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Our In-depth Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine Review

Brother XM2701 Review

If you are in the market for a sewing machine, the Brother XM2701 is a great little lightweight machine for home use. It’s small but mighty – packed with loads of features that meet the needs of beginners learning to sew in addition to experienced hobbyists that are looking for portability.

It’s affordable, simple, and user-friendly, making it an appealing contender for people looking for an introductory sewing machine. For those same reasons, many consider it as a good option for kids too. One thing that sticks out is this sewing machine was clearly designed for ease of use so people can get started quickly with minimal challenges. There is a built-in easy needle threader and jam-resistant quick-set top drop-in bobbin – both nice touches for beginner sewing machines.

One thing to note, if you’re a very experienced sewist or want to get into sewing heavy weight fabrics, think twice on this one.

Let’s get into our XM2701 review and we’ll give you the full scoop.

The Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine Features and Specifications

Here are the at-a-glance, must-know details about this sewing machine.

  • Dimensions: 12.1″ x 5.9″ x 15.3″
  • Weight: 12.57 lbs (super light weight!)
  • Power Source: Treadle Power
  • Stitches: 27 Built-in Stitches (straight, decorative, zig zag and stretch stitches)
  • Speed: Approximately 800 stitches per minute
  • Material Construction: Metal internally, plastic externally
  • Accessories Included: 6 sewing feet, 3 piece needle set, twin needle, 4 bobbins, instructional DVD, and manual
  • Stitch/ Design Selection: Dial
  • Warranty: 25 years

Pros of the XM2701

Cons of the XM2701

  • Affordability – For a lower cost offering, this sewing machine comes with many impressive features. Given the features and capabilities of this sewing machine, it retails at a very affordable price. 
  • Ease of Use – We’ve mentioned in a few times already; the intuitiveness and ease of use simply cannot be ignored. The design of the Brother XM2701 removes any uncertainty regarding how it should be used, great for beginner sewists.
  • Portability: As a lightweight sewing machine it provides an excellent option for those whose sewing expertise takes them to different locations.
  • No Adjustable Speed Control: While you can of course alter the speed by adjusting the pressure that you apply to the foot pedal, this mechanism is rather sensitive. It can be difficult to maintain a slow or medium speed. I prefer speed control for beginners. It just makes it easier to get started and to build confidence.
  • Light Duty Only: This sewing machine doesn’t cope with thicker fabrics. It struggles with multiple layers of denim and leather. This isn’t a deal breaker unless you plan to sew with heavy duty fabrics (in which case you should consider a manual heavy duty sewing machine.)

Customer Ratings on 5 Star Scale

In addition to our experience, we researched all the major review sites to get a broader idea of what people like and dislike about the Brother XM2701 sewing machine. Here is what we found – all on a 5 star scale.

WebsiteStar RatingNumber of Reviews
Amazon.com4.7 out of 5 stars15,607
Walmart.com4.7 out of 5 stars279
Brother-USA.com4.8 out of 5 stars5

Positive XM2701 Review (s)

In general, across all three websites, the Brother XM2701 sewing machine scores high for durability and ease of use for beginners. Many people say it’s very easy to learn how to use the machine, easy to thread and learn how to sew. Several reviewers said it was the perfect machine to help them take that first step and jump into sewing. With a smaller price tag, it’s one less challenge to get going.

This sewing machine also earns reviewer points for being small space friendly thanks to it’s small size and it’s fairly quiet. City dwellers tend to like it for this reason!

Several reviewers said it was just what they needed to sew masks for their family and local community. Lots of mentions of simple sewing too – just what you need for mending and repairing clothes and extended their life.

Negative XM2701 Review (s)

By far, the top complaint about the Brother XM2701 sewing machine is tension problems. Some reviews even report the tension being so tight that it breaks the thread. However, other reviewers point out that the issues are usually fixable (thanks to watching Youtube videos) and simply take some getting used to.

The second biggest complaint is that the sewing machine isn’t great with jeans or multiple layers of fabrics. As a basic sewing machine, this is no surprise. Spend some time thinking through what kinds of projects you’ll use this machine for.

If it’s simple things or the occasion mending project, go for it. If you want to sew leather bags, maybe consider something else.

Okay, so we’ve heard what everyone else thinks about the Brother XM2701 sewing machine. Let’s dive into the machine itself and make our own opinion.

What Comes with the Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine?

Once you get home and open up the box you’ll find the following items, in addition to the sewing machine itself.

  • 6 sewing feet (buttonhole, zipper, zigzag, narrow hemmer, blind stitch and button)
  • darning plate
  • accessory bag with a pack of needles
  • twin needle
  • screwdriver (makes changing the presser feet nice and easy)
  • extra spool pin
  • 3 bobbins
  • power cord
  • instruction dvd and operation manual

Do I Need Any Additional Purchases?

The Brother XM2701 sewing machine does NOT come with a hard cover protective case which is a little surprising since the light weight of this machine makes it very convenient for travel. You can purchase one separately though. The Brother hard case is a good option to protect your sewing machine. It also makes it easy to carry around. There are also plenty of “tote bag” style carriers like to carry your sewing machine with additional tools and project notions.

Another option is to sew a softer dust cover yourself. Professor Pincushion has a great tutorial on making one here. Fully customize it to your preferred fabric.

It’s also helpful to have extra bobbins on hand so you’re not constantly unwinding and filling the same one over and over. Plus, having a few bobbins filled with the colors you use most often is handy to have on hand ahead of time. (This sewing machine uses class 15, 7/16 inch bobbins).

Aesthetic Design of the Brother XM2701

The flowery pattern on the front of this sewing machine is cutesy – not necessarily a bad thing. But for those who prefer a sleek, minimalistic machine, (or maybe something less “girly”) this is something to be aware of. 

The manual features are incorporated into a simplistic design that makes the machine easy to operate. You won’t be overwhelmed with tons of bells and whistles like on a computerized sewing machine.

Even though the sewing machine doesn’t come with a carrying case, it does have a built-in handle in the back so you can comfortably carry it from room to room.

Brother XM2701

Stitching Capabilities & Applications

The Brother XM2701 sewing machine has 27 different built-in stitches. That means it provides 63 different stitch applications (ways to use the stitches). Pretty good for a basic sewing machine.

You get all the stitches you need including straight, zig zag, blind hem and stretch stitches. You also get shell tuck, fagoting, overage, feather, triple zig zag stretch, and decorative stitches. And of course the 1 step button hole. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with all of this stitches. The Brother XM2701 Operation Manual explains each stitch in detail and when to use them. Of course, you can always just check out the stitch chart right on the machine (see photo below) to visually see what each stitch looks like and practice with them all.

Brother XM2701 Stitch Dial

On the panel above the dial, each of the stitch patterns along with the number that they correlate to on the dial are detailed in an easy-to-read chart. Once you have identified the stitch that you would like from the chart, you can then use the stitch selector (the dial) to set the correct pattern. Three dials at the top of the machine let you adjust tension, stitch length and stitch width.

This machine also has a lever for reverse stitching – necessary for securing your stitches at the start and finish of seams.

The XM2701 also includes a built-in thread cutter which seems like a “nice to have” but once you use it, it becomes a “how did I ever live with out this” feature.

For an intro machine, this one definitely has a great range of stitch options.

Beginner Friendly Features: Automatic Needle Threader & Drop-in Top Bobbin

This machine is considered beginner (and kid-friendly too) largely thanks to two special features – an automatic needle threader and a drop-in top bobbin.

It’s easy to thread. Threading the XM2701 machine is as simple as following the numbers printed right on the machine. Once you get to threading the tiny needle you’ll have help from the automatic threader. Use a little lever and it will line up the thread and then pull it through the needle for you. In general, I find that people with strained eyesight or shaky hands like this feature. I generally thread the needle manually despite the tool being right there. Matter of preference but if you like or need it, then this is a very helpful feature.

A drop-in top bobbin is generally considered a beginner-friendly feature because it is easy to see and set up. Since it has a see-through plastic cover, you’re able to see how much thread is left on your bobbin as you sew along. It only takes one experience where you are sewing with an empty bobbin to appreciate this feature. It’s also jam resistant (but not jam proof!) which is a plus for any and every sewist.

Brother XM2701

Getting Started & Setting Up The Machine

For those who are new to sewing, the thought of setting up and getting started with their own machine can be rather daunting, however, the Brother XM2701 is praised for being easy to set up.

Aside from the clear dial and stitching diagram which is easy to identify and use, the user manual details everything you need to get up and running quickly.

The machine comes with an instructional dvd and a detailed owner’s manual. I generally keep my manual nearby for quick reference. I’ve never watched the DVD but often check out Brother Sews USA tutorials on Youtube when I need a visual example.

Six Sewing Feet and What They Do

This Brother sewing machine provides you with 6 sewing feet which are easy to take in and out. These feet include a zipper foot, a zigzag foot, a narrow hemmer, a one-step buttonhole foot, a button sewing foot, and a blind hem foot.

Each of these feet are best suited to a particular purpose.

  • The zipper foot allows you to add zips. No surprise there! The design of this foot allows the sewing needed to get close to a raised edge, like the teeth of the zipper, so it can stitch right next to it. Very useful and necessary if you want to add zippers to hand bags, pouches, dresses or anything else.
  • The zigzag foot is sometimes called an all purpose foot or a general sewing foot. It is used for your utility sewing, including straight stitching and zig-zag.
  • A narrow hemmer foot folds a fabric edge over twice and stitches it down flat using a straight stitch that runs down the inside fold. With this foot you won’t have to mark, iron, and pin your fabric down before sewing it. The foot does all the preparation for you! It’s used to make a narrow hem (hence the name) and is especially useful for sheer fabrics. It’s also called a rolled hem foot, narrow hem foot or simply a hemmer foot.
  • The one-step buttonhole foot makes the task of creating buttonholes much easier. It clips to your machine and will mange the whole buttonhole old for you.
  • The button sewing foot attaches buttons to your makes for you. The foot holds the button in place while the machine stitch it down. Super convient.
  • The blind hem foot allows you to add discrete hems to your fabric. Think about the hems on your favorite pants, skirts or jackets – almost invisible. This is thanks to the blind hem foot.

A variety of sewing feet means you have lots of versatility with this machine. You can purchase additional specialty feet if necessary but there is so much you can do with the included ones that you’ll keep busy with lots of creative projects for a long while.

LED Light – A Helpful Feature

Another helpful feature of this Brother sewing machine is its LED light. More light is generally a good thing when it comes to sewing so built-in light sources are always a plus.

Free Arm for Narrow Projects

There is a removable accessory compartment on the front of the machine. When you take it off you’ll see th much smaller, narrower free arm. This is helpful for working with narrow items like cuff sleeves or children’s pajama pants. Simply wrap the fabric around the it and you can sew around the curve.

This is a pretty standard feature on sewing machines but on my first machine, I didn’t realize mine existed for a few years! When I discovered it, after watching someone else use theirs, I was stunned! The free arm makes sewing kid sized items MUCH easier. (Lesson learned: read the manual or at least browse it to see all the ins and outs on your machine.)

Weight and Portability

As a lightweight machine, the Brother XM2701 is definitely a portable option. The compact design means that it can be added to your workspace without consuming a lot of room. Use the handle to carry it or purchase a separate carrying case for added protection.

Lightweight machines are handy for taking to class, to social sewing events at the local guild or back and forth to a project site, like your kid’s school drama club costume department.

Finishing Touch (a.k.a. Final Thoughts)

As a brand, Brother sewing machines are renowned for high-quality, durability and reliability. A 25 year warranty backs it up too. The Brother XM2701 model is certainly no exception. While this machine is simplistic, it gets the job done.

This Brother sewing machine is an affordable model that is ideal for beginners that want to give sewing a try before investing too much money in a costly machine. It’s got the features and stitches to make most any project that uses standard weight fabrics (vs. the heavier denim, canvas, or leather materials) from garments to home decor.

On the other hand, for a bit more money, you can get a different Brother sewing machine that provides more features to “grow with” and that can handle a wider variety of fabrics.

On the whole, the Brother XM2701 is a great option for a budget machine. It’s helpful to have on hand for the occasion project – and it’s tough to beat the price point.

We hope you found our XM2701 review helpful. As always, happy sewing!

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Sally

Sewist, graphic designer, & maker of colorful things

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