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Is the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine the right choice for your sewing needs? I imagine that question is what brought you to this Brother SE600 review!
Embroidery can be an expensive hobby and a big initial investment. Between the machine, threads, material to be embroidered, software, and even stabilizer, you have a lot to buy and many choices to make. Choosing the right embroidery machine is step one to increasing your chances of a happy relationship with embroidery and monogramming.
Let me start by saying the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine is one of the most affordable and well-loved Brother combination sewing and embroidery machines. It’s easy for beginners to learn to use and appeals to users who want to sew and quilt while also dabbling in monogramming or embroidery. What a space saver only having to purchase one budget-friendly combination machine!
With that said, read on for my full Brother SE600 review. I’ll review the main features, summarize how to use the Brother SE600, answer common questions, and then give my opinion on the pros and cons of this embroidery machine. Then, you can determine if it will be a good fit for your next sewing machine!
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.
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 including 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
There will be some additional supplies you’ll want to purchase separately such as stabilizer and colored thread. I’ve made a whole beginner’s guide to embroidery supplies post if you want to check it out!
As an aside, I own, love, and use the Brother SE625 sewing and embroidery machine. It’s identical to the Brother SE600 with the exception of a different faceplate, and it has a CD with an additional 200 designs. I FINALLY got around to posting my unboxing video on YouTube, so you can watch it if you’d like to learn more about what comes with that machine. Everything included with it is included with the Brother SE600. Forgive me for not being the world’s best video recorder, though!
Which presser feet come with this 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 with 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 are there, and what are they?
If you’re interested using the Brother SE600 as a regular sewing machine, the selection of stitches available will be very important to you. Here’s the breakdown of the 103 included stitch options. (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, which is 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, you’ll find 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.
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.
The reverse button sews reverse or reinforcement stitches when pressed.
Press the small scissors button to cut both the upper and bottom threads. Automatic thread cutting can be enabled as a setting.
The sewing speed is controlled by a slider to the right of the scissors button. The maximum sewing speed is 710 stitches per minute with regular stitching.
Touch Screen and Associated Buttons
On the right of the sewing machine is the operation panel and its associated keys.
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 pages of options. Also, return to your previous screen using the back key.
The help key (question mark to the left of a sewing machine) provides assistance 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 wanting 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 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 key and button function so the machine does not start sewing.
How to Set Up the Brother SE600 for Sewing
For basic sewing, first, 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 and needle size and thread weight for your project. (Check out my guide on needle sizes and types for more information!)
You may also need to adjust your tension with the tension dial before beginning your first project.
Then, you’re ready to start sewing with the foot controller pedal or the start/stop buttons on the machine 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. (Read: how to use an embroidery machine for lots of detail!)
First, attach the included embroidery foot and embroidery unit. Make sure 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 you’ve 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 manually change your thread after each color. 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 Brother SE600 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 6 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 easily transfer embroidery designs that you have purchased or created yourself using embroidery software. The options of 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?
For embroidery data files, only .pes, .phc, and .dst embroidery data files can be used. (The preferred file format is .pes.) Using anything else may cause your machine to malfunction, so be cautious about what you transfer in 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.
What is the Brother SE600 software for embroidery?
The Brother SE600, unfortunately, does not include embroidery design software. You can purchase digitizing software to design your own patterns, or you can acquire designs from other crafters. iBroidery, the Brother embroidery pattern store, has countless patterns available for purchase. You can also check out Etsy or browse Pinterest or Google for more pre-made embroidery designs, many of which are free. (Here’s my list of best places to download free machine embroidery designs and where to find in-the-hoop 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 very big learning curve with many of the free programs, so just keep that in mind.
If you are looking to purchase basic embroidery software, I recommend checking out Embrilliance Essentials or Sew What Pro if you’re looking to just customize pre-made designs. There are many online tutorials, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos describing how to use them if you need help learning.
If you want to create your own designs, you will need digitizing software. Embrilliance Stitch Artist, Hatch, and Embird are three of the most popular and easy-to-use manual digitizing programs. They’re very expensive though, so not something you’ll likely want to invest in immediately! If you are looking for an inexpensive design creation software, though, 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. The one caveat of auto-digitizing, however, is the results may not be great, especially for complicated, 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.
Can the Brother SE600 sew denim and other thick materials?
Yes, this sewing and embroidery machine can handle thick layers. While it’s not quite a heavy-duty sewing machine, you’ll have no problems hemming your jeans or adding cute embroidery designs to your denim. I recently posted a tutorial on how to embroider a blanket, showing how my machine had no problems stitching through that fabric! I’m working on a denim embroidery tutorial soon, too.
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, used in conjunction with the overcasting presser foot, creates a seam and can finish fabric edges at the same time.
If you’re wanting to trim fabric edges also, you can consider purchasing the Brother side cutter presser foot. This attachment cuts fabric while it also finishes the fabric edges and creates a seam. Thus, it acts a little like a faux serger. You can use a straight, zigzag, overcasting, or a dedicated side cutter stitch with this presser foot. I LOVE mine for cotton, but it’s lacking a bit with 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 enlarged 6.4″ x 4.1″ throat space of the machine allows for sewing bulky projects. The Brother SE600 sewing machine also has several quilting and piecing stitches, and the longer 7-point feed dogs provide smoother fabric feeding. 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.
I wouldn’t purchase this Brother SE600 2-in-1 sewing and embroidery machine, though, if you only want to quilt and not embroider. If you’re looking for a Brother combination sewing and quilting machine, I’d recommend the Brother CS7000X or HC1850 sewing machines. They’re a little less pricey and come with several quilting feet and an oversized, detachable wide table.
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 embroidery machines to learn and use. (As well as the Brother SE625, which is a VERY similar machine, and the one I own. Read my full Brother SE625 review for more information or see my Brother SE600 vs Brother SE625 comparison post!)
It has a fairly simple display that’s easy to navigate with a little practice and repetition. Bobbin winding, bobbin installation, and threading are easy as well following the detailed instructions included.
Being a computerized sewing and embroidery machine, the machine will help you out when you’re still learning. It presents a letter corresponding to the necessary presser foot, and it will also help you troubleshoot errors.
Compared to basic computerized sewing machines, this has A LOT more options, and it 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 a lot of beginner frustration! There are several good YouTube videos out there as well for more visual learners.
If you are looking for a beginner sewing machine and do not have much interest in anything more than simple monogramming, I think you’d be better served by the Brother HC1850 or Brother XR9550prw sewing machines. These are computerized sewing and quilting machines that come with one basic built-in monogramming font. They are less expensive and have an easier and simpler user interface since they don’t include the advanced embroidery options.
My SE600 Review of Pros
- An excellent value embroidery machine that also functions for sewing! It has great stitch quality and is surprisingly powerful on thick layers.
- Import designs with a USB rather than having to connect to a computer!
- Preview before stitch decreases errors, and the LCD screen allows for many customizations.
- An automatic needle threader is helpful when making multiple thread changes over the course of a design.
- The thread cutter (which can be set to automatically clip) is a nice feature for a machine of this price.
- The Brother SE600 is also very quiet while stitching.
What is this machine lacking in?
- The maximum embroidery area is 4″x4″. While this is large enough for many projects, it’s not going to be big enough for some dedicated embroidery enthusiasts. (I recommend the Brother SE1900 if you’re looking for a 5″x7″ maximum field size. It took me about a year until I traded in my Brother SE625 for the SE1900 and love it! It’s much more expensive though.)
- You have to change the thread after every color. It’s not a multi-needle machine.
- Don’t expect this machine to last as long as some of the more expensive Janome and Bernina embroidery machines out there. It does include a 25-year limited warranty, though, in case anything happens in the first few years you own the machine.
- You have to purchase your own embroidery software if wanting to create your own designs. This is an added cost.
- The maximum sewing speed isn’t as impressive as some more expensive embroidery machines. Designs will thus take a little longer to complete.
Brother SE400 vs SE600
In comparing the Brother SE400 vs Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine, you’ll see the Brother SE600 is the new and improved version. In fact, it seems that Brother is working to discontinue the SE400 at many major retailers.
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 biggest difference, in my opinion, though, 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. This is MUCH more convenient for me to not have to have my computer up and running near my machine.
On both, the maximum hoop size is 4″x4.” The sewing speed, machine setup, and how you go about sewing are all similar too.
Brother SE600 Review – Conclusion
As you can see from this Brother SE600 review, it’s an impressive machine. Not only can you sew and quilt, but you can embroider as well. All for a very affordable price.
Once you figure out how to use it, which may have a small learning curve for a beginner, you’ll love its functionality.
Having the option to save and import additional designs via a USB is very helpful. Furthermore, the many design customization options available on the machine interface are a nice perk as well.
In conclusion, if you like what you’ve read so far about the Brother SE600, I don’t think you can go wrong with it. I’ve loved my SE625 so much so far!