Best Sewing And Embroidery Machines

Combination machines are toughies. Some can stitch like a dream but leave much to be desired when it comes to embroidery. Others are crammed with all the embroidery designs that you’d ever need. But the stitching quality is inferior.

To add to it, many of these have a cumbersome user interface that comes with a steep learning curve. Not the best of choices for someone who’s taking baby steps in the world of embroidery or stitching for that matter.

But pick the right one and they are space savers that help you get the best of both worlds. With very little literature out there that helps one pick the best combo machines, we thought that this was a great time to curate a list to help beginners.

Here we go.

Top 4 Sewing And Embroidery Combo Machines On The Market

Brother SE400

Brother SE400

The SE400 is rightly considered by most experts as one of the best computerized embroidery machines. This flagship from Brother manages to outperform many higher priced machines with its versatility, beginner-friendly user interface and a laundry list of features.

The stitch quality is consistent across a variety of fabrics and attaching the slide-on embroidery foot converts it into a very useful embroidery machine with computer connectivity to download additional designs.

  • Beginner friendly user interface

For a machine that is packed from head to toe with features, the Brother SE400 is an easy unit to get used to. By that, we mean that all your basic functions can be accessed easily without having to consult or refer to the user manual.

Even the functions that may need additional assistance are clearly laid out in the manual. Apart from the LCD screen which serves as the central console for accessing the stitches and designs, there are soft-touch buttons on the front panel for functions like needle threading and thread cutter.

There’s a slider lever for controlling stitch speed and the stitch quality doesn’t waver at higher speeds.

  • 4 x 4 Embroidery hoop

Now, a lot of beginners get swayed by comments and forum posts that talk about the importance of a large hoop size for embroidery. While a larger hoop does help while embroidering monograms or large designs on towels or bedspreads and the likes, it is totally unnecessary for beginner projects that mostly are small personalization embellishments.

If you are ready to graduate into bigger designs, the unit with your favorite embroidery software allows you to multi-hoop.

The illumination in the work area is bright and there’s no need for a supplementary light source. There are 67 built-in stitches and 70 embroidery designs. You can download additional designs by connecting the machine to a computer. Compatible designs can be downloaded off But you can use any embroidery software to load designs on to the SE400.

  • Best features at a glance
  1. Small footprint
  2. Easy to set up
  3. Beginner friendly user interface
  4. Backlit LCD display
  5. Easy threading, bobbin winding
  6. 67 stitches, 70 embroidery designs and 5 fonts
  7. Integrated tutorials

Click here to see why it is so hot on Amazon.

Brother LB6800PRW

Brother LB6800PRW

It’s been 13 years since ‘Project Runway’ flagged off and it has remained one of the most popular shows on TV ever since. Brother, being the official Sewing & Embroidery Licensee, released a range of limited edition machines inspired by the show. The LBP6800PRW is a Project Runway Limited Edition combination machine. It is the only combo machine from the Project Runway Lineup and is very identical to the SE400 in its features and functionalities.

It is compact, has a bunch of stitches and designs with computer connectivity as well as Brother card slots. With the SE400’s user friendly interface, the LB6800PRW is a great choice for beginner sewists and fans of Project Runway.

  • Compact footprint

Sewists with limited storage/workspace at home will be delighted with the small footprint of the LB6800PRW. It is only 21.5 inches tall and 16 inches wide. Unlike bulky machines, this one will fit right into a corner of your workstation.

Carrying it along is equally simple thanks to the Project Runway Rolling bag that is included in the package. Two caster wheels on the base allow you to lug it along easily while the bag also keeps it protected from dust and dirt.

  • Sewing made simple

The unit is aimed at beginner sewists and to this end, Brother has kept the user interface as simple as it can get. The front panel has buttons that allow you to thread the needle and cut the thread making setup effortless. The stitch speed slider control is positioned next to the large backlit LCD which lets you flip through the various stitch and embroidery design options.

There are 67 built-in stitches with 98 stitch functions that include utility stitches, heirloom and designer options. Beginners into embroidery will appreciate the 70 built-in designs and 120 frame combinations. With computer connectivity, the number of design possibilities is endless. The only caveat here is that this model is not compatible with MAC.

The embroidery hoop is 4″ x 4″. But there’s an optional 5″ x 7″ hoop that can be purchased for larger designs. There are five built-in fonts for monogram fans.

The package includes 7 specialty sewing feet. But if you are looking to expand the capabilities of the unit, then you can always buy additional accessories like specialized feet for quilting.

  • Best features at a glance
  1. Small footprint
  2. Project Runway inspired rolling carry bag
  3. Fully automated needle threading and thread cutting
  4. 4″ x 4″ embroidery hoop with the option to buy a 5″ x 7″ one
  5. 67 stitches, 98 stitch functions, 70 embroidery designs
  6. Computer connectivity with brother card slot
  7. Limited Edition model

This machine brings to the table all the amazing features of the SE400 and clubs it with a protective case and rolling bag that makes it easy to carry along for classes or workshops.

Great pricing too! Check latest Amazon price now.

Brother SE1800

Brother SE1800

Nobody said that the best combo for beginners had to be limited in functionality. After all, most beginners outgrow their machines sooner than latter and there’s nothing like a machine that offers enough room for expansion.

Enter the Brother SE1800, an incredibly versatile combo machine with enough features to rival the best standalone machines in the market. Even experienced seamstresses will have their hands full with this one.

  • Sews like a professional machine

A lot of people believe that combo machines lack the finesse that commercial grade units provide. This model will change your perception. It stitches to perfection at varying speeds and a variety of fabrics.

There are 184 built-in stitches and you have the option to use a foot controller or the one-touch button to sew. That includes 71 utility stitches, 31 decorative ones, 15 cross stitches and 28 satin stitches. Also included is a knee-lifter to lift the sewing foot with your knees.

Regular sewing projects can be performed using the removable flat bed that is included in the package. This also doubles up as a storage space for storing sundry details.

You can sew sideways as well as horizontally and also create custom stitches which can be stored in the memory.

  • Bunch of extras

The SE1800 ships with a bunch of extra accessories. There are 11 sewing feet, an embroidery foot, 64 embroidery threads, prewound bobbins, stabilizers, 15000 designs and scissors. If you were looking to bootstrap and save on the extras, this might be a great buy for you.

  • Enough embroidery features

The embroidery unit can be attached after removing the flat bed and the machine automatically switches to the embroidery mode on the LCD display. You can then access one of the 136 in-built embroidery designs or download designs on to a USB flash drive and connect it to the machine.

The embroidery area is 5″ x 7″ which is reasonably big. The SE1800 also ships with an extra large 5″ x 12″ hoop for larger projects. There are 6 fonts for monograms.

  • Best features at a glance
  1. The complete combo machine that is perfect for beginners as well as advanced users
  2. Large embroidery work area with an optional extra large hoop
  3. 184 built-in stitches, 11 sewing feet
  4. Sew sideways as well as horizontally
  5. LCD display
  6. 136 embroidery designs and USB connectivity
  7. Bunch of money-saving extra accessories
  8. Protective case

This machine can do everything except serge and it will not overwhelm you with the features while you get used to working on it.

Click here to check over 1,150 Amazon customer reviews.

Bernina Bernette Sublime Chicago 7

Bernina Bernette Chicago 7

Our last pick is the Bernina Bernette Sublime Chicago 7, a tiny underappreciated machine that packs a punch with its features and backs it up with superb performance. The only reason why it features last in this list, is because of a slightly cluttered control panel which may seem a tad overwhelming for the beginner.

Otherwise, this beast of a machine can sew and embroider with equal elan and it weighs under 14 lbs. Talk about being pocket sized.

  • Ample choices for the sewist

Despite the miniscule profile, the Chicago 7 offers a bundle of choices for both sewists as well as seamstresses. There are 200 built-in stitches that include 14 utility stitches, 153 decorative ones, 8 buttonholes and a couple of eyelets, alphabets and darning stitches.

There are 100 embroidery designs built into the machine. But there’s just one built-in font for monograms. USB connectivity makes up for the lack of built-in options. The embroidery work area is 4.3″ x 6.7″ which is much bigger than what most other machines at this price point offer. Clubbed with software, you can easily make large sized embellishments and designs without having to multi-hoop.

The 7 mm stitch width is also particularly suited for decorative sewing.

  • Easy Set up

The Chicago 7 has a semi-automatic needle threader. Sewists who are used to the convenience of one-touch threading may find this a letdown. But really, it isn’t that difficult nor is it time consuming. The needle thread monitoring function automatically shuts the machine off if the thread were to break during embroidery or sewing.

Coming on to the control panel, there are quite a few buttons that give you access to the basic functions. There’s a speed control slider button, a push button for thread cutting, start/stop button, needle position adjustment, directional arrow buttons, a numerical keypad for stitch selection, reverse stitching, mirror imaging, memory button and one to clear the memory.

For a beginner, that’s a lot of buttons on the control panel. The advantage is that it avoids the need to flip through multiple menus to access the functions.

  • Excellent stitch quality

Don’t be fooled by the miniscule size. The unit has a consistent stitch quality when used with a whole range of fabrics including heavier ones like denim, leather and upholstery.

The machine works equally well at lower speeds and the highest speed setting and it is very quiet for a machine this size.

  • Best features at a glance
  1. Extremely compact and lightweight machine
  2. Weighs just 13 lbs
  3. Large 4.3″ x 6.7″ embroidery work area
  4. 100 embroidery designs
  5. 200 built-in stitches
  6. One font for monograms
  7. Semi-automatic needle threader
  8. Excellent stitch quality
  9. USB connectivity

With the portable design and quick setup, this machine is perfect for sewists on-the-go. It switches seamlessly between sewing and embroidery and performs consistently in both modes.

Click here to find out the latest price.

How to Pick The Best Sewing And Embroidery Machine

There’s no dearth of choice of good combo machines in the market. But when you are a beginner, it pays to be a discerning shopper and pick a machine that fits into your home and your pocket.

1.The budget: The money that one is willing to spend on a good combo machine is subjective. But as a rule of thumb, it is best if you stick to the under $1500 range. There are a plethora of excellent options at that price point and most of them are beginner friendly models.

2.The footprint: Unless you have a separate sewing room that can accommodate large sized machines, look for machines that have a compact footprint and can easily be carried around.

3.The hoop size: What is a good hoop size for a beginner? Is it 4″ x 4″ which is the standard in most combo units? Or do you need a bigger sized hoop? That depends on what you are looking to create. For most beginner projects, a 4″ x 4″ hoop size works just fine. Also, most brands sell optional larger hoops that allow you to work on bigger designs.

4.USB Connectivity: The machine will most likely have a limited number of designs and stitches built into it. But USB or computer connectivity allows you to download additional designs.

5.Automation features: Does the machine allow for an easy set up? Look for features like automatic needle threading, needle cutting, thread monitoring, top loading bobbin and one button access to basic functions.

6.User friendliness: The best combo for beginners are user friendly. Anything that is too complicated will only increase the learning curve and leave you fiddling with buttons.

That’s it folks! Hope you enjoyed that read and it helps you to narrow down on a model that suits your preferences and fulfills your embroidery goals.

Finnaly, we recommend SE400. Find over 2,300 reviews here.

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