I bought the Brother RL417 sewing machine several years ago. This is Brother's entry-level and considering its price, so it is a mechanical sewing machine.
The positives of the Brother RL417 sewing machine
It’s a branded machine. In general, we trust a well-known and recognized brand more. Brother, like any famous brand, has a very good website with online support. It is possible to contact them in the event of a problem and they respond fairly quickly. There's even a live chat available on weekdays.
Its design: Brother pays particular attention to the design of its machines. Especially this one, I find it girly. There are also models in blue (surely for men who want to start sewing)
Easy bobbin threading
The machine has a bobbin holder with a transparent housing with simplified threading. The bobbin is therefore very easy to place. Plus, the fact that the case is transparent allows us to analyze if our can is going to run out soon. Therefore, it saves us from sewing and having our seam stop right in the middle because of a bobbin that has emptied without our knowledge!
Various stitches: The machine offers a blind hem stitch, an automatic 4-step buttonhole stitch, several zigzag stitch widths. It also offers the possibility of putting a double needle.
Quite a few accessories. The machine is delivered with a protective cover, a set of single and double needles, a cleaning brush, empty cans, a screwdriver, presser feet ...
An instructional DVD: the machine comes with an explanatory DVD! This is particularly suitable for beginners who have never touched a sewing machine. Everything is very well explained there so the start of the machine is simplified.
The negatives of the Brother RL417 sewing machine
Lack of freedom
Not as many points as that…: the machine is announced with 17 different points. But since the stitch length and width are not manually adjustable, there aren't that many stitches actually. There are 6 stitches that are actually a straight stitch with a different length or width. In itself, the number of stitches is not that important, as the same stitches are often used when sewing. What is more annoying is especially the fact that there is a lack of freedom in the choice of settings for these points ...
The tension is not automatically adjusted, and the presser foot pressure cannot be adjusted as well. But again with a price like that, it's hard to find that kind of option on sewing machines.
You can't move the needle as you want: being able to move the needle a few millimeters can save the life of a seam, but on this machine, you have to be content with the preset setting to adjust the needle position.
Not suitable for thick fabrics
On several thicknesses of hems, the machine has a little difficulty moving forward: but here again, given its price, we cannot have a super-powerful sewing machine.
It does not offer a triple stitch (this is a stitch used to solidify seams when sewing heavy fabrics). It also shows that it is not really made for sewing on heavy fabrics.
The handwheel for changing the stitching point is difficult to turn. When you turn it, it makes a loud noise and you have to force it a little. Also, it is difficult to position the arrow correctly on the selected point: sometimes, I have the impression that my point is well-positioned under the arrow, but it is not! This has caused me quite a few sewing incidents, so be careful if you ever use this machine: always test before your final sewing.
I would say that to start sewing the Brother RL417 sewing machine will surely be suitable for you. Especially if your budget is tight and you want basic use without the frills.
But if you want to sew very regularly and be able to do a lot with any type of fabric, your best bet is to go with a higher-end sewing machine if you have the budget.
For my part, as I told you at the beginning of this article, I paid 150 euros for it when sewing machines were more expensive than now.
Today, if I had to do it all over again, with 150 euros, I would opt for a better sewing machine ...
In short, what will determine your choice is simply the budget you have. If you have less than 100 euros as a budget to allocate to your machine, the machine that I recommend you the most is the Silvercrest from Lidl, which sells for 79 euros 2-3 times a year.