Brothers at arms….length

Let me preface this by saying that I am, by no means, a great seamstress.  My mother was exactly that.  She could whip up a new party dress, a suit for my father, or upholster the couch and in each case, the results would be stunning.  I live in fear of zippers.  I dread darts.  Mostly I sew curtains and things with straight seams and not much detail.

My mother started her career with a treddle Singer machine, which she later converted to motorized.  About six years before her death, she finally talked Daddy into buying her a new machine; a White basic model with about ten stitches and a new-fangled bobbin winder.  She sewed like the wind and she loved it.  When she died, it passed to me.  I gave it heavy use for about ten years, then lighter use as time wore on.  But the fact of the matter is, it got fairly heavy use for 28 years before it finally gave up the ghost.

When the trusted White sewing machine died, I went in search of a new one.  I wanted bells and whistles, something to make my sewing life easier.  I bought a Brother, with the self-threading needle doo-dad and the drop-in bobbin.  It had a TON of stitches, all computerized and easily accessed.  In short, it did everything in the world.  It did everything in the world but sew.

Now, I bought this machine about 2 years ago for a little less than $400.  Within a year, the self-winding bobbin mechanism gave up the ghost.  The machine shook and rattled when it sewed, no matter what stitch I was using.  And it was feeble enough that it wouldn’t sew through two layers of thin denim.

Yesterday, I was making a skirt for my daughter….using a light, woven knit material.  All of a sudden, it began making this ratcheting sound and then the needle simply….froze.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get the needle to move.  I couldn’t change stitches, couldn’t get the threading mechanism to work at all.  The bobbin refused to pass its thread through the plate.

Seriously.  I got this machine from a Brother authorized dealer.  It is NOT a cheap machine….not top of the line…but far from the bottom.  I don’t think I gave that machine more than 5 hours of work in 2 years and it’s dead.  Warranty?  Nope.  It was open box and the warranty is voided.

I bought a new machine because my experience in these matters is that I could pay postage and ship this thing back and forth with the customer service center until I was broke and blue in the face.  Nothing would come of it other than the obvious end result: buying a new machine.  I look at this thing and every single part of it is made of plastic.  The gears inside are even made of plastic.  It is a plasticized, volumized, computerized piece of SHIT.  My mother’s machine was heavy, with a metal housing and it made a noise something like a 747 when it operated.  But that sucker lasted a LONG time.

Looking at all the machines, they’re almost all made of plastic.  They have what they call a professional series and a mechanical series in almost every brand.  THOSE are the good ones.  The electronic machines…not so much.  They’re feeble and have no power.  They snag and give you fits every chance they get.

Will this new Singer live up to its heritage?  I’m not sure.  If I could have located another White machine nearby, I would have bought that.  But in the face of one store and two brands (one being the awful, dreaded Brother) I made the choice to buy the one that was NOT Brother.

And so, in a long line of complaints about Things That Do Not Work, I offer up the Brother Sewing Machine.  It is worth about a tenth of what you’ll pay for it and the anxiety of having it die way before its time isn’t worth the pretty, shiny gingerbread that they place on their machines.  Give me a solid, cast-iron, Hemi-powered, get a hernia lifting it, sews through steel machine any day.  But do not…I repeat…DO NOT….give me a Brother.




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