The Brother SE400 Embroidery Sewing Machine – loved by all!

Brother SE400 Embroidery MachineWelcome to my review of this sterling little machine where I give my opinion on its performance. I must admit that I have found little to persuade me that this is nothing other than a great machine, and it continues to attract rave reviews.

Like most things, it does depend on what you want the machine to do, but with the exception of being very experienced in machine embroidery, this machine looks to be suitable for the beginner and the intermediate machine embroiderer alike. For those in the know, it’s exactly the same as the Brother SE350, but with the addition of the USB port. More of that later.

>>Click HERE to get your Brother SE400 Embroidery Machine<<

Why are people raving about the Brother SE400?

  • It has a USB port so that you can download designs from the Internet (many are free) and get updates through your computer. Software installation isn’t necessary.
  • It also works with Macintosh (even though the manual says the SE400 is only compatible with PCs). Just drag and drop the embroidery files from your Mac to the SE400. Connect it using the USB cable that comes with the machine. The SE400 will show up as an external hard drive, named “Unknown.” Just drag and drop the embroidery files to this drive. The rest of the instructions should be the same as the PC.
  • It’s smaller and lighter than other embroidery machines – so it’s more portable.
  • It has a start / stop button allowing you to sew without the foot petal – this makes it more comfortable and easier to control the speed.
  • An automatic needle threading system – great news if your eyes are getting weary.
  • Built-in push-button thread cutter – this is useful for the different colored threads you’ll use.
  • The machine is very quiet
  • It has a super-bright, back-lit LCD touch screen making it easy to select and edit embroidery patterns – no more fiddling with stitch length/ width dials
  • 25 year limited Warranty

These are the main features people like although there are more knobs and buttons to play with.

Is there anything that can be improved?
Well, yes. From my research the main items to go on a wish-list would include the following:

  • The embroider-able area is limited to 4″ X 4″. Of course if it had a larger area, the price would be much higher…
  • A wish for more instructions on “what to do in case of”! That’s an easy one to fix, Brother if you’re listening!
  • Instructional guide uses pictures only – a fuller written description would be helpful also. Yes, we know what you mean. The pictures are great when you know what they mean, but can be head-scratchingly confusing until you reach that point!

Having said all of this, it is a machine that combines creativity, art, and technology to give beginners and intermediate sewers an excellent sewing package.

>>>Click HERE to get your Brother SE400 Embroidery Machine<<<

 

(links on this page are sponsored affiliate links, the owner is not a bona fide user of this product & gets paid commission for referrals)

The Brother PE770 – Great For Experienced and Beginners Alike

Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine

The Brother PE770 embroidery machine comes across as both sophisticated in what it can do, yet surprisingly simple to use. It combines both the sewing and embroidery elements in one machine – most machines you find are either one or the other – and this has made the PE770 a popular machine. Mind you, as Brother is the leading brand in the embroidery machine market, many people would expect this innovation.

 

>>>Click HERE to get your Brother PE770 embroidery machine<<<

 

 

Some of the best loved features of the machine include the USB memory stick compatibility, a clear well back-lit LCD screen where you make your stitch choices amongst other operations, and a generous sized 5” x 7” embroidery hoop meaning that you can embroider many designs with ease.

Brother PE770 Embroidery machine with memory card

There don’t seem to be that many reviews on this machine around, but the ones that are available rated this machine very highly (a basic poll by me coming up with a rating 4.75 out of 5!) indeed. Consistent comments include:

It does a beautiful job – you can take it straight out of the box and get started even if you are a beginner – once you’re done with the learning curve, it’s brilliant.

Here is another example of a satisfied customer.

“Very easy to use”
I wanted an embroidery machine that would allow downloads of custom designs. This machine has performed to all my expectations. This is my first experience with any kind of embroidery machine and I am perfectly satisfied. I suggest buying an introductory book on machine embroidery so you can figure out what kind of thread and stabilizer to use. I find that it takes more time to do the set-up than anything else. I would buy this again. “Picky Customer” (Amazon Verified User)

Several people voiced the comment that if you have no computer experience, then it’s a little tricky for new users as it assumes a certain amount of very basic computer know-how. I say, don’t let this put you off! I suggest you either ask a friend who uses a computer to give you a quick tutorial, or you work through it yourself and keep the manual by your side, because when you have done this, you will likely find that it has been worthwhile.

This is because the very features that use this ‘computer’ know-how will open up a wonderful world of possibilities to you. Whether or not you are  experienced  or a beginner, it seems that you will love this machine and given all the features that it has, is great value for money.

 

Here are the key features:

  • Computerized embroidery machine with USB memory-stick compatibility which means that you can store and have access to thousands of designs from CDs, the Internet etc on this stick and use them in your own designs. However, you don’t need to access your computer to use this function.
  • 136 built-in decorative patterns; 6 lettering fonts; 10 frame shapes and 12 border styles
  • Built-in embroidery card slot enables use of 1000’s of optional Brother embroidery designs
  • Back-lit LCD touch-screen controls for ease of use – you can edit your embroidery on-screen which is very useful
  • Memory function to save your designs for future use
  • Embroiders at 650 stitches per minute, creating crisp and precise embroidery
  • Easy bobbin-winding system
  • Advanced needle threading
  • An automatic upper-thread tension system giving perfect stitches for any fabric
  • Full array of accessories
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 16.9 x 17.3 inches ; 20 pounds
  • 25-year limited warranty

>>>Click HERE to get your  Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine<<<

Here are some reasons why Amazon is such a successful supplier:

  • There is FREE Shipping on most items
  • The ordering process is simple and Amazon communicate well during & after the ordering process
  • No quibble returns policy
  • The site is secured by SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology
  • A trusted brand

(links on this page are sponsored affiliate links, the owner is not a bona fide user of this product & gets paid commission for referrals)

 

 

 

The Untimely Demise of the Featherweight

The Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine has a tremendous following with all manner of seamstresses around the world. They have attained cult status, and from the research that I’ve done this is mainly down to the fact that they are simple to operate and never let you down.

However, not all of these cute machines are tucked up in suburbs doing their thing. Some have met an untimely end and here are a couple of pictures to show you what I mean.

Those of a nervous disposition should turn away now.

No 1 – Eaten Alive!

Featherweight Sewing Machine

Eaten Alive!


It’s reported that this machine (on the right) was discovered in the basement of an English sewing machine dealer who lived on the coast. It would appear that the salty atmosphere has ‘eaten’ through the metal. Blimey!

No 2 – The Featherweight Graveyard

The Featherweight Sewing Machine Graveyard

Look away now!


On the left, at first glance, this looks like, well, just a heap of metal. However, on closer inspection you can see that it’s a pile of Featherweight machines that have been unceremoniously dumped in a back yard – in fact, the back yard of the gentleman who has created a terrific web site full of all things ‘Featherweight’. I’m surprised he can look at himself in the mirror each morning… However, if you go and take a look at his website you can hear this explanation for this philistine behaviour.

Photos:  courtesy of Graham Forsdyke

Featherweight Sewing Machines – The Low-down on These Cult Cuties

I have come across many sewing machine models whilst surfing the Internet and for all the fancy gadgets on the newer computerised sewing machines, the featherweight sewing machine seems to be very popular still with quilters and patch-workers alike and consistently gets great review and comments. If you don’t believe me, here’s a fan who loves her white featherweight sewing machine.
I’ve also met several people who are not sure really what they are and so I thought I’d write a short post explaining this.

 

They are very often  mistaken for toys as they are much smaller than the models of today. In fact, these machine are workhorses that consistently sew an excellent straight stitch.

 

Here's a typical Featherweight Sewing Machine

 

What is a Featherweight Sewing Machine?

  • It’s a model made by Singer between 1933 and 1964
  • It weighs about 11LB and so is very portable
  • It’s very quiet and sturdy
  • It only sews straight stitches but sews them  well. Even the oldest machines, if they have been looked after, sew really well.
  • The machine is characterised by a fold-up extension of the bed or platform, thus adding more sewing surface to the left side of the needle.

How do I get a Featherweight Machine?
Despite their cult status, they are not rare as there were many of them made. You are most likely to find them through used machine dealers, from individuals, at garage and car boot sales, by mail order and through sellers online such as eBay.

As the machines were not actually labelled ‘Featherweight’, they are often advertised for sale as ‘old Singer’ or ‘antique Singer’ and you may have to do a bit of detective work to sort through the Featherweight sewing machines and the truly old and antique models. The light weight and fold-up extension are two clues.

If you are lucky you’ll have one of these machines handed down to you from your mother, grand-mother or great-grand-mother!

How much should a Featherweight cost?
Prices do vary depending on the running condition as well as  appearance. Older machines won’t necessarily cost more than newer ones. It would be a good idea to try the machine out before you buy to see how well it sews. Also make sure it is complete. The bobbin case is one of the items the is frequently missing. Like anything, there are extremes but you are most likely to find thee machines priced between USD $300 – $500.

You can check out the sewing action in this 2 minute video. Enjoy!

The Featherweight Sewing Machine in action

Q & A to Help You Choose Your Electric Sewing Machine

Singer 7470 Electric Sewing Machine

How much does a sewing machine cost?

  • An entry level sewing machine will cost you around $80 – $400 (£50 – £250 ) and a non-computerised machine will be fine for basic sewing tasks.
  • A middle of the range machine has quite a broad spread of price and you can expect to pay anything between $300 – $1,250 (£200 – £800).
  • Top of the range machines can cost between $1,500 – $3,200 (£1,000 – £2,000)

Can I add on features once I’ve bought the machine?
The simple answer is no. What you buy is what you get so think carefully about what you need before you dig into your pocket (well, OK, before you swipe your credit card! Ha Ha) Having said this, you can get lots of accessories such as different types of feet or different types of needles from most of the large manufacturers and these will give you greater flexibility. To take a look at some of these accessories, have a look at the list we have compiled for sewing machines for beginners.

On the other side of the coin, don’t buy a machine with all the bells and whistles (plus doing a dance at the same time) that you’ll probably never use. Hands up those people who have a mobile (read cell for our American friends) that has every function under the sun, but you only use the  ‘send’ and ‘receive’ functions? that sounds like me, by the way.

I only really want to sew curtains. What should I look for?
A basic machine will probably be all that you will need, but do make sure that the machine can handle the material you intend to use. If you are planning to use heavy materials, you may be better to look at the middle range machines that have a longer stitch length.

Do I need to buy a computerised machine?
If you plan to do a lot of fancy stitching or embroidery and you have the money, then do it! However, if you only ever intend to do some basic sewing then a non-computerised machine will do the job.

Do I need to have a free arm?
Well, most machines have one of these anyway. It’s really good for difficult to sew areas such as sleeves and trouser hems. In essence they have an extension table that sites around the free arm, which can be removed from the machine, converting it from a flat bed to a free arm.

Do I need to buy an over-locker machine?
This really depend on how many garments you are planning to make at home.
If you are planning on making just a few, then probably not and in fact using the zig-zag stitch on your ordinary machine will do the job.
If you plan to make a lot of garments or even set up a small business then an over-locker machine would be a good investment. It gives a professional finish to the seam of garments.

The Electric Sewing Machine That Has It All

There’s a huge array of different electric sewing machines out there, so much so that it can be overwhelming deciding which one to choose. If you’ve been looking on the Internet for a while, you probably know what we mean. Let us help you sort the hype from the facts for the ever popular Singer 7470.

Here’s what it looks like to start:

Singer 7470 Electric Sewing Machine

Here are some of the key features of the machine:

  • Simple push button control panel – so when you push the button it’s either on or off
  • Drop in bobbin, so no faffing around with all that fiddly stuff
  • Automatic needle threader – especially useful for those of us who are eye-challenged!
  • Programme automatically adjusts the tension – hurrah, there’s not need to spend hours getting this right
  • Stitches are pre-set so you can plug in and go, if you so wish
  • 1 step button holes that are easily worked
  • Free arm with storage space – somewhere to put those important little things
  • StayBright long lasting LED light – to show up your perfectly straight stitching

So who is this machine for?

Well, I would say for beginners and experienced sewers alike. Why?

  • It’s simple to use, but has the depth of functionality for the more experienced sewers
  • It has electronic digital precision at an affordable price
  • It is flexible in that you can use default settings or you can customize your own stitches
  • It has a broad range of uses from simple hemming to major repairs, adding embellishments to making an item from scratch

If you’re not sure of the type of machine to buy, you can check out a previous post where we list the types of electric sewing machines available.

Are there any negatives?

Yes, possibly. The machine weighs 26.5 Lbs and so if you are needing a machine to carry around with you for most of the time you are using it, then this is likely not the best option for you as it may be a little heavy. However, if travelling with your machine is not something you will do, then this could be a great machine.

“Great machine for the price”

“Wonderful machine even for a beginner”

“Not great for quilting”

You can read more consumer reviews on the   Singer 7470 Confidence Electronic Sewing Machine and get FREE delivery from Amazon

3 Different Types of Electric Sewing Machines

Okay, so you decided it would be nice to try and create a family heirloom. An heirloom to give to a couple as a wedding present. You decide that an interesting and unusual patchwork quilt would be a great idea and there’s not really much time to make it. These days you do have some options. You can either sew it by hand or you could speed things up and use an electric sewing machine. Here are some fact about these time saving machines, that you may not know..

The sewing machine was invented by an Englishman called Thomas Saint, during the Industrial Revolution. The first electric sewing machine was developed by the Singer Sewing Co, and the company has since become the largest sewing machine company in the world.

The machines were invented to reduce the cost of labour and increase the productivity in the textile industries of northern England. However, unlike those machines used, today our machines are more compact and much easier to use.

Electric Sewing Machine

These days sewing machines are made according to the need of a business and can include the following:

The Home Sewing Machine
This is the most common type used in homes and small scale businesses, such as tailor shops. These machines are basically designed for one person to use where they are sewing fabrics together using a single stitch type.

The Industrial Sewing Machine
These machines are larger, faster and more sophisticated than the home machine. Accordingly, they are bigger, & cost more. They help mass production as in the past. It is possible to buy reconditioned sewing machines that can save on energy and production costs. The first computerised sewing machine was introduced in 1987 by Orisol Israel to the shoe making world.

Tajima Sewing Machines
These are used mainly for embroidering clothes and textiles. These machines are now computerised and work mostly on software applications. They are used mainly by weavers in Asia to embroider traditional oriental clothes like the Japanese Kimono.

I’ve Lost My Electric Sewing Machine Manual. Help!

What to do if you can’t find your Sewing Machine Manual

Everything you need to know about your electric sewing machine, can be found in your sewing machine manual – if you can find it that is. So I hope you have popped it in a safe place. You know, the junk drawer in the kitchen is a good place to start looking.

Sewing Machine Instructions

If you are anything like me when you get a new toy – scratch that, I mean essential item –  all I want to do is to use it straight away  and consequently I can get frustrated when I can’t get it to do what I want it to do. I’m sure you’re not like that. So if you are at this point now, understand that you will be able to achieve everything that your machine is capable of doing, by having this important little book to hand.

How to Use:

The manual for your sewing machine will guide you through every step of operating your model. It will give you the details you need to use any built in stitches or features your sewing machine has to offer. It will help when the machine malfunctions by offering troubleshooting details. Some companies will do this from their online website these days as well.

Care & Maintenance:

Always try to keep the machine manual with the sewing machine. Like many people I suspect, I have good intentions of keeping all my gadget manuals in one place where I know where they all are…..well, how about keeping  the manual in a plastic bag with a zip top that is taped to the machine case. That way the machine manual is with the machine all the time. I must try and remember to do this myself and take it out of the junk drawer..
If the original manual is not available, most companies offer photocopies of the original  or as I mention above, you may be able to access it from the company’s website.

Replacement Manuals:

Sewing machines companies do understand that machine manuals get lost (misplaced) and will assist you in replacing an original manual for any sewing machine, even the sewing machine you inherited or bought at a Car Boot sale.

  • Sewing machine manuals are considered a part when you are trying to locate one.
  • Always have your machine make and model at hand when finding a manual.
  • Contacting the company that produced your machine will get you started to obtaining a manual.

Electric Sewing Machine or Computerised Machine – How Do You Choose?

4 important things to consider before you buy…

Choosing the best and most appropriate sewing machine for your needs can be a complex task, because there are so many models on the market. The first decision to make is between a mechanical machine, an electric sewing machine or a computerised machine.  However, there are several other questions to ask yourself before you dive into the shops and spend your cash on something that gets stuck under the stairs, unused and unloved for the next 100 years!

How will you use it?

Think about what you will be using your sewing machine for. Will you use it to create complex garments such as curtains or embroidery? Or will you be using it just occasionally for taking up hems and simple everyday repairs?

Are you a beginner or an experienced user?

Are you a beginner, or an occasional user? In which case a basic electric sewing machine is likely to be sufficient for your needs, (or perhaps a mechanical machine). For the more experienced user, investing in a computerised machine that has more functions, may be more appropriate.

Will it be static or carried around?

If you are going to take sewing classes, it will make sense to choose a machine light enough to carry. This of course will need to be balanced against what you plan to use the machine for. If you plan to make lots of curtains and soft furnishings, you will need a machine that is sturdy enough to cope with heavier fabrics.

Will you be using your machine in a dedicated sewing area, or will you have to pack it up when you need to eat? If it’s the latter, then a machine that is light will be easier to pack away each time.

Which fabric types will you mainly use?

Most machines will have no problem handling cottons and mid-weight fabrics, but if you will be tackling a wider variety of fabrics and soft furnishings, it’s well worth taking this into account when making your selection.

Thick Fabrics – these usually require a longer stitch length than thinner fabrics.

Stretch Fabrics – these can be challenging, so look for a machine that has a stretch stitch as these will give the best results.

Delicate Fabrics – these need light handling and if you will be using them most of the time, pick a machine that lets you reduce the pressure of the presser foot so you’ll decrease the risk of snagging your fabric. Sometimes a teflon coated plastic foot can work better than the standard metal foot.