If you just need a basic serger for finishing seam allowances and creating decorative rolled hems, the Brother 1034D is a great choice. Owners say it's a great value, with good features for the price. The biggest complaint is that manual threading is difficult to learn; although users say it gets easier with practice. It also helps that the serger comes pre-threaded and has color-coded thread guides and an instructional CD.
No tension issues. Owners investing in sergers whose biggest fear is tension issues say they breathed a sigh of relief when using the Brother 1034D. There are virtually no complaints of lost or inconsistent tension. It gets good reviews for handling different types of fabrics -- even more challenging kinds like silk and fake fur. Some say the thread that is included with the machine is cheap and flimsy, and they recommend replacing it as soon as possible. The 1034D is reported as very noisy, with at least one reviewer recommending ear plugs while using it.
There's a learning curve. The biggest challenge with any non-auto-threading serger is learning how to replace the threads, and the Brother 1034D is no exception. Reviewers seem to agree that it takes about three uses to begin to get the hang of threading; although they note that the color coding, included instructional video and many available YouTube video guides help a lot. Many users say this serger is as easy to use as a sewing machine, with highly responsive tension knobs and controls. It's reported as easy to clean, though it needs to be cleaned out frequently.
You get a lot for the money. The Brother 1034D Serger is a basic machine in that it has no onboard computer or electronic parts, but reviewers say it has good features for the price, including 3- and 4-thread overlock, a differential fabric feed and color-coded thread guides. It sews up to 1,300 stitches per minute and has an adjustable stitch width. LED lights help illuminate the work area, and it can use standard sewing machine needles. Users like the free arm for small projects and say the built-in storage is handy and helps them stay organized.
The Brother 1034D Serger earns an average of 4.6 stars out of 5 in more than 975 customer reviews. Owners say that after the initial learning curve it's easy to use and performs like a much pricier machine. There are numerous complaints about noise, and some say it feels flimsy.
Review: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2014
About 650 owners have reviewed the Brother 1034D at Walmart.com, giving it close to a perfect rating, with just a tiny handful of less than 4 or 5 stars. Highlights in reviews include praise for the instructional CD and easy-to-understand threading guides. Owners agree it's the best value out there.
Review: Brother Serger Lay-in Thread Machine, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of January 2014
This sewing site rounds up reader-contributed reviews, most of which are more detailed and critical than the reviews found at other consumer-review sites. There are just over 50 reviews for the Brother 1034D. It seems to be a bigger hit with first-time serger buyers/users than with more experienced sewers.
Review: Sewing Machines, Contributors to PatternReview.com, As of January 2014