Sewing is becoming a popular hobby nowadays. More and more people find it inspiring and satisfying. It is a creative activity and it helps you to get away from everyday stress. There is something magical in breathing life into a piece of fabric. New easy-to-use sewing machines help the cause as it is easier than ever to master the basic skills of sewing.
Brother JX2517 Lightweight and full-size sewing machine was made to do that exactly: to be a friendly entrance that leads into the sewing world. It is designed to be a perfect choice for beginners, but also to satisfy more experienced users. So, does it live up to the expectations?
Overview, features and accessories
At first glance, its floral design catches the eye. It’s not that it is useful but I like how it looks, for starters.
First obvious quality of this machine is its weight. It weighs just 12 pounds. Lightweight machines are really convenient as you don’t have to have a special place to work on them, unlike with industrial workhorses. You can just move yours around as you wish, or put it away after each use. You can even take it with you if you are attending sewing classes. The machine is lightweight enough even for children who are learning the craft.
Brother JX2517 doesn’t come with the case or cover and I didn’t like that. I think it would be a nice extra to go along with its portability. You can buy Brother Universal Carrying Storage, though.
Proper lighting can be an issue while sewing as the overhead arm can cast a shadow over the working area. JX2517 has a LED light to make sure that you don’t worry about the perfect sight. Some users did complain that the LED light is not bright enough. Still, unless you work in the dark it is good and it will do the job. It is not meant to lighten up the room, it just needs to cast the shadow away.
Lightweight machines are usually designed for beginners and come with very basic features. While Brother JX2517 can’t match most of the heavy-duty machines in this department, it includes a quite wide variety of features compared to other lightweight machines. It has all the basic features and then some. This machine really allows beginners to be creative and take on different projects as soon as they acquire basic skills.
Let’s get a closer look at those features. Brother JX2517 has an automatic bobbin winding system. It is very easy to use even if you don’t have any prior experience. After the bobbin is threaded and wound, it is as easy to set it up for use. This is because of Brother’s quick-set top drop-in bobbin that comes with most of their machines. It is one of Brother’s signature features and it is jam-resistant.
The bobbin comes with the plastic cover that is transparent. You don’t want to run out of thread halfway through a stitch. So, even though it seems trivial, the transparent plastic cover can save you some time. And you won’t get frustrated over a stupid mistake.
The machine is unexpectedly strong and fast, considering it is a lightweight machine. The sewing speed of a maximum of 900 stitches per minute is impressive unless you are a professional, and it beats most of the competition.
Free arm is another convenient feature. With a free arm, you can maneuver better to take care of tricky works, such as collars, sleeves, and cuffs. There is also an easy-to-reach reverse stitch button. Backstitching will help you to keep your stitches neat and tight.
The machine has 17 built-in both utility and decorative stitches. It includes straight, zigzag and satin stitches. With different settings for individual stitches, there are 38 stitching functions overall. While this is not a big number it is more than enough for beginners. These stitching patterns do provide a variety of options to execute all kinds of projects.
There are six different lengths of straight stitches and three different zigzag stitches. These stitches will cover the vast majority of your work. Blind hem stitch is very useful, too. You will not use it all the time but it would be a shame not to have a possibility to create a blind hem.
With the addition of elastic, overedge, bridging and double action stitches you should have enough possibilities even if you are an intermediate sewist. You are ready to let your creative side to take over.
Then, you have an automatic 4-step buttonhole stitch. While many models have one step buttonhole stitch nowadays, this 4-step buttonhole stitch is still easy and simple to use. And it will make perfect buttonholes.
Selecting a stitch of your choice is simple as well. There is a pattern dial with numbers and a diagram with all the stitches on the front side of the machine. You just have to look at the diagram and turn the dial to the corresponding number.
When it comes to presser feet, Brother JX2517 offers four basic feet: buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, zigzag foot, and zipper foot. You can change them easily and quickly as all of them are snap-on. The first two combined will allow you to cover all of your needs and ideas when it comes to buttons. While this machine doesn’t offer a wide variety in this department, these four feet take care of most of your needs. You can also buy additional feet accessories that will fit this machine if you want more options.
Additional accessories are stored in a built-in drawer. I find this addition quite convenient as all of these items are easy to reach if needed. Beside four presser feet, this accessory drawer contains an oval screwdriver, a needle set, a couple of bobbins, a darning plate, a foot controller, a power cord and a manual.
Needle threading system is manual. Even though it is not complicated, some of the users are used to automatic systems and may find this inconvenient. However, there is a very clear and understandable manual that will guide you through the process. When you get used to it, it is actually easy to do it.
Brother JX2517 also has an adaptable thread tension function. It is very easy to adjust the tension with the control dial that is placed above the needle on the upper arm. The thread cutter is another elegant and convenient solution on this machine.
Finally, Brother JX2517 Lightweight and Full Size sewing machine come with 25-year limited warranty. Brother is a respectable and recognized brand in the sewing machine industry. Their warranty shows the confidence they have about the quality and durability of their products. They also offer free customer phone and online support.
Pros and Cons
So what are the most important pros and cons of this sewing machine? Is it a great choice and for whom?
It’s affordable – Brother JX2517 is a great value for money. It will pay itself even if you use it only occasionally.
Ease of use – This machine is exceptionally easy to use. It comes with the manual that even youngsters can easily follow through, and there are many online step-by-step tutorials. I loved the comment of one user who found it so easy to operate that it is ‘foolproof’.
Lightweight design – With the weight of 12 pounds you can almost carry it anywhere. That convenience allows to move it with ease.
It is stronger than you would imagine – It works easily with all kinds of fabrics. It goes easily through three layers of denim and even light canvas. Just make sure you use the right needle. Some users even used it to reupholster some furniture! I wouldn’t push it that far though, as heavy-duty materials just aren’t its cup of tea.
It is quiet – This beauty is strong, but not loud. It is nice to know that you can work whenever it fits you without fear that you’ll wake the whole neighborhood.
A wide range of features – It offers a variety of features that will help you to enjoy sewing, avoid unnecessary hassle and let your creativity flow. You will be able to experiment and improve your skill with ease and pleasure.
Excellent ratings – A bunch of happy users praise this machine. Good ratings don’t necessarily mean that the machine is perfect, but it’s a good sign.
Great design – Brother JX2517 with its floral patterns just looks great! While it is not an essential quality for a sewing machine it is preferable, is it?
This sewing machine is designed for beginners and a level above so I can’t find true downsides to it. It can’t perform serious embroidery or quilting, but it was never meant to do so. I will make some really minor objections to cover all angles.
Lack of automatic needle threader – It is not really a con as the manual system is pretty easy, but I think that a highly regarded company like Brother should have included automatic threader.
Inability to adjust stitch length – Experienced and advanced sewists wouldn’t be happy with the auto-set stitch length adjustment. However, this sewing machine was not designed to meet professional and highly advanced requirements.
Bad LED light – Some users thought that the LED light wasn’t bright enough.
This beauty is worth every penny and some more. Lightweight, easy to operate, but still capable to do some neat and quality work, this sewing machine is a perfect choice for the beginners. It is also perfectly suitable for intermediate users, but I like to recommend the machines that are one grade in front of you. That way you will not need to move on with a better and more advanced model too soon. I think that even experienced sewists should consider buying this one, as it can be a nice gift and a perfect lure to attract newcomers into the sewing world.