Not only does Brother International manufacture printers and fax machines, the company also produces home sewing machines with both quilting or embroidery capability for the home seamstress as well as industrial sewing and embroidery machines for commercial use. The company's models range from sophisticated computerized models to basic mending machines.
Reading the manual is the best way to find basic information about how a Brother sewing machine works. The manual may be missing from a used or hand-me-down machine, so there are several online resources available to locate one. BrotherUSA.com provides links to the manuals of several different models as well as contact information for manuals to machines that are not listed. Software and manual downloads are also available at Brother Solutions Center (see link in References). Manuals are also available at the Brother FTP site, which is a repository of available downloads.
Online Sewing Resources
In general, every sewing machine operates the same way: a needle pierces the fabric and joins thread from underneath and above to create a seam. The names of sewing machine parts are also, for the most part, universal. For basic operating sewing machine instructions, the Sewing and Craft Alliance.com offers general instructions and information such as sewing machine basics and how to seam. Crafts and FabricsLinks.com also offers general sewing machine operating guidelines. The American Sewing Guild.org is another great resource for sewer with links and support for members, including a chat room where new sewer can ask veteran sewers questions (see links in Resources).
Beyond the Basics
Several websites are dedicated to making sure seamstresses get the most out of their sewing machines. Modern machines are capable of complex functions beyond simple seaming and hemming. BrotherUSA.com offers technique information for smocking, ruffling and machine braiding in downloadable portable document format (see links in References). The website also offers projects to test out your new skills. Sewing magazine websites, such as Threads.com, Sewing News.com, and SewSimple.com, are other great resources for learning sewing machine tips and tricks. These websites also have blogs and newsletters that are sent to subscribers filled with projects and helpful hints.
The websites of the big pattern companies, Butterick, McCall's, Vogue and Simplicity, also feature patterns and expert advice for beginning sewers learning about the capabilities of their sewing machines.
Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.