I’m going to be running the overlocker Brother 1034D at £189 on Amazon Uk, alongside the new upgrade Brother M343D £159 to compare the differences and whether the new and improved M343D at is worth the upgrade.
On opening the box, you will see there already is the same foot controller and pack of instructions sat waiting for the eager new owner.
I can’t stress this enough; read the instructions and watch the DVD through. You will find it beneficial to familiarise yourself with the machine to have good sewing habits from the offset.
The newer DVD is much easier to follow. I found the lady in the 929D DVD supplied with the 1034D machine sounds robotic and I felt like it was throwback Monday with the presenter’s 80’s look.
The same flimsy plastic dust cover is supplied with both machines,
but as long as it keeps the dust at bay, I’m satisfied. I can make a cloth cover in minutes when I use the overlocker, maybe that can be the first project.
Next up is the accessory set. The 1034D came with 3 extra feet (piping, blind and gathering) with detailed instructions on how to use them.
The instructions are also on both DVDs which is handy to watch them in action.
I tried to buy additional feet and they cost an extra £19.99 each from UK stores. So I’ve already saved £59.97 with these feet, but you have to decide whether you will use them. I have owned a janome machine for almost 20 years and haven’t touched most of the extra feet that were supplied. So you have to decide whether this is worth anything to you. I know I would use these three feet supplied , they’re useful in so many projects.
In both machines, you’re supplied with spool caps and nets. Tweezers needles and an Allan key. The Allan key in the 1034D is L shaped whereas in the new machine looks like a screwdriver. Don’t lose the key. It’s an essential piece to change the needles.
On the subject of needles. It’s clear Schmetz were a Brother favourite with the 1034D but now they’re supplying a non brand with the 434D. (I’ll still be a schmetz fan)
The instruction booklet has also been upgraded. The 434D is lighter having had it printed in English only.
I’m happier with that as I do like to keep my instructions to hand in case of problems and a skim through now and again helps keep me properly informed.
Okay. So DVD watched and instructions read, let’s plug in the machines.
The shape of the machine on the newer model is leaner, curved and slick. Very sporty 🏎. The 1034D is still lovely but more box 📦
Lights on and immediately the warm glow of the 1034D reaches further than the daylight lamp from the 434D
But accurate direction of the daylight lamp is all we need isn’t it? I think this will be a personal choice. I can see pros and cons for both. A major con for the 1034D is the lamp does get quite warm and the bulb will need replacing at some point.
Threading up the machine is what I’m very interested in as will most people. The machines came with threads fed through the guides and a small chain on a piece of stiffened fabric.
Here all you have to do is tie the threads at the back to your cones of threads that you will have purchased at the same time… no you didn’t?? Nope 👎🏽 , nor did I.
Note to Brother: please supply mini cones of thread with the machines.
Sidetracked here with a helpful hint. Buy a good thread that has a 120s twist this is thicker than regular thread and can still keep up with the fast pace of the overlock machine. You can use regular thread but that costs a lot more so doesn’t make financial sense.
Grab a good make or look for a thread that very little fibres coming off to the sides which build up in your machine. You can also buy woolly looper thread. This gives your work a fuller finish. You don’t need to buy cones of 3000-5000 meters. Smaller spools of 1000m are great and can be better if you’re colour matching your work.
Back on track; Following the thread guides I found the 1034D has thread tension levers to help guide thread through the tension discs.
But the M343D has a colour coded system which is easier to follow
There’s a great little lever that assists threading to reach into the further parts of the machine so that’s great news for people who find overlockers tricky to thread. However. I did find that the knife does get in the way when you want to pass the thread up and under the presser foot. If anyone can tell me a way to move the knife out of the way that’d be great help 🏅😊
The 434D was slightly different to thread than the 1034D. The lever to pull the thread guides for the lower looper (furthest right) is away from the machinery. Located here … (labelled 9)
It’s handy there. The lever on1034 D could be knocked easily when changing rolled hem finger.
Aesthetics wise the new 434D has all the dials on the left which is easier to access and less chance of forgetting something. The numbers are on the dials so easier to read than the recessed dials with numbers on the casing.
Neither of the machines have a thread cutter.
The balance wheel / handwheel on the 434D features the groove to help you know the needles are in the highest position.
The free arm is less bulky on the 434D and much easier to remove.