The Right Combination
If you are not focusing purely on embroidery, but you do want to have it as an option in your craft room arsenal, then a combination sewing and embroidery machine is what you need. Combination machines are useful if you want to liven up or customize smaller sewing projects, or add a stylish monogram to items of clothing.
A combination sewing and embroidery machine is also useful if you’re looking to create embroidered hats and baseball caps. When you try and embroider something like a baseball cap as a complete item, it is often difficult to get the embroidery right down to the bill of the cap. You can use your combo machine’s embroidery function on the front piece of your baseball cap, and then stitch on the bill. This gives you a smart, professional flush finish, and also allows you a larger embroidery area.
Best Combo Machine Reviews
The Brother SE400 Combination offers comprehensive sewing functions, alongside monogramming embroidery ability. As Brother themselves say of this machine – “If you can imagine it, you can create it”, whether that’s a quick and simple repair job on a shirt, or a set of napkins, lovingly monogrammed as a useful and thoughtful wedding gift.
Offering 67 unique stitches, and 70 pre-set embroidery designs, including five lettering fonts, the SE400 Combination is a versatile machine, ideal for the experienced hobbyist and semi-professional sewist, and more than capable of creating stylish, customized embroidery pieces alongside standard sewing functions.
There is a backlit LCD display, which makes it easy to see your designs as you’re working on them. Computer connectivity means you can create your own designs, and easily transfer them to the machine. This means you can create products that are truly unique, and makes this machine ideal for those with creative flair and fertile imaginations.
The SE400 is well-designed, with a high end finish that goes right down to the pedals.
It comes with a range of accessories, although sadly not the larger embroidery hoop that would be useful for those doing a lot of embroidery work.
The SE400 can be difficult to understand at first, especially if you have limited experience with machine sewing. However, there are several good sewing websites where experienced machinists offer advice, as well as YouTube videos showing how it should be done. In today’s ever-connected world, you are never truly alone!
The Singer Futura XL-400 offers the largest work surface among domestic embroidery machines, with a 10” x 6” embroidery hoop included, and multihooping capability. This allows you to complete much larger designs than most standard machines. The large work surface is also a plus for those who regularly make their own clothes, offering greater comfort and flexibility when working on larger garments such as jackets or long skirts and dresses.
The Futura XL-400 features 125 built in designs and five fonts, with USB cabling for easy file transfer. However, it is important to note that this machine is NOT compatible with Mac computers, or with Windows 10 (at the time of writing).
In a departure from most embroidery machines, there is no screen on the Futura XL-400. This means you are not easily able to view your designs as you are working on them. Because of this, the Futura XL-400 is definitely not recommended for beginners looking to get into embroidery, although it is less of an issue for those who will be primarily focusing on sewing. If you are confident in your embroidery, the lack of a screen shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
Another offering from Brother, the Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway has all the functionality of the SE400 Combination, but includes a rolling carry bag.
This machine is not compatible with Mac computers (few computerized machines are, at present). It also struggles to handle heavier fabrics. In addition, our reviewers found that the machine doesn’t seem to recognize imported designs, such as those created on a computer. For those who are primarily looking for a sewing machine, and might only do occasional embroidery, this won’t matter, as it is more relevant to those for whom embroidery is their main focus.
The rolling carry bag makes this a useful machine for those attending classes, as it is very easy to transport.
The Singer Futura XL-550 is a treasure trove of stitch design for the sewing enthusiast, with 215 built in stitches. It also includes an automatic needle threader, so getting started is completely hassle-free. Its extra large sewing space has bright LED lighting, so you can easily see your stitches as you’re working. This means you should be able to spot. any stitching inaccuracies or mistakes quickly, saving you valuable time – and a lot of tears and frustration! – later in your project.
Those who are buying the Futura XL-550 for embroidery purposes have not been left out, either. With an extra large 10” x 6” embroidery hoop, and multihooping capability, you should have plenty of space for any project. And the selection of 125 embroidery designs will leave you spoiled for choice! You can also purchase dedicated, machine-specific embroidery design software to enhance your embroidery experience.
The Futura XL-550 is not compatible with Mac computers. This is only really relevant to the embroidery function, but is nonetheless important to point out. It is not recommended as a beginners’ machine, although it would be fine for more experienced sewists. It can also be somewhat noisy when in use.
Finally, the Brother SE350 offers 67 built in stitches, and 98 stitch functions. It has an automatic needle threader, as you would expect, and a touch screen control, making getting on with your project truly effortless.
For embroiderers, there is an on-screen editing function, meaning a simple mistake needn’t hold up your entire project.
While the SE350 isn’t suitable for monogram embroidery, it does have a zig zag stitch function, allowing sewists to create basic yet functional hems.
This is not a machine for large projects or embroidery designs. However, if you’re mostly looking to create small, customized gift items, the SE350 could be the perfect fit.