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
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.
Was This Information Useful?
Claudie Carringto on September 19, 2018:
Absolutely stunning and marvelous job done. I really love your embroidery work.
hudag on March 30, 2017:
I also sew , its like an heredity in our family and mom has Brother sewing machine and my friends also do recommend this brand. But I have another Brand of sewing machine
Donna Mead on August 19, 2015:
This is the worst sewing machine I've ever used, been sewing for 50+ years. Not user friendly at all. Presser foot too sensitive always comes apart, tension hard to adjust to name a few gripes.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 01, 2015:
Jaymie, this is a great product review of the Brother sewing machine you've featured in this hub. Great highlights with tons of tips and information. Voted up!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on November 25, 2014:
@Elsie Hagley It would be a great machine for a teen. Has all the basics, some specialty stuff, and of course, the cool custom decals. Hope the review helped! I've heard lots of good things about Janome machines. That may be what I upgrade too when this machine wears out.
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on November 25, 2014:
Very nice review about this brother sewing machine.. I have a Janome, had it for many years, excellent machine. I was looking at this one for a teen that's interested in sewing. Thanks.
Hazelle on March 06, 2014:
Awesome! Thanks so much! I am going to try it with the regular presser foot since I will just be working with the cotton sandwich for now, and see how that works out. :)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on March 06, 2014:
Hazelle--I have just been using the regular presser foot for quilting. I'm too lazy to change the parts, haha. What helps is to quilt from the center outwards. That prevents the cloth from puckering up in the middle. I do that and haven't had any problems with it at all. If you were quilting through really heavy materials, like denim, then it would probably be better to use a heavy duty needle and a quilting foot, but for just the regular three layers of cotton/batting/cotton, the standard equipment works well. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!
Hazelle on March 05, 2014:
I would love to know more about how this machine works when quilting for you. Did you need a special quilting foot? or did you just use the regular foot? I just recently purchased this sewingi machine and I am verrrry new to sewing and would like to try my hand at quilting as well. Thanks for this very informative post!!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on June 03, 2013:
@Denise--I hope you love your Brother machine too! They are snazzy little sewing machines. I am very pleased. I recently tried sewing on my sister's Singer, and was shocked by how heavy and clunky it seemed after using the Brother. Happy sewing and thanks for the comment, votes and shares.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on May 17, 2013:
Great bargain, Doodleglo! The link to the Brother website in this article leads you to the online manual. If that doesn't have what you are looking for, they have the information so that you can order a regular manual. I've rarely use the zig zag stitch, so I couldn't say for sure without digging out the manual. I think the online manual has all about how to change the stitches and adjust the tensions. Congrats on your great find and happy sewing!
doodleglo on May 17, 2013:
I really enjoyed your review! So happy to find a used Brother LX-3125 at the Goodwill Store for under $20.00. Excited! And it works! Except I can't figure out how to change to a zigzag stitch... My used machine didn't come with a manual. But it sews great if I just go forward! Very happy. Thanks for your article. ~
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 29, 2013:
OMG I cannot believe the synchronicity of coming across this hub tonight-I just bought a Brother 590 yesterday! I loved your review and will bookmark it for further reference. UP/I and U :) 5 stars.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on March 11, 2013:
@Lipnancy--I think sewing is something everyone can learn. It isn't something you have to be born with. It is also a skill that requires a very good teacher...someone who can explain a technique many different ways! One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was asking an experienced seamstress how to sew. She was a very skilled at sewing, but had no idea how to teach it! I hope you do give it a try....it can be very relaxing and useful!
Claudia Mitchell on March 03, 2013:
My dream, which is a long way away, is one of those super fancy machines. For now I have an older inexpensive Janome that does fine. This is a really good review and I love your pros and cons.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on February 26, 2013:
@Vacation Trip--Thank you very much. I wish I had used more machines recently so that I could have given some comparisons. Hopefully this still helps you. Good luck with your sewing machine! :)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on February 26, 2013:
@CASE 1Worker--Thank you. I never write reviews on products I haven't tried, which is why my review list is so short! Most of my possessions are past their prime, and reviews wouldn't be useful! :)
Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on February 26, 2013:
I always wanted to sew. It is a skill that I just do not have.
Susan from India on February 26, 2013:
Thanks for sharing all these useful information about Sewing Machine. I am planning to buy one and this hub will help me a lot in buying one.
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on February 25, 2013:
Its nice to see a review on a product that you have really used and can talk about its good and bad points- well written and will help anyone wanting to buy a sewing machine,
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on February 25, 2013:
I know what you mean, Natashalh! I had a Brother typewriter at one time, and have worked on other Brother products. I too automatically associate the name with office equipment. But, I never had any trouble with Brother office machines either, so I am optimistic about the future of this machine. And someday when I can afford an embroidery machine, I will definitely be looking at the Brother brand. Now if I could only get used to seeing names like "Samsung" on kitchen appliances!
Natasha from Hawaii on February 25, 2013:
I recently bought a new machine and I was tempted by some of the Brother offerings. I used to work at a copy center, though, so I just couldn't stop thinking of fax machines whenever I saw the name! It seems like yours has served you well, though. I hope it continues to do so!