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Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts
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- Sew, quilt, embroider. If you can imagine it, you can create it! Enjoy comprehensive sewing functions, plus 4-inch-by-4-inch embroidery capabilities
- Easy-to-view back-lit touch screen LCD display accesses 67 unique sewing stitches and 70 built- in embroidery designs, with 5 lettering fonts.
- Computer connectivity for importing thousands of embroidery designs purchased from iBroidery.com and other sites, and for updating your machine in the future
- One-touch automatic thread cutter cuts your top and bobbin thread with ease
- Bilingual user manual, 25-year limited warranty, and free phone support for the life of the product. We do not recommend using this machine in countries that do not support 120V AC even if a voltage adapter is in use
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The computerized SE-400 combination embroidery and sewing machine is designed to help you give your projects a customized, high-end look -- all while being priced to fit your budget! Featuring 70 built-in embroidery designs, 67 built-in sewing stitches, 120 frame pattern combinations and 5 embroidery lettering fonts, the SE-400 is the perfect machine for all your sewing, embroidery, crafting and home décor projects. Computer connectivity allows you to enjoy future machine updates and easily import and digitize embroidery designs directly from your computer. Features like the automatic needle threading system and backlit touch screen LCD display make working on the machine easy on your eyes, while the Quick-Set™ drop-in top bobbin, easy bobbin-winding system and built-in push-button thread cutter add a new level of convenience to your sewing and embroidery crafting. With an impressive assortment of included accessories, the SE-400 is truly an affordable, feature-rich choice for the budding fashion designer.
Embellish your projects beautifully and affordably Brother SE400 Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine
The computerized SE400 combination embroidery and sewing machine is designed to help you give your projects a customized, high-end look all while being priced to fit your budget. SE400 offers both a full range of sewing features, with 67 sewing stitches and 98 stitch functions, and the ability to embellish home décor, clothing and gifts with its included 4”x4” embroidery capabilities. Choose from the built-in embroidery design library of 70 decorative designs, 120 frame pattern combinations and 5 lettering fonts, or import designs from your PC. And getting started with embroidery is easy, with the intuitive LCD screen display, built-in tutorials, and quick start guide. With an impressive assortment of included accessories, the SE400 is truly an affordable, feature-rich choice for sewers, crafters, and budding fashion designers.
Spacious 4" X 4" Embroidery AreaGive your creative freedom room to run free.
Easy-to-Use Backlit LCD Touch-Screen DisplayAccess built-in designs, control design editing features, view tutorials and more. All through the LCD display.
Worry-Free Automatic Needle ThreaderForget the tweezers, and toss away the magnifying glass. One touch and the machine is threaded.
Computer ConnectivityKeep your SE-400 up to date by downloading machine updates. You can also import designs. The SE-400 uses industry standard .pes files for digitizing design and .pen ibroidery files so designs are widely available after product purchase.
Smooth Fabric Feeding with 7-Point Feed DogsEasily advance fabric with the assistance of the 7-point feed dogs..
Brightly Lit WorkspaceNo more task lights needed, as brilliant light floods the needle area.
Easy Bobbin PreparationFor ease of threading, the SE-400 offers a convenient bobbin-winding system, which prepares bobbins quickly.
Reliable, Quick-Set Drop-in Bobbin SystemIt's smooth sailing with the jam resistant drop-in top bobbin. No more "fishing" for bobbin thread.
Full Assortment of Included Accessories
In the box
• Embroidery bobbin thread
Exciting Range of Built-in Designs
Great Selection of Built-in Sewing Stitches
Got Designs? Check out iBroidery.com • Pay-per-Design • Exclusively for Brother Customers • Affordable Brother embroidery customers can easily purchase thousands of fabulous exclusive, downloadable embroidery designs on www.iBroidery.com. Choose from a multitude of selections, including licensed characters from Nickelodeon, Disney, Disney-Pixar, plus limited edition designs from the Brother design library. All at your fingertips at a price you’ll love. Thousands of designs you can have anytime you please!
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I'm about as crafty as a sock, my only sewing experience was sewing little bags with yarn closures as a kid, and I have NO PATIENCE. I don't like manuals too much, which doesn't help.
For whatever reason, I got it in my head that I wanted to try this. Not sure why... but anyway, I'm a gadget junkie, so maybe that was part of it.
I bought it, the little sample pack of thread at the same store, and stiched out one of the included patterns. It was AWFUL, but recognizable for what it was... Santa with some trailing letters. But the bobbin thread came up so much, most of the pattern was white... it was pretty bad. I thought "other people can do this... let me google it". So I googled it, re-looked at my machine, and I had my bobbin threaded wrong (I missed the little lip it has to go under). Tried again, did a free "mouse in a stocking" pattern I found at emblibrary, and it was AWESOME! Super, duper cute... an inch away from perfect! The challenge there was I relied on the machine to tell me what color to put in, rather than the color change chart from the designer (FYI: apparently a common rookie move). So my mouse had pink feet and ear edges, instead of grey, but besides that... PERFECT!
So I did the next thing, and it was GREAT. Here's my lessons learned:
1) Polyester (what comes in that sample pack) stretches a lot... so if you have a dense design, it will cause pucker. There's probably ways to avoid it, but I avoid it by using rayon :).
2) If it's acting funny, it's because it's threaded wrong... most commonly for me, it's the "lip" thing in the bobbin case. Then you get too much white. If it dies after a color change and about 8 stitches, says "recheck upper thread", really, just rethread it, even if it looks fine.
3) REALLY try to not stretch the fabric when you're hooping it. Causes some scary puckering.
4) There is a difference between different vendors of designs. Some are super good, some not so much. So try a sample or two from a site before you go hog-wild there. They may look cute on the screen, but when you try to stitch it out, they have 5 layers superimposed, which causes some issues, the margins are too thin, or the color changes are really poorly defined.
5) You're likely going to want some software. Many people apparently use Embird, so I wanted to like it, but I don't like their business model... I may be missing something, but my understanding is that it's a chunk of change for the base model, that much again if you want to make your own, that much again if you want to use letters, etc. It's not nickel-and-diming, but hundred-and-hundred-and-fifty-dollaring. Same concept, different scale. They let you try it out, but it's truly crippleware... you can't save images you've built (like what that's supposed to tell you, I don't know... how can I know if this is ok if I can't stitch it???). But I suggest you try it out... for whatever reason, it's very popular. I found Stitch Era Universal, which is freeware that requires a constant internet connection, has ads, and is really free and useful. There are some things that are less useful than Embird (harder to see where your edges should be is my only concern right now), but I can take a design, add some text, save it to the file format I need, etc. I even got fancy and made part of a P-51 red so that I could do a pattern for the Tuskegee Airmen. Took me a while (~1.5 hours) to figure out how to do it, because I had to split objects, insert color changes, etc, but I did it. You can also digitize, but I'm guessing that's hard. :) Both of these have active yahoo groups. There are other software products, but I don't know them, so can't comment effectively.
6) Don't pay full price for any design unless you LOVE it and HAVE to have it now. There's going to be a sale, you're going to get a coupon, or something. That may just be at the sites I'm at, but so far, the sales make it super tempting to get those really neat designs. Put it in your wishlist, wait for a sale or coupon. YMMV.
7) Get the free stuff! Sign up for the club, see what they offer free. Emblibrary has a great Christmas club, and a super nice selection of low cost designs that changes weekly. Bunnycup has a REALLY great selection of free retired sets (the ghosts are super cute!), great designs from a technical perspective, and frequent additions to the "new sets" page. It tends to be "cutsier" than I would love, but if you're looking for cutesy, that's a great start (lot of applique, too, and good instructional stuff).
8) Get most of your non-thread stuff on amazon... it's just cheaper and convenient. The things that I wouldn't trade for the world are my pre-cut stabilizer sheets (Tearaway Embroidery Stabilizer, 8x8, 200 Precut Sheets for Embroidery Machines, pre-wound bobbins (144 Prewound Bobbins for Brother Embroidery Machine Size A (156), aweseome weird looking scissors (Havel's Ulti-Mates Angled Machine Embroidery Scissors, and any curved forceps for finishing the threading process (unless your fingers are more agile than mine). I got mine at a local craft store in the jewelery making section for $3. Yes, I'm lazy, and I trade money for time... you can probably get roll stabilizer way cheaper, wind your own bobbins, use any old pointy scissors, and finish the threading with fingers. But for me, being able to grab a sheet, have a really full bobbin with exactly the right tension without having to learn how to use my bobbin winder-thingie, and cut stray threads without contortion are so worth it. (Note: I'm likely going to have to learn bobbin-winder-thingie at some point, since sometimes you want bobbin and upper threads to match, like for applique, but I'm not beating feet to it :) )
9) Shop around. The prices for the exact same thread varies from $2.85 to $5.99, with everything in between, with similar variation in other stuff I've seen. brothermall2 and allthreads are relatively good sites, although the user interface is clunky at the first, and it has a limited selection, but prices are great (especially for the easy glow-in-the-dark thread, and fast shipping.
10) If you can afford it, you like madeira thread, and you think you're going to do this a while, get the set. It's expensive, but you get the drawers that go with it, pre-filled and with little stickers for where the spools go back to, and a cross-reference by number (it's sorted by color sheet order). For about 10x what I spend on 30 threads, I got 356 threads, nice wooden drawers with spool-hugging plastic inserts (to avoid rolling) I'll use forever, and not having to worry about getting a particular color for a special pattern. It solved two of my biggest concerns: storage and inventory. How do I know what I have, find what I have, and store what I have? Now I can easily see what has a hole, find anything, and not be flipping through boxes of spools to find stuff. This set was SOOOO worth it for me. I bought several spools of that brand at a cheap thread site, tried it on a pattern or two, and took the plunge early.
11) This is shockingly fun so far. I can make a neat pattern in a short time... I put Mario's gold flower on my son's pajamas, a glow-in-the-dark ghost on my daughter's blanket, and am working on a state quilt. So for non-crafty, non-creative me, this is something that I look forward to doing... it's almost funny. My kids like watching it stitch out, I like the "set and forget" and good results (with a few setbacks for learning issues), and I am so impressed with what I can make.
12) Research stuff before you buy it. I almost got the "hard" glow in the dark thread, which apparently glows longer, but requires special handling, instead of the "easy" glow in the dark, which you use, launder, etc, just like regular thread. And I almost spent $6 for thread, and I avoided spending $600 on modular software. I bought metallics, which are beyond my skill set, because I violated this guidance...
13) Keep the manual close... my first several times threading, I had the book open next to me. As someone who had literally never threaded before, it took me a couple of times (probably 5) to figure it out. It's clearly labeled on the machine, and you'll be doing it in your sleep pretty quickly, but you have to hit all the marks or it just doesn't work. I also watched the first video, and looked in the manual for repeating a color or stitch (they call it "re-sewing", if you want to look it up in the manual) when I had threading issues. So I flipped through it, and refer to it (despite my anti-manual leanings). I also read other people saying you have to read the manual cover to cover, and I won't say they're wrong. I may have had fewer threading issues if I would have complied :)
So, this a long review, I know, but if someone else is thinking they may be interested, that's the path I took, and my results!
First, I purchased it refurbished through Ken's sewing center. I was hesitant but it was the only way I could afford it. I have not regretted it. I later went back and purchased a refurbished serger from them too. Both have been a great value. They were super nice to work with.
So embroidery-I assume most people looking at this machine are entry-level, as was I. Here are some things you need to know. There is a lot more start up costs involved than just the machine. The thread, bobbins, repositionable hoop, a variety of stabilizers/heat bond will all be necessary and add up quickly so factor this in. Additionally, the machine comes programmed with some designs but they are frankly lame. So you will need to purchase designs. I have actually found quite a bit free online and buying through etsy and different designers during sales keeps that cost relatively low but you still need to factor it in. THEN you need software. I have downloaded free trials of embrilliance and sew what pro and liked both but I plan to purchase sew what pro which is $60-ish dollars (much less than embrilliance and I think easier to use.) There are many videos on youtube that help you get going and if you have basic computer knowledge it's really pretty simple. Mostly a matter of transferring files around. There are also two facebook groups for this machine that are great resources so if you're on social media, join them. The biggest complaint about this machine I see is the size of the embroidery field. Yes, it's small. The repositionable hoop is a must in my opinion. It is only $30 or so but really helps extend your machines capabilities.
SO. Sewing. I am entirely self taught with sewing. For a few years I had a $100 brother and then moved up to this. This machine is like a Cadillac next to my first. So user friendly. Has all the right features. Easy to thread, easy to adjust. A great variety of stitches. It is not going to do heavy-duty sewing for you. (In my opinion that's what you need a vintage machine for.) Comes with a nice variety of presser feet and the thread cutter seems like a silly feature at first but I love it now.
I have really been able to crank out some great projects with this machine and it has really grown with me from beginner to sort of intermediate now. I just love it. It is not my only machine but it is my main machine. I'd recommend it to anyone. My photo shows a set of clothes I just made for my 4-year old. I did all of the sewing, monogramming, and applique on my brother.