I love testing different sewing tools and gadgets and seeing how they can make sewing faster/better/easier. And this time I had an opportunity to test a true gem: Brother Airflow 3000, a 4-thread overlocker with an air-threading system.
While the key feature of this serger is air-threading (it's even in the name!), my main interest was to test the seam quality and how it feels to sew with it. I like to challenge tools when testing them and I made no exception for Brother Airflow 3000: I selected a thick, stretchy, prone to fraying knit fabric and added several techniques to really test the features of this overlocker.
This article is created in partnership with Brother - experts of home sewing, embroidery, quilting, and crafting machines for more than 100 years.
For the pattern, I used my Marie dress pattern, which I shortened to create a sweater length. This has become my go-to pattern choice for sweaters, as it's very easy to customize, giving it a completely different look each time. Plus, it's extremely comfortable and cozy, which is something I look for in fall sweaters.
Main fabric of the sweater was very thick knit, weighting 300 g/m2. Even when sewing multiple layers and thick seam connections, Brother Airflow 3000 did not struggle and was evenly feeding fabric through presser foot. Throughout my sewing journey, I have tried multiple sergers - from basic ones to industrial ones - and when sewing with this serger, it was feeling a lot like working with an industrial one: the fabric was feeding smoothly and with ease, and the machine itself felt sturdy and did not vibrate. This model weights 10kg, so while it's not the most comfortable machine to move around the house, this weight adds a lot of stability when serging.
To customize my sweater, I added cuffs with a thumb-hole (I show how to sew this type of cuff in this Reel), to keep hands extra warm during colder winter day. This cuff can be added to any design and is quite easy (though a bit tricky) to make - definitely a good idea to try!
When sewing cuffs, collar and bottom band, engaging differential feed comes very handy: on thick fabrics it removes seam waviness (differential feed setting 2), while on lightweight fabrics in reduces puckering (differential feed setting 0.7). On Brother Airflow 3000, differential feed is easy to adjust by using a knob on side of the machine.
Overall, ease-of-use is something that is noticeable all throughout Airflow 3000 machine: easy to thread loopers and needles, easy to adjust pressure of the presser foot, ease to deactivate knife, easy to change presser foot, easy to switch seam width. All these features have visual knobs/levers, making it easy to intuitively know how to activate which function.
One thing worth mentioning is that Brother machines come with in-depth manuals, which allows to understand all functions, fine-tune settings for any sewing task and get the most of your machine. I always recommend reading manual before using any new machine and this was exactly what I did before testing this machine!
Overall, my first impressions of Brother Airflow 3000 were very positive: easy to setup and start using, easy to fine-tune perfect seam settings for any fabric, stability when sewing and - most importantly - great seam quality even on thick fabrics and multiple layers. I'm excited to test this machine more and create new designs using it!
Here are a few more details of my new sweater: I added appliques from faux-leather, made using new-to-me fabric manipulation technique called Shibori bubbles; I also added metal zippers on both sides and elastic tape to prevent shoulders from stretching out.
I filmed a few tutorials when making this sweater, so you can also recreate these details: Shibori bubbles; How to add exposed zipper to knit fabrics; How to shorten metal zipper; How to add elastic tape to shoulders; How to sew cuffs with thumb holes.
If you would like to learn more about sergers, I gathered 8 helpful serger tips that every seamstress should know (a few of these came from Brother Airflow 3000 manual). Click here to watch all 8 tips: