Alexandra's Quick Notes
The Brother FS40 is an affordable, lightweight computerised sewing machine, which is easy to use and comes with a good range of stitches.
Features such as the stop/start and needle up/down buttons are most appreciated, especially in this price range, although it lacks a needle threader.
Brother FS40 Overview
You will be hard pressed to find a good computerised sewing machine which is cheaper than the Brother FS40. Despite its price, it manages to squeeze in 40 stitches, start/stop and needle up/down functionality, 15 needle positions, and (depending on where you buy) an optional extension table.
Many computerised sewing machines can feel quite daunting at first, with multitudes of buttons to press and cryptic messages on the LCD screen. This is definitely not the case for the FS40, which has a very clear and helpful LCD screen, and comes with a helpful instruction manual. Even with little or no sewing experience, it should be easy enough to get started with the FS40.
It is also a lightweight machine, which makes it a great choice for those who take their machine to classes, or who struggle lifting heavier machines.
Lets take a look at some of its features in more detail...
The Brother FS40 sewing machine has the following main features:
- 40 Stitches
- 1-Step Buttonhole
- Drop-in Bobbin
- 40 W Motor
The Brother FS40 has a total of 40 stitches, including 5 buttonhole stitches, a number of stretch/elastic stitches and 16 decorative stitches. For the vast majority of sewers, and even for the most experienced among us, this is likely to be enough for almost any project.
I have listed all of the stitches below:
|#0 straight left||#14 joining stitch 1||#27 buttonhole 3|
|#1 straight centre||#15 joining stitch 2||#28 buttonhole 4|
|#2 triple stretch stitch||#16 joining stitch 3||#29 buttonhole 5|
|#3 stretch stitch||#17 fagoting stitch 1||#30 bar tack stitch|
|#4 zizag stitch||#18 fagoting stitch 2||#31 hand look quilting stitch|
|#5 3-point zigzag stitch||#19 decorative stitch 1||#32 decorative stitch 7|
|#6 overcasting stitch 1||#20 decorative stitch 2||#33 decorative stitch 8|
|#7 overcasting stitch 2||#21 decorative stitch 3||#34 decorative stitch 9|
|#8 overcasting stitch 3||#22 decorative stitch 4||#35 satin stitch 1|
|#9 blind hem stitch 1||#23 decorative stitch 5||#36 satin stitch 2|
|#10 blind hem stitch 2||#24 decorative stitch 6||#37 satin stitch 3|
|#11 appliqué stitch||#25 buttonhole 1||#38 cross stitch 1|
|#12 shell tuck stitch||#26 buttonhole 2||#39 cross stitch 2|
|#13 satin scallop stitch|
The maximum stitch width is 4 mm, and the maximum stitch length is 7 mm (which is quite large!).
If you're interested in a machine which has a wider range of stitches, I would recommend you read my review of the Brother FS100WT, which is basically the FS40's older sister!
The FS40 has a 40 W motor, which makes it less powerful than a lot of other machines out there. With the correct needle it should be able to take on several layers of relatively heavy materials, but it is definitely not a heavy duty machine like the Singer Heavy Duty 4411, so I wouldn't be comfortable taking on heavy upholstery projects with this machine, for example.
Speed ControlThe Brother FS40 comes with a standard foot pedal for controlling sewing speed. But one of the really great things about this machine is that you can also control speed directly using the stop/start button and the speed slider. Having the option of doing away with the foot pedal is great for so many reasons:
- it is good for those with limited mobility who may struggle to use a foot pedal (e.g. those with arthritis, or hip issues)
- it is great for kids who may not be able to reach a pedal
- if your pedal stops working you will still be able to use your machine
Another advantage of this feature is that it means you have a lot more control over your sewing speed. This is extremely useful at very slow speeds, for example when working on a particularly tricky part of your project, as you can still retain full control at low speed. There is no risk of misjudging the amount of pressure you apply to the presser foot!
The photo below shows you the location of the stop/start button and the speed control slider on the front of the FS40.
The FS40 has a drop-in top loading bobbin system. I like the clear bobbin cover, as you can keep an eye on your bobbin as you sew.
You can drop the feed dogs on this machine, which is great for free-motion sewing and embroidery. Unlike the Brother FS100WT though, it doesn't come with an embroidery foot.
The LCD screen on the FS40 is quite small, but it is very clear. It will even show you which presser foot you need to use for each stitch, which is a great feature for those of you who are new to sewing!
Presser Foot System
The FS40 comes with quite a good selection of presser feet:
- All Purpose Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Blind Stitch Foot
- Overcasting Foot
- Button Fitting Foot
- Buttonhole Foot
- Monogramming Foot
Unfortunately the FS40 does not come with a needle threader. This is a little disappointing for a machine in this price range, and may be frustrating if you are used to using one, or if your eyesight is poor and you normally struggle to thread needles. If you are looking for a simple computerised machine which does have a needle threader, you may want to see my review of the Singer Confidence 7465.
Like a lot of Brother sewing machines, the Brother FS40 is a well designed. It is easy to use, runs relatively quietly even at high speed, and has good stitch quality. One downside in the design though is that it does have a lot of plastic components. It doesn't feel cheap, but I wonder if the long term durability of the machine might suffer compared to other machines which use less plastic.
One advantage of the machine being mostly plastic is that it is lightweight and very portable, so you should be able to move it to classes or around the house easily enough!
It is also worth bearing in mind that the harp (the space to the right of the needle) on the FS40 is relatively small, which you may find a little impractical if you are working which large items such as big quilts.
Depending on where you are shopping, the FS40 sometimes comes with an optional extension table. This is great as it gives you quite a bit more space to work with.
It also comes with a dust cover, which is rather flimsy and cheap. As such it may be a good idea to invest in a more durable bag for this machine, especially if you plan on taking it to classes!
The Brother FS40 is a great computerised sewing machine - it is excellent value for money, and offers some great features such as 40 stitches, a good range of presser feet, a needle up/down button, and the ability to sew without the foot pedal (which also allows for extra control at slow speeds). It does have a couple of minor downsides though. The motor is less powerful than some alternative machines, it doesn't have a needle threader, and it does contain quite a lot of plastic components.
Let me know what you think of the Brother FS40 in the comments below!