Embroidery is making a comeback and how. Call it nostalgia or the the resurgence of age-old hobbies that were once considered the domain of old ladies looking to kill time, seamstresses are mushrooming all over the landscape, armed with the best computerized embroidery machines to boot.
And surprisingly, they include 20-somethings with a passion for tattoos and Instagram feeds. Quite naturally, the designs that they conjure are a far cry from the ‘meticulous’ and mundane designs of yore.
Don’t believe us? Check out embroidery artist, ‘Aliana Varrone’, who specializes in, well, erotic embroidery.
While the craft is undergoing a renaissance of sorts, the tools are not too far behind either.
Keeping our modern, urban seamstresses good company are swanky computerized machines. These beasts boast of backlit, touchscreen displays, up to 15000 built-in designs and patterns, and computer connectivity that allow you to import newer designs.
Irrespective of whether you are a beginner looking to hone your skills or an experienced seamstress looking to strike gold on Etsy with your designs, getting the best computerized embroidery machine will save you time, effort and money.
But with the market being crammed with machines of varying sizes and capabilities, it is easy to end up with one that’s too complicated or overkill for a hobby enthusiast.
Thankfully, we have picked the cream of the lot for you. This will help you pick one that gives you the best bang for your buck.
Top 3 Computerized Embroidery Machines On The Market
With a stellar reputation of manufacturing sewing machines that are easy to work with, durable and friendly on your pocket, Brother’s combination machine (stitching and embroidery), the Brother SE400 was one of the most awaited products in recent times.
Staying true to their brand image, Brother has managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat.
The unit is an amazing little machine that is packed with features that rival the best in the business. Whether it’s casual home use or a professional workspace, the versatile features and the utility functions make life simpler.
The best part, is that it is priced just under $400 making it well within the budget price range.
- Using The Machine
There’s a backlit start button for one-touch automatic stitching. To prevent the user from switching the machine on accidentally, the button can be activated only after the backlight turns green indicating that it is ready for use.
Seniors as well as users with physical limitations will appreciate the automatic needle threading function. All it takes is the pull of a simple lever to thread the needle. Winding and installing the bobbin is a breeze.
Similarly, the automated thread cutting function not only saves you effort, it also reduces wastage of thread and prevents the messy thread-tails that often pile-up.
Other one-touch tasks like making a button hole make repetitive tasks simpler and precise.
The unit has a slightly cluttered interface on the main menu on the LCD. That’s partly due to the use of icons, some of which are impossible to understand lest you refer to the manual. As you navigate through the sub-menus, you will find yourself reaching out for the manual frequently.
But that’s only until you get used to working with the machine. Once you get a hang of the icons, using the machine is a breeze.
The quality of stitches is excellent across a variety of fabrics. The model has a library of 67 stitches which is not elaborate. But it does include most of the widely used stitch styles including scallop, zig-zag, Blindhem and Heirloom.
The length is alterable up to 5 mm and the width, up to 7mm for some of these stitches.
The embroidery frame is 4 inch by 4 inches, which is reasonably good for smaller designs. But if you intend to monogram more frequently or are looking to stitch larger designs, then you will have to re-hoop or use software to split the design. That’s not too difficult really.
Brother does sell a larger multi-position hoop attachment separately.
There are 70 built-in designs, which once again, is not a huge repository by current standards. But there’s an option to download and store up to 12 additional designs. Also, the machine can be connected to a PC or Mac using USB. So, the sky’s the limit when it comes to accessing designs on the machine. There’s an additional integrated card slot for Brother’s embroidery cards allowing you access to thousands of designs.
- Best features
- Large backlit touchscreen
- One touch access to stitching
- Automated thread-needler and thread cutter
- 67 stitch styles
- 70 embroidery styles and connectivity options to download several others
- Five embroidery fonts
- Final Verdict
The SE400 is hands down one of the best sewing and embroidery machines. If you are looking for something that can tackle both the tasks effortlessly, you have just found it.
Aimed at seamstresses looking for an embroidery-only machine, the PE770 is Brother’s flagship budget-priced unit that continues to outsell its successors. The reasons are aplenty. It costs less than $600. It resembles and functions much like a professional-grade unit. And It has a reasonable sized work area.
Club that with the possibility to multi-hoop and you can tackle most projects with ease.
But like most of Brother’s computerized units, the biggest draw of this item, is the ease of use. Even a complete novice at embroidery, can pick one of these and start embroidering without getting overwhelmed with the features.
In fact, it is considered by many seamstresses as their first machine that introduced them to the umpteen possibilities of automated embroidery.
- Using The Machine
Most of the controls on the unit are accessible via the backlit LCD touchscreen. That includes selecting your embroidery designs, watching the integrated tutorials and even editing (rotate, mirror-image, increase and decrease the size, change stitch density) your designs.
In addition, the front panel features the stitch speed slide lever which allows you to customize the stitching speed.
It features 136 built-in embroidery designs. But you can always download and import more designs using your computer or the integrated flash drive. Brother’s Ibroidery.com website has an impressive collection of designs. But you can use just about any embroidery software or website to import designs into the machine.
Like all Brother machines, it is compatible with only ‘.PES’ embroidery files. But other file formats like the .JES can also be converted into .PES pretty easily these days.
Brother PE770 also features 184 sewing stitches with the option to customize your own stitch and add it to the machine’s memory.
- Embroidery with the PE770
Setting up the machine is effortless and fast. Automated needle threading and trimming and a jam-resistant quick set bobbin system will have you up and running in no time.
Apart from the embroidery designs, the unit also features 10 frames, 12 border shapes and 6 fonts for monogramming.
The 5 x 7″ embroidery area is reasonably sized and it can be expanded further with multi-hooping to 5 x 12″.
An integrated memory function allows you to store your designs in the machine. This prevents the need to reload the same design each time you work on it.
The quality of the embroidery is top-notch across different types of fabrics ranging from delicate pillow covers to denim.
Angles can be adjusted at 10, 20 and 90 degrees. There”s also a side stitching feature allows you to stitch horizontally as well as vertically at the same time. Once again, that”s a nifty little time saver for you.
- Best features
- 5 x 7″ Embroidery area
- 136 Built-in embroidery designs
- 184 stitch designs
- Add custom stitch to the built-in memory
- USB stick compatible to import designs
- Backlit LCD touchscreen
- Bright work area
- Needle threader, top load bobbin system and thread trimmer
- Final Verdict
The SE770 is one of the best embroidery-only machines from Brother. It is surprisingly easy to use, has a plethora of design options and allows you complete control over the designs.
With a large embroidery frame, more built-in designs and a bunch of extra accessories that allow you to expand your capabilities, the Designio DZ820E is a worthy successor to the popular PE770 embroidery-only machine.
This is a serious seamstress’s dream machine. It can stitch at high speeds, has 6 embroidery design fonts and with two expansion slots, can be used to access limitless designs. If you are not looking for a combination machine that can stitch and embroider, this one will be a much better buy than our #1 pick, the SE400.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the features that make this one of the best embroidery machines.
- Using The Machine
The item has a very user-friendly design with intuitively placed controls on the front panel and a large backlit LCD screen. Unlike some of the other models from Brother, the menus and sub-menus are easy to navigate through.
It has an on-screen guidance system that can guide you to perform various tasks. Also, you can perform basic design edits on the LCD screen itself avoiding the need to connect it to your computer all the time.
Be it selecting embroidery styles or performing repetitive tasks, you do not need more than a few touches to get the job done.
Brother also includes a start up kit for the beginners. While the machine is clearly aimed at professionals and advanced users, this kit enables even novice enthusiasts to learn the ropes without getting lost in the controls.
Brother retains the popular one-touch functions. So, start, stop and controlling stitch speed is at your fingertips. Cumbersome tasks like needle threading and thread cutting are automated giving you the convenience and precision you need. Get some pre-wound bobbins and drop them in. You are all set to begin embroidering.
- The Embroidery features
With 136 integrated designs and a built-In USB Flash Drive port (limited to reading 4GB only), design options are virtually limitless.
The model has a 5 inch x 7 inch embroidery frame with an illuminated work area. Once again, this is not the largest of hoops, especially for monograms. But with the ability to split the design using software, this usually suffices for most embroidery tasks.
Also included in the package are two smaller hoops measuring 4×4 and 2.5 x 1 inch.
The unit has a max speed of 650 stitches per minute. But at that speed, it may warp certain types of fabric. Also, smaller designs, like alphabets for example, tend to have gaps and an uneven finish at high speeds.
So, stick to something that is lower than the max speed.
- Best features
- Easy to use menu-interface
- Large backlit touchscreen
- Front panel with one-touch access to basic functions
- Large design hoop measuring 5 x 7″
- 136 built in designs with USB flast port connectivity
- Start up kit
- Tons of extra accessories
- Final Verdict
With all the features of its predecessor and a bunch of extra add-ons that allow you to bridge the gap between casual and professional use, the Designo DZ820E.
Things To Look Out For In A Computerized Embroidery Machine
Although it might seem like a labyrinth riddled with machines of all sizes and shapes, picking the best computerized embroidery machine is all about asking yourself the right questions.
- How do you plan to use the machine
If you are just looking to learn the ropes of embroidery or make some knick knacks for personal use, then you don’t want to end up spending thousands of dollars on a commercial-grade machine. Look for machines made for home users. At the same time, look at the technical limitations of the machine. If you plan to expand the hobby into a small business down the road, you might need to consider the possibility that you’ll outgrow the machine. Does your machine offer optional accessories that allow you to expand?
- Combination unit or embroidery only
Do you need an embroidery only machine or do you need one that has sewing capabilities also? The obvious advantage of a combo machine is that you will save on space and money that you’d spend on buying a separate sewing one. The flipside is that there will be a bunch of extra add-ons that need to be attached to the unit to switch between sewing and embroidery.
- The Manufacturer
Embroidery forums are a great starting ground to research about the manufacturer. Always remember that most of the top brands like Brother, Janome and Singer not only manufacture excellent machines but are also reputed for their after-sales support.
The best computerized embroidery machines are intended to make life easier for you. Apart from the number of designs that are built-in, look for features like automatic needle threading, thread trimming and top loading bobbin.
Hope this article will help you make the right choice, and we recommend