A Review of the Brother SE400 Sewing Machine
Many beginning sewists gaze at the embroidery machines in the fabric store with a little envy and fascination and then dismiss them as impractical. When learning to sew, an embroidery machine feels lavish. The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine gives new sewists the chance to own a quality beginner’s sewing machine that does embroidery with ease and functions well as a basic sewing machine. You can sew and embroider on the same machine for a price comparable to most quality beginner sewing machines.
Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine brings together the best of sewing and embroidery in one user-friendly machine that will please all beginners and even satisfy advanced sewists. It features some fairly unique features that make learning to sew and embroider easy. The basic sewing features we expect from a good machine are there, such as easy threading and bobbin winding. Further, these are combined with easy embroidery learning tools such as built-in tutorials on the LCD touch screen and connectivity to downloadable patterns.
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine has all the specs you expect from a modern sewing machine, and it is an embroidery machine to boot. It is a machine fit for beginners or advanced sewists. All controls are monitored through an easy to see, backlit, touch screen LCD display. Seven feed make points means this machine can handle most fabric types and layers. We found that it works equally well whether sewing silk, hemming jeans, making curtains, quilting, or embroidering.
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine features easy threading, automatic needle threading, easy bobbin winding, quick-set bobbin, and drop-in top bobbin. Built-in languages and optional computer connectivity make this machine accessible to most users. Automatic features, such as presser foot leveling, start and stop buttons, thread sensors for upper thread and bobbin, and the option to stop the needle up or down offer extra ease.
These features are not what sewist look for when shopping (everyone wants the fancy stitches and embroidery options), but we know that features like these make daily sewing life much more pleasing.
All of the sewings features a home sewist needs are included in the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine. It includes 67 stitches you need and want, including utility, heirloom, quilting, and decorative stitches, and 98 stitch functions. There are ten buttonhole styles and built-in lettering fonts. Stitch lengths can be adjusted up to 5mm and widths up to 7mm. A quick reference stitch guide helps you pick the right one. Sewing speeds are customizable and can be adjusted up to 710 stitches per minute; and when you need to wind the bobbin, there is an independent bobbin winding motor.
What all of this adds up to is a solid sewing machine that will tackle any home project you have in mind. Sewing delicate items are easy thanks to the feed dog, speed, and tension adjustment. Home furnishing re-covers with leather or thick blackout curtains are just as simple. Quilting with multiple layers, thick or thin, is an option. Whether making everyday clothing patterns, redecorating, or creating that heirloom quilt, you will be happy with the performance of this machine.
Embroidery is simple to learn and implement with the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine. Learn to embroider right at your machine with built-in tutorials on the LCD touch screen, on-screen help, and the included quick start guide. The embroidery area covers a large four-inch by four-inch area and designs can be edited, rotated 1 degree, 10 degrees, and 90 degrees, mirrored, sized up and sized down. Density adjustments can be made directly on the screen. Embellishments, image, and script have never been easier. It has adjustable embroidery speeds up to 400 stitches per minute.
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine includes 70 different built-in embroidery designs, 5 included embroidery fonts and 120 pattern frame combinations. Expanding your design capability is easy, thanks to several smart features. It is compatible with websites like iBroidery.com making thousands of designs available for purchase and download. There is a built-in embroidery card slot so that you can use Brother embroidery cards. More advanced users may import their custom designs from their PC.
There is onboard accessory storage to hold all of the included accessories. In addition to the standard foot, the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine includes a buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, monogramming foot, zipper foot, blind stitch foot, and embroidery foot. This machine also includes an embroidery arm, accessory bag, seam ripper, needles and twin needles, cleaning brush, screwdrivers, eyelet punch, touch pen, extra spool pins and spool caps, scissors, embroidery bobbin thread, felt, instructions CD, language settings, USB cable, power cord, and user manual.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar sewing and embroidery machines available on the market to see how they compare to the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine.
- Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine
- SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine
- EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine
Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine is easy to set-up, learn, and works flawlessly for sewing and embroidery of all project types.
Brother is known for high-quality designs in its sewing machines, and the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine reflects this design quality.
The Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine carries a 25-year warranty on the cassis casting, a five-year warranty on all electronic components and printed circuit boards, and a one year warranty on the entire machine including parts, labor, and accessories.
- Quality sewing and embroidery machine
- 67 sewing stitches and 98 stitch functions
- Ten buttonhole functions
- 70 different built-in embroidery designs
- 5 included embroidery fonts
- 120 pattern frame embroidery combos
- PC and internet compatible
- On-screen help and tutorials
- Does not include a wide work area
- No memory card reader
- Cannot adjust screen brightness
Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine
The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine is similar to the Brother SE400 in basic concept with the added branding of Project Runway. It is an LCD touch screen driven machine that offers built-in tutorials right on the screen on topics like automatic bobbin winder and how to position the spool of thread. Combine these tutorials with a bilingual instruction manual, lifetime phone support, and the printed quick-start guide and you will be up and running in no time.
Easy threading and set up is a breeze thanks to the automatic threading features and clearly marked threading diagram. Winding the bobbin is automatic and easy, and the quick-set drop-in bobbin means no more thinking about getting that bobbin thread up through the casing. An automatic thread cutter trims top and bottom threads. The 7 point feed dogs are meant to adapt to a wide variety of fabrics. You will see your work area clearly thanks to the brightly lit workspace.
In many ways, the Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine is nearly the same machine like the Brother SE400. Unfortunately, the only big difference seems to be in quality as this machine is prone to needing many repairs.
The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine include a variety of sewing stitches and sewing functions. It will sew at speeds up to 710 stitches per minute and has 98 stitch functions and 67 built-in stitches including utility, quilting, heirloom, and decorative stitch.
Embroidery capabilities for the Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine are similar to the Brother SE400. It has 70 built-in designs, 120 frame combinations, and five lettering fonts. It has a built-in USB port for design import and will connect to your PC or to sites like iBroidery.com to import purchased and downloaded designs. The Brother memory card slot expands your embroidery possibilities even more.
The 4 inch by 4-inch embroidery design area enables you to make patches, embellish towels and napkins personalized clothing, and more. Designs include floral, animal, kids’, holiday, seasonal, lettering, and anything else you can think up. You can rotate, enlarge or shrink, flip and preview your designs on the LCD screen before embroidering. Connect to the computer to update and maintain the machine’s software.
The hot accessory here is the Project Runway custom rolling bag. The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine also included a 4 inch by a 4-inch embroidery hoop, a USB cable, embroidery bobbin thread, cover, embroidery arm, English/Spanish instruction manual, and seven specialty feet. Feet included are a zipper foot, a monogramming foot, a blind stitch foot, a buttonhole foot, an embroidery foot, an overcasting foot, and a fitting button foot.
Ease of Use
This machine would have gotten five stars for ease of use if it were not for the frequent need for repair that does interfere with the ease of use.
The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine does not hold up to Brother’s usual standards for design quality. It requires early and frequent repairs.
The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Embroidery and Sewing Machine come with a 25-year warranty on the cassis casting, a five-year warranty on all electronic components and printed circuit boards, and a one-year warranty on the entire machine including parts, labor, and accessories.
- Same sewing and embroidery capacity as the Brother SE400
- Slightly less expensive than others
- Fun Project Runway branding
- Limited availability
- Frequent and early repairs
SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine
SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine is a sewing and embroidery machine made by the founders of the sewing machine. It features some key things we have grown to expect from a modern Singer machine. It has the proprietary Drop & Sew™ Bobbin System which eliminates many of the fussy bobbin issues.
The needle up/down can be programmable to rest in the up or down position, which helps with intricate corners, free motion quilting, and detail work. Twin needle controls allow for manual and automatic adjustments when using multiple needles. The thread cutter, automatic needle threader, and presser foot sensors all mean fewer steps between you and your project.
The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine features the standard stitches most sewists will need but does have far less built-in stitches that the Brother SE400. This machine included 30 Built-In Stitches and two automatic buttonhole stitches that are a single step. The drop feed feature allows you to do free-motion sewing for quilting, detail work.
A combination of a stitch selection dial and LCD display helps you keep track of what stitch you are currently using, and any customizations you have employed. The LCD display will show the stitch number selected, stitch width settings, stitch length settings, and an image of the selected stitch.
The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine focuses far more on embroidery than on sewing. It includes six StayBright™ LED lights so that you can clearly see your workspace. It has far more built-in embroidery designs than our featured product, the Brother SE400, with 125 built-in designs and five of the most popular fonts for monogramming. It even will embroider in a variety of languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish, Norwegian, and Russian.
Two hoops come with this embroidery machine, include one extra-large hoop at 260 mm by 160 mm. It can accommodate multiple hoops purchased separately as well. The onboard software allows for basic editing of your designs, and the machine can connect to your PC via USB cable to download internet-based designs or your own custom-made designs made on embroidery software. The trace function allows you to run an outline of the design before the whole thing, and the single color block embroidery allows you to finish all of one color before moving on to the next.
The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine includes plenty of accessories. In addition to the all-purpose foot you will use for most projects, the Singer includes a blind hem foot, zipper foot, a button sewing foot, a satin foot, buttonhole foot, and underplate, and an embroidery presser foot.
It also comes with needles bobbins, extra spool pins, spool pin felts, spool pen caps (mini, large, and small), a buttonhole opener and brush, a screwdriver for needle plate, small and large screwdriver for other machine maintenance, a short thread spool net, a long thread spool net, embroidery bobbins, scissors, embroidery software, and a vinyl accessory bag.
Ease of Use
The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine is easy to use once you have passed the learning curve. We removed one star because it does take some time and persistence to learn. The machine is not intuitive, and the user manual is not clear. However, if you stick it out and learn the machine, it becomes very easy and reliable.
Singer is known for its quality sewing machines. The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine is thoughtful in design and is backed by a good warranty. However, the design quality here is not as high as older Singer machines, and there are often timing issues and other adjustments needed after purchase; so we gave this one only 4 out of 5 stars.
The SINGER Futura Quartet Portable Sewing Machine comes with a 25-year limited warranty, a five-year warranty on electronic components, and a one-year warranty on adjustments.
- Comprehensive embroidery options
- Embroidery previews on work limits mistakes
- Color blocking reduces thread changes
- Requires a lot of space
- Software not intuitive
- Timing issues
EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine
The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is a lesser-known brand of embroidery and sewing machine. EverSewn specifically has the goal of designing machines that are friendly to the youngest users. This has positive and negative effects. Their machines are generally easy to learn but do not have a lot of longevity. This is a basic machine designed for beginners who are just setting out on their embroidery journey. It makes a great sewing machine and a decent embroidery machine for beginners who want a quality computerized sewing and embroidery machine now that may last them a while.
The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is a small, compact computerized sewing and embroidery machine with a detailed LCD display that works well for small spaces and travel. It has the basics that you expect from a quality machine as well as an adjustable foot pressure feature, automatic needle threader, upper needle and bobbin threader monitoring, and a large workspace at 6.5 inches. The LCD can be adjusted to display the mode you need: normal, memory, or embroidery.
One of our favorite features of the EverSewn Hero is thread-level monitoring. If your bobbin thread is running low or the upper thread is broken or empty, the machine will automatically stop and warn you.
The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine comes equipped with more than 400 utility, alphabet, and decorative stitch patterns. Stitch widths can be adjusted up to 7mm wide. Sewing speeds of 800 stitches per minute means your drape hems will be done in no time.
Embroidery is made possible with the EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine thanks to 40 built-in embroidery designs, which can be sized up to 110mm x 170mm. The Embroidery module allows the user to connect to their PC and input designs.
The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine includes eight different presser feet and a USB port.
Ease of Use
The manufacturer claims The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is intuitive and easy to use, but we found there was a learning curve. There is little support for the learning curve and only YouTube videos as customer support.
The EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is designed with some features that speak to the quality in that they are easy to use. However, these step-in beginner machines are often targeted to children, so they are not machines that will last for decades.
The warranty for the EverSewn Hero – 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is far shorter than its counterparts. It includes ten years on the mechanical parts, one year on the electrical parts, and one year on labor.
- Hundreds of stitches available
- Thread level monitoring
- Decent sewing machine
- Large embroidery area
- Medium quality embroidery machine
- Limited customer support and warranty
After a careful review of our featured product and its competitors, we fell in love with the Brother SE400. It is a high-quality, intuitive, and enjoyable machine for sewing and embroidery. We love that it is a machine that will do everything literally without sacrificing quality in any area. It is easy to learn, use, and reliable for ages. We found it a machine that brand new beginners would enjoy and experienced sewists would appreciate.
We could not find any major concerns or complaints from the multitudes of users of the Brother SE400. It is not a surprise that this machine is a favorite for beginning sewists and embroiderers. Once you buy it, you may never replace it with a more “professional” model. We happily give the Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine 5 out of 5 stars.