My First Brother SE400 Video And Embroidery

When I got my Brother SE400, it had so many functions and features that I was a little bit overwhelmed. So I wanted to start with the easiest, simplest possible thing just to try out the embroidery.

I decided to start with one of the built-in designs – the large, fancy initial “A”. A for Audrey, the name of my baby grandniece. I choose the easiest fabric I could think of – a medium weight, cotton twill – that would be easy to hoop, not too heavy and not stretchy. I used Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer, cut-away lightweight stabilizer behind the fabric and hooped both of them.

This video of that first embroidery shows how to select the pattern and stitch it out. The embroidery came out very well. But there’s a lot more to learn.

This is also my first video about my new Brother SE400 Sewing and Embroidery machine. I shot it with my iPhone 4s and edited it with iMovie on the iMac. Amazing how good the iPhone camera is now.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Our Readers Respond ...

  1. Belinda lint says

    I just got my brother 400se, when I embroider, only my white bobbin thread sews onto the fabric. None of my top colored thread even is sewn onto my fabric. What did I do wrong?

  2. Lauren says

    Hi! I am pretty good at using my Brother SE-400 but am currently having an issue seeing the file that I have transferred to my machine. What I choose the image I want to send over it acts like it is transferring it, but it never shows up on my machine’s display. It does say that It has used a bit of memory though. I haven’t transferred in a few months. Maybe I need to update my machine?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Lauren, as far as I know, there’s no updates for our machine. It’s probably some incompatibility with the design. You could test this, by transferring a file that you did before and know works. When this happens, it’s usually that the design is larger than 3.94″x3.94″. But there are other reasons. Please see my article on downloading designs and especially read the comments.

  3. Riva says

    I wanted to embroider “Big sister” on a t-shirt for my daughter. I started and it was looking great but on the last “r” the machine got stuck and I had to stop the process. After stopping it and cutting my threads I couldn’t figure out how to go back and add the last r to make sure it lined up properly. How can I add just one letter without restitching the entire word again?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Riva, You have to move forward by color or by stitch. See page 148 in the Operations Manual about “Stopping while Embroidering.”

  4. masood says

    Hi,i want to know that brother se 400 is working in india .do anyone used it.i dont know the voltage in india. Am living in hyderabad.plz suggest me i should buy this machine are not.plz iwant this machine.and singer quantum 9960 also.i am waiting .thank u

    • Kamala says

      Hi Masood. The voltage in India is 240 volts/50 hz. The voltage in the US and the SE400 is 110 volts/60 hz. You would need a transformer to convert the voltage (NOT just an adaptor). Both Brother and say not to use the SE400 with a transformer. I live in the US, so I’ve never tried it and cannot say. Some people say they’re doing it. Other people are having problems that may or may not be caused by the different voltage.

  5. Connie Olmos says

    I’m thinking of buying this machine but am wondering if it will fit in my current cabinet. Is the arm removable for regular sewing?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Connie, The embroidery unit is removable, but the arm is not. There is a base that is fixed, like a portable machine designed to go on top of a table. I don’t think it will fit in a cabinet. Also, the socket for the cord and on/off switch are down in the base and would be inside the cabinet.

  6. Julie says

    I just bought an se425 machine. I was wondering if I can use the cones of thread or do I have to use the regular spools? Thanks

    • Kamala says

      Hi Julie, You can use cones, but you have to have an external thread stand that sits behind the machine. The large cones or spools won’t fit in the regular SE400 thread holder/spindle.

  7. Edie says

    Hi Kamala – I’ve had my SE400 since Christmas ’14 but haven’t done an awful lot with it. There are ‘sew’ many things I want to do but it means using a larger hoop. I don’t have any machine embroidery software yet but want to give it a go without spending a fortune. I know there are ways to enlarge designs using software and then break them down in segments (less re-hooping). Do you have any software suggestions that might help a newbie?? Many thanks for your tutorials and projects that encourage us to try new things! ~Edie :)

    • Edie says

      OOps! Please disregard my question – I’ve been doing more reading of your posts and see that many have made the same inquiries. I will read through your replies and try your recommendations. If there was a way to delete my post I would. Oh boy – duh!! At any rate, thank you for your blog and may you have time for many more ideas for all of us in the future! ;)

  8. Annette says

    Just got a AE400 for Christmas and am so excited to see your blog/tutorials. Have three young grand daughters and one lung grandson and I can’t wait to learn how to work this thing!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Annette, thanks for visiting. Many blessings on all the beautiful things for your grandchildren. And then when they’re older, you can teach them too. My Grandmother taught me to sew and embroider.

  9. Bonnie Davis says

    Hello! Just received the SE400 for Christmas and stumbled upon your blog while researching this machine. I am finding your blog very helpful, have not had a chance to actually use the machine yet, as we left town the day after Christmas and just returned this evening. It is now out of the box and I am trying to learn how to operate it. Thank you for this site.

  10. Cassie says

    I just bought the brother Se400 and I wound the Bobin using the machine I then threaded the machine following the 9 steps. However after I hoop my fabric (plush stocking) it will start to embroider then stop and say check upper thread and re thread. This past time it got so wound up and stuck. I took the fabric out and the embroidery thread on top was all tangled up in the Bobin. I have no idea how it happened. And do I have to use stabilizer could that be the problem?! I normally ask my mom all my questions but the machine is really for her and I wanted to learn it and make her something to surprise her with the machine. Please help I’m so confused and have no one to ask!!!
    Thank you!!!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Cassie, Yes, you definitely have to use stabilizer and that may have caused the problems in the first place. Plush isn’t the easiest fabric to start with and learn, but of course, it’s wonderful for Christmas. Try cut-away stabilizer under the fabric and water-soluble on top. Don’t hoop the water-soluble stabilizer, just float it on top. It’s job is to keep the embroidery stitching from getting mushed down in the pile. How did hooping it go? Did it mar the plush? Was it thick in the hoop? Did the fabric move around? If the fabric moves, that can cause all sorts of tangled thread and bobbin. If it doesn’t hoop well, you can use adhesive stabilizer. Hoop the adhesive stabilizer only, the adhere the fabric to the stabilizer. It probably won’t stick well, so fasten it securely with pins or basting. (Still put the water-soluble on top.)

      But now you have to clean it thoroughly. Follow the instructions on page 152 in the operations manual on cleaning the race. You have to take it apart and make sure you get all the little bits out. Rethread the top too just to make sure.

      Hope this helps. I’m sure your Mom will love the new machine and whatever you make for her.

  11. Rikki says

    My machine keeps stopping in the middle of projects and I have to raise the needle and pressed foot. It then move the carriage back to start. Is there a way to go back to where it left off? Also any idea why it is doing this?

  12. Patricia Nonte says

    i have the Brother SE400 and I’m just learning how to sew and embroider. I was embroidering a message came up that my bobbin was running out of thread and to replace the bobbin. How can I replace the bobbin in the middle of embroidering without messing it up?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Patricia, Make a note of the stitch count just in case. See the instructions on page 148 in the Operation Manual. (Read both columns.)

  13. Janenne Powlison says

    I have a Singer embroidery machine but I am trying to help a friend learn to embroider on her new Brother. Can you tell me how to get a space in text? Thank you

  14. Nita Elise says

    I am having a problem with my SE400 when I am trying to embroider letters. The problem is the bobbin thread is showing at the top. How do I fix that? I am using the right bobbin thread (fine embroidery 60weight).

  15. Cristina says

    Hi Kamala, I’m Cristina from Italy. I’m about to buy the SE400 from the USA for 2 reasons: 1) It will be cheaper, despite the $200 for shipping and importing! 2) I’m not completely confident the Innovis 950, which should be the European equivalent, gives the same satisfaction at least according to the reviews on the net.
    I don’t know if you can help me, but I’m trying to understand which transformer I should use (for European woltage) and if there is any risk at all for the machine.
    Thank you in advance


    • Kamala says

      Hi Cristina, the SE400 uses 120 volts, 0.67 amps. You would need a transformer to convert to European 220v. However, the transformer doesn’t convert the frequency (60 Hz for US; 50 Hz for Europe.) I lived in Europe for 13 years and used a transformer with no problem. But that was for an ancient Elna sewing machine–electronic, but not computerized like the SE400. This was before I bought my SE400. I really don’t know if there is any risk to the machine, but both and Brother recommend against it.

  16. gloria says

    hello kamala. I wonder if the se 400 accept cutwork software from other brands or is there one for this machine???

    • Kamala says

      Hello Gloria, The SE400 doesn’t accept any kind of software. All software runs on your computer and has to create a .pes embroidery file that is imported into the SE400.

  17. Taylor says

    Hello, I am new to the se400 and every time I try to monogram something my needle breaks. I use the needles that came with the machine which is 75/11. Can you please tell me what I’m doing wrong.

  18. Enery says

    Hi Kamala:
    I’m having issues dowloading files from my computer, PC to my machine. My PC has Windows 8, the files that I’m downloading was zip but I unzipped and then downloaded to my machine. When I downloading its shows on the machine screens transmitting from USB, but after it’s “finished” its doens’t show the design. What I’m doing wrong? I’m following all the instructions. It’s shows that some space was taken from the maachine, because it shows a different number. but I can’t see the design.



  19. Enery says

    Hi Kamala:
    I’m newie with my SE 400, however I have done many things. I have learned by myself, reading the books and watching some videos. However I have a couple of quesitons:
    1. Do I have to use the same color in the bobin than the upper thread? When I’m doing embroidery with many colors it’s hard to change the bobin to match the upper thread.
    2. Why the center of the grid that comes with the hoopp doesn’t match the center marked in the hoop? Is this center the same at the embroidery machine?
    3. The hoop has two parts, the bottom ant the top, both of them has arrows on the border. Do we have to match the arrows in order to put the hoops together?


    • Kamala says

      Hi Enery, First congratulations on learning so many things.
      1. No, the bobbin thread is usually white or you could use black on dark fabrics. It’s a different weight than the upper thread (60 wt for the SE400), so be sure to get the correct bobbin thread. A spool of white bobbin thread came with the machine. You can also buy pre-wound bobbins which saves a lot of time.
      2. The center of the grid should be the center of the machine. But you should test this because I’ve heard of some machines being slightly off.
      3. Yes, line up the arrows when you put the inner hoop in the outer hoop.

  20. michele gagnon says

    I am trying to do embroidery and it is skipping the stitches, i fixed the problem, but i do not know how to go back to re stitich it or if you can, could you help me out,

    • Kamala says

      Hi Michele, Congratulations on fixing the stitch skipping problem. You can back up stitch-by-stitch or by color. Look in the manual on page 148-149 for pictures and instructions.

  21. alex says

    Does anyone know if there a way you can back stitch while embroidering Like if your thread breaks ?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Alex, you can back the machine up a stitch at a time or by thread color. See page 148 in the manual.

  22. Diane says

    Could you please tell me what you have your tension set at. Also does the speed selector com into use when embroidering or does the machine embroider at a set speed?

  23. Erica Mack says

    Hello Ms. Kamala!

    I am sooooo happy to have found your website. I’ve had my SE 400 since January. This is my first new machine in about 10 years. So many new parts and features. I’ve taken it out of the box and threaded a bobbin. That’s as far as I got. I think I read to many horror stories about needles breaking and thread unraveling. I’m not sure if I have the right threads or the the right stabilizer either. Certainly overwhelmed. I hope you can answer a few questions.

    1. Should I use embroidery bobbin threads or the same color embroidery thread as on top?
    2. Is Embroidex a good brand of embroidery threads?
    3. Should I try to sew before embroidery?
    4. What thread do you recommend for regular sewing?

    Thank you in advance for any information you can share. In the meantime, I’m going to attempt something. Even if it’s just testing the different stitches.

  24. Debbie Perkins says

    Will your information work for the 770 also? I just treated my self to this machine. So far it has been fun, but, I have bought all these fonts, and I want to do WORDS! I have the PED Basics that I bought last year to use with a Disney PE 180d. It worked fine with that machine. I guess that I am just stuck treading water, not knowing which way to go or what to do. In the meantime, I have done some awesome huggers and have baby bibs to do. Old dog, new tricks. Dinosaur to digital…that’s me. :)

    • Kamala says

      Hi Sharon, No, the SE400 uses US voltage: 110v. The UK provides 220v. Both and Brother recommend against using a step-down transformer with the SE400. Be very careful; if you just use a plug adaptor and put 220v into it, you’ll burn out the machine and could cause a fire. There might be an equivalent machine that runs on 220v, but I don’t know.

  25. Becci says

    I’m trying to figure out how I can add a name. I downloaded the disney fonts and I want the whole name “Presley” it’s only given me one letter at a time. Which is making it inpossible to have a straight name. I know this sounds confusing. When using the fonts that Brother SE400 came with, it’s easy to have the whole name.


    • Kamala says

      Hi Becci, Everyone has this question in the beginning. You need embroidery software to put the letters together into one design. I use Embrilliance. Many people like Embird or SewWhat Pro. They all have free trials, so you can see if you like them before buying. Then you transfer the design to the SE400 for stitching. See my post for transfer instructions.

  26. MARY SOLDANO says

    I wanted to monogram with an initial on a towel. The maximum size I could go to was 5 x 4.5 mm. How do I get it to 5 in? I have the med. hoop the machine came with.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Mary, I’m not sure if you’re asking about mm or in. You can’t scale the built-in letters to the maximum size. I guess that’s because scaling is difficult and Brother just choose a medium size. You can buy letter fonts and scale them with software. However the maximum size is about 3.9×3.9 inches. It does not depend on the hoop. This is a physical limitation of the SE400 embroidery unit. The only option for larger designs is to split it with software. However, everything I’ve read says it’s very difficult to get the pieces lined up and stitched so it looks seamless, so I’ve never tried it.

  27. Sandy Rollins says

    I bought a used Brother SE 400 from a lady who had not actually used it. Its my first embroidery machine. I did fairly well figuring out how to get started, and am working on my first “trial” pattern when the bobbin thread ran out. Since I have to take everything apart to refill it, how will that effect the piece in progress? Will it go back to where it left off? Thanks for any help on this.

  28. Janice Tidd says

    Hello! I am a new user and am anxious to get started to sew. I am hopeful that you may be able to help me. I am looking for an inexpensive yet good program to use to digitize images to embroider or make my own patterns. Would you have any suggestions or recommendations for me? I have tried the Sew Art demo program but have had mixed results. A friend recommended the Stitch Era universal program but every time I go there my McAffee won’t allow me in. I also have looked at PE- Design 8 demo but I am unable to save my files to a PES file. So, I am need of some guidance and as a newcomer I would welcome any help or advice. Thank you Janice

    • Kamala says

      Hi Janice, I haven’t tried digitizing yet. The only other program I’ve heard people like is Embird. You would need the basic program and the add-on modules for digitizing photos and creating your own designs.

  29. Rhonda says

    I am looking to get a machine to do monogramming on towels, pillows, shirts, etc. I am just starting out, and I don’t even know where to begin. I want to be able to hook up to my computer and monogram on my project. Also I need to know do I need to purchase software. I don’t want to spend extra money or purchase a machine that doesn’t do what I am looking for.
    Thanking you in advance……

    • Kamala says

      Hi Rhonda, There are so many choices depending on your situation. The SE400 will do monograms. You will need software to put the letters together. Have a look at my article on monogramming.

      The machines that I’m familiar with do not need to hook to your computer to stitch a project. The SE400 does hook to the computer to transfer addition designs. You don’t need attentional software for that. The PE770 transfers designs via a USB thumb drive. Either way works well. But be sure the machine has some sort of USB port for transferring designs, so you don’t have to rely on memory cards.

      Begin with your budget. If you want a high-end machine, go to your dealer and try them out. This didn’t work for me because my dealer only had machines more than $1000 which was way out of my price range. I got the SE400 because it offered the most value for my budget.

      Then think hard about how big you want the monograms to be. The SE400 cannot stitch larger than 3.9 x 3.9 inches. Draw a square that big and put it on your towels, pillows, etc. If you want a large, fancy monogram in the center of pillow, I don’t think the SE400 is big enough. The maximum size is, of course, a tradeoff with the cost. Have a look at my SE400 review and the other posts in the review section for other considerations.

  30. Denise says

    I have a brother innovis 1200. After I buy an alphabet online and download it on my computer where do I produce a label etc using these fonts in order to send them to my machine?

    I use a program called embird where you can adjust the size of your project to fit your hoop.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Denise, I don’t know anything about the innovis 1200. But I would guess you use Embird to merge the labels to create the label. Then save the design and send them to your machine. Embird is a very powerful program that can do much more than just adjust the size. But I’ve never used it, so I don’t know the details.

      I combined your two comments because they are related.

  31. gloria says

    if i use a biger hoop for my brother se 400 can I download biger designs size ?? the machine wil accept theme??(ej: 4.84″(w) x 3.66″(h))

    • Kamala says

      Hi Gloria, No. The maximum embroidery area of 3.9×3.9″ is a physical limitation of how far the embroidery unit can more and doesn’t really depend on the hoop size.

  32. Amber says

    I am SO overwhelmed with my brother se400! I’m having problems with the needle breaking and the top thread coming off every time I start the monogram! I don’t know what’s going on?? Ever had this issue??

    I just saw on a conversation that your not supposed to roll a bobbin using the embroidery thread! But only supposed to use lightweight for the bobbin! Do you think this could be my problem? I rolled a bobbin with my embroidery thread. So I have embroidery on top and bottom??

    • Kamala says

      Hi Amber, Please take a deep breath and check the threading. It sounds like the top thread isn’t threaded correctly. The only time I’ve had that problem is with cheap thread that had burrs on the spools that caught the thread. Once I smoothed the burrs, it stitched OK. Try to see if the thread is catching somewhere. Also, you could be right about the bobbin thread causing your problem. One or two pre-wound bobbins and a spool of white bobbin thread come with the machine. You should use them for the bobbin for embroidery. It is much lighter weight than embroidery thread. Embroidery is not like regular sewing. You only have embroidery on the top. On the back you have white with some pattern around the edges, but it doesn’t show.

  33. Kelly says

    Hi! I am just beginning to sew. I currently have a Kenmore 1912 I got as a Christmas present just to get a start. I am a teacher and really want to make my students ornaments and gifts. I also like to make hand made presents for people. I am trying to find the best machine for me. So, I have a few questions…Can you type messages to be sewn? For example, Happy Valentine’s Day 2014. Can you change the font sizes? Also, are there other sewing stitches available to download? What all should I initially purchase if I buy this machine? Thank you so much for your help!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kelly, there are two parts to the Brother SE400 that probably make it different than what you’re used to. It’s a regular sewing machine with decorative stitches. These are fixed and you can’t download new ones. But it also embroiders which is the exciting part for ornaments and gifts. You can use the built-in fonts to type messages as long as it fits in the 3.9″x3.9″ maximum embroidery area. You can set the font size to small, medium or large. Unlike sewing stitches, you can download embroidery designs, including alphabet designs to create messages or monograms. Please see my post on monograming for more about this.

      You don’t need much to get started: some test fabric, embroidery thread, stabilizer. I would start very simply and learn the machine before buying a lot of supplies. So much of what you need depends on the type of projects you do and personal preferences. There are usually several ways to do something and different things you can use.

      Eventually, you’ll probably need embroidery editing software. There are many choices and I suggest you learn how to use the machine before jumping into software and another learning curve. :-)

      • Kelly says

        Thank you for taking the time to answer! I have a couple more questions. What are the negatives of this machine? Are there features you wish this machine had? If so, what are they? If you were to get a new machine again, would it be this one?

        • Kamala says

          Hi Kelly, I don’t really have any negatives with the SE400. It’s all a matter of tradeoffs with how much money you want to spend. Of course, there are things I want, but I’m still not willing to spend the money for a more powerful machine, so I’m very happy with the SE400. Yes, I would buy it again if I were in the same circumstances of budget and also needing a sewing machine. (I had to leave my beloved, but ancient Elna in Italy when I moved.) For you, I don’t know anything about your Kenmore. But if you are happy with it for sewing, I would suggest looking at an embroidery-only machine like the PE500. I would also suggest the most important thing is to think hard about what kind of projects you want to do and will they fit in the 4″x4″ maximum embroidery area. Draw a square a bit smaller than that and put it on towels, shirts, etc. to judge. People often want larger designs and write asking how to do it, but it isn’t really practical IMHO. Of course, the next larger machine, the PE770 is several hundreds more, but worth it if you need larger designs. Please read my reviews and comparisons for more details.

  34. Rebecca says

    I want to embroidery my granddaughters initials on some dresses. I would like to make it med. big med. and them to curve around or close to each other. The se400 doesn’t have this and I can’t find it on I embroidery. Esty does can I use there’s?

  35. Janice says

    I’ve been trying to embroider a design I made using paint. I saved the design as a bmp, as I have many others, and then converted it to pes. For some reason, I can send it to the machine’s drive, and the machine screen shows the transfer, and the number of kb it is, but the design itself doesn’t show up. I’ve used just letters and numbers, so no issue there. Any ideas why it isn’t turning up?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Janice, Usually when this happens, it’s because the design is too big. It needs to be smaller than 3.9″x3.9″. Sometimes the design is off center or there’s a stray anchor stitch outside the frame so that the machine thinks it’s too big. Have a close look at the design in your software. Are there separate objects (the letters or numbers) that are overlapping? — Not necessarily the letters or number themselves but the outline of the object. Can your software merge them? I saw this case once. It didn’t work until I saved it with the overlap removed.

      • Janice says

        I think you’re right, and thanks for the reply, about the size. I made it much smaller (only 94kb) and it worked. So is it less about the amount of memory, but actual size? The design was smaller than 3.9″ so I’ll take a look at the design to see if there are any random stitches. I love this machine, it is so neat and easy to do.

        • Kamala says

          Hi Janice, Yes, there are two size limitations. The actual design size which is limited by the maximum embroidery area of about 3.9″. This is a physical limitation of how far the embroidery unit can move. (often and confusingly called the hoop size). And the file size which is limited by the amount of memory. People don’t usually run into that, but since you’re converting from a .bmp file, I could see where you might. Brother also says “.pes files saved with the number of stitches, the number of colors and the number of combined patterns exceeding the specified limits cannot be displayed”, but I don’t know where they are specified or what they are. But it’s something to keep in mind when creating your own designs.

  36. Susan says

    Can this machine embroider dog collars, nylon strap webbing? I just want to put my dog’s name and phone number on a collar. Thanks.

  37. Srikanth. AS says

    Am shifting from USA to India, recently brought SE 400,
    what’s the power adapter I have to purchase in India
    What watts I have to use,
    in India they ask for what wattage step down transformers
    On the machine it is mentioned 110v, 60hz, .67A

  38. nelda pacillo says

    a little overwhelmed with my se 400 machine… I got it to embroidery fine with the white thread that came with the machine that looks like normal spool of thread but when I put the different shaped spools on the machine it seems to ball up… any suggestions.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Neida, I’m not clear about exactly what you’re doing, but here are some thoughts. The white thread that came with the machine is embroidery bobbin thread. You only use it in the bobbin for embroidery. It’s a lighter weight than normal thread. The machine should have also come with a bobbin pre-wound with embroidery bobbin thread, so you can use that to get started. For the top, you need to use embroidery thread which it sounds like you’re doing because of the different shapes. Do you mean it’s balling up at the top around the spool? Are you using the right size spool cap? And it is threaded correctly? presser foot up and going through all the tension disks? You may need to use a spool net, although I’ve never had to. (nets and caps are included with the machine) Hope this helps.

  39. Pat says

    I downloaded a PES file with 50 different fonts. I went to use one of them today and realized that I may have to move each letter individually to the removable disk in order to spell something out to embroider, Is there a simpler way of doing this? I am trying to make a quilt label and wanted smaller letters than the letters built into the machine. thank you

    • Kamala says

      Hi Pat,
      Stitching the letters individually for a quilt label will be very difficult and tedious. You need embroidery editing software to merge the letters to create the label. Then you save the design as one PES file, move it to removable disk and stitch. There are many choices for software and no “best” one. I use Embrilliance because it runs on my Mac (PC too). Many people like Embird or Sew What Pro. They all have free trials so you can see which you like before buying.

  40. Kelly says

    Have another question for you. Just want you to understand my machine telling me that patterns are too big for frame when I know they are not. I can go into the preinstalled fonts on machine and just choose the letter A of any font style. I got to the layout and choose size use the buttons to change the size of the font. I choose to enlarge the font. The highest I can get the font is 1.97 x 2.13. I want 3inch or 3 1/2 inch size letters to monogram towel. Can’t get letters (a single letter) to get past 1.97. Is my machine broken or am I doing something wrong. In my mind 3.93 x 3.93 is the amount of space that I have to work with whether it is one letter or more. Help me. Christmas around corner and have so many projects. thanks for your help.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kelly, yes, that’s what I get too. I think it’s because you can’t just scale a design that much and have it look nice because a letter three times as large would require a different stitch density and maybe other things. To do what you want, you need to buy a alphabet design set or find one free. Each letter will be an embroidery file that you can import into SE400 for stitching. Good luck with your projects.

  41. Kelly says

    I am new to SE400. I am trying to monogram company name. It is 9 characters long. Using built in fonts. Letters 3/4″ or less high. I am trying to duplicate some shirts that my husband had done by another company. I know the name fits within the 4×4 area. I laid the graph sheet that came with system over his shirt to make sure the sizes would fit on the 4×4 area and it does. When I go to enter this in machine it tells me that it is too big for the area. I know that it is not. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I have to treat it as 2 jobs. very frustrating. Have done nothing but practice until I get it to work. Also, I know that the “_” is for a blank space but it is really a big gap between the space and the letters around it. Is that normal? Please help. Love your site!!!

    • Kamala says

      Before you select the letters, did you select the small size? At the bottom where you select capital or lower case letters, there is LMS. It defaults to L and if you key in the letters with “L” it will be too large before you have a chance to adjust the size. Or try “M” if that’s closer to your size. Yes, I think the space is too large too. For what you’re trying to do, you may have to move past the built-in fonts. I really don’t use them because they aren’t my style and I like more control over the size and spacing. You would need to buy alphabet designs and would would need embroidery editing software to put the letters together. There are many options, mostly a matter of personal preference. They have free 30-day trials so you can see what you like before buying. Unfortunately, it’s another learning curve this close to Christmas projects.

  42. Tewanda says

    Hi !! I purchased the SE400 last month. I tried installing the embroidery unit and foot for the first time last night. I didn’t try embroidering because I didn’t have any stabilizer. So I set the machine back up for regular sewing. Now when I do the decorative stitches it skips stitches and doesn’t sew straight on the straight stitch. Any suggestions??? I hate to have to send it back. Really loved it at first!!

    • Kamala says

      So it worked well, until you changed to embroidery and back again. It’s hard to say from a distance, but I would guess it’s something to do with that. Are you sure the pressor foot is installed correctly? Are you using a regular sewing needle and not an embroidery needle? They are different. Is it installed correctly? Check threading and bobbin installation. Good luck tracking it down.

  43. Sheila M. DeLoach says

    I bought a brother se400 off of Amazon and I am new at this, I tried to download frr designs from and it downloaded them into my machine but when I press the computer key to pull it up it doesn’t do anything, I read the reviews and thought I did it right, I put pes and pressed download and tried to put it to removable disk f but I am doing something wrong can you please help. Sincerely Sheila

  44. Andrea says

    Hi! Can you walk me through embroidering a three letter monogram, middle letter being biggest? i cant figure it out after so many attempts. P.S. Love you site!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Andrea, the best, easiest way is to put the three letters together from an alphabet monogram font using embroidery software. But of course, this costs some money. Both Embird and SoWhatPro have free trials, if you want to try it. If you want to use the built-in fonts, you have to stitch each letter separately because the SE400 cannot size individual letters in a “word.” See page 146 in the manual for instructions on how to connect the letters and get them lined up.

  45. Nicole says

    I am new to this machine, but am LOVING every minute of it. My question is this, I was in the middle of an applique and my thread broke. How do I go back and fill in the missed stitches?

  46. Patty says

    I having problems trying to export designs it keeps saying my pattern is to big for the frame when I know it isn’t plesse help.

  47. June says

    Hi Kamala,

    I just recieved my se400 embroidery machine earlier today and have been on your blog for the last hour. I am enjoying the wealth of information you have posted here. I am about to try it out now. Thanks for the video, very helpful. I will let you know how my 1st try went.

    • Kamala says

      Hi June,
      Welcome! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog; it’s a fun outlet for me. Good luck with the machine, looking forward to seeing what you create. Can you post photos? I’d love to see them.

  48. Kim Swor says

    first let me say my name is Kimala I have never heard Kimala but have heard Kamala twice. Enjoying your site. Just learning to use this machine and I learn better by watching it first.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kimala, that’s a pretty name and the first time I’ve heard it too. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. Thanks for visiting.

  49. Jennifer Isgitt says

    I am so happy to have run across your site. Thank you I book marked for future reference. I am wondering because of the embroidery area to work with is there a way to put names instead of initials on everything? Can you shrink the name down or characters? Thanks

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jennifer, I’m happy you visited my site, too.
      Yes, I really need to show this in the review. I only used an initial in the video to keep it short. Using the built-in fonts, you can spell out names and words. You can have three sizes: small, medium, and large. The small size is approximately 3/8 x 3/8 inches, the medium size is 5/8 x 5/8 inches and the large size is 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 inches.

  50. julia gardiner says

    I would like to know where the space key is in the alphabet font menu . Need to do a series of words but cannot figure out where the space is. Any help would be appreciated.

  51. Donna says

    Kamala, I am having trouble downloading a PES file that was created for me. The company says it is a PES and it should fit into a 4×4 hoop. My machine won’t show me the file, but the memory used on the machine shows there is something there. I see a DST version of the file but my machine says it’s too big for the frame. I guess I just can’t figure out why I don’t see the PES file? It’s a company logo I had digitized by a company I found online.
    Any suggestions?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Donna,
      Did you ever figure this out? I sent you an email a couple of days ago offering more help if you’re interested.

    • says

      Test out my designs. I’ve just started creating some embroidery designs. They’re available at – comments welcome, also let me know what you’d like to see created, I do custom orders too :)

  52. Mafa says

    According to your guidance I have bought SE 400 from to the UK. Thanks very much. I need to use it with a power converter could you please guide me in this case also. How can I choose one?
    Also please let me know how to use our own colors without using what machine says to a embroidery design? (as you did in this video)

    Thank you

    • Kamala says

      Hi Mafa,
      Sorry for so long to answer. I got tied up with a lot of family stuff. I don’t have any recent knowledge about power converters. When I moved to Italy 14 years ago, I just went to a local travel store and asked for a transformer for an electronic sewing machine. Maybe there’s a store in the UK that can help. You need a step-down transformer from 220v to 110/120 volts and at least 80 watts. If you don’t have a store, used to sell one.

      How to use your own colors is a lot simpler to answer. ;-) The SE400 doesn’t really know what thread you have loaded. So for example, if you want red instead of blue, just use red when it asks for blue. I usually make a chart if there are several colors.


  53. amanda says

    Thanks for all your great info. I have a question. Kinda new to embroidering and was in the middle of a design when my machine malfunctioned. I would like to finish the design but dont know how to start in the middle of the design. The design has 18 steps and I need to start on #11. Any ideas??? Thanks in advance! :)

    • Kamala says

      Hi Amanda,
      By steps, do you mean colors? The machine can be moved forward or backward by colors or by stitches. Select the pattern, press Adjust. You can move forward one color by pressing the icon that looks like a spool with a plus on it. Or by stitches by pressing the icon that looks like a needle. Have a look at page 149 in the Operation Manual to see diagrams. Good luck, Kamala

  54. Susie says


    I got my Se-400 for Mother’s day last year 2011. I tried using it and had a bad experience so I put it back up. Then I found a class for beginners and started Embroidering. I love this machine. The only question I have right now is how do you enlarge a design that you downloaded. Also can you enlarge the preloaded designs. I just found your site and love it keep up the good work.


    • Kamala says

      Hi Susie,
      Sorry for not replying sooner. Your comment got lost in my overflowing inbox. :-(
      I’m sure you’ve found the controls for enlarging designs by now. You can enlarge both downloaded and preloaded designs up to the maximum embroidery area of 3.93×3.93 inches. Select the design, then press the Adjust key. You’ll see the keys for changing the size and position of the design. Have a look at pages 143 and 144 in the Operations Manual for all the options.