This machine’s full name is Brother ST531HD strong and tough sewing machine for a good reason. It can handle 6 layers of denim with great ease!
Today, I am writing detailed, unbiased Brother SE531HD reviews for those of you who’ve stumbled upon it and are now thinking about purchasing this model.
Did you know that SE531HD is one of the earliest heavy-duty units produced by Brother for sewists on a budget? In short, it’s a versatile mechanical sewing machine.
If you’re looking for a sewing machine to handle heavy-duty sewing tasks, look no further than this unit. Read on to learn what this baby can and cannot do.
|Dimensions:||19.09 x 14.29 x 10.2 inches|
|Machine weight:||18.66 pounds|
|Machine speed:||800 stitches per minute|
|Built-in sewing stitches:||53|
|Automatic needle threader:||Yes|
|Warranty:||25-year limited warranty|
Brother ST531HD Reviews
This sewing machine doesn’t come with all the features you would expect to find in a modern unit. It has the right features. It’s not a do-it-all machine. Let’s discuss the key features!
53 Built-In Stitches
If you’re new to the sewing world, 53 built-in sewing stitches is more than you will need at the moment. Even experienced users won’t have much to complain about.
Of course, unless their previous machine had hundreds of stitches that they utilized regularly. To select a stitch, just turn the dial on the side to meet the stitch number.
6 Accessory Feet
You will get 6 different accessory feet to get started including zipper, zigzag, buttonhole, button sewing, blindstitch and non-stick foot.
Automatic Needle Threader
You can usually find this feature in high-end sewing machines. And I’m always impressed to find it in an affordable sewing machine such as this one.
Manual needle threading can be a nightmare, especially for beginners. And people with poor vision like myself. It also saves you a lot of time and effort.
Except for automatic needle threading, I’m also a big fan of good lighting. And this sewing machine has good LED lighting. It’s perfect for night owls who prefer to sew at night.
Top Drop-In Quick- Set Bobbin
The top drop-in quick-set bobbin is one of those key features that this brand is proud of. It’s not present in all their units, so I was very happy to learn that it’s present in this one.
This workhorse can sew up to 800 stitches per minute. It’s not too much but it’s enough for a portable unit such as this one. It’s not an industrial machine but it will get the job done.
Adjustable Stitch Width and Length
Just utilize the dial on the top of your machine to adjust the stitch width and length. The thread tension is also adjustable. It has a dual that you can utilize for handling different fabrics.
This capability is great for reinforcing your pattern. You can turn it on with a special lever. It’s one of my favourite features.
Free Arm Capability
I love the free arm option in this machine. It’s ideal for sewing legs, sleeves, cuffs, and other places that would otherwise be difficult to access.
Metal Finger Guard
This feature doesn’t make the unit safer for children but also adults. You can easily get hurt if you’re not careful. Also, it’s detachable if you don’t feel the need to use it.
Although it’s not large, it can still store some of your key accessories such as extra needles, bobbins, and other small things that are easy to lose.
Metal Interior Frame
Most sewing machines within this price range contain plastic parts or they’re made of plastic from top to bottom. But not this one! ST531HD has a metal interior frame.
Therefore, it’s sturdy and durable. I love the construction of this machine because it adds to the stability of the unit. Also, it’s built to last so you will have it for many years.
Metal Needle Plate
The metal needle plate enables smooth fabric feeding. This component is one of the key components of ST531HD. It’s not made of plastic. Plastic needle plates are prone to easy breaking.
And they’re hard to replace. Therefore, this feature adds value to this model. It’s not only extra durable but also great for the fabrics unlike the plastic needle plates present on similar units.
You will receive heavy-duty needles in your purchase. This sewing machine includes a 3-piece needle set (sizes 16, 14, and 11), as well as a twin needle.
Brother ST531HD Pros and Cons
The Brother ST531HD strong and tough sewing machine is built to last. And it stands by its name. It can handle up to 6 layers of denim at one pass with great ease.
It’s the ideal combination of impressive features and immaculate strength. If you’re looking for a super-versatile sewing machine, look no further than Brother ST531HD.
Not only can it handle stubborn materials like leather and denim but also can be utilized for fabrics such as cotton and silk. The metal construction makes it even more appealing.
It adds strength and stability to the overall construction of the unit. Another important thing to mention is the user-friendly interface. It’s suitable for both beginners and professionals.
ST531HD is ideal for home use. However, if you’re a small business owner, you can utilize this workhorse without any problem thanks to its consistency and wide range of features.
ST531HD seems ideal but it’s not. Just like any other machine out there, it has its flaws. Let’s summarize the key pros and cons and determine if it’s worth your money.
Tough and Strong for Real
Although it’s not advertised as a heavy-duty sewing machine, it’s tough and strong for real. It can handle a bunch of thick materials such as corduroy and denim.
2 Feet for Handling Difficult Fabrics
The spring action zigzag foot can handle multiple layers or different levels of thickness. The non-stick, on the other hand, will enable smooth gliding through the leather.
Metal Guard Finger
This is a great feature because it makes the machine safer not only for kids but also for adults. It’s easy to hurt yourself but this protective feature prevents possible injuries.
Although it’s safe for children, this sewing machine isn’t a toy. On the outside, it’s created of plastics. But the interior frame is made of metal so it will be more stable and durable.
A Wide Selection of Stitches
This machine can handle both thin and thick fabrics. However, it also delivers great results with stretchy fabrics, especially if you combine the sewing stitches with a stretch needle.
Strong and Even Stitches
Although this should come by default, you would be surprised how rare it is with an affordable unit such as this one. The stitches are even and strong on both sides on different fabrics.
You will receive both DVD instructions and printed manual which makes installation a breeze. Thanks to the DVD, threading is easy. There are also labels and guides printed on the unit.
Although the needle threading is said to be automatic, I would disagree. It’s not fully automatic. Still, it’s simple to utilize as well as bobbin winding. ST531HD is a beginner-friendly unit.
Decent Buttonhole System
This sewing machine has a decent buttonhole mechanism. It delivers lovely buttonholes at the right size. And performs pretty well.
Lastly, I find the price acceptable and reasonable. ST531 is a budget-friendly machine. It’s also a portable and lightweight sewing machine (14 pounds).
Can’t Handle Leather
It’s advertised as an almost heavy-duty machine. However, size 18 needles won’t fit with this model. It’s not a heavy-duty machine and won’t do a good job with leather.
It won’t take any needles + size 16. If you’re sewing on leather that’s super thick, you will need those big needles. Size 16 does a good job at thin leather only.
Not Suitable for Absolute Beginners
ST531HD isn’t the best choice for beginners. It’s a user-friendly unit. However, absolute beginners might experience difficulties figuring out all the advanced features.
Low Machine Speed
This model is advertised as almost heavy-duty units. The maximum speed could have been higher. If you have a sewing business, you won’t be able to increase your productivity.
All the parts are plastic. I do appreciate the metal interior frame but it would be better to have some key parts also created of metal. It would increase the durability of the machine.
I already mentioned that I love the LED lights but they could have been brighter. This goes for most units by Brother. In my opinion, they should work on improving the poor lighting.
No Protective Case
Unfortunately, you won’t get a protective case. This baby comes with a lot of free features but it doesn’t include a case. You will have to buy it individually to keep your unit dust-free.
How to Use Brother ST531HD Sewing Machine?
A good thing that everybody confirms about this sewing machine is that it’s super easy to install and use. The directions on the unit are clear. And easy to understand for basic tasks.
ST531HD doesn’t mark the average stitch width and length like some other units. However, the average tension is marked. The light included throws a somewhat annoying shadow.
The thread cutter is the shielded, regular blade on the side of the unit. ST531HD can also perform pedal-less or automatic sewing. Also, the needle stops in the down position.
How to Thread Brother ST531HD?
The Brother ST531HD strong and tough sewing machine has a built-in needle threader. Modern sewing units have an automatic function. It’s appreciated by beginners.
However, advanced sewers like it too because it saves time and effort. If you have poor eyesight like me, you will love this feature. It will catch the thread in the eye of the needle.
And pull it through. The automatic needle threader will save you the effort and time of trying to fit a big or frayed thread via the eye of a small needle. I hate manual threading.
Automatic threading also prevents human mistakes. Or thread breakage when your machine is working. The faster the threading process is, the more time will be saved.
How to Switch from SS1 to SS2 for Stitches?
There could be issues in this as the dial available can hide the SS1 and SS2 changing. As a result, people avoid purchasing this machine. However, it’s not something you can’t solve.
To prevent confusion, leave your needle up whenever you’re picking a stitch pattern. This is made when the handwheel is rotated counterclockwise.
To change to SS2, simply come at SS1 first. Then, by utilizing the stitching length dial, turn a further left. Finally, with the assistance of the selecting dial, you can select your pattern easily.
How Strong And Tough Is It?
Honestly, this sewing machine isn’t as tough and strong as a commercial or high-end sewing machine or something that’s specifically designed to work with denim, leather and canvas.
If you plan to open a small home business creating heavy-duty projects, consider other machines on the market that can handle tough wear and tear. ST531HD isn’t the right model for you.
However, if you’re looking for a stable and durable machine for home use that can handle various tasks without a need for servicing or repair, ST531 is the perfect choice for your sewing needs.
That said, with a bit patience, the correct thread and needle, ST531HD will perform just fine for stitching a canvas tote bag, hemming your jeans, putting a strap or creating outdoor cushions.
Brother ST531HD Accessories
Along with this sewing machine, you will receive a lot of accessories including bobbins, 6 presser feet, 3-piece needle set, twin needle, 2 spool caps, and dust cover.
You will also get a screwdriver, power cord, extra spool pin, instructional DVD, foot controller, and user manual. The manual is available in both printed and online format.
It’s written in two different languages (Spanish and English). The good thing is, if you don’t find the user manual helpful, you can always rely on the instructional DVD.
It provides pictorial guidance of the methods of usages and tips on how to keep your sewing machine in good shape. Brother provides 6 different feet for this sewing machine.
They’re designed for different applications. The feet can be applied to the sewing machine by snapping them into place. Changing the feet is pretty straightforward.
Let’s take a look at the feet included with this sewing machine.
Spring Action Zigzag Foot
Unlike the regular zigzag foot included with other sewing units, Brother provides a spring-action zigzag foot with this unit. This utilizes a spring to make tension against the material as you sew instead of just a simple pressure from the presser arm.
This enables you to sew more easily across materials of different thickness. The spring will automatically adjust the tension as you move from one thickness to another to keep it secure against the feed dogs.
When dealing with various materials like leather, vinyl or suede, the regular zigzag foot might get stuck. This one is created of plastic that will glide across these materials easily.
Since this machine is made to handle thick materials, this is a great addition to make sure that they will feed via the sewing machine correctly while you sew them. It’s my favourite foot.
Stitching buttonholes is simple with this foot which can be adjusted for various lengths. This is a 1-step process that will stitch the 4 sides of the buttonhole at measured lengths. Thus makes it simple and nice to add buttonholes on a bunch of different materials.
Button Sewing Foot
There’s a button foot to match the buttonhole. This foot will keep the buttons securing in the spot while you sew them to the material. It will lift enough to fit even the thick fabrics. You can also sew buttons on multiple layers of materials as well.
Blind Stitch Foot
The blind stitch foot is essential. And requires time and practice to master. With this foot, you can easily hide stitches in curtains, cuffs or wherever you want.
Last but not least, you will get a zipper foot which enables you to make zippers correctly into even heavy materials. Using a regular zigzag foot can’t fit the teeth of the zipper properly.
Therefore, this foot will keep the material secured while you attach your zipper properly. There’s a lot to like about this sewing machine. It’s the perfect machine for dealing with tough fabrics.
The durability and quality of this sewing machine are amazing. When I first bought this machine, I wasn’t expecting anything less from this well-known brand. They always make quality units.
ST531HD is a budget-friendly, all-around machine that can handle almost anything you throw at it. If you want a sewing machine that will have your back for years, buy ST531HD today.
It’s super easy to install and use. The best part? It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced sewers. However, absolute beginners might encounter some difficulties. It’s still advanced.
If you’re a professional who’s looking for a backup or secondary sewing machine that’s portable and can handle different tasks, look no further than this strong and tough sewing machine.
Brother ST531HD Bobbin Size
You need to purchase SA156 bobbins. This sewing machine includes 4 bobbins. One of them is installed on the machine. If you need additional bobbins, you can buy at Amazon.
If you need to purchase a bobbin case, then, you need to purchase it with the model number of XE9326-001. Other types of bobbin case won’t fit. Each one is made for a specific machine.
If you can’t find the bobbin case for this model anywhere, try Brother’s official website. They carry parts usually. You can’t utilize this sewing machine without a bobbin case, correct?
An important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t use bobbins other than the recommended ones. Otherwise, you might encounter issues and cause damage to your machine.
Brother ST531HD Maintenance
ST531HD shouldn’t be oiled by users. This is to prevent possible damage to your sewing machine. As the manual says, it should have enough oil by the producer.
If you encounter issues with this model such as if you’re hearing a weird noise or having a hard time with the handwheel, then you need to stop utilizing the machine.
It’s best to contact the nearest authorized service centre or your local authorized dealer. Clean your unit occasionally. However, never lubricate it on your own.
Brother ST531HD for Sale
If you determined that ST531HD is the perfect sewing machine for you, you may be wondering where to buy it. It’s hard to trust sellers and retailers when buying a machine online.
You might face issues with accessories, warranty, etc. Finding a trusted seller seems hard. However, you can always trust Amazon. You can also find this model at Sewing Machines Plus.
The Brother ST531HD is a promising sewing machine. It’s a perfect machine for both industrial and home use. The stitch quality and performance are remarkable.
Released in 2017, this workhorse has kept up with most of the main features required in a tough sewing machine. Hopefully, you find my objective Brother ST531HD reviews helpful.
Have you ever used this strong and tough machine? Or know someone who has? If so, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!