable work table
- Twin needle included
- Nice variety of useful presser feet
- Good value for money
- Customer complaints about timing and bobbin thread issues
- Some customer concerns about construction and durability
- No case or dust cover
Who is the Brother XR3774 For?
The inclusion of the detachable wide work table suggests Brother is aiming for quilters and free-motion enthusiasts. In addition, the accessories pack includes quilting and walking feet as well as a quilting guide. Although semi-pro quilters will probably want a more focussed quilting machine, a hobbyist could go quite far with the XR3774’s features.
The Brother XR3774 would also make an excellent machine for a learner. It has an intuitive, easy to use interface that requires little explanation. It’s easy to thread, too. A beginner could easily start sewing right out of the box. And the extra features would serve an intermediate sewist well, too.
This could also be an excellent machine for general home sewing. Although some customer reviews suggest the XR3774 might not have what it takes to stand up to continuous heavy work, it could do very well for household projects and crafts.
At 12.3 pounds, the Brother XR3774 is also lightweight and portable. It would be a good friend for sewing classes and meetups. In fact, we think it would make an outstanding first sewing machine.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Brother XR3774, include:
- Extended removable work table
- Blindstitch foot
- Automatic buttonhole foot
- Button sewing foot
- Narrow hem foot
- Walking foot
- Quilting foot
- Zigzag foot
- Zipper foot
- Quilting guide
- Darning plate
- Twin needle
- Four bobbins
- Extra spool pin
- Power cord
- A Brother XR3774 manual
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||800|
|13||BOBBIN TYPE||Top Drop-In|
|16||DIMENSIONS||12 x 5.8 x 15.3 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||Limited 25 / 2 / 1|
Considering a Budget Sewing Machine? Read This First.
When you’re looking for a budget sewing machine, value for money is the name of the game. You want features — as many features as you can have, but at a price you can afford. But there are other things that help to determine whether a given machine is a good bargain.
What are they? We’re glad you asked.
Think About Your Needs as a Sewist
The most important consideration for any large purchase is how well it suits your needs. No bargain is a true bargain if you’re not making full use of it.
What is your current level? Are you looking for your first sewing machine? Or are you a budding crafter looking to spread your wings? Perhaps you’re an experienced sewist and crafter interested in competing or even starting your own business. Each of these comes with its own specific needs and requirements. So consider your needs and requirements carefully.
- Which features do you use regularly?
- Is there any technique you’ve always wanted to try?
- Where do you see your sewing taking you in the next five years?
Too many times, manufacturers pack a machine with features that few people use, in order to drive up the price. So before you press “buy,” know what your deal breaker features are. Also have a list of things that would be nice but aren’t strictly necessary. And if any flashy “extra” catches your eye, think honestly about how often you’ll use it.
Long Term vs. Short Term
We all want everything we buy to last forever. But sometimes that’s not the best criteria by which to judge a product.
If you’re considering a first sewing machine, then durability may be less of an issue than, say, price or ease of use. On one hand, if you enjoy sewing and will be doing it regularly, you’ll probably outgrow a simpler sewing machine pretty quickly. On the other hand, if it turns out that sewing isn’t for you, you’ll be happy you didn’t spend a fortune on equipment.
Likewise, if you’re a serious learner or experienced sewist, then an inexpensive machine may prove a disappointment. Regular users are much better off buying a more expensive machine that can stand up to continuous use.
Computerized vs. Mechanical sewing machines
You might wonder about the differences between mechanical and computerized sewing machines. There are a few. The computer inside a computerized sewing machine allows a computerized machine to have a few special functions that a mechanical machine can’t provide.
These features vary from machine to machine, but some of the more important ones include:
- Manual speed control
- A greater number of stitch and buttonhole designs
- Programmable needle positions
- Stitch sequencing
- Stitch memory
- Stitch design editing (in higher-end machines)
- Manual start/stop
Because of these extra features, computerized sewing machines predictably cost more than mechanicals. However, there are some exceptions. We’ll discuss one of them in our competitors’ arena below.
A computerized sewing machine isn’t necessarily better than a mechanical one. Many people prefer the ease of use of a mechanical sewing machine. And the truth is, manual controls can give you a lot more say-so in stitch length and width than you get with computerized pre-sets.
But knowing the difference can help you to choose the best sewing machine for your needs.
Where Does the Brother XR3774 Fit In?
The Brother XR3774 is a remarkably full-featured mechanical sewing machine. It has the simplicity and ease of use of other mechanicals. At the same time, it also has many more built-in stitch designs than a lot of similar sewing machines.
A nice array of quilting accessories also sets this model apart. Although a competitive or semi-pro quilter would want a dedicated quilting machine with advanced features like an extended throat and knee lifter, the XR3774 will serve most hobbyists well.
Depending on your retailer, you could find this model at a serious bargain, or a bit overpriced. Again, there’s a wide range of prices out there, so if you have your heart set on this particular model, you’d do well to do your research.
In short, this is a great little machine, though not appreciably different from the XM2701 or XM3700. If you can find it at the lower end of the price spectrum, you’ll be getting terrific value for money.
Consumer reviews suggest that construction and durability might not be the best. At the same time, for a first-time or occasional sewist, that might not be an issue.
Which One, Then?
If we had to choose one of the three, then we’d choose the XR3774. Although it’s very similar to the other two, it does come with some extras that they don’t. That is, the quilting table and the quilting guide, which are pretty much the only difference between the XR3774 and thet XM3700.
As for the XM2701, it does come with a hard case, which is nice. But all things considered, it’s a bit overpriced for what you get.
Features and Benefits of the Brother XR3774 Sewing Machine
So, what do you get for your money? Let’s have a look.
Lightweight and Portable
The Brother XR3774 weighs 12.3 pounds. That’s about the size of a cat. On one hand, the light weight comes from largely plastic construction. This isn’t a heavy duty sewing machine by any stretch of the imagination.
On the other hand, it is light enough to pick up and take pretty much anywhere you like. It’s also small enough for young sewists to carry around — or others who might not want to wrestle with a heavy, metal-framed sewing machine.
Generous Assortment of Built-In Stitches
37 stitches might not seem like a lot when compared to some computerized sewing machines. That’s because computerized machines can hold literally hundreds of stitches in their memory, while mechanical machines are limited by the size of their stitch selection dials. Most mechanicals have a handful of stitches. Some have only a straight stitch!
But Brother has loaded the XR3774 with 37 pre-programmed stitches. What’s more, you can use the stitch width and length controls to approximate other types of stitches. Watch how you can use a zigzag stitch to create a satin stitch, for example.
One-Step Automatic Buttonhole
Many mechanical sewing machines have a four-step buttonhole. Some, like the Brother XR3774, have a one-step buttonhole. You might not think that’s much of a difference. What’s three extra steps, after all?
But if your project needs more than one buttonhole, those three extra steps can make a huge difference in consistency.
A one-step buttonhole means just that: one step. Press a button and you can create the exact same buttonhole over and over. And if you use the automatic buttonhole foot, your machine can size your hole to the exact button you’re using. Pretty fabulous. Check it out.
The Brother XR3774 comes with an extension table to make your workspace larger. A free arm does the opposite. Instead of increasing your workspace, it makes that space smaller. Why might you want that?
How about for sewing smaller, circular work, like cuffs, collars, and trouser legs? For these purposes, a free arm is indispensable.
A free arm is a pretty standard accessory for mid-priced and higher-end sewing machines. However, plenty of budget machines don’t have one. The Brother XR3774 has one, and we consider it an essential feature.
Automatic Needle Threader
Like a free arm, a needle threader is a low-tech, inexpensive accessory that can make a world of difference for your sewing. Most sewing machines have one. However, at the lower end of the price spectrum, you will find plenty of machines that don’t.
Of course you can thread your machine without an automatic threader. You can also purchase a small, hand-held threader for your machine. But if your machine comes with an automatic threader like the Brother XR3774 does, then you won’t have to worry about it.
Included Quilting Accessories
This isn’t a professional quilting machine. However, budding quilters will enjoy some of the quilting accessories Brother thoughtfully includes. Among them are:
- A quilt guide bar to help you keep your quilting rows evenly spaced
- An extra-wide extension table for free motion work
- Several quilting-specific presser feet
Alternatives to the Brother XR3774
There are a lot of mechanical sewing machines on the market, and a lot of budget machines, as well. Here are a few models that we think provide worthy competition for the Brother XR3774.
We know, we know. The Brother CS7000X is a computerized sewing machine. But hear us out!
The CS7000X is the latest in the wildly popular CS series, featured on the program Project Runway. It’s just as easy to use as a mechanical sewing machine, with a clear stitch map and a user-friendly interface.
You also get some of the features that come with a computerized machine, including speed control, programmable needle, and a start/stop button. There are considerably more stitch designs (though not an unmanageable number), and more buttonhole designs, too.
If that’s not enough, this model comes with all of the same quilting accessories. And if you choose your retailer correctly, you could pay considerably less than you might for the Brother XR3774.
Janome Magnolia 7318
Janome makes expensive machines, full stop. But their machines also tend to have high quality, heavy duty construction and excellent durability.
The Janome Magnolia 7318 is a bare-bones mechanical sewing machine. It has a small number of essential stitch designs, reverse sewing, a free arm, and an automatic needle threader.
Depending on your retailer, the Janome Magnolia 7318 may run you a little bit more than the Brother XR3774, or quite a bit more.
If you’re looking for an easy to use sewing machine that can stand up to long-term regular use, this could be a good investment.
Singer Start 1304
The Singer Corporation pioneered the idea of a home sewing machine in the United States. They also developed different strategies for bringing down the cost. Today Singer is known for its lines of reliable, low-cost, easy to use sewing machines. The Singer Start 1304 is one of those machines.
This model made our list for two reasons. First, it’s similar to the Brother XR3774. It’s a simple, user-friendly mechanical sewing machine with a free arm and reverse sewing. Second, the price is really, really, really right.
Granted, the Start 1304 comes with a grand total of six pre-loaded stitches. On the other hand, you can alter the stitch parameters to create 57 different stitch designs. Their included stitch applications guide even tells you how. 
The Start 1304 weighs only seven pounds, so it’s super easy to carry around, as well. If low price is your main concern, you might want to give this one a look.
Brother XR3774 Review: Final Thoughts
When it comes to bargain sewing machines, you have a staggering number of choices. For many of us, our first instinct is to find the most features at the lowest price. But it’s also important to consider quality and durability.
If you’re looking for a first sewing machine, or a machine for occasional use, then you might do well to consider the best bargain. On the other hand, if you anticipate using your sewing machine often or for heavy duty projects, then you might want to pay a bit more for reliability, stout construction, and performance over time.
The Brother XR3774 is a remarkably full-featured mechanical sewing machine. It has an enormous number of positive consumer reviews, as well. At the same time, some reviews call into question this model’s quality of construction and overall durability.
Either way, at the time of this writing, this model is available at a wide array of price points. So potential buyers would do well to research thoroughly to find the best price. At the lower end of the scale, the XR3774 strikes us as amazing value for money. At the higher end of the scale, buyers might do better to consider a different model.
- Brother | Brand Story | https://global.brother/en/digest/brand-story/story-01
- SINGER | Stitch Applications | https://res.cloudinary.com/singer-sewing/image/upload/v1593109930/Singer-Website-Library/Stitch%20Applications/Stitch%20Applications%20PDFs/SINGER-1304-NA.pdf