Brother ST531HD Review In Detail

Brother ST531HD Review In Detail

Brother ST531HD is a quality mechanical sewing machine. Its ability to go through multiple layers of fabric is commendable. It is also very easy to use. However it is not a machine without demerits. 

Editor rating


Few years ago, I wished Brother had a strong mechanical sewing machine specifically designed for sewing thick fabrics like denim. Probably it was one machine that was missing from Brother's product catalog at that time. But with the introduction of Brother ST531HD and ST371HD (lower model with 37 built-in stitches), that gap is also bridged. Brother calls ST531HD, 'Strong and Tough' machine ('ST' in model number stands for the same). And Brother says that it can sew up to 6 layers of denim with ease (we will talk about it later).

Brother ST531HD comes with 53 built-in stitches which includes a one-step buttonhole. The stitches include a variety of decorative and essential stitches. The automatic needle threader saves eye strain. It comes with top drop-in bobbin, which is very beginner friendly. The clear cover also lets you keep an eye on the bobbin thread supply. The automatic bobbin winding is another handy feature. For sewing cuffs and sleeves, the machine can be converted to free arm by removing the storage compartment attachment.

Stitch selection on Brother ST531HD is very different from other mechanical sewing machines from Brother. The pattern selection dial is provided on the side of the machine (kind of unique for those who are used to selecting stitches using the front dial). The pattern number is displayed on a small counter like display. So those who are used to the traditional type of stitch selection, this will take a while to get used to. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes much more easier to select the stitches. 

The maximum stitch width and length are 7mm and 4mm respectively. Stitch width, length and upper tension adjustment dials are provided on the top of the machine. For free-motion sewing, you can drop the feed dogs. Brother ST531HD can sew up to 800 stitches/min. The machine weighs 14.3 lbs, which is not too heavy nor too light. The built-in carry handle makes the machine even more portable. It comes with 25 year limited warranty. The machine comes with a lot of accessories including 6 sewing feet, needle sets and a metal finger guard to protect your fingers from the needle.

Ease of Use

There is nothing complicated about Brother ST531HD. Usually mechanical sewing machines are much more easier to set up than computerized ones and ST531HD is no exception. The machine is very easy to thread. The detailed user manual is really helpful during the initial set up. Brother claims that this machine can sew up to 6 layers of denim and let me tell you, it is not a marketing gimmick. The machine can actually go through 6 layers of denim without any trouble. The motor is strong enough to punch through multiple layers and the resulting stitches are of very good quality.

Brother has provided different needles for specific purposes, you just need to make sure that you use the right type of needle for your project. For example, use #14 needle while sewing multiple layers. I have sewn a bag and the stitches looked professional. It is sturdy and I would like to call it 'Pocket Dynamite'. The performance on lightweight fabrics like silk is also pretty good. It is an all-round package to say the least.

Drawbacks

Even though an LED bulb illuminates the needle area, it is not very bright. So you will have to rely on external lighting.

No presser foot pressure adjustment option. Even though the default pressure does a good job, an option to adjust it would have been great.

Pros

•    Good stitch quality over multiple layers
•    Good stitch variety
•    Durable
•    Strong motor
•    Easy to set up
•    Beginner friendly

Cons

•    Slightly dim work light
•    Automatic presser foot pressure

Review Verdict

Brother ST531HD ticks all the check boxes for me. The ability to go through multiple layers of thick fabrics is something admirable for a machine in this segment. To go with the stitch quality, it has a lot of stitches to choose from. I really love this machine.

Specifications

FeatureType
TypeMechanical
Built-in Stitches53
Sewing Start/Stop ButtonNo
Speed Control SliderNo
Automatic Needle ThreaderYes
Buttonhole Styles1 One-step
Top Drop-in BobbinYes
USB ConnectivityNo
Stitch SelectionDial on Side
Adjustable Stitch Length/WidthYes
Built-in MemoryNo
Stitch Width7mm
Stitch Length4mm
Programmable Needle Up/DownNo
Built-in Monogramming FontNo
Adjustable Presser Foot PressureNo
Drop FeedYes
Free ArmYes
Motor Speed800 Stitches/min
On Board Accessory StorageYes
Work LightYes 1 LED
Feed Dog6
Included FeetButtonhole foot, Button sewing foot, Spring action zigzag foot, Zipper foot, Non stick foot, Blind stitch foot.
Machine Weight14.3 lbs
Warranty25 Year Limited
Snap-on Presser FootYes
Twin Needle CapabilityYes
Automatic Thread CutterNo
Dedicated Locking Stitch Button (Apart from reverse button)No
TensionAdjustable With Dial
Included Wide Extension TableNo
Knee LifterNo
CoverSoft Cover

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer only. Opinions may be subjective.