27 stitch options
Six sewing feet included
Lightweight and portable
Auto-designs not available
Accessories fall out of drawer easily
We purchased the Brother Sewing Machine XM2701so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year, and making our costumes is one of the highlights of the occasion. It’s eco-friendly, budget-conscious, and we always end up with unique, one-of-a-kind creations. We’ve gone from simple costumes using things from our closet to elaborate handmade products. If you’re ready to bring your sketches to life, investing in a good quality sewing machine can help. We tested the Brother XM2701 for its performance, design, and ease of use. Read on to see what we thought.
Performance: Perfect for almost every project
We have been sewing for almost 20 years and started using a basic Brother sewing machine. Brother is known for making machines that are beginner-friendly and easy to understand. It has been perfect for projects like sewing basic clothing patterns, making blankets and crafts, and garment care, such as hemming. The simplicity of the controls is ideal for beginners and allows even advanced crafters to practice their skills.
We liked how user-friendly the Brother XM2701 was but worried that it wouldn’t perform as well as fancier machines that we tested. We were happy to discover that the stitches were tight, even, and just what we needed for our projects. Because it was so simple to use and change settings, we felt confident during every step of the creative process.
We used the Brother XM2701 to make pacifier clips for our new baby, a baby blanket out of soft fleece, and embellish a zip-up sweatshirt for a dinosaur Halloween costume. The straight stitch function was just what we needed for all of our projects. It was easy to adjust to suit the fabric. For beginners, we think that this is a great place to start because it allows them to learn the controls one step at a time.
Sewing with standard cotton fabric was the easiest, which we would expect from most machines. Cotton does not pull and is sturdy enough to keep moving under the sewing foot smoothly. We recommend ironing your fabric before you sew it to make sure that it stays in place. This extra step reduces the risk of stitches skipping or fabric bunching.
Fleece is a little bit harder to sew. It can get caught easier in the machine. When we ironed the corners flat, we didn’t have any problems. Softer fabrics, such as fleece, require this extra step.
We could not use the Brother XM2701 sewing machine with heavy-weight fabrics, such as denim, because they require different needles. Heavy materials are great for many projects but can be challenging to use on a smaller, less powerful sewing machine.
Beginning sewers launching into a new project should consult with a more experienced sewer before diving in. They are many online classes or meet-up groups. The portability of the Brother XM2701 would make it easy to take to one of those sewing circles and learn new skills.
After getting comfortable using the machine, we moved on to test some of the other stitch functions, including the zig-zag stitch and stretch stitch. This device comes with six sewing feet: button sewing, buttonholes, blind stitch, zipper, zig-zag, and narrow hem.
We tested other sewing machines with more programmable elaborate designs; the Brother XM2701 only had basic stitches. For almost all of our projects, basic stitches are sufficient. But if you like having more embellishments, you may want to look for a machine that has more stitch options. We recommend that beginners start with a more straightforward machine like this Brother, then move up to a more complicated one with additional features when they have mastered the basics.
Design: Lightweight, portable machine
We put the Brother XM2701 sewing machine in a spare room with plenty of light. It does have an included LED light on the work surface, but it helps to have good light when getting your fabric ready to sew as well. We used a standard-sized desk next to a wall. This sewing machine is ideal for smaller projects, so a standard desk is just the right size. If you are sewing a larger item, you may want more space to handle the fabric, however.
Storing the sewing machine was a little bit more challenging. We opted to keep it on top of a nearby bookshelf so that it was out of the way. It is lightweight enough to lift and move around, but there was no place to store the foot pedal and power cord neatly. We ended up putting them in a bag next to the machine. The omission of that storage option is not a unique aspect of the Brother XM2701 sewing machine, however, and is something to consider when storing any sewing machine.
The bobbin drawer is the perfect place to store the included accessories, such as the extra sewing feet and bobbins. Unfortunately, the accessory drawer does not latch; every time we pulled it out, things tended to fall under the sewing machine. This inconvenience was not a big deal but became a nuisance.
Weighing 12.6 pounds, the Brother XM2701 is a portable sewing machine. The lightweight aspect of this sewing machine set it apart from other equally functional beginner sewing machines. We liked the handhold on the top of the device, which we thought would be perfect for carrying to and from your work surface. If you are working on a larger project, you may find yourself wanting more space to deal with your fabric, but the actual sewing itself does not need a lot of room.
Of all the sewing machines we tested, the Brother XM2701 was the best portability option due to its size and weight. You have to purchase the carrying case separately. If you plan to store the machine, a case will protect it from dust and dirt. Sewing machines have intricate parts and are particularly susceptible to wear from small particles like dust. We recommend spending $40 for a case to keep the device working great. With proper care, the Brother XM2701 should last for years and be the only sewing machine you need for most projects.
Of all the sewing machines we tested, the Brother XM2701 was the best option for portability due to its size and weight
While perfect for beginners, more advanced sewers may find themselves wanting more than the Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine can do. It is ideal for most projects but does not include any embroidery functions or complicated decorative stitches. We prefer to do that work by hand, but you may want to invest a little bit more money in a different sewing machine if you like the machine look.
Setup Process: Simple and straightforward
We learned to sew as children on a Brother sewing machine, so the setup and controls of the Brother XM2701 felt very familiar. We especially liked the dial controls with their easy-to-understand visual guide. For those who are new to sewing or are used to other brands, the included Quick SetUp guide has all of the diagrams and instructions you need to get started.
Brother sewing machines use dials to control the type of stitch, tension, and length. While not as high-tech as other machines, it is also much more intuitive and straightforward. Just above the stitch selector dial is a diagram of each option, making it easy to choose a stitch that will work for your project. This visual guide is an incredibly valuable part of the setup controls for beginners.
Winding the bobbin and threading the needle was easy to do. The Brother XM2701 provides helpful steps with arrows on the machine to help users know where to place the thread as they get ready to sew. Most sewing machines use a similar, if not identical, method. Anyone familiar with a sewing machine will know what to do, and even novices can become pros with just a little practice. The automatic needle threader was helpful, but not a stand-out feature.
If you aren’t sure how to set up the machine or change your stitch pattern, length, or tension, you can always consult the included how-to video or use Brother’s resources online. Many stitches are standard on each machine, even from other brands, so learning on a device that is easy to understand and adjust will make them easier to figure out when you are ready for a more advanced machine.
Sewing machines can be a costly item, especially if you are just starting out learning to sew. When you include the cost of fabric, thread, pins, scissors, and other items needed to sew, the costs can add up. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on the latest and best sewing machine, it makes sense to master the basics on a more affordable device like the Brother XM2701. It’s a great way to decide if you like sewing without spending a lot of money on a new hobby. You may even find that you don’t need a more advanced machine.
With proper care, the Brother XM2701 should last for years and be the only sewing machine you need for most projects
The Brother XM2701 also makes a great second sewing machine for enthusiasts who want portable devices without spending a lot. It’s functional enough to work well for most projects and lightweight enough to bring to sewing group meeting or class.
Like many of the company’s machines, the Brother XM2701 is a great price. If you want to save some more money, wait for the sewing machine to go on sale. Amazon Prime Day often has fantastic deals on home appliances, including sewing machines, and fast and free shipping. You may be able to save up to 40 percent by waiting for a sale event.
Competition: Options for low or high tech
Singer 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine: When you’re ready to explore more options for at-home machine sewing, the Singer 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine is a step up, financially and functionally. For around $300, you can choose from 100 stitches that can be automatically started and stopped. This machine is more complicated, so if you are just beginning, it may be intimidating. But when you’re ready to make more custom projects, the Singer 7258 is a good, reliable sewing machine.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine: For those wanting a sewing machine that practically does all the sewing for you, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine is one you want to check out. It has 600 stitch options, including letters, numbers, and decorative designs. These extra features mean a higher price tag and more to learn but meets all your sewing needs.
Yes, buy it.
We recommend the affordable Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine for those who wish to learn rudimentary machine sewing stitches and functions without spending a lot of money or time on a more complicated machine. If you want more stitch options or advanced features, you can invest in a high-end device, but for the basics, the Brother XM2701 works well.
- Product Name Sewing Machine XM2701
- Product Brand Brother
- MPN XM2701
- Price $169.99
- Weight 12.6 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 15.3 x 12.1 x 5.9 in.
- Color White with blue accents
- Warranty ear for parts and labor, 5 years for electronics, 25 years for chassis casting