Brother SE600 Review: an embroidery / sewing machine for beginners

By on February 16th, 2021
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Brother SE600 Review
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So, are you thinking about taking the leap into machine embroidery, but don’t know which machine to buy? Consider the Brother SE600. It’s a versatile sewing / embroidery machine that you can get for less than $600.  In this Brother SE600 review, I’ll explain the pros and cons of this machine and how it is different from other entry level single-needle home embroidery machines as well as the other popular Brother models.  Read on to discover whether or not this embroidery machine is for you.

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What is the Brother SE600?

setting up the SE600 to machine embroider
Photo provided by Anna McMillen and used with her permission.

 

The Brother SE600 is an entry level, single needle, home embroidery / sewing machine offered by the Brother sewing and embroidery company. It will allow you to sew a lot of different stitch types and embroider designs up to (almost) 4″ x 4″.

What is a single needle embroidery machine?

A single needle machine means that there is just one needle head on the machine.  Therefore, each time you change colors, you will need to rethread the machine. By contrast, a multi-needle embroidery machine has typically at least 4 heads so you can have several thread colors threaded on your machine at any time. Switching thread colors means just moving to another head. Any multi-needle embroidery machine will at least be a few thousand dollars, so a single needle is where most people start when they dip their toes into machine embroidery.

What are home embroidery machines?

Most embroidery machines that are marketed as “home” machines are single needle machines. They are marketed towards a hobbyist and not necessarily for someone who runs an embroidery business. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t use the machine to launch your embroidery business. It would just be a bit limiting (size of design you can embroidery and the types of items you can embroider on).

What is a combination sewing/embroidery machine?

A combination machine like this means that it can be used to do regular sewing as well as embroidery. You simply need to attach the embroidery module and change a few settings to get the machine to embroider. Then, you remove the embroidery module and alter a few settings to go back to sewing. The SE series of machines by Brother are combination sewing/embroidery machines.

Is a combination sewing/embroidery machine a good idea?

It depends.  I like to sew and embroidery simultaneously.  But if you are tight on space and have a limited budget – then, yes, they are a great idea.

What comes with the SE600?

So, if you guy this machine, what do you get?

What the SE600 comes with

  • 80 embroidery designs.  I know – it sounds like a lot. But, in my opinion, most are pretty tacky.
  • 103 built-in stitches for sewing.
  • 6 typefaces on the machine itself . You simply type out the word you want to stitch, set your letter size and you can stitch out any name, word or phrase – as long as you can fit it into your embroidery area (about 3.9″ x 3.9″)
  • Automatic threader
  • 10 styles of button holes
  • 7 different sewing / embroidery feet

What it doesn’t come with

the SE600 sewing / embroidery machine
Photo provided by Jessy Winkler Duke and used with her permission.

Is Brother a good brand of embroidery machine?

In case you have never heard of Brother, they are a very reputable company and have been around for over 100 years. They were founded in Japan in 1908, but eventually moved their base to the UK after acquiring the Jones Sewing Machine Company. The company has a good reputation, and Brother sewing and embroidery machines are known as being very reliable as well as easy to use.

Are Brother machines the same as Babylock?

Consumers may be confused how Brother and Babylock machines are different as Brother and Babylock are often considered sister companies. Babylock machines are typically more expensive and are only sold through dealers. Brother machines are more accessible and are sold through many different retailers. But, apparently they are made at the same factory in Japan.

How does the Brother SE600 differ from other Brother embroidery machines?

Brother makes a lot of different models of embroidery machines, which can be a bit confusing when you are trying to figure out which one to buy.

What is the difference between the Brother SE models and the popular PE models (PE535 and PE800)?

Unlike many embroidery machines (like Brother’s other popular machines, the Brother PE800 and the Brother PE535) the Brother SE600 is a sewing and embroidery combination machine. Note the difference in model names. The Brother model machines that begin with “SE” and given this preface because the “SE” stands for sewing and embroidery. Any “SE” model is going to be a combo machine while the “PE” models are strictly embroidery machines.

The SE600 is most like the PE535 because they have the same embroidery area: 4″ x 4″. But the PE535 only embroiders – not sews. So, it’s typically a bit cheaper.  The PE800 has a 5″ x 7″ maximum embroidery area.

How does the Brother SE600 compare to the Brother SE625?

The Brother SE600 and the SE625 are nearly identical machines. The main difference is that the SE625 comes with more embroidery designs. The two machines have the same number of built-in designs, but the SE625 is packaged with a CD containing and additional 200.

How does the Brother SE600 compare to the Brother SE400?

The SE400 is an older generation of the SE600.  The biggest difference is that the screen area is much smaller and black and white. It has the same maximum embroidery area.

How does the Brother SE600 compare to the Brother PE800?

The Brother PE800 is a embroidery only machine – not a combination sewing/embroidery machine like the SE600.  The most significant difference is that the hoop size is larger. The PE800 comes with a 5″ x 7″ embroidery hoop while the SE600 comes with a 4″ x 4″ embroidery hoop.

Are Brother embroidery machines good quality?

Yes. They have a great reputation and are known for lasting a long time.

Common questions about the Brother SE600

Can you stitch out designs that are larger than the 4×4 area?

Yes – you can get a 4 x 6 repositionable hoop, but you will need to split your design using digitizing software. A repositionable hoop is one that you lock into one postion then stitch out part of the design. Once that part is done, you lock the hoop into another position and stitch out the rest of the design.

Can you embroider on hats with the SE600?

Yes! You can do it, however stitching embroidery designs on baseball caps is challenging on any single needle embroidery machine. Stitching embroidery designs and monograms on other types of hats like beanies or even straw hats is totally doable on this machine.

If you are going to embroider on a lot of hats – I would suggest getting a machine that has a hat attachment. Some people call these machines “hat embroidery machines” but they are really just embroidery machines with a cylindrical hoop for hats.

Can you embroider on leather with the SE600?

Only thin leather. I would not try to embroider on leather any thicker than a denim.

Can you monogram clothing with the SE600?

Sure! Again – the size of the design must be smaller than 4″ x 4″.

What format of embroidery design does the machine read?

PES – which is a very popular format. Almost every digitizer creates designs in PES format.

Does the SE600 trim jump stitches

No. You will probably need to spend at least $1000 to get an embroidery machine that will trim jump stitches.

Where to learn how to use the SE600?

Youtube! There are tons of videos that will show you how to use this machine. Also, you can join a Facebook group dedicated to the SE600. The embroidery enthusiasts in these groups can answer just about any question you can imagine.

Is the SE600 a good machine for running an embroidery business?

Yes and no.  If the SE600 is the only machine you own you will be limited in two ways. 1) you will not be able to sew while you embroidery and 2) the largest design you will be able to stitch out will be slightly less than 4″ x 4″.  With that said, it’s not a bad place to start.

Is the SE600 a good machine for a beginner?

Yes!  The SE600 is frequently recommended embroidery machine for a beginner.  One of the ways the SE600 is beginner-friendly is that tutorials are built into the machine.  There are also threading instructions on the machine itself. Check out this complete post on best embroidery machines for beginners.

Is the Brother SE600 good for sewing?

Yep. When the Brother SE600 is used in sewing mode – it works quite well.  In fact, all Brother machines have a reputation for creating “pretty stitches.”  But you can’t embroider and sew at the same time – which is something I do a lot.   This is a downside of an embroidery/sewing combination machine.  I often keep an eye on my embroidery machine while its stitching out a design while I’m sewing something on my regular sewing machine.

Can you buy Brother SE600 used?

Sure. But finding a used one to buy might be tricky because they are so popular.  However, their popularity can also be an asset if you decide to sell one. Because it’s such a highly desired machine with a good reputation, you should have no problem finding a buyer to take it off your hands.  I’ve seen used SE600s for sale in the $300-$400 range. You can buy refurbished SE600s at Sewing Machines Plus which are a bit cheaper than the brand new ones.

Do you need special software to use this machine?

No. You can start sewing and stitching out embroidery designs without any special software.

Can you make your own designs with the Brother SE600?

In order to make embroidery designs for your Brother SE600, you need to have digitizing software and know how to digitize.   Once you have this in place, you just save your embroidery design in PES format on a flash drive and load it into your machine and your Brother SE600 will stitch it out.

What needles do you use with the Brother SE600?

You may want to get different types of embroidery needles when you are embroidering on different types of materials.  But, for many projects, standard 75/11 embroidery needles will suffice.

What type of bobbin do you use with the Brother SE600?

Brother embroidery machines use plastic bobbins.  You can buy them empty and wind them yourself, or purchase pre-wound bobbins.

Where to buy the SE600

My personal preference is to Amazon Prime just about anything, so you can certainly do that. However, other retailers carry this machine as well such as Walmart and Sewing Machines Plus.  Honestly, the machine has gotten so popular,  order it from wherever you can get the best price and whoever can send it to you the quickest.

Pros and cons of the Brother SE600 embroidery machine

Pros of the Brother SE600

  • Price – a great price for a machine that sews and embroiders
  • Ease of use – one of the simplest machines to figure out how to use.
  • Popularity: you can find a lot of help online as well as Facebook groups dedicated to the SE600.
  • Dual use: sewing and embroidery.  If you have limited space, this machine allows you to both sew and embroider with a very small footprint.
  • A large color display allows you to clearly preview designs.

Cons of the Brother 600

  • Hoop size  – a 4″ x 4″ hoop can be limiting. Many owners state that they wish they spent a bit more money to get a larger hoop.  With that said – you can always sell the machine and upgrade or use it as a backup for either sewing or embroidery.
  • Popularity – you may wait for your machine as it can be sold out.
  • Dual use: sewing and embroidery – having one machine serve both purposes means that you can’t sew while you embroider
  • Consumer grade machine – some dealers will not repair this machine
the SE600 color display
The large color display on the SE600 makes is easier to preview designs than on previous generations of machines. Photo provided by Lisa Monahan and used with her permission.

Who should buy the Brother SE600 embroidery machine

To conclude this Brother SE600 review, let’s narrow in on who should buy this machine. The Brother SE600 embroidery machine is the perfect embroidery machine who:

  • doesn’t want to not spend a ton of money on an embroidery machine
  • wants to invest in a machine with good resale value
  • needs a machine that sews and embroiders
  • is ok with stitching out primarily smaller embroidery designs
  • would like to be able to find ample support online
  • wants to get up and running quickly

I hope that you have found this Brother SE600 Review to be useful. If you have purchased and used the SE600 machine, be sure to add your comment below!

Happy stitching!

xo

Julie

 

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Brother SE600 Embroidery Machine Review
Photo of embroidery machine provided by Erika Walker of Erika’s Monograms and used with her permission

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