Singer Futura XL-400 Review: Is There Something Better?
The Singer Futura XL-400 sewing and embroidery machine looks, at first blush, like a competent machine.
The question I’ll try to answer in this review, however, is this:
Is there anything better available when it comes to this type of combination sewing and embroidery machine?
I’ll look at both the pros and cons of the XL 400 to try to determine whether the one side outweighs the other.
So you can judge if this is a machine that suits your purposes and is worth the price you’ll pay.
Update: It's not available now.
What Can I Do with the Singer Futura XL 400?
Most people probably buy Singer xl 400 combo sewing & embroidery machine for the embroidery functions, but don’t forget that you can also do many everyday sewing tasks with it as well.
You get 30 stitch types including basic, stretch, buttonhole, and decorative stitches.
Update: It's not available for sale and may not likely to make a comeback.
Buttonhole and other presser feet?
Using the buttonhole foot, you can do a buttonhole in one easy step.
You place and aligned the buttonhole foot on to the fabric, and select one of the two available buttonhole stitches, and the machine does the rest.
Besides the buttonhole foot with underplate, the other feet you can use are the:
- Zipper Foot,
- Satin Stitch Foot,
- Embroidery Foot,
- Button Sewing Foot,
- Blind Hem Foot,
- All-Purpose Foot
You can do a variety of stitches easily on a variety of fabrics from lightweight to medium weight to heavy weight fabrics, such as denim and canvas.
Because the XL-400 has over eight inches of arm space between the needle and the right side of the machine - sometimes also called the “C” space - you can work on your quilts without struggling to fit the material into the machine.
This machine is fairly large, measuring 22 by 9.5 by 13 inches, but you do get an extension table that you might want to add on for larger projects like quilts.
As an embroidery machine, you can use the 125 built-in designs and five fonts for floral, cross stitch, monogram projects and more.
It’s important to know beforehand that, to embroider with the XL-400, you do need a Windows-based computer to run the included software. It cannot embroider on its own.
If you have the Mac, you then need to install the windows as parallels to make it work.
What Else Should I Know about its Sewing Capabilities?
When setting up the XL-400 for sewing, you can take advantage of Singer’s SwiftSmart threading system and built-in needle threader to get started quickly.
The Drop & Sew bobbin system speeds up your preparation too. You place a wound bobbin in its holder, stage the thread in the guides, and you’re all set.
Drop Feed Dogs
You can do free-motion sewing (as needed when working with quilts) by dropping the feed dogs with the drop feed lever.
Adjustable stitch length and width
If you want to get fancier than usual stitches, you can adjust both the length and width of your stitches.
Changing the length is especially helpful for basting, sewing knits, applique and more.
When you work with seams, you usually want to secure the stitch at each end. Use the reverse stitch function to prevent unraveling.
There is a foot control, but you can also use the start/stop button to control the motion of the XL-400.
You can choose the needle to stop in either the up or the down position as needed.
Needle down option is a big time saver. You don't have to move the needle down each time you stop and change the fabric and stitches direction.
If you want to do something like double rows of stitches, you can use the Twin Needle function.
You can take advantage of two spool pins to stitch different rows of stitches.
This automatically reduces the stitch width, so both needles still clear the presser foot.
What Else Should I Know about its Embroidery Capabilities?
You get more than one hoop with this machine.
- The standard 4x4.
- The larger 10x6.
You can do multi-hooping which means you can create a design up to about four times larger than usual. The maximum size specified is 18.5 by 11 inches.
Formats and Operating Systems
The computer software lets you read many embroidery formats: PSW, PES, FHE, JEF, PCS, DST, CHE, SEW, HUS, XXX, SHV, VIP, PEC, and EXP
You do have to use a Windows computer (laptop or desktop) with a CD drive, but at least you can use virtually any version of Windows from XP through Windows 10.
You can access the free updates of the machine software at the Singer site.
You get a USB cable to connect your computer to the XL 400.
There is no display screen on the Futura itself. Instead, you use your computer display to create your design and transfer it to the embroidery machine.
Should I Buy?
If you are looking for a machine that can both sew and embroider, you may want to give the XL-400 a try.
That said, if you don’t have a lot of patience, you may quickly become frustrated with this combo machine, especially when it comes to using its embroidery features.
Many Singer XL 400 reviews indicated that current owners have had many problems with it.
Difficulties include breaking threads, puckering, breaking needles, hoops not fitting together and the software telling you there are errors when none actually exist.
While it is true that you can do multi-hooping with it, this is not something you’ll want to attempt if you are a beginner.
Getting the fabric into the hoop correctly four times in a row, getting the pattern to line up correctly, and hoping nothing breaks along the way are not things you want to tackle at the start.
The XL-400 does have a variable speed control which can help matters.
You would probably set it to a slower speed for embroidery so that if something does go wrong, you won’t have as big of a mess on your hands as you would at high speed.
You cannot connect the Futura to a Mac computer to embroider.
There is one exception to this, but you have to be quite a tech savvy to make it work. If you add special software to your Mac that makes it run like a Windows PC, then you can use it with the XL-400. That’s probably more work than it’s worth though.
The built-in tutorials cover the basics of using this machine. You can also access online manuals, but there are some annoyances there.
Every third page is in English; other languages are interspersed. I don’t know why Singer didn’t group pages together by language. Apparently, they thought it was handier for everyone this way. It’s not.
The online manuals come in several PDFs, which is also unnecessary. Some of the material is repeated from one PDF to the next, which is simply a mistake.
Based on the Singer Futura XL 400 reviews, there is about a 50/50 chance that you will end up returning your machine for one or more of the above reasons.
After reading this Singer Futura xl 400 review, if you are willing to take that gamble and have the required patience to work with this machine, go for it.
If you do get one and decides to keep it, know that you get a limited 25-year warranty on the sewing machine head, five years (limited warranty) on the electronic components, and one year (limited warranty) on other pieces like belts.
Singer Futura XL-400 is not available for sale.
Is there anything better than this machine?
Yes for sure, we highly recommend you to check this article on the best combo machines.