“I’m looking to buy an embroidery machine….”

Wow… 2 posts in the past week! I’m on a roll!! It’s Tuesday and I have a little time between homework checking and getting the eldest child off to soccer practice. I get asked on a weekly basis “I am looking to buy an embroidery machine. Which would you recommend?” While I would have thought I had posted this helpful info before, I couldn’t find much when I searched in my blog. When asked this question, my answer is usually “look at the Brother PE770”. Let me say this… there are LOTS and LOTS of different beginner embroidery machines out there. You can find single needle machines from Brother, Bernina, Singer, etc. I only recommend the PE770 because that is what I (and so many others) started with. Mine was actually a PE700 model but that’s just an older model number. Of course it has been several years since I have had it, so I can’t tell you how to adjust the tension or even thread the thing. However, if you google it, you can find plenty of info out there. I got my first one via E-bay from Ken’s Sewing Center in Muscle Shoals, AL. They shipped it to me and I taught myself how to use it. I got my second one (PE780D I think ~ Disney version) from Ken’s also and again, they shipped it right to me. Here is a link to this machine on their website and there is a video demo you can watch if you are interested.

I couldn’t find a photo of my old machine (although I KNOW I have some somewhere) so here is a stock photo! Again, I taught myself how to use it with very little sewing experience.


Here are a few features:

  • 136 built in embroidery designs (I never used any of these)
  • 6 embroidery alphanumeric fonts (you MAY want additional font software)
  • Patterns can be rotated in 1, 10 or 90 degree increments
  • 10 built in frame shapes and 12 border styles
  • Maximum embroidery field of 5″ x 7″ (I believe the machines comes with a 5×7 hoop only)
  • Expand to 12″ x 5″ with optional multi-position embroidery frame
  • Embroidery speeds up to 650 spm (my 6 needle stitches 1,000 SPM)
  • Easily import designs from your USB memory stick (you will use a thumb drive ~ save files to it from your computer, then put the memory stick in to the machine to sew)

Here are the different hoop sizes. The machine comes with a 5″ x 7″ hoop which is plenty big for most projects. You can also purchase the 4″ x 4″ and the 2″ x 3″ hoops. You will use the 4×4 hoop for smaller projects (think onesies, baby gowns, etc.). I don’t recall using the 2×3 much. On this note, there are also Brother SE model machines out there and the max hoop you can use is 4×4. Most people learn quickly that 4×4 is not big enough for a long term machine and quickly want to upgrade to at least 5×7. If you can spend the extra money, get a machine with at least a 5×7 hoop. There is also a 5 x 12 multi positional hoop you can purchase, but I never got this hoop nor do I understand how to use it. You would need to talk to a sewing center about how to use it and if it would work for you.

I used my PE machines for about 3 years and did everything I wanted to do on them. There is a huge jump in price from most single needle machines (w/ 5×7 hoops) to larger hoop machines. To fit an applique design and a name, for example, you can always hoop twice! {Stitch the design, then rehoop and add the name}

pe700 hoops

What else will you need? Embroidery thread is a must. I use Isacord and Exquisite brands 98% of the time. Both are 100% polyester. You can get Exquisite from Ken’s Sewing Center and Isacord from Sewingmachine.com. Both should sell actual thread charts (with real thread samples) which makes ordering online easier.


You will also need stabilizers. You can find more posts on stabilizer under Helpful Posts. Stabilizer supports your garment or item when stitching designs (embroidery {all thread} or applique {fabric}).


Bobbins are needed too. There is a certain type bobbin that fits each embroidery machine, so you will need to find out from your sewing center (or wherever you buy your machine or supplies) which bobbins to get. I like PREWOUND bobbins. Below are magnetic bobbins I use in my PR650 6-needle machine. Most single needle machines use regular prewound bobbins (not magnetic). You can also wind your own, but prewound are easier and the tension is more consistent!


Of course there are other things you will need like scissors, fabric for applique, etc. Hopefully if you are in the market for a machine, this will get you started! Here are RECOMMENDATIONS on my blog for the software I use and where I got it. Again, there is lots of software out there but these are the ones I use and like!


Lastly, you may have noticed a new ad button on my sidebar! Some good friends of mine own an awesome home & garden center here in Montgomery (AL) and they are working on expanding their website. If you are in the SOUTH then you may have heard of Southern Homes & Gardens (or you may have been to their store). They also advertise in Southern Living quite often. We are working on a giveaway on Facebook for SH&G, but in the meantime check out their online store!


Have a great week! We are working on new designs for Applique Cafe such as this one…

birthday hat 2-5x72


  1. I have the brother SE400 and while I love it I want something with a bigger hoop. I’d prefer up to a 8×10.

  2. Rosemary! You are my savior! I just came across your blog and I’m so grateful that I did. I’m in the same position you were a few years ago. I’m now a stay at home mom and I’m trying to find my niche to keep a good work/home balance. I’ve been dabbling with tutus and bows for a few months but what I really want to do more than anything is appliques and monogramming. I’ve been researching the how to’s and your blog is exactly what I needed. You’ve done an awesome job at outlining exactly where to start and how to move forward. Thank you! Hopefully, I’ll have enough money saved soon to gather up all the necessary equipment and supplies. I can’t wait! 🙂

    • Karol Wilczak says

      I have a Brother Pacesetter PC-8500D computerized 900 stitch embroidery and sewing machine with
      54 Disney designs built in. If you are interested let me know and if not do you know someone that might be interested in purchasing one. It is pre-owned of course. I have only sewn on it about 12 times and I have never used the embroidery part of it. I have all the original parts and manual that came with it.

      Please email me and let me know.c

      Thank you,
      Karol Wilczak

  3. After doing a lot of on-liine research, I bought a Brother PE770 this year and then an additional set of hoops. The machine has worked great and I’ve been able to do whatever project I wanted to do.

  4. I’m so excited I came across your blog. I was in the middle of doing maintenance on my PR-650 when I did a search for help on it and your blog was one of the results. After looking at a couple of your entries I was immediately hooked. I spent the rest of my morning between doing the maintenance and reading your blog. I can’t wait until I finish the current monograming of bibs I am working on so I will have time to read more. I too am a self taught somewhat newbie, going through phases of being hooked. I’ve tried a couple diff software programs but haven’t found the one that seems to work best for me yet. I was excited to see you have suggested some and can’t wait to look into them. Please keep up the awesome blogging and know there are many of us out here (way over in Louisiana) that look forward to your every entry. P.S. So excited about your blog that I, actually for first time, have setup a blog update page (not sure of correct way to say it, lol). Looking for other similar blogs to add to it. Have a blessed day.

  5. I have the PE 770. I have a question regarding bobbin thread. Should I replace it once it looks low, before it runs out or is it okay to wait until it runs completely out, during a project and then replace it? Any advice is much appreciated. Your blog is so valuable to all of us who are learning. You greatly reduce the learning curve! Thank you, Cristina.

    • If you know you are at the end of the bobbin and you are about to start a new project, I’d go ahead and change it out. Sometimes getting the item off and back on the machine to change out the thread can be a pain. And sometimes you have to back up in your project to before where the bobbin left off. So, if I’m starting something new and my bobbin is at the end, I usually change it!

  6. Thanks for the wonderful and insightful post. In my experience most people underestimate the undertaking (and cost) buying a new embroidery machine is and all of the information you posted here about your process in picking out your new Brother PE machine is SUPER helpful. I hear good things about Brothers from customers all of the time. I have also also been impressed with the wide array of embroidery file formats Brother machines support. The PE 770 for example will actually read .DST files in addition to the standard .PES Brother format.

    By the way, did you take a look at the EQStitch embroidery software when you were picking out you new machine? We have heard great things about its ease of use, especially from beginner embroiderers.

  7. Hi! I am reading through your blog trying to prepare myself as much as possible before I jump into the world of appliqué and embroidery. I was wondering about the programs you are talking about above, will I absolutely need them at first? Or if I were just to purchase files through your shop I could download them right onto the machine with the memory stick? I am planning on purchasing the brother pe770. TIA 🙂

    • You don’t HAVE to have software as mentioned! But, you will quickly learn you will eventually need it to merge those designs w/ a name, etc!! At least start w/ Sew What Pro ($65) and a font software could come later! 🙂

  8. Cristin Miller says

    Hi, I have your same machine and use MWP. I don’t applique, is there any benefit for me to invest in Sew What Pro? It seems that you mainly use it for appliqués. Also, what font do you use to monogram very small initials on a mans cuff? For some reason, Small Block font seems to distort if I go smaller than an inch. Would love any suggestions! Many Thanks

    • Unless you want to merge or edit appliques, then I don’t know that you need SWP as well as MWP. I would try Atilla maybe for the small initials. It’ll let you go pretty small! You might increase the boldness a little.

      • Cristin Miller says

        Thank you. I have used Atilla and Diamond 3 initial. Thank you for the boldness tip. I am also trying to figure out density. Do you have any rule of thumb? Just wasn’t sure if I was missing something. Hoping to start appliquing at some point. You are such an amazing source of information and an inspiration.

  9. Judy Halliday says

    Whatever you do, I beg you not to purchase a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. Go to their Facebook page to see how lousy their customer service is. They are nice and helpful when you are trying to purchase a machine. But if something occurs you are out of luck and are left with a dust collector.

    • Hello Judy, that may have been the case back in 2013 but not presently. I belong to 3 Husqvarna Viking Facebook groups and many good comments. Yes it is important to purchase from a dealer that is near you and one that you like; however, that dealer must not only be friendly and helpful but able to give you undivided attention when you come in for Viking lessons. Viking is an excellent product ! I have a Viking Ruby Royale and absolutely love it and my dealer.

  10. I purchased a Bernina B580 last year. I’m a beginner and purchased this machine on recommendation from the shop who sells Bernina and Babyloc. Also liked the bobbin sensor feature. Here is my problem with my Bernina: the bobbin sensor that I so wanted, goes off every few strokes of the needle telling me the bobbin is empty. It takes me a very long time to stitch a design because of the sensor. There is thread in the bobbin. I’ve had my machine in to the shop where I purchased it, several times. The sensor has been replaced twice, but I continue to have this problem. They can’t seem to fix it permanently and I was told that Bernina does not replace machines. I’ve looked on the internet to see if this is a problem with this model, but find nothing as of today. I’m beginning to wonder if I have done something wrong that is causing this problem as I’m new to embroidery. It’s been very frustrating, trying to learn a new hobby with a faulty machine. I’m packing it up every other month to have the shop look it over again. I’m at the point for chalking it up to bad experience and buying another brand. Do you have any thoughts for me?

    • I am not familiar w/ Bernina machines! Mine does not have a sensor, but I try to be mindful of checking the bobbin if I’m about to start a project. Is there any way to turn the sensor off??

  11. I use Brother 1000 embroidery Machine. Its not so much costly, worth buying and works very good. I am thinking to buy another machine for my mom and your article will be helpful for me.

  12. Hi,Do you have any suggestions on a sewing and embroidery machine? I’m looking to purchase one.

    • I am not familiar w/ sewing/embroidery combo, but can only say I’ve always had Brother machines. Not sure what they make in a combo but you might start there!

  13. Hi Rosemary,
    Just found your website and am so thankful to you!! It is chock full of information which will be so helpful to me. I just purchased a Brother PE780D machine and am looking forward to getting started. I have a question regarding onesies. The PE780d comes with a 5×7 hoop and I don’t have a 4×4. Is it possible to embroider a onesie with the 5×7 hoop but use a smaller size font and applique or do you recommend getting the 4×4 hoop? Thank you!

    • It’s going to be hard to hoop a onesie w/ a 5×7 hoop! I recommend you get the 4×4 for those smaller projects.

      • Martha:
        Please be watchful of the bird nesting / thick embroidery. A while back when I was using a previous digitizer, the back of the onesie turned out to be thick and had some sharpness to it. Even though I wasn’t new to embroidery, I didn’t realize about this. Eventually my customer saw that their kid started having poking on their infants chest, when the baby was sleeping on the stomach. The customer was furious, and I had learned my lessons. So, please be very cautious about this as well, if you are just starting out on embroidery for babies.

        BTW, if you do care about the aftermath. I’ve apologized, ate up the charges, gave new garments, and didn’t have any legal hassles from the customer. Immediately I’ve switched over to a good digitizer, based on a referral, and things had been smooth ever since. I don’t make any money for the referral, but these are good people. Here is their info: Priya at http://www.abcoln.com.

        Good luck for your onesies project, Martha.

  14. Hello – I have been using the Brother PE770 for a few months now, but have recently come across some serious issues with the machine cutting into my fabric and making tiny holes around the stitching. It is also ripping so that in some parts of the stitching you are not able to see because it has basically gone through the fabric. The blanks are Kavio 100% cotton. I am using 3 pieces of 8×8 Regular Tearaway Stabilizer and I even tried a spray and bond thinking that would help. I dont think I am hooping the fabric too tight. Any suggestions??
    Thank you so much!

  15. Hi! My mother in law has given me her PE770. I have enjoyed monogramming towels and shirts for Christmas with it. I also have the PED Basic software. My daughter is wanting a large 6in monogram on sweatshirts. I purchased a beautiful font online, but I am not able to open a font larger than 4inches on the PED basic. I have a 5 x 12 in hoop that was purchased with the machine. Is it impossible to monogram larger than 5 inches on this machine? Any help will be appreciated! Thank you!

    • Can you change the hoop size in PED Basic? I used to have it but don’t remember. I never had the big hoop either – 5×7 was the largest I had!

  16. I have a Brother SE400. I am looking to purchase a new machine. I want to be able to do the back of the PGF shirts and the big monogram in the middle of sweatshirts. Would a brother PE770 be sufficient for this? Do you have a picture of the biggest 3 letter monogram you were able to get with the 770?

    • The PE770 would do 5×7 monograms which is pretty big. You would NOT be able to get inside the PFG shirt, but you could monogram it – the inner layer would just be sewn shut too. I have not done any of the big monogram sweatshirts so I’m not sure how big people are doing those??

  17. Maybe I’m crazy, but I couldn’t find a price for the MWP……. I want to know how much it is. I am getting my estimated start up costs before I buy a machine. Is the Brother PE770 pretty easy to use? I am beginner level sewer, and just last night tried my first freehand applique! I am ready to jump in but want to make sure I wont be wasting money just to not be able to use it.

  18. Hey I live in the Montgomery area and Have shopped at
    Better Home and Gardens. Very nice place. My question is, where
    can I buy locally in Montgomery, Prattville, Wetumpka area
    embroidery supplies and Brother accesories. I shoppped at
    Hancock Fabrics, their price seem to be high. Any suggestions?

    • I suggest you ride over to West Point, GA to Sewing Machine.com. It’s about an hour 10 min drive and they have everything related to sewing supplies or embroidery supplies – thread, stabilizers, etc. I also like Joann when they have 50% off Notions (needles, stabilizers) and they always have coupons you can use. I used to shop at Hancocks but never go there anymore.

  19. Maleia Bell says

    So relieved to have stumbled upon your blog. New to embroidery here. Just got a Brother pe 780d
    I have two questions for you. 1) after completing an applique, I would like to put a name beneath
    The design. What is the best way to do this? Completely re-hoop the shirt? I’m not sure how far
    Up the needle is going to go (don’t want it to stitch over the applique). 2)I recently purchased an Interlocking alphabet set (one set is 5 inches and one set 4 inches). After reading some of these Q/A(s), I’m now wondering if
    I’m going to be able to use this without the additional software? I’m just going for the typical interlocking look. ( 4 inch uppercase letters on each side of the 5 inch letter. Thank you so much for your willingness to help us beginners!!!

    • You CAN rehoop and add it below. You would need to mark your center and figure out where to place it. I recommend Sew What Pro – it lets you do it all on your computer before you send it to your machine. You can also use it to merge fonts together – like the interlocking font. Each letter is a file, so you would merge the 3 initials together. SWP is free for 30 days – http://www.sandscomputing.com and only $65. Love it!

      • maleia bell says

        Your reply is VERY much appreciated. I’ll be getting Sew What Pro very soon ( they SHOULD pay you commission 🙂

      • Ok i took your suggestion, got sew what pro and it it’s just great! I’d like your input on a problematic issue…. After making beautiful appliqués , when the machine begins to stitch the lettering ( a name) underneath the applique, the thread is getting tangled in a big ball underneath and gets stuck down in the machine. Needless to say I’ve ruined several shirts due to this. It only starts when it gets to the lettering. Uggghhh! Please help! Thanks so much!

        • Is the font too tight for the shirt and stabilizer? You might try using a layer of water soluble “solvy” topper (water soluble stabilizer) when you get to the font part. It just adds a little more stabilizer. I used to have issues with some fonts which were smaller or twisty and too dense in some areas.

          • I’ve been chatting in forums re: this. Thinking the problem is when letters are shrunk in Sew What Pro, it causes issues (like stitching in one area too long). When I use the fonts not altered with SWP, there are no issues. I’m thinking if the download is for a 3 inch letter, I don’t need to waiver for three inches when merged into SWP. Thank you for the response.

  20. Love your blog! I am contemplating the purchase of a Brother pe770. The main thing I want to do are 3-letter monograms with larger center letter. It will be for me, my daughters, and gifts. I am not planning to sell things, so I don’t need limitless fonts & options, but would want some variety of fonts—cursive, block, diamond-shaped monogram, etc. I want to be able to monogram from small baby items up to tote bags, beach towels—whatever is the biggest I can do w/the 5×7 field.

    I do sew, but I have never touched an embroidery machine, and I have no experience with monogram software or how to transfer designs from computer to machine. Based on my sole interest in monogramming, what monogram software do you think would be the best and simplest for me to learn and use for 3-letter monograms w/the brother pe770? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!!!!!!!

    • Sounds like you would need a font program if you strictly want to do monograms. I use Monogram Wizard Plus (www.needleheads.com) and recommend it. There are others, but that’s the only one I’ve ever used!

  21. i am looking to start appliqueing and have no info on how to even start…
    my main question is what machinery is needed to applique?
    where should i look to purchase?

  22. I would like to know what brand of needles you prefer and how often you change out? Any thoughts on titanium coated needles? Thanks!

    • I use Schmetz Embroidery needles – 75/11. I change them out every couple of weeks depending on what I’ve been working on – sticky stabilizer, etc. then I change them out! If I haven’t been sewing much it might be longer.

  23. I have a Brothers se 400 and really like it but did not research good enough to realize it only reads 4×4 patterns. I am wanting to get an embroidery machine that can do larger patterns and appliqués. Do you have any suggestions. I like the se400 sewing part.

  24. Courtney Moore says

    I am starting an applique, monnogram, sewing childrens clothes etc. I dont know what kind of machine to purchase. I see all the suggestions for the Brother PE770, but I want to make sure that it will stand up to the amount of time I plan on using it. Also I am concerned with how much time or aggravation would go into the fact that it holds one color thread?…at least I am pretty sure it only hold one. I am willing to spend more on a multi-needle machine but I have failed in finding any suggestions on what machine to purchase. All I can find are suggestions for cost cautious machines. I dont wanna spend $5000, but would spend up to $2500. Any suggestions??

    • It’s unlikely you can get a multi needle machine for that much unless you can find a used one. It’s surprising how much you can do on a single needle – I used to be able to change out the thread in my sleep! I used a PE700 for 2+ years and it was a great starter machine. There are also machines w/ a bigger hoop, but still single needle.

  25. I would definitely want to have a machine as sophisticated as this, but I am scared to use it. Is this machine user-friendly for beginners like me? I don’t want to waste money on something I can barely use.

  26. Does the pe700 do appliqués?

  27. Do you HAVE to download a monogram software for the Brother PE770 or can you buy fonts individually and upload them to your computer? What is the best website to use for fonts?!

  28. Ashleylynch says

    I have a brother Pe770 and love it. If I wanted to get a bigger machine to do bigger designs which embroidery machine would I need?

  29. This is a perfect alphabet for pillows, purses, pillowcases, shirts, jackets, bibs and baby blankets. Oh yes, burp cloths too!

  30. I am considering the new model of this machine (Designio Series DZ820E – same as PE770). I am a beginner and am confused about adding fonts/designs. I am interested especially in adding Disney licensed designs and fonts. Is this possible? If so, what additional software is required? I have a Mac, so anything different to consider? (I do have access to a PC too, but my MacBook is my own computer). Looking forward to getting started – your blog is amazing! Thanks for the inspiration.

  31. Your blog is AWESOME, Rosemary! I have just discovered it and have already learned so much! I have a small gift shop & recently started accepting embroidery orders. I have someone else ‘contracting’ the embroidering service. Unfortunately, several of the items have come back noticeably imperfect. I would like to start embroidering myself. We want to monogram anything from a onesie (very small) to Shower curtains (very large). We already have blank caps, straw floppy sun hats and handbags (all of which our ‘contractor’ had major problems with). We definitely want to add applique as well. However, since we are a very small business with a very small budget, I need help figuring out what machine will be best for us. Please HELP!


    • Maybe you could find a used 6 needle? Most single needles will only do 5×7 as the largest hoop size. Some have 6×10. 6 needle will do anything and everything you mentioned.

  32. Carolyn Zahn says

    I have a Bernina 830 that includes the embrodiery unit. I am embarrassed to say that at the age of 60, I was talked in to buying something that I really wasn’t interested in, machine embrodiery. I enjoy making things and would have been perfectly content with a basic machine. Anyway, the machine has under 1,400,000 stitches on it which was sewing only with the exception of using the embrodiery during intro classes. Let me know if anyone is interested. It truly is just taking up space.oh, it is a great machine as all Berninas are…

  33. This is the one we use — The ButterFly B-1501B/T. It is very ideal for most embroidery jobs and we can attest to its quality! Read about it here: http://www.butterflyemb.com/butterfly-single-head-embroidery-machine-b-1501.php

  34. aeriel cox says

    Hi! I recently bought a brother pe770 and I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I’m now hearing a squeaking when it’s going it seems to be coming from around the presser foot and it squeaks when i raise and lower it. Any thoughts on what i can do about this or what is might be? Also I’m having a problem with my fabric bunching I’m using sulky cut away stabilizer.

    • You might check w/ whoever you got the machine from. I don’t know much about single needle maintenance b/c I haven’t had one in years!

  35. I need advise…. I just was interested in buying a Brother 655 machine. As I went int o my local sewing shop they said I would be wasting my money unless I went with the Brother 1000 (WHich is an extra 4,000 dollars)! I was quoted 10,999 for the 655, and 14,999 for the 1000.

    I plan on doing basically appliques with it. Anyone have both? And is it worth the extra 4,000? Any help would be appreciated. I would like to purchase soon .

    Thank you!

    • I have a 6 needle and rarely need more than 6 needles to complete an applique! There are nice features of the 10 needle, but I don’t think you’ll hate a 6 needle if you don’t want to spend the extra $4,000. I’m content w/ my 6 needle! 🙂

  36. Does the embird program allow you to transfer the appliques to the program so that you can manuever the names? I am new to this and the only program I have to the monogram wizard plus.

  37. Hi Rosemary,
    My mother-in-law owns a t-shirt shop and has asked me to start doing embroidery/applique for her. I have NO sewing experience really and I’m completely clueless about the machines. She needs something that can mass produce t-shirts, hoodies, blankets, and bags. Just starting to research and came across your blog… learned a lot just reading through the posts. What maching would you recommend she buy?

    • LaDonna, would she want to invest in a multi needle machine?? If so, I would look in to the Brother machines. I have a PR650 6 needle and it can do anything and everything. The other option would be a single needle machine. Not sure how much she wants to spend/invest right now??

      • Thanks so much for the info. We are going to check into the Brother machines.. This is gonna be a crazy question, but is there some kind of machine that will cut material for applique or is it all done by hand? Shes looking to invest quite a bit of money into an embroidery machine and wants to be able to do appliqued shirts in bulk for special occasions and football/baseball season.

        • I know some of the vinyl cutters are being used to cut fabric. Otherwise, it’s all done by hand! It’s really not so bad once you get used to it!

  38. Hello rosemary!
    I World like to know what do You think about embroidery machine brother PR600 II
    I found a good deal, second hand for 3000€
    Thank You so much for ur time on advicing us ????????
    Great blog and very interesting tips

  39. Hi rosemary! Sorry o got the wrong model number
    I meant brother PR620 not PR600II
    Proceso is right and it is supossed to be 6 months old only
    Thanks a lot!

  40. great post

  41. I recently purchased a brothers pe 700 second hand machine. I am having much trouble with it. They did not have much instructions as to what kind of thread to use, it came wit a spool of sulky 100%viscose thread. A friend of my does a lot of outside sewing and embroidering and I asked her about metro threads 100% polyester thread. She said she used that and ok to buy. When I use the sulky I can finish project. When I use the metro I get about two letters printed and than will stop and tell me to check upper thread. Can you help me

  42. Hi Rosemary,
    I am a newbie in the embroidery world and I’m looking at buying a machine. I have an opportunity to buy a brother innovis 2800d for $2600. Since, I’m so new at this I didn’t know if this was a good machine or overpriced?
    Any thoughts are appreciated.

  43. Is embroidery hoops the most important part of an embroidery machine?

  44. Hi There! I am new to machine embroidery and can tell this is going to be a great resource! Thank you!!!

    I have just purchased a used PE780d. It seemed to stitch beautifully when she demonstrated (using white top and bottom) and until I changed to a colored thread (with white bobbin thread). It appears that the top bobbin needs to be adjusted since the white bobbin thread is showing a lot around the edge of the stitches. I cannot seem to get the correct adjustment made. It is threaded correctly. I have tried a different spool just in case that was the problem for some reason. I am using polyester embroidery thread. Suggestions?

    TIA. Pat

  45. I meant I say the top tension…not bobbin.

  46. Hi! We started our appliqué monogramming business with two PE 770s 2 years ago. Due to our volume and various items we are doing we need to upgrade soon. Both our machines are starting to have issues. What are you using now? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Love your blog and use a lot of your designs. Thanks!

    • I have a Brother PR650 which is a 6 needle! I also had 2 PE machines and upgraded to the 6 needle. Love it! There is also a 10 needle if you want to make that jump! 🙂

  47. I am going to buy a PE770. I am thinking about buying it from Ken’s after reading all of the great things about the company on here. I wanted your opinion…. They have just the machine alone for sale for $599 or they have a machine plus software deal for $849. Which would you do? Wanted to see if I should just buy the software suggested on here instead. Thanks!!

  48. Crystal King says

    Hi! I just bought a used old Brother pacesetter pe100 and was hoping to monogram but I think that the font is to small 🙁 I want something that I can monogram my girls shirts, dresses, etc. How large will the PE770 font/monogram be?

  49. Teresa Smith says

    Hi Rosemary! I stumbled across your blog in search for information on monograms. I have been reading everything! I am just starting to applique/embroider. I bought a Janome 200E (uses USB). I have purchased a couple monogram and embroidery fonts. Wanted something more than the 3 fonts on my machine. So here is my question: i know I need software to combine the purchased fonts into, names, 3- letter monograms, etc. I understand that each font is a separate .jef file. Can I use SWP to merge separate .jef files and save out the merged file (renamed and saved as a .jef) Then I could save that new file to my USB to use in my Janome. I was thinking of downloading the trial SWP software and playing with that. What is the advantage of MWP over SWP? I just want to embroider and applique gifts for my family and friends. My Janome 200E has a generous 5.5 x 5.5 hoop. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. I JUST LOVE YOUR BLOG.

    • You are exactly right – you can use SWP to merge font files together (bought embroidery fonts) for names or initials. MWP is a little easier to use for fonts – you type in a name or initials and can easily adjust the size, font, spacing, etc. With SWP you merge together the bought fonts, so you are a little more restricted to the sizes the font comes in. But, SWP is very inexpensive and a good place to start.

  50. Hello
    My boyfriend and I have a hat line called StateCaps we just started this year. We’ve recently moved and are having a hard time finding a reasonable price embroidery shop to help us make our hats. I thought it might be cool if we did it ourselves but before I pitch the idea to him could you help find a machine that can do what we want done? We make our own designs so I’m unsure of how to put those designs in the machine/computer.

  51. I have worked on many embroidery machines however I found the Brother-USA machines are more efficient than any other brand. If we talk about embroidery threads, then I like to buy from OregonPatchWorks. I did not buy from local stores.

  52. Hi! I’m looking for a machine that will do monagramming and appliques. I want it for personal use for kid’s clothing, but want it to be durable enough just in case I start doing it for others. Any suggestions?

    • Brother PE770 is a great starter machine!! It’s affordable and you can do a lot with it. Then, if you want to start a business or go further you could upgrade to a more expensive machine.

  53. Jimi Paderick says

    Hi..I hope you believe in karma..as with your kindness in answering all these questions you deserve it!

    My question(s) …

    .I just want to do monograms and perhaps evole into doing appliqués for my granddaughter, etc.

    Would the pe770 be a good fit fir me?
    I am a Mac user…what software do I needed to have to do this with?
    Last thing, do you typically order most if your supplies from Kens?

    Many thanks!!!
    Jimi in NC

    • The PE is a great starter machine! I buy supplies from Joann when they have coupons or sales, thread – Kens Sewing Center (Exquisite) or Sewingmachine.com for Isacord. Sewingmachine.com also has tons of great commercial stabilizer so I use it a lot. You get a lot for your money. As far as software, I use Monogram Wizard Plus and Sew What Pro. I know with SWP you have to have a Windows Emulator to use it with a Mac. Not sure about MWP?? You can read more about MWP at needleheads.com.

  54. Hi! I bought a Brother PE500 Lastnight and it only does the 4×4, which is fine with me because I mainly want to do monograms on plain shirts and onesies. The main thing I want to do are 3-letter monograms with larger center letter. I would need numerous fonts like the cursive, block, diamond shape, etc. I am not for sure on which software to buy, could you give me some advice on what would work best with my needs and my machine?

    • You can either purchase a font software like Monogram Wizard Plus which only does fonts, or you could get Sew What Pro which you would use to merge together bought embroidery fonts. SWP is cheaper and you can find good embroidery fonts out there for a few bucks. You can also use it to merge fonts to form a name or initials with embroidery or applique designs (4×4 only obviously).

  55. Good article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.

  56. Hello,

    I am new to sewing and embroidery. I would like to find a machine that sews and also does embroidery. What machine would you recommend that won’t break my piggy bank? Should I buy two separate machines? If so which two would you recommend? I want the embroidery machine to put designs and to do monograms on quilted handbags, towels, shirts etc.. Thanks

    • I have only had Brother machines, so I would start there. I THINK embroidery/sewing combo machines are pretty expensive, but I don’t sew so I may be wrong. I know you can get an embroidery machine (PE770) for around $700-800, and you can buy a sewing machine for $100 or so, so that route might be cheaper to start off. I would google sewing/embroidery machines and see what you find!

  57. I have the Brother SE-400and would like a larger area. I am doing monograms on clothing for my daughter, as well as appliques. I also want to do gift items such as onesies, burp cloths, towels, kitchen towels, and ornaments. Do you feel the PE770 is large enough? Approximately how much more are the machines that do 6 x 10 area without jumping to the 6 needle?

    • The PE770 does 5×7 and there is a multi positional hoop too (I THINK???) but I am not sure how it works. I honestly don’t know how much 6×10 machines are, but I think it’s quite a jump from the PE770. I haven’t looked in to them enough to know a price.

  58. Renee Bartley says

    Does the brother PE-770 applique as well?

  59. Cathy Hogan says

    Hey rosemary

    I have found a pr600ii on craigslist, and the seller had offered it for$4000 with a trade for my PE700. From the pics I see it had 1048 hours. Is that a decent deal? What questions should I ask and what should I look for when I go see it in person?

    Thanks for your help!

    • That seems a little high for the older model, but I am no expert! I got a PR600 years ago for like $4500, so $4000 doesn’t seem like that much of a deal this many years later? Is there a Brother dealer anywhere near you that you could ask?? Honestly, I am pretty clueless on used machines! Just going on what I paid which was more than 5 years ago!

  60. Hi. Rosemary ….when I updated SewWhatPro now when I go to make a design and open font alphabet …its put the one I open with on the screen and do the Album View….. then when I use the clear page icon to use a different letter the whole alphabet disappears on the right and goes back to the color and thread count it didn’t do that before I updated ……PLEASE HELP ….Don’t know how to get it to stay ……should I uninstall and reinstall the program . Thank you, Teresa Lopp 1/2/2015

  61. I need some help with my brother pe770. Why is my stitching doing this. It will do the outline then when it goes to start stitching it stitches a whole different letter and its not on track. I have only had the machine for about 2 weeks so I don’t know much about it. Does anyone know how to fix this? Please email if you would like me to send you pictures of what it is doing(ecronic3@gmail.com)


  62. would I be able to monogram bags on this machine?? I am new to embroidery and had a friend say she wished her machine arm was longer so she could do bags?

    • Bags can be awkward b/c the embroidery area has to be flat. But, I used one for my first several years and it’s amazing how creative you can be with bags and other things! The multi needle machines are best for bags, but they are $$$$$.

  63. I am going to be starting my own business make birthday onesies and shirts for lil kids. I was wondering if the machine that you are talking about in this article will do that? I have a bunch of people wanting custom shirts, and they want the outside edge of the number to have the satin stitch. They also want to have their child’s name embroidered on it. Before I make the leap and buy this machine I just want to make sure it can do what I need it to do. I was looking at the janome 11000 se, but I don’t like the price. Thank you for all your help.

    • This is an embroidery machine which does monogramming AND appliques! I think it sounds like what you might be looking for based on what you want to do!

      • Thank you. I have one last quick question. I like the idea of prewound bobbins, but do they have to be the same color as the thread that you are using, or can you just use white with every color. Thank you for all your help.

  64. Hi! I am looking to upgrade my machine and was wondering what your suggestion was past the PE770 (which was the machine that I started on!) I want a larger hoop size and have looked at maybe a Singer Futura. Not looking to upgrade to a multi-needle machine just quite yet but definitely want a machine that can handle larger hoops. Thank you!

  65. I am researching monograms and best machines to buy.but was wondering if a machine can do 650 spm versus 1000. How many 3 initials projects can be done in a day or 8 hours?

    • That’s hard to say. My machine will do 1000 SPM but I usually keep it on 800. 1000 seems super fast! I think you can accomplish as much on either machine if you don’t get distracted and hoop the next item while the other is sewing, etc. There are lots of ways to save time and I don’t think the speed of the machine would make THAT big of a deal.

  66. Hi Rosemary!

    I’m taking the plunge and ordering the following. Just want to make sure I have what I need to get started.

    4×4 hoop
    Pre-wound bobbins
    tear away stabilizer
    Sulky Solvy
    Spray Adhesive
    Sew What Pro

    Do I need to go with Monogram Wizard Plus or could I purchase fonts from 8 Claws and a Paw and use Sew What Pro? I want to make sure I have what I need but avoid spending the $350 on MWP if I don’t need to. Thank you so much for posting such an informative blog!


    • That looks like a good starter list! You could try using Sew What Pro and merging bought fonts and see how hard or easy it is for you. You could consider Monogram Wizard Plus after you get the hang of things. We sell it on our website for $249.99. It’s well worth the money in my experience! 🙂 I hope you will also purchase Sew What Pro from me! http://www.appliquecafe.com

      • thanks for the reply! So if I went with Monogram Wizard Plus through you, would I still need Sew What Pro and other fonts? Want to make sure I’m not duplicating. Thanks!

        • You might not need other fonts – I personally use MWP about 98% of the time for fonts – names & initials. Maybe even 99%!! I use Sew What-Pro for merging the names initials with an applique design. It’s all done on the computer before you put the design on your machine. So I might open an applique design, format & save my name in MWP and then merge that in to SWP with the applique. Does that make sense?

  67. pat shear says

    Have a pe770 and a 4×4 love the 4×4 but upgraded to the pe770 i have tried to size the design down to a 2.85 3.81 which is the size of the design but i can’t get it to go this low is there a problem with the machine or does all it do is the 5×7 designs. thank you

  68. I am looking for a basic no frills embroidery machine that will be used basically for putting names on things such as towels, bags, blankets etc. I would like one that can go up to 4 or so inches. This will be used by a grandma type person for grandchildren type gifts. I am an experienced seamstress but am not interested in a big fancy machine, doesn’t need to hook up the the computer or anything like that. I have a sewing machine I like. Recommendations would be appreciated.

  69. Hi Have 2 or 3 baby lock embrodiary sewing machines. I would like to sell. You can contact me by email. I live in Michigan

  70. I just purchased the dream machine and it’s really to much machine for me and I thought I would be into embriodery but im not. Just wondering if anyone is interested in maybe buying it from me. Most of the stuff is still in the box. I got a great deal when I bought it and I’m willing to pass a great deal to someone else. Original box manuals all included still under warranty and you can take to any brothers dealer for any issues which it don’t have…. I live in virginia please email me if interested.

  71. I have a 1year used pr655 embroidery machine for $5000 Staten Island ny 10304

  72. Rosemary,

    Are you still using the PE780D or do you have additional machines? If you are using another machine as well as this one, what do you have? I’m looking for a machine to make items for gifts. I have a new granddaughter and could have already purchased a machine for what I’ve paid others to make the items for me. She’s done a beautiful job, but I just want to try to make this more of a hobby. We currently have an upholstery shop so we have sewing experience. Maybe eventually I could add this as an additional small business venture in my immediate area. Only time will tell. 🙂 I want to be able to monogram and appliqué. From what I understand this machine provides both functions. Is this correct?

    Thanks, for your help.


    • I haven’t used the PE780D in years! I have a PR650 6-needle Brother machine now. The PE is a great beginner machine though to start you out!

  73. Looking at buying an emb machine to do my company logo. Never used one previously. Do you simply take the .jpg file format and save to the memory stick. Or would I need a software pkg to convert to a different file format for emb? If yes, what software is recommended and what is the cost? Many thanks.

  74. As you know, in the market have a lot of brands for thread. So, could you write an article for this matter? Thanks a lot!

  75. I’m wanting to know if the PE770 can monogram on boots. Thank you

  76. Safor Graphics says

    Please, I am just starting to get into embroidery. Would someone kindly help me with the meaning of SPM? Thanks

  77. I’m looking to start embroidering birth announcements on stuffed animals (Cubbies). Would this machine be sufficient for this? It would be the same font and pattern used for each Cubbie. Thank you!

    • Would you be embroidering on a flat surface? Single needle machines are built to where your item needs to be flat, so that would determine if it would be a good match for a machine and what you want to do!

  78. Marisol says

    Do you know if I can applique on NQ 1400E?

    • If it’s an Embroidery machine, then YES!

      • I own a NQ1400E, an yes, one can do digitized applique designs on the machine. The machine is an embroidery only machine (meaning not a combo sewing machine), but if the designs fed into it are in the correct size for the machine (max 6 x 10 in) and happen to be digitized as an applique, the machine just produces what the design tells it.

        It does not have an “applique creator” feature like some of the TOL Brother machines have, so one can’t just take a random design and turn it into applique using only the on board editing tools.

        I’ve been very happy with my NQ1400E. Sure, I’d love to have a Dream Machine someday, but that will only happen when I win the next big lottery. For me, the NQ1400E had the most features for the amount of money I could/wanted to spend.

  79. Becky Finley says

    I’m just learning to sew and am interested in purchasing an embroidery machine. What level of sewing proficiency is required to successfully use an embroidery machine?

    • I had a $99 sewing machine and took 1 sewing class, so you really don’t have to know much about sewing! The machine does all the work for you. You just have to figure out the steps and tools needed!

  80. I am going to purchase the PE770 but wondering if I need to purchase the machine with the “grand slam package” or just the machine and add my own software/thread/spools, etc… I’m just curious if the package is worth the extra $300 or if I’m going to be buying completely different things than it comes with.


    • What does the “grand slam” include?

      • 64 spools of thread (unknown brand) with snap spools, prewound bobbins , cap hoop, sock hop, stabilizer, 15,000 embroidery designs and stork embroidery scissors.

      • 64 embroidery threads with snap spools (unknown brand), prewound bobbins, Cap hoop, sock hoop, stabilizer, 15,000 embroidery designs and stork scissors.

  81. Jewels Madison says

    Hello, by chance is there possibly anyone who is familiar with the new Brother Persona and that could take a second to help me out a bit? If someone could tell me what its capabilities are exactly and what sort of things could be done with this specific type of machine. i recently bought a storage unit and this was way in the back under a blanket, it looks pretty darn new. It has a LCD screen on the front of it and truthfully I have never before come across one nor have I ever even seen one like this. I am really just looking for any sort of info at this point. So any help at all with any kind of information would be greatly appreciated on my part. Thank You for your time.

  82. I am wanting to buy an embroidery machine for beginners with no sewing experience. Any suggestions for the most user friendly but with plenty of options?

  83. Hello! Going to a trade show and need a machine asap! I see your recommendation for what you use? Do you think it will hold up monograming canvas bags all day or is it a home use?

    • Are you talking about the 6 needle or the single needle PE machine? The 6 needle would be great (or any multi needle) for canvas bags. Single needle is a little trickier!

  84. This an amazing blog about embroidery machine.