Sadly I haven't had the chance to give this machine a trial run, as both the initial machine I bought and the replacement I received were faulty.
I was so excited to try this machine as it is usually quite expensive and I'd bought it online for only $329 during a Spotlight sale. It also seemed to have all the features I wanted and was a good step up from my acceptable but quite ordinary Brother BM2600. Although not 100% confident with Brother, I had purchased extra (expensive) feet and wanted to be able to use them on my new machine, so went with this one.
Straight out of the box, the machine was nice and I was excited to try it out. As I do some free sewing which requires lowering the feed dogs, I thought it would be a good idea to check the mechanism. It failed! The feed dogs dropped, but the mechanism completely disengaged, and even taking the surrounding covers off to see if there was a way to fix it proved fruitless. There was no way I could find to raise the feed dogs again, rendering the machine useless. Incidentally, removing part of the covered exposed the use of cheap screws which strip easily, and also the tools provided to undo the screws on the sewing plate proved incredibly frustrating to use as they were too big to manoeuvre in the small space efficiently and didn't engage well. I have no such complaints with my Brother BM-2600 surprisingly.
I organised a replacement machine under warranty, and waited very patiently for close to a month until my new machine arrived. I unpacked it, held my breath and tried the feed dog mechanism. It failed... Yes, it was a brand new machine (not my previous machine repaired), tape still attached, with the same fault. So this time I took it to my local Spotlight store for a refund.
So, back to the drawing board. I want to upgrade to a more reliable, consistent machine than my old BM-2600, but I doubt I will try my luck with another Brother.
If you never need to lower the feed dogs, this is probably a fantastic machine. If you own this machine and have never tried to lower the feed dogs out of curiosity, DON'T DO IT! If you will never need to use this function, it just isn't worth the risk.
Returning to sewing after 20 years
What a wonderful machine, I still am learning all the range of stitches and accessories. Very quiet and love the three sewing speeds! easy to move around and has a great appearance. I had a Brother machine previously which was much lighter weight, this one is a great improvement although my old machine never let me down. The sales staff at Spotlight are very helpful. I would recommend highly.
What an amazing machine. Thrilled to pieces.
I purchased the Brother SL500 during a spotlight sale, so I picked it up for $348.
It's a wonderful machine. It is simple to thread, the bobbin is drama free and it sews beautifully. It was great value for money.