Welcome to Kamala Embroidery


Brother SE400 Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine With USP Port

My Brother SE400 Embroidered a T-Shirt

Hello, I’m Kamala and the happy owner of a Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery machine. I love to share my passion for embroidery and everything I’m learning along the way.

Reviews and Comparisons to Help Choose an Affordable Embroidery Machine

If you’re trying to decide which machine is right for you, check out my reviews and comparisons where I share all my experience and research. If you already know you love the Brother SE400, check it out on Amazon. I bought mine at Amazon and usually find the best prices there. But the discount prices change daily so check out the Saturday, March 28th, 2015 sale price right now by clicking here. After buying, be sure to come back and check out my tutorials. They’ll help you get started.

Tutorials, Tips, Q&A, Helps for the Beginning Embroiderer

If you already have a Brother SE400 or one of the other Brother 4×4 inch machines, you’re in for a real treat. But, I must warn you — embroidery is so much fun, it’s addicting. Browse through the posts in the categories to the right. The tips and tutorials you’ll find there are tailored to the SE400 because that’s the machine I have, but many of the techniques, accessories, and supplies will work with any embroidery machine.

Thanks for Visiting – Come Back Again Soon!

I just love my Brother SE400, and I hope I can help you find the right machine for your needs and budget too. And if you do decide to buy the SE400 or one of her sister machines, I’d love to share what I’ve learned about getting started with it. Be sure to stop back by. I’ll be adding more tutorials, tips, news, and videos all the time.

You can also stay connected with me by clicking the LIKE button on my Facebook Page: Kamala’s Embroidery on Facebook.

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Our Readers Respond ...

  1. Brittany says

    When trying to upload a new design through USB, no new designs will show up. It will show that there is used storage, but there is no design on the screen for me to get to. I’ve tried restarting my computer, machine, and even uninstalling and re-installing my Embrilliance software and remaking the designs. Any suggestions?? I’ve become desperate.

  2. Kari says

    About halfway through embroidering the thread gets stuck in the needle plate, fabric bunches up , and thread gets stuck like a birds nest. I switched the needle and moved it to sewing and the needle broke. Help! Thx

  3. Kari says

    I was embroidering and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but about halfway through the thread keeps getting caught in the needle plate like a birds nest. I keep getting it out and it keeps happening. I changed it over to sewing and needle broke. Help! Thanks

  4. chelsea says

    Does the thread I use to monogram or applique matter? I ordered a bunch of “embroidery polyester thread” from amazon, i have had issues ever since i bought the machine (same time i bought the thread) my thread bunches up underneath my fabric every single time, sometimes it will skip about 10 stitches, help please!!!

  5. Shaihla Tarannum says

    Hi Kamala, I recently bought SE400 and no sooner I started sewing (as a first step to get hands-on on the machine and planning to move to embroidery later) I got stuck as the carriage got stuck. Not sure why it has got stuck and not moving either forward or backward. Went into settings, scanned through reference guide, websites, youtubes etc. but could not find any solution to it. Really don’t know if this is an issue with the machine or some setting has gone wrong. Request your help and guidance in the matter. Thanks in advance for your help!


  6. Shelley says

    I recently purchased the se400 and am using Sew What Pro to make monograms. I purchased a nice font, but today when “building” my monogram (using 2″/3″/2″ letters) it told me it was too big for the hoop. I didn’t want to use smaller letters, but not sure what to do. The initials had two ‘M’s’ so it is a wider letter. Any suggestions? ( I was able to use this size for another monogram with slimmer letters.)

    • Kamala says

      Hi Shelley, The maximum embroidery area of the SE400 is about 3.9×3.9 inches.This is the largest design that can be stitched at one time. It has nothing to with the hoop size, but is a physical limitation of the machine. If there is space between the initials, you may be able to stitch them separately. Please read the numerous comments on this site about this. But for monograms this large you really need a bigger machine. It even seems too large for a 5″x7″ machine.

  7. brittany says

    Hello. I have the SE400 as well. Everything I begin sewing, the thread gets stuck and will only sew and get stuck in knots it won’t sew the fabric unless I pull it through myself and even when I’m finished it looks like knots on the bottom side.

  8. GloriaM says

    I recently acquired an SE400 and I need to make a name patch for my vest. I bought the black twill material, and the fabric stabilizer. My question is how do I make the letters tighter together? When I embroidered the first try, the letters were the right size but too far apart from each other. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Kamala says

      Hi Adriane,
      It’s not a serger. You can use the zigzag stitch or you can sort of fake it with the optional side cutter foot. It will cut and finish the seam, but you won’t get the same finished look you get with a serger that requires multiple threads.

  9. Anai says

    I have a Brother Project Runway Limited edition sewing machine. My mechine is in perfwct condition but theres one problem that i cant figure it out and hope you can help me . When i place everything and begin to sew it won’t leave the thread behind . What can i do i feel frustrated.

  10. Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles says

    Hi Kamala! I was embroidering a large letter for a monogram that I downloaded, walked away while it was sewing, and didn’t realized that about 1/2 way through the bobbin got messed up. So, only the first half of the letter is complete. Do you know how to adjust the machine to start back at a certain point so I can complete the rest of the letter?

  11. Kate says

    How do you switch between thread colors on the Brother SE400 during appliqué? I was working on my first design and when I went to switch between colors, it brought me back to the beginning of the design and I couldn’t get to the second part of the design where I needed to switch between colors. Do you know? Is it just the file or the machine?

    Many thanks in advance.

  12. Joe Ackermann says

    What program could I use that I could type in the words and numbers that I want, then save it to a pes file so I can download it from the computer to the se-400? I want to make a quilt, but put in the countries and dates with a logo.

  13. Intrebare ghici says

    cu siguranta informatiile pe care le-am gasit la voi pe site ma vor ajuta sa imi termin proiectul!

  14. Esther Medina says

    Hi, I love your blog. I just got my Brother se400 and also bought the PED-Basic software. My windows 7 64bit pc however does not “see” the card. It seemed to install okay even had led light on card reader blink when it was “supposedly” downloading the pes file to the card. However, my Brother also does not see the card. When I click on the card icon it just goes back to the warning about the carriage moving and goes right back to the main embroidery screen.

    Has anyone else had this problem? I tried calling Brother but tech support was down and now it’s the weekend. I will call again on Monday if I don’t figure this out by them. I was so anxious to use the card. It is a hassle to bring the machine next to the pc.

    Thank you.

  15. Tiffany says

    I am so glad I found your blog. I have recently decided to try out embroidery and all your machine reviews and comparisons really helped me figure out just what I wanted. I also prompted your site on my blog post today when I talked about my new machine. You can check it out if you are interested here: http://craftingisatalent.com/2014/07/embroidery-tempt-me-tempt-me/ I know I will be back often now that I found you to read tutorials and learn about this new branch of sewing I just discovered.


    • Kamala says

      Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks so much for the kind words and mention on your blog.
      Wishing you all the best in your crafting and embroidery.

  16. Kate Gonzalez says

    Hi, I am new to machine embroidery. I have an SE 400 and want to embroider a short sentence. I figured out how to use the fonts on the machine but they are too big even in “small” size and I cannot figure out how to put a space inbetween the words. I downloaded a mini font but don’t know how to use it. I am just stuck and frustrated. Do I need to purchase software to do this? Or will my machine use the mini font… thanks, Kate

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kate, yes, there’s a lot to learn about machine embroidery so it can be overwhelming and frustrating in the beginning. Just take a deep breath and go step-by-step. It’s good to start with the built-in fonts and designs before thinking about software or downloaded designs before you know how to use the controls, how to hoop, use stabilizer, position properly.

      Use the underscore character ( _ ) to put a space between words. After you select the “Small” size, you can make it a bit smaller with the Adjust and Size controls. See page 143 in the manual for instructions. This still might not be enough. Even a “mini” or “tiny” font might not be enough if your sentence is too long to fit in the 3.9″x3.9″ maximum embroidery area.

      In that case you have to stitch the sentence in two or more pieces. The built-in fonts have an extra stitch that helps you line up the pieces. See page 146 in the manual.

      About the downloaded font. It will have a separate embroidery data file for each letter. The SE400 can only stitch one file at a time which means one letter at a time. You can do this and line and space them up manually, but this is tedious. The best way is to combine the letters with software. But I wouldn’t try to learn software until you learn how to use the machine.

      For more about lettering, see my post How do you make a 3 letter monogram with a larger middle letter?.

      To learn how to get your downloaded designs into the SE400, see my tutorial: How To Download Designs To The Brother SE400

      Hope this helps get you started. Practice simple things on scrap fabric because everyone makes mistakes in the beginning. That’s how we learn.

  17. Gina H. Jarrell says

    I have had this machine for 1 year. Just decided to take it out of the box . LOL, It was a anniversary present . I am new to sewing and well yes i can say i am just way overwhelmed. I know why i left it in the box so long. Hopefully with your website, i can learn to use this wonderful machine.

    • Judy Abernathy says

      Don’t be afraid of it, read that big manual, and try each and everything they show you. If it’s a new foot, find that, put it on the machine and try it out. You will learn faster by doing. Also, try watching YouTube videos. Do a search on “Brother SE400″ and you’d be amazed how many videos come up. It’s a fun machine, so have fun. You’ll love it like all of us do. Good Luck.

  18. dasboy says

    Is SE-400 good for making initials on cuff or mens shirt’s? Has any one tried it?

  19. Sandra says

    Can any one out there tell me how large the font is on letter writing please.I don’t want to buy if it’s not what I am looking for. Thank you

  20. pateiwah says

    I need to put in an invisible zipper I don’t think the foot I have will be good
    and I see the invisible feet mostly plastic will they work on my se400?
    they don’t give a brand name- at least the ones I have seen.
    thank you

    • Kamala says

      Hi Patelwah, You will need to purchase the special foot for invisible zippers. Brother makes one: Brother SA128 Concealed Zipper Foot. Search on Amazon for “invisible zipper foot” and you’ll get a lot of choices. Maybe you can tell from the photos if the ones you have seen will work. It needs to be a “low shank snap-on” type. The part that attaches to the machine will look like the feet that came with the machine.

  21. Carol says

    I just bought my Brother se425. I was so excited I had to embroider something. I didn’t have any stabilizer si I just used a piece of muslin and wrote my name on it. It came out beautiful. So I went to Joann’s and bought thread and stabilizer and when I tried to embroider my name again the top thread is more white than it is pink. I tried it without stabilizer and it is the same. I don’t know what I did differently . Please help me . I love the machine and want to learn to use it the right way.

    Thank you

  22. Alicia says

    Hello! I have a PE500 and have had nothing but problems with it since I got it over a year ago. Almost every time I am appliquing a shirt, I get the “check and rethread upper thread”. It is always fime and then when I restart sewing, it makes a huge birds nest on the under side and pit a giant hoke in the shirt!!!!! So frustrating!!!!!! Any idea why and how to fix this from happening every time?!?! I am using the needles that came with the machine…that also seem to break almost every time I use it. What on earth am I doing wrong??? I am about ready to give up on this!!!

  23. nola says

    your site is awesome so I bought a new bobbin case for my se 400 so everytime I want to change the color in the design I have to rethread the bobbin thread any suggestions do I have to do anything for the new bobbin case before using it I saw the small fur around the bobbin case is too high and thank you.

  24. Angie says

    I am having problems with my bobbin thread covering up my embroidery thread. I have the brother 425se. Haven’t had it very long and have had this problem one other time but don’t remember what I did to fix it.
    Thanks for your help.

  25. laura says

    I noticed that for the last couple days, the SE400s are not available on most major retail sites such as Amazon, Walmart, and Joanns. Could they be sold out due to Mother’s Day gift buying? Or could this model be being discontinued? I can’t seem to figure out what is going on, or why they aren’t being shown as in stock on these retailer sites. Thanks for any insight!

    • Judy Abernathy says

      To Laura
      No, I think they all ran out of them to sell. They are all back now, and I’ve noticed about $50 higher. I paid $299 for my SE-400 last November, and now it’s up to $349. Now is the time to look at the LB6800PRW with the rolling bag for only $20 more. At this point, it’s a bargain.

  26. Jessica says

    I’ve played with it this morning and finally making progress thanks to your site and advice. Now my problem is the bobbin thread showing. Any tips on what that problem may be? Thanks again. You’re awesome!

  27. Jessica says

    Soooo glad to have found your site. I was ready to throw my machine out. Haha! What tension setting is best for monogramming? I read so far on here what one of my problems was. Thanks so much for all of the helpful info.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jessica, I’m so glad you found the site helpful. I’m not sure there is a best tension setting for monogramming since it also depends on the design and fabric. I would always test a new monogram using similar fabric. I always test, but I rarely change the tension setting.

  28. Carl Boudreau says

    Can the SE400 only work with in a 4″ by 4″ area, or can I use those larger hoops?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Carl,
      You can use the large, multi-positional hoop with the SE400, but you can only stitch a maximum of about 3.9″x3.9″ at one time. See my post, Brother SA434 4-Inch-by-6 3/4-Inch Large Hoop for how this works and advantages.

      The 4″x4″ maximum embroidery area is a physical limitation of the SE400 hardware and is not dependent on the hoop size. People have this backwards: the SE400 comes with a 4″x4″ hoop because of the machine’s limitation; the machine is not limited because of the hoop.

      You need to look at this carefully and really imagine how big the projects are that you want to embroider. If you want larger designs, don’t buy the SE400. You’ll need to go up to a larger machine such as the PE770.

  29. Pedro says

    First of all, I am happy to know there is someone I can get tips from for my embroidery machine. I have the Runway model which is the equivalent of the SE400. I am having problems with importing my .pes file that I have created using my embroidery software to my machine. It is saying that I need a card reader. I thought all I needed was the usb cord attached. Please help or point me into the right direction.


    • Kamala says

      Hi Pedro, I’ve never seen a message saying I needed a card reader. Where is the message coming from? Your embroidery software? Which? I don’t think embroidery software will copy the file directly to the machine. You create the design and save it to your hard drive. Then copy it to the machine via the USB cord. Have you seen my tutorial on importing designs?

  30. Julie Schreiber says

    I am totally new to this embroidery thing. I finally got my machine out today and got it set up. I went to embroider just a simple letter and the thread on the top is a mix of my colored thread and my white bobbin thread? Do you have to use the same thread in both? I thought the bobbin thread was like a regular sewing machine…does not show on the top! What am I doing wrong??

  31. Donna says

    My thread just messed up and I don’t want to take the hoop off. I’ve fixed the thread but need to back up a couple of spaces, how do I do that please?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Donna, look in the manual on p. 140 for the instructions to back up the needle. But make sure it didn’t also mess up the bobbin thread.

  32. Paula says

    Hello Kamala:
    Your site if very informative, and I thank you for that! I just purchased the SE400, and studied the video that came with it, read the booklets, and watched tutorials on line, etc. My problem occurs after I have hooped a dishtowel for example. I measure the exact center of the towel, and line it up perfectly in the center of the hoop. I wanted to embroider: “Paula’s Kitchen” on the towel so I set it up in medium size lettering so I could do the first word on the first line, and Kitchen below it. Since my towel was lined up in the CENTER of the hoop, I checked it against the plastic grid that came with the machine, and the center of the grid also lined up with the center mark I placed on the towel. When I checked the layout, it appears on the screen to be in the center of the screen. Then when I ran a check by pressing the button to see where the words would line up within the hoop area, it stops to the left of the center line, and I notice the needle does not appear over the center line, but always stops to the left of center. I have done this numerous times, and if I allow it to embroider as it appears on the screen, the words are way out of alignment. I find that with everything I attempt to embroider on this machine, even though I put the fabric/towels, etc. in the exact center of the hoop, I have to tap the “move to the right arrow” about 10 to 12 times in order to get it to embroider on the correct area so it will be centered. I’ve contacted Brother, and am waiting for a supervisor to get back to me. One person suggested it may have to be calibrated. I was thinking that maybe the carriage of the embroidery unit is not aligned properly. What is odd is when you look at the plastic grid that came with the unit, the first vertical line on the left is positioned closer to the left side of the edge, as opposed to the last vertical line on the right, which is 5/8″ from the very edge of the plastic piece. I’m thinking I may have to send this machine back to Amazon, as I will certainly not keep a machine that starts out with problems. I completed a monogrammed towel that I added material to at the bottom, along with a row of rick-rack as my first project, but because of this alignment issue, I had to re-do the embroidered letter 3 times despite finding my center point on the towel first, and then hooping it in the exact center of the hoop. My question to you is: When you mark the center of the fabric, and then hoop it, and then place your grid on the top of the hoop to check it, does the needle on your machine point directly over the center spot? OR, do you also have to press the right arrows to align something in the middle for every project you do? Your opinion about this would be so VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!

    • Kamala says

      That’s wonderful, Hope. Looking forward to hearing about all the beautiful projects you create.

  33. Lupita says

    Hi, i hv a embroidery se400 , but rite now i hv a problem on my screen appear this message F05 speed sensor , what’s that & how I can repair?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Lupita, I’ve never had that error and it’s not in the manual. The only thing I can find online suggests taking the machine apart, removing a board and cleaning the speed sensor. That’s quite beyond me. I would try turning off the machine and thoroughly cleaning the race. See p. 152 in the manual. Take everything apart that you can and clean it. Make sure there aren’t any tiny bits of dust or lint. How old is your machine? You could try calling Brother Support. You might have to take it to a repair shop, if cleaning doesn’t work.

  34. Regina Collins says

    Just got an SE400 machine. The basting stitch does not work properly — just stitches out a regular stitch. I tried changing the length, but still does not baste. What else do I need to do except choose the basting stitch?

    • Kamala says

      The basting stitch isn’t controlled by the stitch width or length. Are you using the zigzag foot “J”? Have a look at page 78 in the manual for a picture of the settings.

  35. Tammie says

    I have a brother se425. I’m trying to do an embroidery project (my second) and the thread keeps knotting and looping under the fabric and stabilizer. I’ve taken the bobbin case out and cleaned several times….rethreaded everything….tried a different thread and nothing has helped. :( Any clue what it could be and how can I fix it?


    • Tammie says

      I also changed fabrics and used a stabilizer and didn’t use a stabilizer….got a little improved version when I put the tension between 4 and 5

  36. Debra coffey says

    I have read instructions over and over but do not
    Know how to embroidy on two lines
    Can you help

    • Kamala says

      Hi Debra,
      You can’t embroider on two lines at one time using the built-in font. You have to set up the first line and stitch it. Then set up the second line, move the layout down and stitch it. The other way is to create the design using software.

  37. Susan Nath says

    I always have a hard time getting the fabric straight in the hoop. Looks good until I have secured. Any suggestions on how to get it to stay straight?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kelly, Not really. This is a physical limitation of the machine.You can split a larger design with software and embroider it in pieces. I’ve read this is difficult and I’ve never tried it because I don’t believe I could get the pieces lined up well enough to look nice.

  38. Chrystal DeWees says

    Have you tried to monogram with the basic lettering and fonts that come on the SE 425? I looki g to do my babies initials with the last name initial in the middle and a little larger than the first and middle initial

  39. Brenda B. says

    I purchased an SE400 in September 2013 and love it! I’ve encountered my first problem today. After embroidering two shirts, suddenly the embroidery unit will not move. It tries and makes a funny noise. The display states something like “malfunction; please turn machine off and on again”. I’ve done that, but without success. HELP! What could be wrong with the embroidery unit/arm? Any suggested remedies?

  40. Felicia says

    I have the Brother SE400 and lost the instruction manual. Can I order one? I also heard I can download embroidery prints when connected to my machine and use them from on line on my projects. Is this so? How much are the memory cards to save my embroidery projects on? Thanks

    • Kamala says

      Hi Felicia,
      I don’t know if you can order a manual, but you can download it from Brother’s website. Go here for the links.

      Yes, you can download designs from the Internet and transfer them from your computer to the SE400. Have a look at my tutorial here.

      I don’t know how much memory cards are. The price changes all the time and I don’t use them. I organize my designs on my computer and transfer them to the SE400 with the included USB cable. If you’ve lost the cable too, it’s nothing special–just a regular USB cable like you’d connect a printer. If you want to use memory cards you’ll need software and a card reader/writer to write the designs on the card. Brother’s PED-Basic does this and also includes a blank memory card. See my tutorial on how to use it here.