* I was provided the following sewing and embroidery machine from Sewing Machines Plus in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*
One of the highlights of this winter’s sewing season was receiving a Brother SE1800 Sewing and Embroidery machine from Sewing Machines Plus. Any avid seamstress knows the excitement—your mind fills with the colors of the season, the texture of fabrics, and the femininity of laces and fine stitching.
It was delivered to my doorstep in only a couple days, and I immediately got to work.
As soon as it arrived, I pulled the Operators Manual out and read it front to back, highlighting and marking everything I wanted to do for this review. Since it’s such a magnificent machine, I am unable to go into the details here of all of it’s capabilities, but I’ll share all the ups and downs of what I’ve been creating with it these last few weeks.
Basic Sewing Features of The Brother SE1800
Out the door, I cut out a multi-layer farm shirt for one of the girls. I was very pleased with how easily I was able to adjust my stitch length for seams, hems, and gathering stitches, as well as the tension, as I was piecing together different fabrics. This shirt was made as a test run for me to familiarize myself with the machine, but quickly became a favorite. With the exception of the serged inner edges, this garment was sewn in it’s entirety (including the embroidery) with my new Brother SE1800 machine.
Since this is the quietest machine I own (and trust me, I have quite a few machines), I will be using it much more than my others with the addition of a new baby to our home. Even the embroidery feature is quieter than most.
The sewing features offer 184 different stitches. Sewing may be done traditionally with a foot controller, or with a push of a button. I used both and found each of them to work well, although I’ve always preferred the foot controller. Novice seamstresses may set the speed to slower, while the advanced may choose a quicker speed by simply gliding a button to the right before beginning a project.
Other features include an automatic threader, and automatic thread cutters in multiple places to be utilized depending on the task. I found them all to cut quickly, cleanly, and smoothly with the exception of the thread cutter used to wind new bobbins which I was only able to get to work half the time (it could be operator error though as this is a feature none of my other machines have).
A knee lifter is also included in which your knee is used to lift the sewing foot instead of your hands.
The Brother SE1800 comes with a regular flat bed for sewing everyday projects that can be easily removed during sleeve work or finer stitching. This bed also opens and serves for a small storage place.
Eleven sewing feet and an embroidery foot are all included. I’ve used many of them so far, and am purposely finding projects for which I can use them all. So far, they all attach and detach smoothly and work well.
(Don’t know how to use your feet? Stay tuned and I’ll take you through all of them one by one in the coming weeks.)
Brother SE1800 Utility Stitching Features
I find that as I add to my years of sewing, I use more and more utility stitches than I ever thought I would. That’s a good thing for me in the case of this machine as it offers 71 different utility stitches. It also has 97 script characters (letters, numbers, symbols), 97 outline characters, 31 decorative stitches, 18 satin stitches, 10 decorative satin stitches, and 15 cross stitches.
I love the feminine touch I was able to give this flannel gown along the bottom hem. Since this particular stitch meant that the machine had to move not only forward and backward, the beginner seamstress should be ready to see that material move side to side during this process. (Side to side stitching is also a feature of this model for moderate to advanced seamstresses.)
Brother SE1800 Embroidery Features
The Brother SE1800 Sewing And Embroidery Machine is a master of embroidery, as one would expect.
After easily removing the flat bed attachment (used for garment sewing), an embroidery unit is easily added to the machine. The options on the (touch screen) LCD display automatically change to the embroidery setting to make things super easy for the user.
From here, choose from one of the 136 embroidery designs that are already programmed into your machine. It was hard choosing which one we wanted to use first, but I started with (what else?) the feminine ones for various dresses, shirts, and nightgowns.
There are a few I might use for a baby boy’s attire, but I found myself going to another site to order some tractors and farm implements for my boys. If you find you want to do this too, you’ll need a USB flash drive. Order your pattern, download it to your computer, save it to your USB flash drive, and then plug your flash drive into your Brother SE1800 when you’re ready to use that pattern. It’s that simple.
Most of what I’ve embroidered so far has been with the use of the large embroidery hoop that came with my machine. It also comes with the extra-large hoop.
Although I haven’t used it yet, there is also a slot for an embroidery card on the side of the machine as well.
I also used the embroidery feature to do some appliqué as well. The instructions that come with this machine are a tad different than how I’m used to doing appliqué, so it’s been fun to learn a different approach to it. The flower on this dress is one that I already had, (and that butterfly is one of the embroidery patterns that comes with the machine).
What All Can The Brother SE1800 Do?
So far with my new machine, I’ve been able to do:
- Basic sewing
- Decorative stitching
- Heirloom stitching
I look forward to using the included features to design my own custom stitches. (Can you say tractors?) The operation manual not only gives instructions on how to do this, but walks you through real examples to make sure you’ll catch on.
As I’m still waiting for some embroidery patterns I ordered, I also look forward to using the USB feature as well.
I also have yet to try any of the darning features.
What Can’t The Brother SE1800 Do?
I am still using my heavy duty machine for the Farmer’s Carhartts and other duck cloth projects.
This machine won’t replace my serger.
So…I’m using three of my machines right now (though I have no plans to get rid of any of the others anytime soon).
And alas…I still can’t get the automatic thread cutter on the bobbin winder to work part of the time—which doesn’t bother me in the slightest. (Did I mention it came with scissors too? They work just fine for clipping the bobbin thread.)
Would I Recommend The Brother SE1800 To Others?
Yes—I would absolutely recommend this machine. I have found this machine to be quiet, precise, and offers features that various other machines just don’t.
The machine I received for review was one that had been returned. Since there was a bookmark in the first page of the embroidery section, yet the manual still appeared brand new, I’d say the person who originally ordered it bought it for it’s embroidery features but became overwhelmed and sent it back.
If you’d like to try an embroidery machine, but think it would be too hard, let me assure you it’s not. The manual takes you through the process, and if you’ll sit down with spare fabric, thread, fabric stabilizer (don’t worry—it’s easy), and the manual, I believe anyone can figure this out in an hour or less. By then, you’ll be hooked and wanting to embroider anything you can get your hands on.
Who Would I Recommend The Brother SE1800 Machine To?
Beginners: Yes, beginners. If you’ve had a desire to hand-make all things beautiful, and you know once you start you’ll want to keep going, then there is no need to go through multiple machines to get you where you want to be. Don’t go for the basic sewing machine and then try to save up for an embroider. The Brother SE 1800 is both.
Yes, it costs more than a basic sewing machine, but other than serging, it’s really the complete package. You will step right into luxury and be more likely to enjoy your sewing than on a model that is louder and may have more of a learning curve.
I would specifically pick this model because it comes with everything you need. You won’t have to try to figure out which needles, bobbins, embroidery hoops, hard case, scissors, sewing feet, and software you need. All that is included. (And just in case you’re wondering, these things would be hundreds of dollars purchased by themselves–you wouldn’t want to mess up and get the wrong ones.)
Not sure you’ll stick with it? Then this machine is not for you.
Intermediates: If you’ve been making your own creations on a basic machine for some time now and are ready to move on to a classier machine with cleaner seams and a quieter demeanor, then the Brother SE1800 is just what you’re looking for. You will definitely feel pampered when you unpack and start using this beautiful machine.
The Advanced: My favorite sewing creations are heirloom sewing projects. This machine was built for heirloom sewing–and we can all agree heirloom sewing is not for the newbie!
The next time laces go on sale, I’ll be right there stocking up for all things heirloom and I can’t wait to see what else I can do on this machine!
Do you enjoy smocking? (It happens to be an obsession of mine.) Then you’re going to want to try your hand at that here too.
I do all my smocking with a smocking machine and handwork. I can honestly say I’d never done smocking on any machine before, so when I got to the smocking section of the operators manual, my list of projects tripled. Easily.
Advanced seamstresses will love the Brother SE1800’s ability to handle smocking, make heirloom sewing twice as fun, and challenge you to go from embroidery creations to full-on appliqué.
Overall, I would say this is already one of my favorite sewing machines. It takes two hands for me to count all my machines, but I can tell you this is one of three that is sitting out on my sewing desk right now–probably permanently. I can assure you, it probably won’t be collecting dust anytime soon.
Thank you to Sewing Machines Plus for giving me the opportunity to review this lovely work of art, to help me create my own works of art.
If you have a moment, please visit Sewing Machines Plus to browse their selection of sewing, embroidery, and quilting machines. Do a little window shopping during their March Madness Sale my friend. I promise it’s therapeutic.