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Brother LX-3125 Sewing Machine Review
My First Sewing Machine
For our first Christmas as a couple, my husband wanted to get me a big, special gift. When he asked what it was I dearly wanted, I answered "a sewing machine." When he asked what type I wanted, I answered, in typical me fashion, "a cheap one".
Over the years I have sewn on other people's sewing machines. A Singer, a Brother...even an old treadle machine. I have no practical skills when it comes to mechanical gadgets. I was notorious for completely rendering a sewing machine useless, and I was finally forbidden to ever touch any of the knobs or dials on these machines.
Therefore, I held no hope that my own sewing machine would survive the first few weeks. But I was determined to do some DIY projects around the house.
I had no idea which sewing machine I would be receiving, but I imagined some tiny, generic machine that was practically disposable. I was surprised and terrified when my husband presented me with the Brother LX-3125.
Features Of The Brother LX-3125
- Built in light
- 14 stitches
- Reverse stitch
- Instructional DVD
- Onboard accessory storage
- Adjustable stitch length
- Adjustable stitch width
- 4-step buttonholer
Set-Up and Ease of Use
Setting up the machine for the first time was easy and fast. There is an instructional DVD, but I didn't need it. The manual was more than adequate at explaining the basics.
The only thing step that was not explained satisfactorily in the book was how to successfully place and lock the bobbin case into place. This may not be an issue for someone more familiar with how a sewing machine functions.
The machine comes with three different 'skins'. These are stickers that can be placed on the front panel for personalization and decoration. I haven't tried changing them out yet, as I like the pink floral panel that came already applied.
I am saving the others for when this one becomes ragged or dirty. They seem easy to apply, however. Simply line them up over the stitch selector knob and stick in place. I am looking forward to using the zebra theme next.
Price Comparison Table
Stickers may not help the machine sew better, but they can make sewing more fun. This machine has three changeable skins that can help you match your machine to your personality.
Brother Sewing Machine Pros
In my opinion, the Brother sewing machine has more pros than cons. Here are a few of the things I like about this model:
- Easy-to-wind bobbin
- Convenient location of presser-foot lever
- Bright light
- Variety of stitches
- Maneuvers around curves easily
- Easy-to-change needle
- Easy-to-change accessories (feet)
- Easy-to-control foot pedal
- Lightweight. Weighs approximately 14 pounds.
The Singer sewing machine I first learned to sew on had a pedal that was difficult to use. It required you to almost stomp it to get any motion, and then the motion was so fast and so sudden that it caused major mistakes.
This pedal has great control, allowing you to go super slow or super fast depending on your needs. It is also low-profile enough that it doesn't get uncomfortable after long periods of use.
By far the best part about this machine is how easy it is to thread and adjust the tension. It doesn't require rocket-science or guess-work like some other machines.
My Brother sewing machine came with these:
- Three changeable fashion skins
- Extra bobbins
- Spare needles
- Buttonhole foot
- Zipper foot
- Button foot
- Darning plate
- Zig Zag foot
- Screwdriver (key)
- Twin needles
Brother Sewing Machine Cons
Nothing is ever 100% perfect. This machine does have a few downsides.
- Short cord (requires sitting very close to an outlet or using the pedal sideways)
- Sensitive tension knob
- Difficult to open storage compartment
- Occasionally takes cloth into bobbin compartment.
Here, for me, the only troublesome issue is the tension knob. It doesn't "click" into place for each setting. Bumping the knob even slightly can mean that your stitches are suddenly very loose. They do this if the knob is even a fraction off-set from the number dial.
A longer cord between the machine and the pedal would be nice. I have a high table that I work on, so unless I place the machine against the wall the pedal is often slightly sideways in relation to my foot. I have learned to work around this issue until I get a better sewing table.
Maintenance Tips For Brother Sewing Machine
Keeping your machine running is easy. Regularly maintain and clean your machine to keep it running smoothly.
- Clean the bobbin case and surrounding area with cotton swab, soft brush, or compressed air.
- Use machine oil to lubricate the sewing machine. Refer to the manual for the correct places to add the oil.
- Tighten any loose parts if you have the tools.
- Check the power cord for wear and tear.
- Wipe the entire outer surface with plastic-safe all-purpose cleaner to keep it looking like new. If you use the machine frequently, including when you are sick, take the time to sanitize all the parts you touch most often. Don't want those germs on your newly sewn items1
Durability of the Brother LX-3125
I have only had this sewing machine for two years, so it would be difficult to attest to it's long-term durability. However, in the two years I have owned it, I have sewn on it nearly every day.
My husband teases me about putting an odometer on it so we can keep up with the mileage. So far, I have not any problems with the machine other than the same issues I dealt with on other machines:
- Thread sometimes tangling around spool spindle
- Thread sometimes tangling around bobbin case
- Occasional difficulty catching lower thread
I'm not sure if those are machine faults, user faults, or simple standard issues with machine sewing. Other than these minor annoyances, I am pleased with the machine's capabilities, and am more than certain I will be sewing on it for years to come.
I have read other reviews saying that this machine was not suitable for sewing large projects, intricate details, or certain materials. So far, I have had no problems in any of these areas.
I have just finished my fifth quilt using the Brother LX-3125. I have also sewn curtains, tablecloths, and large pocket organizers. The machine handles bulk well. I even used it to sew through four layers of pleather, using the standard needle.
As I mentioned above, the machine handles small details easily. I have made several plush toys, some with very small curved areas. It was easy to control the speed of the needle.
So far, I have sewn cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, knit, lace, taffeta, denim, pleather, vinyl and wool with this machine. As long as the stitch length and tension were adjusted properly, there were no issues with any of the materials.
Not only does it handle a variety of materials and layers, it also sews smooth buttonholes and makes a nice zig-zag stitch for decorative edgings.
All the simple issues this machine has can be easily remedied.
- Puckered material--make sure the thread is not wound around the spindle.
- Fabric in bobbin case--check the sharpness of your needle.
- Uneven stitches--reset the tension accurately.
- Tangled threads--make sure spool is unwinding in the right direction
- Loose stitches and pulled fabric--make sure bobbin spool is wound correctly.
- Grinding sound--make sure parts are oiled and bobbin case is locked in place.
A Pleasant Sewing Experience
When I received my Brother sewing machine, I already had experience with machine sewing, but not with setting up or adjusting a sewing machine myself.
I was a little bit daunted at first by the idea of being solely responsible for this machine's use and maintenance. That is why I was super-impressed and pleased with how easy it was to set up and use.
Once I got the hang of setting it up and doing my own basic troubleshooting, there was no project the two of us couldn't tackle together. In the two years I have owned it, I have used it to sew:
- Pocket organizers
- Burp cloths
- Cloth diapers and covers
- Household accessories
As I stated earlier, I have had no problems with any fabric choices. I don't make it a habit to sew multiple layers of heavy material frequently, but when the occasion calls for it, the Brother machine seems pretty capable of handling it.
The best example of how well the machine handled heavy projects was it's ability to help make several cloth diapers, each with very thick padding. The only needle I broke was when I accidentally hit a button. I also made a novelty diaper cover out of pleather, and sewed on very thick belt loops. It was a breeze to do (except for the design part!).
Other fabrics I have used include:
- Terry cloth
- Faux leathers
- Upholstery materials
Having a small, lightweight machine that is simple to operate has really turned sewing into a pleasant experience. I would highly recommend this machine to novice sewers as well as to those who are experienced. It is also an ideal size for the person who only needs to occasionally sew, as the machine's compact size allows for easy storage.
Perhaps a sewing machine wasn't the BEST Christmas gift I could have asked for, and certainly not the most romantic for a first holiday together. But even my husband has to admit that of all the things he has bought me since, my sewing machine has been the best money he spent, and one of the most useful appliances in the house.