The Brother XR3774 is about as user-friendly as you can get for a beginner’s machine. Bells and whistles are expensive, so why pay for them if you are not going to use them? This model by Brother may plug into the wall, but it is as close to manual as you will get in an electronic machine.
Why do we love this machine so much? Because there is nothing confusing about it. You will rarely have to dig through your junk drawer to pull out the owner’s manual in the middle of a project. Easy to use, lightweight and completely portable, it stands up easily to other machines in the same price point.
Features of the Brother XR3774
This model is literally ready to use out of the box. With a handful of features, you get enough to put together a great project, but not so much that you become confused or overwhelmed. A manual dial turns to select the stitch, a drop-in bobbin with a clear cover lets you see when you need a refill, and a free-motion quilting foot ensures that you can sew any stitch you can imagine.
There are 37 stitches built in to the machine, and a 1-step button hole to make your life easier. The machine comes with a detachable quilting arm that gives you extra support for your excess fabric when you need it. The motor is strong enough to deliver 800 stitches per minute, more than enough for anything a beginner wants to sew. The great thing is that the machine simply will not allow you to go too fast and ruin your project.
We call this machine a beginner’s model, but that doesn’t mean you will need to purchase a new model next year. The XR3774 will grow with you to an extent. With the few dozen decorative stitches included, you will make it to advanced before you feel like a new machine is necessary. We love spending money on something that is going to last us for years instead of weeks.
The machine may seem loud until you get used to its rhythmic humming, but the thing to know is that it is relatively quiet when compared to models that cost the same. You will not get a truly quiet machine at this price point. The XR3774 is lightweight, weighing just under 13 pounds, meaning that you will not have to dedicate a special area in your home as a sewing space. You can move the machine to any room in the house with little effort.
Tension can be a difficult thing to figure out when you are new to sewing. You do not have to worry about adjusting your tension as you work with your fabric. The XR3774 has the right tension for just about any project. While you will not be able to sew through heavyweight fabrics with this model, you will be able to make quilts, clothing, accessories and more.
Nothing in life is perfect, and that same thing can be said about this machine. While we love the easy operation and handful of features, we do understand that the machine may be too simple for some. It is a great beginning machine, but there are others on the market that may serve you for a bit longer, and are just as easy to use.
You do not get a lot of extras out of the box, meaning that you will have to shop for your own accessories, should you decide that you want to try your hand at more advanced projects. Another caveat may be the easy tension. It is a great feature to be sure, but you may grow so accustomed to the machine adjusting the tension automatically that you forget to do it when your work calls for it.
Another issue we would be remiss to leave out is the price. The cost of this machine goes up and down, and we cannot tell you with certainty why. When the machine is at a higher price point, it is close in cost to the Brother CS6000i which is a superior machine. For an extra $20 or so, you can buy a machine packed full of features. We suggest price shopping if you decide to look at this model. If it is priced closely to the CS6000i, spend the extra money for the better machine.
At the end of the day, this is a great little machine for basic projects. If you want to hem a pair of pants, sew on a button, or even make your own curtains, this is a fantastic machine. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a model that will last you for years to come, we suggest reading our other reviews and finding a machine that will be more suited to your needs.