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The Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine is one of the most affordable and well-loved Brother combination sewing and embroidery machines.
While its 4″x4″ hoop isn’t right for everyone, the Brother SE600 is easy for beginners to learn and appeals to those of us who want to sew and embroider with one machine only.
I loved using my 4×4 machine for several years before upgrading to a larger hoop machine.
Want to learn more? Read on for my full Brother SE600 review!
I’ll describe the main features, summarize how to use the Brother SE600, answer common questions, and provide the pros and cons of this embroidery machine. Then, you can determine if it will be a good fit for you.
Quick Brother SE600 Review of Features
|Dimensions||21.2" x 15.5" x 16.5"|
|Embroidery Designs||80 included|
|Stitch Options||103 stitches, 10 buttonhole options|
|Maximum Sewing Speed||710 stitches per minute|
|USB Connection||Built-in USB port|
There is also a 25-year limited warranty for the Brother SE600.
The Included Presser Feet
The following 7 sewing feet come with the Brother SE600 embroidery machine:
- Spring action zigzag foot: your all-purpose presser foot that you’ll use to complete most basic sewing tasks
- Zipper foot: sew a zipper on easily with this narrow foot.
- Buttonhole foot: create automatic one-step buttonholes that are auto-sized to your button.
- Button sewing foot: easily sew on a button
- Overcasting foot: use an overcasting stitch to sew a seam and finish fabric edges simultaneously.
- Blind stitch foot: sew practically invisible blind hems.
- Monogramming foot: sew decorative stitches.
There is no included spring action quilting foot, walking foot, or 1/4″ piecing foot for dedicated quilters. These can be purchased separately, though.
Also included is an embroidery foot, which is what you’ll use when embroidering or monogramming.
How many stitches, and what are they?
When sewing with the Brother SE600, here are the 103 included stitch options you can choose from. (As a note, the maximum stitch length and width are 5 mm x 7 mm.)
- 4 straight stitches (left and center needle with and without reinforcement stitch at the beginning)
- 1 triple stretch stitch, 1 stem stitch, and 1 basting stitch
- 2 zigzag stitches (with and without reinforcement) and one right-needle zigzag stitch
- 1 two-step elastic zigzag stitch and 1 three-step elastic zigzag stitch
- 7 overcasting stitches
- 5 overcasting stitches to be used with the Brother side cutter, which turns your sewing machine into a faux serger.
- 2 piecing stitches (needle right and center)
- 4 decorative quilting stitches
- 2 blind hem stitches and 10 hem stitches
- 2 blanket stitches
- 1 each of shell tuck edge, satin scallop, patchwork join, patchwork double overlock, couching, smocking, feather, fagoting, tape attaching, ladder, rick-rack, serpentine, bar tack, and eyelet stitches
- 17 other decorative stitches, 5 decorative satin stitches, 5 satin stitches, and 5 cross-stitch stitches
- 8 buttonhole stitches and one button sewing stitch
- 2 darning stitches (for medium and heavyweight fabrics)
What do all the buttons do? (How to use the Brother SE600)
If you’re a beginner to embroidery, you may see this computerized face of the Brother SE600 and be overwhelmed.
Don’t worry; while it seems complicated, learning to use the Brother SE600 isn’t too difficult! This quick overview of what all the buttons do will give you an idea of several cool features of this machine.
(You might also want to check out how to use an embroidery machine, a HUGE post with step-by-step instructions for everything related to embroidery machine use.)
Controlling Sewing With Buttons
On the front left of the sewing machine, there are four buttons and a slider.
There start/stop button allows you to start sewing or stop sewing without the included foot pedal. The button glows green when the machine is ready to sew, red when the machine cannot sew, and orange when the bobbin shaft is shifted to the right to wind the bobbin thread.
The reverse button sews reverse or reinforcement stitches when pressed.
A small needle position button will raise or lower the needle. Pressing the button twice will advance the needle in and out of the fabric, effectively completing one stitch.
Press the small scissors button to cut both the upper and bottom threads. Automatic thread cutting can be enabled as a setting. (This is NOT for cutting embroidery jump stitches.)
A slider controls the sewing speed to the right of the scissors button. The maximum sewing speed is 710 stitches per minute with regular stitching.
Touch Screen and Associated Buttons
The operation panel and associated keys are on the sewing machine’s right.
A decent-sized LCD touch display (3.2″ x 1.8″) assists with stitch selection and embroidery pattern selection. The screen responds easily and accurately to your touch.
Using the arrow buttons, skip to the previous or next options pages. Also, return to your previous screen using the back key.
The help key (question mark to the left of a sewing machine) assists at the touch of a button, so you don’t have to pull out your user manual for many questions.
The settings key (bulleted list on paper) is where you change settings, such as setting the needle stop position to either up or down or changing the buzzer sound.
Touching the embroidery key (small flower in a screen) sets the machine to embroider.
If you want to sew a utility or decorative stitch instead of embroidering, select the utility/decorative stitch key (features a straight, zigzag, and leaf stitch). Once pressed, select either a utility or decorative stitch and edit the stitch length or width.
You’ll be able to see a stitch preview and the approximate size. The machine also displays which presser foot you need for the best stitching results. Several other settings, such as changing thread cutting to automatic, setting automatic reverse stitching, or even setting the mirror image can be changed here.
If you’re changing the needle or presser foot, select the button showing a presser foot and circle with two arrows to lock all keys and button functions so the machine does not start sewing.
How to Set Up the Brother SE600 for Sewing
For basic sewing, wind the bobbin thread and install the bobbin.
This is easily accomplished using the detailed instructions in the manual or the picture instructions in the quick-start guide. Reminders are also on the body of the SE600.
The bobbin is a top-drop, quick-set bobbin, so you need not draw up the bobbin thread on your own. The machine will do that automatically once you start sewing. This is a very convenient feature!
Next, thread the upper thread as directed in the instructions. An automatic needle threader will save your eyes and sanity by threading the needle for you at the touch of a lever.
Select your stitch as described above using the decorative/utility stitch key. Make sure you have the appropriate presser foot, needle size, and thread weight for your project. (Check out my guide on needle sizes and types for more information!)
Before beginning your first project, you may also need to adjust your tension with the tension dial.
Then, you’re ready to start sewing with the foot controller pedal or the start/stop buttons on the machine’s body!
What is the Brother SE600 bobbin size?
The Brother SE600 embroidery machine uses plastic SA156, Class 15 bobbins, which are 7/16.”
You will probably want to invest in extra bobbins, but purchase and use only compatible bobbins. I like to purchase pre-threaded bobbins because, well, embroidering goes through thread FAST!
What are the other features when doing basic sewing?
Just because the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine has the added functionality to monogram and embroider does not mean it skimps on being a feature-rich sewing machine.
As I mentioned earlier, the Brother SE600 includes 103 stitches, which are more than enough for most projects. It also makes one-step automatic buttonholes (10 shape options) that are auto-sized to your button, which is placed at the back of the buttonhole foot. The button sewing foot makes attaching buttons easy also.
A built-in free arm assists with sewing small cylindrical items such as pants hems or cuffs.
And, lastly, an LED light illuminates the workspace to help tired eyes visualize stitches better.
How to Set Up the Brother SE600 for Embroidery
To switch from sewing to embroidering, you must do a bit of additional setup.
First, attach the included embroidery foot and embroidery unit. Ensure the appropriate needle and bobbin thread have been selected and set up properly.
You also must prepare your fabric with stabilizer and place them in the included 4″x4″ embroidery hoop frame. This frame then attaches to the embroidery unit.
Once the machine is set up, select the desired pattern from the LCD screen. There are 80 stored patterns, or you can use your own patterns saved in your USB flash drive.
After selection, make any adjustments in the pattern editing frame. Here, you can move the pattern, change the size, edit the pattern thread colors, type in your letters for monogramming or place them on arcs, and so much more!
Before starting to embroider, preview your pattern positioning. This is a helpful feature since removing embroidery is a pain. Just trust me on that one!
Since the Brother SE600 only sews one thread color at a time, you do need to change your thread after each color manually. Follow the same process of setting the embroidery thread, threading the needle, and sewing for each color you plan to use. The machine is programmed, though, to guide you in selecting the subsequent color to pick, so you’re not all on your own!
What are the embroidery designs included?
There are 80 included embroidery designs with the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine. You can take a quick peek at them in the embroidery design guide.
There are also six embroidery fonts included. You can do capital or lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Each font comes in a small, medium, or large size.
The beauty of the Brother SE600 embroidery machine, though, is you can import (and save) your own designs.
A built-in USB port on the side allows you to quickly transfer embroidery designs you have purchased or created using embroidery software. The options for designs are thus endless!
There’s also no need to connect the SE600 to a computer like the Brother SE400; just plug in your USB.
What is the Brother SE600 file format?
Only .pes, .phc, and .dst embroidery data files can be used for embroidery data files. (The preferred file format is .pes.) Using anything else may cause your machine to malfunction, so be cautious about what you transfer on your USB.
In decorative stitch memory, .pmx, .pmv, and .pmu stitches data files can be used. Only .pmu or .pmx stitch data files are retrievable. The SE600 automatically saves files as .pmv data files, the preferred stitch file format.
Brother SE600 Software Details
The Brother SE600, unfortunately, does not include embroidery design software. So, you can purchase digitizing software to design your own patterns, or you can acquire designs from other crafters.
iBroidery, the Brother embroidery design store, has countless patterns available for purchase. You can also check out Etsy or browse your favorite online shops. (Here’s my list of best places to download free machine embroidery designs if you want to check them out!) Just make sure any patterns you acquire are in a compatible .pes file format.
If you’re on a strict budget, check out some of the best free embroidery software to download. There is a huge learning curve with many free programs, so keep that in mind.
If you are looking only to edit or customize pre-made designs, I recommend checking out Embrilliance Essentials or SewWhat-Pro. Many online tutorials, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos describe how to use them if you need help learning.
To create your own designs, you need embroidery digitizing software. Embrilliance Stitch Artist, Hatch, and Embird are three of the most popular and easy-to-use manual digitizing programs. They’re costly, though, so they are not something you’ll likely want to invest in immediately!
If you are looking for inexpensive design creation software, check out SewArt. It is an auto-digitizing embroidery program, which means it converts image files (.jpg, .png, etc.) into .pes embroidery files without much user input.
However, the one caveat of auto-digitizing is that the results may not be great, especially for detailed, multi-colored images! It’s also not a program that allows you to create images from scratch, only from an existing image file. For the occasional embroidery hobbyist, though, I’d recommend this over a complicated digitizing program that costs 10x as much.
Does the Brother SE600 have a serger?
No, the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine is not also a serger. How awesome would that be, though?
However, there are a few ways in which it can mimic serger stitching. The overcasting stitch, combined with the overcasting presser foot, creates a seam and can finish fabric edges simultaneously.
If you want to trim fabric edges also, you can consider purchasing the Brother side cutter presser foot. This attachment cuts fabric while finishing the fabric edges and creating a seam. Thus, it acts a little like a faux serger.
With this presser foot, you can use a straight, zigzag, overcasting, or dedicated side cutter stitch. I LOVE mine for cotton, but it’s lacking for knits. Check out my tutorial and review of the Brother side cutter foot for more information!
Can I quilt with this sewing and embroidery machine?
Sure! The slightly enlarged 6.4″ x 4.1″ throat space of the machine allows for sewing many bigger projects.
While that’s not even close to the largest throat space in the industry, you should be able to piece most quilts and free-motion quilt smaller quilts.
As for using the embroidery module to add continuous quilting, it’s possible, but it will take a darn long time since you can only complete 4″x4″ sections at a time.
You may want to purchase a few additional quilting feet if you enjoy having a walking foot, spring-action quilting foot, or 1/4″ piecing foot.
Is the Brother SE600 good for a beginner?
If you’re looking for a combination sewing and embroidery machine, I think the Brother SE600 is one of the easiest Brother embroidery machines to learn and use.
It has a reasonably simple display that’s easy to navigate with practice and repetition. Bobbin winding, bobbin installation, and threading are also easy by following the detailed instructions.
Being a computerized sewing and embroidery machine, the machine will help you when you’re still learning. It presents a letter corresponding to the necessary presser foot and will help you troubleshoot errors.
Compared to basic computerized sewing machines, this has A LOT more options and will be more complicated to navigate as a beginner.
Embroidery and monogramming take practice, so your first few designs may leave a little to be desired. You may also find yourself referring to the user manual frequently at first to help you remember how to program and use the machine.
Reading the manual from front to back before beginning to sew will help decrease beginner frustration! There are several good YouTube videos out there as well for more visual learners.
My SE600 Review of Pros
- One of the best cheap embroidery embroidery machines that also has sewing features.
- An improvement over the SE400 in design import can be done via USB.
- Preview before stitch function decreases errors, and the LCD screen allows many customizations.
- An automatic needle threader is helpful when making multiple thread changes throughout a design.
- The thread cutter (which can be set to clip automatically) is a nice feature for a machine of this price.
What is this machine lacking?
- The maximum embroidery area is 4″x4″. While this is large enough for many projects, it will not be enough for some dedicated embroidery enthusiasts. (I recommend the Brother SE1900 if you’re looking for a 5″x7″ maximum field size. Or, read: What can you do with a 4×4 hoop for project ideas!)
- You have to change the thread after every color. It’s not a multi-needle machine.
- You must purchase your own embroidery software to create your designs. This is an added cost.
- The maximum stitching speed isn’t as impressive as some more expensive embroidery machines. Designs will thus take a little longer to complete.
What are the Brother SE600 accessories included?
If you purchase the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine, here’s what you’ll find included in the box:
- Brother SE600 machine unit, foot controller, and power cord
- 7 sewing presser feet and one embroidery foot
- Embroidery arm and 4″x4″ embroidery hoop
- Accessory pouch with 2 bobbins, 3 bobbin clips, 3 pre-wound bobbins with embroidery thread, 6-piece needle set (2 75/11 needles, 2 90/14 needles, and 2 90/14 ballpoint needles), twin needle (2/11), seam ripper, scissors, disc-shaped screwdriver, cleaning brush, spool caps, spool net, extra spool pin, and eyelet punch.
- Dust cover
- Operations manual in English and Spanish, quick reference guide, and embroidery design guide
You will also need to purchase stabilizer and embroidery thread before getting started. I’ve made a big beginner’s guide to embroidery supplies post if you want to check out other things you need.
Here’s how the Brother SE600 compares to a couple of other Brother combination machines.
Brother SE600 vs. SE700
The Brother SE700 is a newer version of the SE600 and includes the bonus of WiFi design transfer and compatibility with Brother’s newest app, Artspira.
The SE700 also includes 135 built-in designs and 10 fonts compared to the Brother SE600’s 80 designs and 6 lettering fonts.
Otherwise, sewing and embroidery features and use are similar.
Brother SE400 vs. SE600
The Brother SE600 is an improved version of the SE400.
Compared to the 80 embroidery designs, 103 stitches, 7 accessory feet, and 6 embroidery fonts of the Brother SE600, the Brother SE400 includes 70 embroidery designs, 67 stitches, and 6 accessory feet. There are only 5 embroidery fonts as well. The SE400 LCD display is slightly smaller and not in color like the SE600.
The most significant difference is how patterns are transferred.
On the SE400, the machine has to be connected to a computer via a USB cable to transfer patterns. The SE600 only needs to have a USB stick plugged in.
On both, the maximum hoop size is 4″x4.” The sewing speed, machine setup, and how you go about sewing are similar.
Not only can you sew and quilt, but you can embroider as well with this Brother SE600 combination machine. While it may have a slight learning curve for a beginner, you’ll love its extended functionality once you figure out how to use it.
Overall, I don’t think you can go wrong with it as long as you’ve carefully examined the pros and cons!