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Mechanical sewing machines like the Brother XL-2600i use knobs and levers to change and adjust stitches. Some experts say that these types of machines aren't as precise or reliable as more expensive electronic sewing machines. But in … hundreds of user reviews at Joann.com, Walmart.com and Amazon.com, the Brother XL-2600i is shown to be an excellent choice if you mainly want a simple sewing machine for mending, home decorating and basic sewing projects.
A big plus over other machines in this price range is its one-step buttonhole, which means a lot less button-pushing and more uniform buttonholes compared to machines with a four-step buttonhole function. Owners say this machine sews well through most fabric types, however it is not recommended for heavy fabrics. The parts and labor warranty is for one year.
A little more expensive, computerized machines add an even larger variety of practical and decorative stitches. Among less expensive computerized machines, we found rave reviews for the Brother PC-420 PRW Project Runway… Limited Edition. With 294 decorative, stretch and utility stitches, plus 10 styles of one-step buttonholes and three alphabets for monograms, reviewers say the Brother has just about every stitch you could want. In addition, you can create and save your own decorative stitch patterns.
Other pluses: a knee lifter that lets you keep both hands on your work and presser-foot leveling that helps keep even pressure over thick seams. This feature works so well that owners say the machine does a great job with jeans hems -- typically a challenge for any sewing machine. Stitch width is adjustable to 7 mm wide -- helpful if you like to create decorative borders on ruffles, placemats or other projects. Some of the complaints we found were that the biggest monogram size isn't that big, and the needle defaults to the left position when you turn on the machine.
The CS6000i is a nice machine that won't break the bank. It comes with 60 built-in stitches, portable and light weight. Good value for the money. Auto bobbin threading, drop in bobbin and auto needle threader are simple to use.
Bernina Sewing Machines
Reviews of the Swiss-made Activa reinforce Bernina's reputation for quality, easy-to-use sewing machines that produce consistent stitches. This is however, a more expensive sewing machine. In reviews, experts prefer electronic… machines to mechanical sewing machines; changing stitches or adjusting stitch length and width can be done with the push of a button (rather than turning a less precise knob or lever).
The Bernina Activa has an electronic display that shows settings. Included in the machine's memory is an automatic buttonhole setting and an embroidery alphabet for adding monograms. Those who purchase Bernina machines, claim it is worth the price for its outstanding reliability and durability.
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