You're looking at a Brother 2340cv, better known as a coverstitch machine! Now before you get TOO jealous, I'll let you know that I haven't sewn anything with it yet. Long story short, when it arrived there was a broken piece.
It's the plastic thread tree, which holds up the thread while you sew (like a serger). Kind of important. I'm waiting on a replacement and THEN I'll be gushing about sewing with it, I'm sure.
Half of you reading this probably don't know what a coverstitch machine is, which is understandable! I still feel a little guilty for buying one, since it seems to have a reputation for being a "luxury" purchase. Basically, a coverstitch machine sews hems. "What? A whole machine for hems?" you say. Well...yeah. If you happen to be wearing a t-shirt, look at the hem. On the outside of the shirt are two parallel lines. On the inside are a bunch of messing-looking threads. Now pull the hem. It stretches, right?
That's what a coverstitch machines does. It makes two (or three) rows of stitching on the outside, and produces loops of thread on the inside. The loops ensure that the hem stretches, as well as provide a finish to the raw edge of the hem. This kind of hem is not possible with a regular sewing machine.
Whether or not you "need" a coverstitch machine probably depends on your sewing habits. I sew garments almost exclusively, and 75% of my projects are with knit (stretchy) fabric. Coverstitched hems are the most professional for knits. Frankly...I was at the point with my sewing where I couldn't stand messy hems anymore. It sucked to spend time on a project, get to the end, and be unsatisfied with the hem. Of course there are work-arounds, but I hated all of them. There. I said it.
I've been saving money for a while (more on that here) and ended up going with a "barely used" model on ebay. Even though I was a bit nervous, I saved a ton of money by purchasing used and it came with most of the extra feet that can be quite expensive alone. Time will tell, I suppose, if buying used was a bad idea, but for now I'm pretty darn happy. By the way, the thread tree was obviously broken in transit (thanks for nothing USPS) and the seller refunded me the cost of the part. I ended up paying $275, which included shipping and the extra feet. The machine alone, new, retails for $349 on Amazon. I've seen package deals with the feet for $499. For $275 I'm willing to take a risk on used :)
Lots more to come as I actually use the machine! The amount of information online about coverstitch machines is limited. Most of it is about the Janome CoverPro, not the Brother. I'd love to be able to provide some more information as I learn my way around it. Wish me luck!