Brother XM3700 Sewing Machine - Full Overview & Review

Brother XM3700 Sewing Machine - Full Overview & Review

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Welcome to our first of many sewing machine reviews! We’ve been hard at work comparing five different machines so you can pick one that’s right for you. We’ll go over and show you the accessories, features, ease of use, cost, and give an overall review of each of our machines, starting with the Brother XM3700!

Overall, this machine is a good place to start. It doesn’t have any special bells and whistles, and it can’t handle super complex projects, but the ease of use and low price make it accessible for newbies. Keep reading to learn more!

Accessories and Features

The machine comes with 9 accessories, including 4 presser feet.

  • General purpose/zigzag foot

    • This foot is good for most materials and stitches. Although specialty feet can be purchased, this will be your best bet if you don’t intend on working with particularly difficult fabrics.

  • Buttonhole foot

    • Used with the buttonhole stitch, this foot can also help measure the length of your buttonhole. Just insert your button into the button plate on the presser foot!

  • Button sewing foot

    • This presser foot mostly sits behind the needle and has textured arms that hold your button in placewhile you sew it to your fabric. This foot is best used with a wide zigzag stitch and the darning plate.

  • Zipper foot

    • This presser foot allows the needle to stitch close to either side of the edge of your zipper for a neater finish.

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  • Darning plate

    • This covers the feed dogs so your fabric won’t move backward or forward while you sew; instead, you choose the direction. It’s used with the button sewing foot, for free motion quilting, and much more.

  • Bobbin

    • The bobbin holds the thread that gets used in the lower half of the machine (also known as the lower thread).

  • Needle set

    • Sewing machine needles have a flat side and a round side. It’s essential to insert the needle correctly by placing it into the machine with the flat side facing the back and securing it tightly.

  • Oval Screwdriver

    • This screwdriver can be used for tightening, loosening, or any other adjustments needed on the machine.

  • Foot pedal

    • The foot pedal and power cable are connected to one input plug for the machine. The foot pedal is used to start and stop sewing, as well as control the sewing speed.

In our video, we go over the anatomy of the machine and its features, like a bobbin winder, a thread guide, backstitch switch, stitch dial & guide, and more.

Setting it Up and Threading

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Setting up and threading the machine takes a few steps, but is overall relatively simple. After plugging in and turning on the machine, a light turns on over the needle plate, which is very helpful when sewing! Bobbin-winding instructions are also included as pictures right on the top of the machine. Depending on whether you’re threading the machine or threading for winding a bobbin; they show you how to pull the thread around the thread guide and bobbin tension disc.

Once you feed the thread through the bobbin hole, place the bobbin on the bobbin pin, and push it over to the right, you can wind the bobbin with a simple push of the foot pedal. Ease up on the pedal to pause winding and clip the thread tail hanging off the bobbin, then continue winding. The bobbin will actually automatically stop winding once it’s full! There are also helpful images to ensure you load your bobbin into the machine correctly. The thread should wind counterclockwise around the bobbin with the thread hanging down on the left.

The Brother XM3700 has a very helpful “automatic” needle threader. Click here for an in-depth look at this!

Threading the needle on this machine is a straightforward, but delicate process. If the needle is in the correct position, you can pull the needle threader down all the way. There’s a small hook that passes through the needle’s eye. Guide the thread under the grey hook, then across and under the tiny hook. Rotate the needle threader back and it will thread your needle.

To pick up the bobbin thread, turn the handwheel towards you so the needle dips into the bobbin area. The top thread will pull up the bobbin thread. If the bobbin thread is too short to grab with your fingers, you can lower the foot or use tweezers.

Sewing on the Brother XM3700

The Brother XM3700 comes with a very helpful seam allowance guide on the machine itself, and a thread cutter on the side of the machine that you can use when you finish a seam. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of every seam!

Changing the presser foot is relatively straightforward. First, remove the current foot using the lever behind the shank, then place the new foot under the shank and use the presser foot lever to lower the shank on the foot. You will hear a small click when it is secure. To change out the needle, you need the oval screwdriver that comes with the machine (so don’t lose that!). There’s a more in-depth look at replacing the presser foot and the needle here.

Dials on the top of the machine control thread tension, needle position, and stitch length. There are settings for Stretch Stitches, which can be found by turning the dial almost a full rotation to “SS.” On the machine’s stitch guide, regular stitches are marked in black, and stretch stitches are marked in blue.

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The Stitches

The Brother XM3700 features 37 different stitches. Use the stitch guide and stitch selection dial to make your selection. We ran thorough tests with 7 common ones:

  • Straight Stitch

    • The most commonly used stitch, which works well with a variety of tension settings and fabrics.

  • Zigzag Stitch

    • The needle moves back and forth in a zigzag motion while you sew. It has many uses, like finishing raw edges and decorative topstitching.

  • Blind Hem Stitch

    • This is often used for hemming garments and gives the appearance of a seamless finish.

  • Elastic Stitch

    • This looks like a zigzag stitch, except that the machine sews it using a straight stitch, instead of the needle just moving back and forth. It’s often used for stretchy fabrics like Jersey and Spandex!

  • Straight Stretch Stitch

    • This is a straight stitch designed specifically for stretchy fabrics. Instead of only sewing forward, the machine doubles back to add extra reinforcement to the stitches.

  • Zigzag Stretch Stitch

    • This zigzag stitch reinforces itself by doubling back, making it great for stretchy fabrics.

  • Overedge Stitch

    • This sews a straight stitch while finishing a raw edge. Although it's typically meant for use with stretchy fabrics, it also works very well with wovens to finish raw edges and prevent fraying.

You can see video clips of all of these stitches here.

Buttonholes

On the Brother XM3700, the buttonhole stitch is Stitch No. 1 - easy to find!

The buttonhole stitch has two bar tacks (one on top and the other on the bottom) and two rows of satin stitches, which are very tight and small zigzag stitches. A bar tack is for high-stress areas, and the satin stitch keeps the edges of the buttonhole from fraying. Satin stitches can be uneven or “unbalanced,” but this machine can help prevent that. There is a buttonhole adjustment screw in the back, and it can be re-calibrated using the oval screwdriver. Not all sewing machines have this handy feature! Learn more about it here.

The buttonhole presser foot has a sliding gauge in the back, where you place the button. On the front, there are notches in 5mm increments and red marks to show you where to line up your marked buttonhole. The foot uses the gauge in the back to measure your button, so it knows how long to sew your buttonhole. You don't have to do any math! If you have a button that won't fit in the buttonhole presser foot (like a shank button), you can also do it manually. This does require some extra finagling on your part, though.

Once you begin sewing the buttonhole, the sewing machine will automatically start by sewing the first bar tack. Then it’ll continue, sewing one line of satin stitches.

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Troubleshooting Common Mishaps

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There are a few issues you might come across while using the Brother XM3700. We found solutions through lots of trial and error!

  • Problem: “I’m pressing on the foot pedal, but nothing is happening!

    • Solution: Make sure the machine is fully plugged in and the power switch is on. You’ll see the light over the needle!

  • Problem: My thread keeps snapping or jamming, and it’s making strange noises!”

    • Solution: Re-thread both your top and bottom thread, making sure the take-up lever is in the upright position when threading.

    • Solution: Check that your bobbin hasn’t run out of thread, and that there’s no tangles in the bobbin.

  • Problem: “My needle moves around, wobbles, or falls out while I’m sewing!”

    • Solution: Ensure the needle is in the machine properly, with the needle’s “flat side” facing away from you.

    • Solution: Double-check that the screw is tight. holding the needle in place.

  • Problem: “My stitches look strange; they look too close, or the fabric is puckering.”

    • Solution: Check your tension dial! Keeping it between 3 and 5 will give you best results

Remember to get your machine serviced annually, and change out your needle every 3 full bobbins!

Final Thoughts

See our rating system to the right…

  • Affordability - 5 Timmys!

    • The price point is easily accessible compared to other machines.

  • Stitch Selection - 3 Timmys

    • It has all the stitches you need for most projects.

  • Ease of Use - How quickly can you master the machine? - 4 Timmys

    • It’s easy to learn how to use because it doesn’t have any specialized bells and whistles.

  • Ease of Initial Setup - 4 Timmys

    • You don’t need the manual to figure out how to turn it on and it’s mostly set up already out of the box.

  • Portability - 4.5 Timmys

    • It’s not too heavy for a full-size sewing machine (~13.5 lbs) and is also easy to store.

  • Stitch Quality - 2.5 Timmys

    • The quality could be worse, but it’s not the best (especially when it comes to the buttonhole and overedge stitches).

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Other Comments:

  • The tension is generally good overall on this machine, but it can be a hit or miss with comparable machines at this same price point.

  • The bobbin threading knife makes it easier to thread the bobbins.

  • The stitch selection is good for average users but may be a little lackluster for more experienced sewers.

  • The backstitch switch has a lot of resistance, which requires more force to press down.

  • Using “SS” to find the stretch stitches isn’t very intuitive (you have to figure it out).

  • You can’t control the stitch length with the decorative stitches (although this is the case on most machines).

The Brother XM3700 is a basic machine that isn’t going to provide you a lot of “fun”ction, but it’s a great option for beginners!

Watch the video below for even more information, including an in-depth threading tutorial.

 
 
 
 
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