Brother SE600 Review: Does It Deserve The Fame?
Our review of the Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine examines whether it delivers a quality result.
Despite being a combination machine, what we find is a quality machine on both counts.
It’s a combo machine that enhances all your projects from making and mending garments to embroidering to quilting, to heirloom and craft sewing.
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What is Brother SE600 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine?
It’s both a sewing machine and an embroidering machine.
And with it being a combination machine, you would think there would be a compromise on both counts.
But, our review shows the machine enhances your creative best to shine through with both sewing and embroidering.
The Brother SE600 sewing machine is an upgrade of the acclaimed Brother SE400 with improvements:
- A larger touch LCD screen with a color display that adds reality to your work.
- USB stick connectivity makes more straightforward access to fresh designs.
- It comes with a high number of sewing stitches.
- More embroidery designs and lettering fonts to widen the extent of your project experience.
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Who is this machine best suited for?
You would think the combination SE600 would be too difficult for the first-time user.
But, videos on YouTube and the Brother website are a great help. They ease the learner through the initial coming up to speed phase.
Also, it's manual has simple directions with detailed accompanying diagrams. There is lots of information in the manual to keep you on the right track. It takes you from setup to proficient sewing and embroidering without any hassle.
So, the learner needs to have no fears.
And there is an extensive range of sewing stitches and embroidery designs. These will keep even the experienced sewist busy.
Be aware, though; it is not a heavy-duty machine. So, if you’re looking to use it day in and day out to generate ongoing income, then it's not for you.
Is it easy to use?
Many features make the Brother SE600 combo machine easy to use. Especially for newbies. And when you’re spending extended time completing your project, those features make it even more comfortable.
There is the 3.2” touch screen color display. It's display changes when you switch from sewing to embroidering and vice versa. You don’t have to think about it. The computer does it for you.
The display shows your embroidery design in the color it will be. So much easier to picture than black and white.
You can use the inbuilt color palette to change embroidery thread colors. Preview it on the screen and save time and wasted material by getting the colors to match before you start.
With a touch of a lever, the machine threads the needle for you. That is a real heart saver. You can build up lots of angst, trying it the old-fashioned way.
With quick set bobbin and independent bobbin winder, it's easier than ever to wind and set the bobbin.
Additionally, it also has easy to read markings for most things that's speed up the process.
When you finish stitching, press the thread cutter button to cut the threads and raise the needle. And before you begin, set the computer to sew reverse or reinforcement stitches at the start and the end of the stitching.
If you don’t want to use the foot pedal, disconnect it, and use the stop/start button. And use another button to vary the needle position up or down.
If the start/stop button turns red, a message will display on the LCD screen. There are 29 of them. Each alerts you to a problem and tells you what to do. The manual also explains the probable cause of the error. So, there’s little chance of getting stuck and not knowing what to do.
And making it even easier is the help key on the display panel. Press and select from one of the following topics. You’ll get on-screen instructions for setting key machine operations:
- Upper threading.
- Bobbin winding and installation.
- Needle and presser foot replacement.
- Embroider foot, frame, and unit attachments.
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How fast is the machine, and is it adjustable or not?
The Brother SE600 computerized sewing cum embroidery machine has two maximum speeds depending on what you’re doing. If it’s regular sewing, the top speed is 710 stitches per minute. When embroidering, it’s 400 stitches per minute.
The foot controller determines how fast the machine will sew when you fully depress the foot controller. However, there is a sliding speed controller for sewing. Slow or increase the speed by sliding the controller to the left or right.
How about the foot control pedal?
It comes standard with a foot pedal (called a foot controller in the manual). As mentioned above, the foot pedal works in conjunction with the speed controller to fix the fastest speed you want to operate the sewing function.
Can you quilt with this machine?
Yes, you can quilt with this device using the quilting stitches. The expanded 6.4" by 4.1" workspace does allow more space for bigger projects.
But, sewing a large quilts does require patience because of the small throat size.
If you want to use the machine for free-motion quilting, you need the free-motion open toe quilting foot “O” (via Amazon.) This is an optional extra.
What fabrics can you use?
The Brother SE600 embroidery and sewing machine handle a whole range of different fabrics:
- Medium-weight fabrics like broadcloth, taffeta, flannel, gabardine.
- Thin fabrics - lawn, georgette, challis, satin.
- Thick fabrics - denim, corduroy, tweed.
- Stretch fabrics - jersey, tricot.
- Fabrics that fray.
The manual tells you the needle size and what type and size of thread to use for each type of fabric. So, you don’t have to guess (or hold your heart in your mouth) wondering whether you’ve got it right.
The trick is to use the recommended needle for each fabric, especially when you're sewing thicker cloth.
Using the slow speed for many layers is just the ticket. It avoids hand-turning the wheel, which is difficult for those folks suffering from arthritis. Check Price on Amazon.
How many stitches does it come with for sewing?
The manufacturer claims there are 103 built-in sewing stitches.
The manual conveniently groups the different utility stitches according to what you want to sew. And it shows you how to sew those stitches. Select them using the menu on the LCD touchscreen.
- Overcasting stitches. They are used with the “G” overcasting foot to sew on the edge of the cut fabric and prevent fraying.
- Overcasting stitches using the “J” zigzag foot (again to prevent fraying).
- Basic straight stitches for sewing plain seams.
- Blind hem stitches to secure the bottoms of skirts and pants.
- Stitches for one-step sewing of buttonholes and for sewing on buttons.
- Straight stitch for sewing a zipper in place.
- Stitches for sewing with stretch fabrics and attaching elastic to those fabrics.
- Stitches used for sewing appliques, patchwork, and quilts.
- Stitches for reinforcement stitching. Use them where the material is subject to strain, like sleeve holes, inseams, and pocket corners.
- Eyelet stitch for eyelets on the likes of belts. Use it for three sizes of eyelets.
- Decorative stitch patterns. You use these for decorative hemming, heirloom stitching, ribbon threading, and general decorative patterns.
- And the specialist decorative stitches like fagoting, joining, shell tuck, smocking, and satin scallop.
The number of stitches is another aspect where there has been no compromise even though it is a combo machine.
Can you adjust the stitches?
There are default settings for the stitch width and stitch length for every stitch. Some stitches don’t allow you to change their configuration. But you can save changes to the remaining stitches via the option on the touchscreen LCD screen.
If you want to keep the changes, remember to save the new setting. Otherwise, the changes are lost when you select a different stitch, or you turn the machine off. When this happens, it returns to the stitches defaults.
Can you embroider or monogram?
As a combination sewing and embroidery machine, embroidering is a definite yes with this machine. It does require some steps to be ready for embroidering— steps like attaching the embroidery foot, the embroidery unit, and the frame.
But you pay a small price compared to forking out money to buy a separate standalone embroidering machine.
There are 80 designs you can choose by way of the color LCD touchscreen. You don’t have to load them as they’re available at a touch of the screen.
You can make changes with the built-in color palette and choose the right color for your designs and preview them in color before starting.
Like the sewing designs, remember to save your changes, or you’ll lose them. You can save up to 12 patterns before running out of disk space on the machine.
That’s when the USB port comes in handy because you can save the edited designs to a USB stick to free up 512KB memory. No USB stick comes standard, so that’s an extra small cost.
But, you aren’t restricted to the 80 designs. You can import additional designs through the USB port. Take care though. It's built to handle up to a 4” x 4” embroidery field. Make sure you don’t import a design that is larger than 4x4.
If you do want to embroider areas larger than 4x4, this machine is probably not for you.
You can buy re-positional hoops for larger embroidery. And use embroidery software to save designs in multiple smaller files acceptable to the Brother SE600 embroidery machine. But it’s a messy process and not for beginners.
The patterns supplied include flowers and animals. With each pattern, you have a choice of 10 shapes, such as squares and circles, which can then be combined with one of 12 types of stitches.
Also, it comes with six embroidery lettering fonts.
You use these to personalize your creation by selecting from the upper or lower case, numbers, symbols, or European characters. And you can choose to embroider these fonts in small, medium, or large sizes.
How does the USB port help?
The USB port opens your SE600 embroidery machine to any embroidery design. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own design or not; you can load any .pes file from a USB stick to memory.
And the .pes design files can come from Windows or Apple.
Is the thread tension adjustable?
Yes, thread tension is adjustable via the thread tension dial. The dial is used for both sewing and embroidering.
How many foot choices do you get?
The machine comes standard with seven types of snap-on feet for sewing:
- Button fitting,
- And Blind stitch.
According to the Brother-usa.com, there is one more foot for embroidery.
Does it have a free-arm?
Yes. You move the flatbed attachment to allow for free-arm sewing. With this, you can sew cylindrical pieces with ease — pieces like cuffs, sleeves, pants, and jean legs.
Is the light bright enough?
This is always a personal matter. There is a bright LED light on the SE600. But some folks may still need a desk lamp to help see what they’re sewing.
Is it Noisy?
Again a personal matter. There’s more noise at higher speeds but, it’s more than manageable.
Portable or not?
At 26.2 pounds, the Brother SE600 combo is a little heavier than a single-purpose sewing machine. You can still carry it from room to room without a hassle.
But it’s too heavy to carry on its own when traveling. And you would want to protect it anyway. So best to buy the Brother Universal Sewing Machine Carrying Case if you’re carrying the machine around with any frequency.
What’s the warranty like?
The Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery machine comes with a limited 25-year warranty.
The 25 years is for the Chassis Casting. There’s a 1-year warranty for the parts, labor, and accompanying accessory items.
Remember to keep the receipt; otherwise, you can’t make a warranty claim. You’ll have to pay the cost of shipping, packaging, and insurance (if you choose) to the Authorized Service Centre.
Cons - What are the downsides?
- No hard case included.
- Creating embroidery greater than 4” x 4” in size is a hassle. A different machine is recommended if you want to embroider larger sizes regularly.
What are the Pros of the Brother SE600?
- It is a two-in-one machine, sewing, and embroidering, so you save on space and the price of a second machine.
- A color LCD touchscreen, so you see what you’re going to get before you start, even when you change the design color.
- The computer guides your every move with instructions and error messages.
- Many stitches enhance your project outcome.
- Automatic needle threader that saves time and your eyesight.
- Many embroidery patterns that come standard with the SE600. It means you don’t have to delay your start by looking for a design.
- Other designs available via the USB port so you can sew or embroider anything you want.
- Automatic reinforcing stitches and automatic thread cutting, so you don’t have to think about it.
- A start/stop button that avoids using the foot pedal.
- A quick press of a button to lower or raise the needle.
- A sliding controller to control the speed.
And the verdict?
The Brother SE600 embroidery and sewing machine produces a wide variety of sewing stitches and embroidery patterns all for the price of one.
Our review shows there are next to no downsides using the machine. And many features that enhance the experience of any user. From the learner to a long-time sewer and embroider.
It sure does deserve the fame and rightly one of the best selling budget combo machines online.
Experience the pleasure of sewing and embroidering with the Brother SE600.