Categories
Sergers & Overlockers

My Brother 3034DWT Overlocker Review (with Stitch Photos)

In-depth review: Find out if the Brother 3034DWT is a good or bad overlocker to buy. Includes stitch photos, videos and industry specialists advice.

Heads up: This post includes affiliate links like Amazon ones, so I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for using them 🙂

My Brother 3034DWT overlocker review:

The 3034DWT is a good choice for sewers who just want the main 3 or 4 thread stitches, easy threading, and don’t want to spend too much.

It comes with an impressive number of free accessories:

  • Free extension table (about £22 if bought separately).
  • 3 extra feet (about £80 if bought separately).
  • Free waste tray (about £24 if bought separately).

That’s a saving of £126!

For a budget overlocker, threading is really good. I like the “F.A.S.T lower looper threading system” and clear colour-coded guides.

Industry specialists I spoke to like the Brother brand in general, especially for ease of threading.

Overlocker salespeople I spoke to thought the 3034DWT‘s build quality was a bit better than the cheaper Brother 2104D’s, but there are still better-built machines out there with more motor power.

If you value build quality more than price, check out my Brother 4234D review and Janome AT2000D review instead.

brother 3034dwt overlocker review
Photo credit: @cousubynath (Instagram)

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.

Related: 5 Best Overlockers, According to Industry Experts

Related: Compared – the 3 Best Brother Overlockers

Related: 21 factors to consider before buying an overlocker (+ checklist)

Related: Which overlockers are good quality? (We ask specialists)


Brother 3034DWT Overlocker Review – Summary

(Note: the Brother 3034DWT and Brother 3034D are different machines.)

Who this overlocker suits:

  • Sewists on a budget.
  • Sewists who won’t put their overlocker under pressure with heavy usage and tough materials.
  • Sewists who don’t need 2 thread stitches. They just want the main 3 or 4 thread stitches.
  • They want lots of free feet to experiment with, and the convenience of a waste tray and extension table.
  • They don’t need a needle threader, which is normally only found on mid-range or premium overlockers.

Pros:

Stitch ability:

  • It can do 3 or 4 thread overlock stitches.
  • It can make rolled hems, narrow hems, mock flatlock stitches, blind hems and pintuck stitches.
  • It has differential feed to stop seams stretching out or puckering. This can also be used to create special effects like ruffles or wavy “lettuce leaf” hems.
  • It’s easy to switch between overlocking and rolled hemming mode.
  • It has a retractable knife. You can stitch without cutting the fabric.
  • It can sew at 1300 stitches per minute (s.p.m), which is fast. For comparison, domestic overlockers can generally do 1300 to 1500 s.p.m.

Threading:

  • It has a well-designed looper threading system that’s better than older overlockers.
  • The stitch illustrations and colour-coded guides are excellent.

Can it handle a variety of fabrics?

  • It can handle a variety of fabric thicknesses thanks to its high presser foot lift (5-6mm) and adjustable pressure.

Other features and accessories:

  • Lots of freebies included: 3 extra feet, an extension table and waste tray.
  • It has a free arm for sewing tubes of fabric. Some brands don’t include this feature, like many Janome models.
  • It has built-in storage.
  • It works with normal sewing machine needles.It works with normal sewing machine needles.

(Skip to the pros section).

Cons:

  • Decent build quality for a budget machine, but there are better options.
  • No 2 thread stitches.

(Skip to the cons section).

What buyers think:

I analysed 13 buyer reviews.

12 were positive overall.

Buyers thought threading was relatively easy, they liked the instructions the overlocker came with, and loved how many free accessories were included.

(Skip to the buyer reviews section).

How does it compare to other overlockers?

This is similar to many budget overlockers, but comes with a lot more accessories than normal.

It lacks key features from the mid-range and premium market, like 2 thread stitch ability and air threading.

(Skip to the comparison section).

Pictures of the stitching. (Skip to this).

Video of the 3034DWT:

See it stitching. *not in English*

What else do you need to buy? Overlocker needles and accessories advice. (Skip to this).


brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


Brother 3034DWT Review – Stitch pictures

brother 3034dwt white 4 thread overlock stitch
4 thread overlock (back view). Photo credit: @cousubynath (Instagram)
brother 3034dwt overlock stitch on black top
Made using the 3034DWT. The hem and ruffles have been overlocked. Photo credit: @cousubynath (Instagram)
brother 3034dwt rolled hem stitch
A rolled hem stitch was used to finish the ruffles. Photo credit: @cousubynath (Instagram)
blue baby pyjamas with brother 3034dwt overlock stitch
Inside baby PJ’s with overlocked edges and seams. Photo credit: @geekmorsan (Instagram)
black rolled hem stitch using brother 3034dwt overlocker
Flatlock stitch using the 3034DWT. Photo credit: @geekmorsan (Instagram)

brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


Brother 3034DWT Review – Pros

3 and 4 thread stitches

4 black threads on brother 3034dwt
Photo credit: ellieroy245 (Ebay)

The Brother 3034DWT can make stitches using 3 or 4 threads, which is all most people ever need.

It can create:

  • Overlock; create seams and stop fabric edges fraying.
  • Rolled hem; a fast and neat way to hem chiffon.
  • Narrow hem; for similar uses as the rolled hem, just a different look.
  • Mock flatlock; a decorative stitch for sporty sweaters and leggings.
  • Blind hem; hem trousers and dresses almost invisibly, while overlocking the fabric edge at the same time.
  • Pintuck; create decorative pintucks on blouses.

This is a normal range of stitches for a budget to mid-range overlocker.

Stitches chart

Here’s a look at the stitches. It can do all of these, except the ones in red which only 2/3/4 thread machines can do:

overlocker stitches chart
Overlock stitches explained. Blind hem and pintucks not shown, however. Photo credit: pfaff.com

Great price

Domestic overlockers can cost from £200 at the budget end to £1700 for a premium model.

This is closer to £200, making it more affordable, especially when you consider how much you’re saving with all the free accessories it comes with.


Lots of free feet included

brother 3034dwt overlocker accessory bag
The accessory bag includes 3 extra feet. Photo credit: ellieroy245 (Ebay)

The 3034DWT comes with:

  • Standard foot for normal overlocking.
  • Blind stitch foot for blind hems, mock flatlocks, and pintucks.
  • Piping foot to add piping and overlock the edge at the same time.
  • Gathering foot to attach flat fabric with gathered fabric. If you just want to gather fabric, you can use the standard foot and a high differential feed setting.

I was quite surprised it comes with so many feet. Even the more expensive Brother 4234D only gets 1 extra foot, let alone 3!

It would cost you about £80 to buy these separately.

Here’s what you can do with each foot:

Blind stitch foot

brother overlocker blindstitch or blindhem foot XB3624001
Photo credit: Brother EU
Loading video

Piping foot

brother overlocker piping foot XB3630001
Photo credit: Brother EU
Loading video

Gathering foot

brother overlocker gathering foot XB3626001
Photo credit: Brother EU

Waste tray included

Brother 3034dwt blue overlocker waste tray
Photo credit: Brother EU

Overlocking is messy!

Without a tray to catch fabric fibers, they’ll end up all over your table and lap.

Lots of budget overlockers don’t get a free waste tray, but this Brother model does.

It would cost about £24 to buy this separately (at the time of publication).


Extension table included

Brother 3034dwt extension table
Photo credit: Brother EU

The extension table makes your sewing area bigger. This will help you handle the fabric better.

This can be helpful when working with knits that might stretch out and distort if dragged, or heavy materials that might pull on the needles if dragged.

The cheaper Brother 2104D makes you buy this extension table separately for about £15 to £22.


Good threading system

Colourful threading diagrams on Brother 3034dwt
Photo credit: Brother EU

Brother has done a better job at designing their threading system than some brands, especially for the budget market.

Some budget overlockers on sale are older machines that have harder to thread systems, especially for the lower looper.

For example, the Janome 9300DX, 9200D and 8002DG.

I would definitely recommend Brother machines over these.

F.A.S.T lower looper threading system

Threading the lower looper is normally the trickiest part.

Especially on an older overlocker. Their lower loopers are normally hidden. You have to reach deep inside to find and thread them. It’s fiddly!

Brother solved this with their “F.A.S.T lower looper threading system”. They created a switch that lets you pull out the lower looper. Now you can thread it in plain sight.

Brother’s ‘F.A.S.T’ lower looper threading system. It’s demonstrated on the Brother 4234D which has the same system as the 3034DWT.

Many other brands have created a similar system.

It really makes a difference.

My lower looper threading test

I timed how long it took 2 people on Youtube to thread the lower loopers of the Brother 4234D and Janome 8002D. (The videos are by Ken’s Sewing Center and Syakademiet).

The Brother 4234D has the same “F.A.S.T lower looper threading” design as the 3034DWT, and the Janome model has an older lower looper design.

THE RESULTS:
  • It took about 3 minutes and 10 seconds to thread the lower looper on the Janome. It was very fiddly.
  • It took about 40 seconds on the Brother 4234D!

What a difference. Brother’s “F.A.S.T lower looper threading system” was much faster and simpler to thread.

Well designed colour-coded guides

The colour-coded threading clearly tells you where to place your threads. This will save you from going back to your manual every time you thread.

I especially like Brother’s colour-coded design.

The stitch illustrations are really helpful when figuring out why your stitch doesn’t look right. The pictures help you identify which needle or looper thread is the cause, and then you can adjust the tension to fix it.

Some brands colour-coded labels are less detailed than this.


It can handle different fabric thicknesses

Presser foot and light on Brother 3034dwt overlocker
Photo credit: Brother EU

High presser foot lift

If you’re going to work with thick fabrics, you’ll need an overlocker with a high presser foot lift so that loftier fabrics will fit underneath.

Brother says you can raise the 3034DWT’s presser foot to 5 – 6mm.

I’m not sure why brands quote a range (maybe to allow for tolerance during manufacturing), but I would stick to the safe side and assume that means 5mm.

All domestic overlockers that advertise a high presser foot lift are between 5 – 6mm, so that still looks pretty good to me.

Presser foot test

I wanted to help you visualise what a 5 – 6 mm presser foot can fit underneath.

Here’s a medium to heavy weight denim jean that I folded and put under my overlockers presser foot when it was 4mm high. Note: I use a Brother 4234D.

I was able to get 8 layers of denim under the 4mm high presser foot.

At 5 – 6 mm high, the 3034DWT will be able to get even more underneath.

8 layers of denim under brother 4234d presser foot
What can fit under the presser foot? 8 layers of medium to heavy weight denim. Note: Each fold is 2 layers. (Brother 4234D used).

To be clear, I’m not saying the machine will happily stitch through that many layers.

I just want to show what can fit under a presser foot that’s 4mm+ high.

Will it sew denim/upholstery fabric?

Yes.

According to a technician I spoke to, domestic overlockers are designed to handle about 3 or 4 layers of fabric.

An overlocker salesperson told me that going over 4 layers of denim at the seams every now and then is fine.

But you wouldn’t want to be sewing long stretches of 4+ layers of denim all the time.

Domestic machines, even premium ones, aren’t designed for that.

If you regularly sew multiple layers of thick materials, the technician recommended looking at industrial overlockers instead.

They have a lot more power and better blades to cut and stitch thick materials on a regular basis.

Adjustable pressure

brother 3034dwt overlocker pressure dial
Labelled pressure dial. Photo credit: @cousubynath (Instagram)

The 3034DWT lets you change how hard or light the presser foot is pushing down on your fabric. This is called adjustable presser foot pressure.

Most overlockers have it.

You’ll need it to create more pressure to feed thick fabric through the machine, and reduce the pressure for very light fabrics.

Brother has made adjusting the pressure user-friendly with a clearly labelled dial.

I prefer this over other overlockers that just have a screw. There are no markings on a screw, so getting back to normal pressure can be confusing.


Free arm

free arm on brother 3034dwt overlocker
Photo credit: Brother EU

This model has a free arm to make sewing tubes of fabric (like necklines, trouser hems, sleeves) easier. This turns the fabric for you as you stitch.

Some brands lack this feature, like many Janome models.


Differential feed

Today all modern overlockers have a differential feed system.

This will let you stretch out or gather fabric as you’re overlocking.

Why would you want to use differential feed?

Fix puckering seams

If you’re experiencing puckering seams, stretching out the fabric slightly will solve this and create a flat, smooth seam.

Fix stretched out seams

If your seam is stretched out, you can very slightly gather the material while overlocking to create a flat seam.

You might have to do this when sewing stretchy knits.

Create gathers

You can quickly gather fabric if you want to create ruffles or a gathered skirt.

Just turn up the differential feed setting to the max.

It’s so much faster than creating gathers on a sewing machine.

Create “lettuce leaf” edge

This is a decorative way to finish an edge on a stretch fabric.

How does it work?

Changing the differential feed setting allows you to make the front and back feed dogs move at different speeds. Note: feed dogs are the jagged metal bars under the presser foot.

You can make the back feed dog move faster than the front one to stretch the fabric.

You can make the front feed dog move faster than the back one to gather the fabric.

Or you can keep both feed dogs moving at the same speed for normal overlocking.


Easy to switch to rolled hemming

dials on brother 3034dwt overlocker
The pre-set ‘R’ setting on the stitch length dial is for rolled hems. Photo credit: Brother EU

The 3034DWT has “instant rolled hem conversion”.

This means you can easily switch from overlocking to rolled hemming by just:

  1. Removing the stitch finger.
  2. Selecting the ‘R’ settings on the stitch length and stitch width dials.

In the past overlockers made you change the needle plate too. This made switching to sewing rolled hems slower and more difficult.

This is a normal feature on modern overlockers.


Built-in storage

There’s space in the overlocker for tweezers, a stitch finger, a screwdriver, and a pack of needles.

No space for

There’s no space for any spare feet or the cleaning brush.

It would be nice if there was space for the brush because you’ll need it often, but it’s not a deal-breaker.


It uses normal sewing machine needles

schmetz 130/705h needles
Schmetz 130/705H needles.

All current Brother models are designed to work with the universal 130/705H needle system.

This means you can use these needles in your sewing machine and overlocker. You won’t need to buy special needles.

You’ll need 130/705H needles in sizes #80 and #90.

Buy size #80 needles:

For fine to medium weight fabrics.

Buy size #90 needles:

For medium to heavy weight fabrics.


brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


Brother 3034DWT Review – Cons

Decent build quality, but there are better options

Overlocker salespeople I spoke to thought the 3034DWT’s build quality was a bit better than the cheaper 2104D, but there are still better-built machines out there with more motor power.

If you value build quality more than price, check out:


No 2 thread stitches

Like most budget overlockers, it can’t do 2 thread stitches.

You’ll normally only find this on some mid-range machines and all premium ones.

This will let you create more stitches like the 2 thread overlock, 2 thread rolled hem, and 2 thread mock flatlock.

This is a feature that’s great for sewers who want to experiment with different techniques.

If you’re one of those people, remember that you can’t add 2 thread stitches later, so now is the time to consider it.

Here are my reviews on budget or mid-range alternatives that can do 2 thread stitches:

I don’t think most people need it though. You can achieve a lot with just a 3 or 4 thread stitch.


brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


What buyers think

brother 3034dwt overlocker reviews graphic with speech bubbles

I analysed 13 buyer reviews.

(10 reviews from amazon.co.uk, and 3 from sewingmachinesales.co.uk).

12 were positive overall.

1 was negative overall.

Is it easy to use?

9 buyers said it was easy to thread or use.

2 buyers liked the DVD and instructions that came with it. They said it made it clear how to thread the machine, change the foot, move the knife, etc.

3 buyers loved how many accessories it came with, like the extension table and lots of feet.

Is the stitch quality good?

1 buyer specifically mentioned good stitching.

Are there quality problems?

1 buyer said their overlocker stopped working after 5 months.

They didn’t give any details about what happened, so I don’t know if the problem was caused by their usage or if it was just a faulty machine.

Brother does have a 3 year warranty though. See what it covers here.

One important point is that the warranty only covers you “…if you have purchased the product new from an authorised Brother vendor as the first purchaser and end-user of the product.”

Many overlocker sellers on Amazon are official dealers, but I would google them first to check that they’re an authorised Brother dealer.


brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


How does the Brother 3034DWT compare to other overlockers?

Compared to budget overlockers

It shares most of the features found on budget models, but comes with a lot more accessories and slightly better construction according to an overlocker salesperson.

She also thought it was a bit quieter than the budget 2104D, but she couldn’t tell a difference in the stitch quality between the two.

Compared to mid-range overlockers

It lacks the features and build quality that mid-range overlockers tend to have, like:

  • 2 thread stitch ability.
  • Built-in needle threader.
  • Better build quality and motor power.

Compared to premium overlockers

There probably won’t be much difference in stitch quality between budget and premium overlockers.

The difference is normally in:

  • Air threading.
  • Automatic tension.
  • Built-in needle threaders.
  • 2 thread stitch options.
  • Build quality and motor power.
  • Other conveniences like a built-in spreader, a more sensitive differential feed system, a more sensitive pressure adjustment dial, etc.

Compared to other Brother models

See my post comparing Brother overlockers.


brother 3034dwt overlocker

Brother 3034DWT

So many accessories!

It can do 3 or 4 thread stitches. I like the threading system, price and industry specialists think the build quality is decent (but not as good as the 4234D). It comes with a surprising amount of free accessories: 3 extra feet, a waste tray and an extension table. It would cost about £126 to buy these separately!

Price: typically £309. Check Amazon’s price.


What else do you need for the 3034DWT?

Overlocker needles

brother overlocker needles

The manual says you’ll need the 130/705H needle type in sizes #80 and #90.

This is a universal needle that you can also use in your sewing machine.

Buy size #80 needles

For fine to medium weight fabrics.

Buy size #90 needles

For medium to heavy weight fabrics.


Optional feet

If you want to overlock with elastics and beads, here are 2 feet that will make it much easier.

If you don’t, they’re probably unnecessary.

Taping foot

Attach tapes and elastic to stretch fabrics up to 12 mm in width.

For example, you could use it to stabilise shoulder seams in stretch garments.

brother overlocker taping foot XB3632001
Photo credit: Brother EU

Pearls and sequins foot

Attach pearls and sequins up to 5mm in diameter to fabric.

brother overlocker pearls and sequins foot XB3628001
Photo credit: Brother EU

Download Free Checklist

A checklist of features to look for in a serger or overlocker.

Avoid investing in a machine that isn’t right for you.



Now it’s your turn

I’d like to hear from you 🙂

Do you have any questions about this Brother overlocker?

Maybe I missed something you want to know?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.


Sources

Phone calls with salespeople at sewingmachinesales.co.uk, Frank Nutt Sewing Machines Ltd, Gur Enterprise (UK) LTD trading as GUR Sewing Machines, and Lords Sew-Knit Centre on 27 Feb. 2020.

Phone call with a technician at BSK Ltd on 17 Feb. 2020.

sewingcraft.brother.eu. ‘3034DWT Overlocker’. [online] Available at: https://sewingcraft.brother.eu/en/products/machines/overlocker-machines/overlocker-machines/3034dwt [accessed: 11 March 2020]

download.brother.com. ‘Brother 3034DWT Operation Manual’. [online] Available at: https://download.brother.com/welcome/doch100696/884_b02_b03_om04en.pdf [accessed: 11 March 2020]

pfaff.com. ‘Compare the stitches!’. [online] Available at: http://www.pfaff.com/SiteMedia/PFAFF/Products/Machines/overlock-line/Comparison-charts/comparision-overlock-stitches_EN.pdf [accessed: 10 March 2020]

ellieroy245. Ebay.co.uk. (2020). ‘Brother 3034DWT Overlocker’. [online] Available at: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Brother-3034DWT-Overlocker/184202350322?epid=21034364644&hash=item2ae350cef2:g:dvgAAOSwqSteZPL6 [accessed: 11 March 2020]

@geekmorsan. Instagram. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/BjPiu7bh7yE/ [accessed: 11 March 2020]

@cousubynath. Instagram. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhlz3D4gBkY/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BjMElwlgATW/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BiwIpOdA6sW/, https://www.instagram.com/p/BhbrbF7gtTN/ [accessed: 11 March 2020]

Ken’s Sewing Center. (2012). ‘How to thread the Janome 8002D Serger’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSRH6ldom4 [accessed: 4 March 2020]

Syakademiet. (2017). ‘Hvordan tre Brother 4234D overlock’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8DBV546nDs&t=92s [accessed: 4 March 2020]

amazon.co.uk. ‘Customer reviews: Brother 3034DWT with Wide Table Overlocker’. [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brother-3034DWT-Wide-Table-Overlocker/product-reviews/B075NMBVH9/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews [accessed: 11 March 2020]

sewingmachinesales.co.uk. ‘BROTHER 3034DWT OVERLOCKER’. [online] Available at: https://www.sewingmachinesales.co.uk/overlocker/brother/brother-3034dwt-overlocker.html [accessed: 11 March 2020]

schmetz.com. ‘Turn your hobby into a profession with SCHMETZ household needles’. [online] Available at: https://www.schmetz.com/en/household-needles/needle-portfolio/single-needles/index.html#sec-st_text_with_heading_3 [accessed: 13 March 2020]

Mike. (2018). Mike’s Sewing Machine Repairs. ‘An Important Point About Needles’. [online] Available at: http://www.mikessewingmachinerepairs.com.au/2018/10/08/an-important-point-about-needles/ [accessed: 3 March 2020]

2 replies on “My Brother 3034DWT Overlocker Review (with Stitch Photos)”

Very informative and useful to a buyer. I bought a singer from Argos and returned because the presser foot was noticeably misaligned. They exchanged for another, which had the same manufacturing fault. Returned same. My daughter has a singer ( about 25 years old) but hardly used. I borrowed it. After 5 minutes, stopped. Power comes on, no movement. I am happy with what say about Bro 3034 DWT. I will buy one.
Thanks for your great research and input. I am a retired male !

I’m glad this helped!

Yes, Singer doesn’t have a great reputation unfortunately.

From what I have read, your daughter’s Singer might be broken because it has hardly been used.

A technician said that the lubricants inside an overlocker can harden over time if the machine isn’t used. This stops the moving parts from being able to move.

His complete explanation is here: https://threadsmonthly.com/good-quality-overlockers/

I hope your new machine works out well 🙂

Sara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.