The Brother SE400 is one the best computerized combination sewing and embroidery machines available. To those familiar with my other reviews it will come as no surprise that I love Brother sewing machines. They offer fantastic machines for both beginner and advanced seamstresses at amazing prices. The SE400 is no different and for those wishing to personalize their projects with custom embroidery it’s a perfect option. Beautifully combining a fully computerized sewing machine with 4×4 embroidery.
The ability to sew and embroider on the same machine is undeniably convenient, not to mention much cheaper than having to buy two separate machines. When I first got my hands on the SE400 I couldn’t believe that it was so good at both sewing and embroidery. I love that I can so quickly embroider my projects without having to change machine. It is fantastically easy to use and delivers professional looking results.
In my experience the SE400 is wonderful when making things for other people. For those who make a lot of pieces for friends and family the option to personalize your designs with embroidery is priceless. Nothing shows someone that you made something just for them like having their name or a pattern you know they love embroidered on their new blanket, item of clothing or decorative throw. Having spoken to a number of people in the sewing community who have a home business, sewing and embroidering for others, a number of them moved to the SE400 as their primary machine. This is because the versatility that it offers whilst not taking up to much space.
HIGHLIGHTS AND KEY FEATURES
Let us begin by taking a look at some of the highlights and key features of the SE400.
- Versatility! This is the most important thing to say about this machine. You will not be able to find a single machine that allows you to do more than the SE400. Sewing, embroidery, quilting, you name it you can make it.
- Computer connectivity. Found an embroidery design you love? Purchase it and you can import it and add it to you collection in no time.
- Automatic threader. No messy threading, great feature for beginners and advanced seamstresses alike.
- 4”x4” embroidery area. Spacious area giving you plenty of room to see you designs in full.
- Large sewing table. Great feature for the quilters out who may need more space. The spacious table allows for large projects.
- LCD Display. Great way to select desired stitch which is then displayed on the screen.
- Well-lit work area. Brother have included a great light that will make sure that you can see what you are working on.
- 7 point feed dogs. Fabric feeds super smooth with the 7 point feed dog system.
- 70 on board designs. Wonderful array of designs to suit all different styles and tastes.
- 67 on-board stitches. Excellent variety of stitch patterns for all different types of project. Whether you want to make clothes, quilts or decorative throws there is something here for you.
- 5 different font styles.
Packed with features normally reserved for high-end machines it is not surprising that the SE400 is so high on the amazon best sellers. During my use of the SE400 I couldn’t believe how much this machine had to offer for such a great price.
67 on board sewing stitches.
What adds to the versatility of the SE400 is the great range of sewing stitches. With so many quality stitches you will be able to take on any project. Whether you interested in making clothes, quilts or even paper craft sewing.
You will find a range overcasting stitches, blind hem stitches, straight stitches, zigzag stitches, applique stitches, stretch, quilting, decorative, heirloom and applique stitches. It is also possible to use a side cutter stitches, however you will need to purchase a separate presser foot to use these extra stitches. Using a side cutter stitch will trim the material once it has been stitched. This is a great feature and for many uses will completely negate the need for a serger. I would recommend purchasing the extra foot if you wish to make clothes. For a small addition fee you will be able to produce clothes with a professional finish.
With 10 buttonhole stitches there is a great variety to suit all projects. They are all one step button holes and are super easy to do and look great! Once you have chosen you stitch you have more options to customize them. There are a range of different stitch functions, I love using the mirror function with decorative patterns. It allows you to make great parallel stitches with little effect.
With all the stitch functions and on board stitches there is plenty of room for customization and you will be able to create some really unique designs.
Importing patterns from Ibroidery.com
As a seamstress I have a love for hand embroidery, it is fun to do and it is a great way to learn more traditional techniques. However using a machine is far more practical, saving you lots of time. Anyone with hand embroidering experience will know how long it can take.
Choosing a pattern can sometimes take Just as long when you really love embroidery. Personally I have spent hours doing research whether on the internet or from books. Since the SE400 is computerized it comes with 70 patterns stored out the box giving you plenty to work with. However, the real selling point for me is that you are not limited to only the on-board patterns. It’s great how easy it is to import patterns from ibroidery.com. With a fantastic selection ibroidery.com offers something for everyone at affordable prices. Not only that the designs are only available to Brothers.
There are so many designs to choose from, with so many different themes. They have fully licensed Disney themes, Christmas themes, wonderful flower patterns and much much more! You will have no problem finding what you are looking for or just spend hours browsing for inspiration.
It’s a fantastic tool to start learning more advanced embroidery techniques. Allowing you to make beautiful pattern to suit anyone whether it’s a baseball design for your son or a Disney frozen design for you daughter. Best of all you are not limited to iBroidery.com there are many great websites that will allow you to download and import patterns.
The LCD screen is one of the standout features of the SE400. It’s well-lit and displays the information in a nice organised way, allowing you to quickly select which pattern or stitch you want with getting stuck in menus. The display is touchscreen so no need to mess around with fiddly buttons and if you are like me and don’t want to get your screen dirty, brother have included a handy stylus to use to navigate the display.
Any of the stitches can be selected through the screen, since brother have given us 67 to play there is plenty of choice and will enable you to take on even the more challenging projects with great accuracy. Similarly for embroidery any of the Patterns can be selected through the LCD display with 70 patterns on board to choose from and the ability to import thousands more from ibroidery.com. Giving you a huge amount of choice to suit anyone’s taste and make them something truly personal.
The stitch key featured on the side of the machine, displaying all the stitches available, is one of my favourite features of the SE400 and many other brother sewing machines. It is so useful to be able to quickly see my options without having to resort to the user booklet. For the embroidery patterns you will be to flick through them on the screen, they are displayed two at a time giving you a detailed view at all of them helping you choose which is right for you.
Other features that are selected through the screen are monogramming and frame patterns. For those wanting to add a boarder there are over 120 patterns available. There are great monogramming options with 5 brilliant fonts to choose from. The included fonts are serif, sans serif, calligraphy, gothic and outline. With these you will be able to write upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols and European letters. It is great that they brother have included so many fonts. When I make something for someone close to me adding lettering is a great way to make it more personal. Having a range of fonts to choose from allows me to make the design more suited for that person. Giving you even more options are the font sizes. There are three available which are all really well sized. However, dimensions vary depending on the font that you are using.
You may also choose your amount of tension on the thread as well as the length and width of the stitch. All easily done through he LCD display and great for more challenging work.
Showcasing how modern the SE400 really is the LCD display is so intuitive to use. Making the job of selecting your stitch and pattern quick and easy. For the novices out there this is a priceless feature making the machine so much easier to use. The LCD also gives you great information about the selected stitch. It will display which presser foot is best to use, the size of the stitch and whether it is a single or twin needle stitch.
For some projects you will want the needle to finish in the down position. Rather than using a wheel like older machine the needle is moved up and down by a button. You can then program the machine to finish in whatever position you need. This is useful when you need to move you material but want to use a continuous stitch.
Automatic needle Threader and top loaded bobbin.
The level of automation shouldn’t be over looked. I love that I don’t need to mess around trying to thread the needle myself when using this machine, it can be such a pain. From speaking to my friends in the sewing community I have come to realize how invaluable it is to those with some form of disability or tremor that makes it almost impossible to thread the needle by hand.
Having a top loaded bobbin is great as it allows you to change the bobbin much more easily and is more reliable than a front loaded bobbin.
When getting a new machine we want to be able to start using it to create beautiful designs as soon as we can. Brother clearly know this and have made the SE400 easy and quick to set up. The SE400 comes packed with accessories, minimizing how much you will have to buy separately and saving you money!
In the box you will get an accessory bag, 7 different clip on feet, A 4” x 4” hoop and arm for embroidery, a soft case, power cable, USB connector, Free arm, storage space for you accessories and a 25 year warrant! The accessory bag comes with, needles, a couple of screwdrivers, stylus for the screen, brush, seam ripper, a pair of scissors, 3 spool caps and 3 bobbins.
The feet that are included are: buttonhole foot, button fitting foot, blind stitch foot, Monogramming foot, Embroidery foot, overcasting foot and zipper foot. The feet are super easy to change. Simply clip off the current foot, place the new foot under the presser foot mount and push it down into the foot. It will clip in no problem.
On the embroidery side, some may find the hoop slightly too small and inadequate for larger work. One important thing to note is that you can simply change the hoop to one more fitted to you needs.
One thing that we have been seeing a lot from other users is that the needle can be quite easily broken. I didn’t have this in my experience, however I think it’s important to add. I believe with more careful control over tension you will minimize you amount of needles that break on you. I would recommend buying some high quality needle separately to avoid having your needles break.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent values.
- Easy to use LCD display.
- Great performance for both sewing and embroidery.
- Comes with a great range of accessories.
- Fantastic 25 year Warranty.
- Hoop may be a bit small for some users.
- Needles may break easily.
Brother SE400 REVIEW: Final Thoughts
Looking at how much this machine offers for less than $300 it is hard not to be amazed. This is one of the most versatile machines on the market today! I have loved using this machine and am very surprised at how great it is for both sewing and embroidery.
With the SE400 Brother have produced one the best combination machines I have ever used. Coming with some many great features it is not hard to see why it is such a popular machine. With a wonderful array of accessorise, on-board stitches/patterns and best of all the ability to download more patterns online.
The big question is this machine for you?
For beginners wanting to sew and embroider there is not a better machine available. With so many great features and being so easy to use it’s a perfect place to learn your trade. If you are not interested in embroidery then take a look at my best sewing machines for beginners.
If you already own a sewing machine or embroidery machine that you are happy with and don’t want to replace then you may want to consider something else. Check out my picks for best embroidery machines and best sewing machines.