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Manuals from Brother[edit]

The manuals are very easy to follow. A printed copy of the following manuals are in a black binder in the Embroidery supply bin located with the Embroidery Machine.

SewArt User Manual[edit]

SewArt is software for converting digital graphics images - which may be stored either in raster (bitmap) or vector format - to a stitch file that can be sewn on an embroidery machine. This process is referred to as embroidery digitizing and the software for doing that (SewArt) is called an auto-digitizer. Supported raster file types include: *.bmp, *.png, *.jpg, *.gif, *.tif and vector formats include: *.emf, and *.wmf.

Threading the machine[edit]

The machine is numbered as to where the thread should go and the manual has helpful illustrations, but a few hints may help this process go smoother.

  • Be sure the presser foot is in the up position and the needle is raised to its highest point. Start with threading point (1) and begin to thread the machine.
  • Threading point (6) is a small horizontal clip just above the needle. Tension the thread by holding it down near (2) so that with your left hand you can draw the thread from right to left fully into the clip.
  • Instead of cutting the thread at point eight, hold the thread out from number seven while carefully pushing down the auto-threading lever on the left side (9) until the threading mechanism engages with the needle. Draw the thread in front of the eye of the needle so it can be captured by the tiny threading hook wire. And then slowly release the lever (9).
  • This may take a few tries to get the hang of it. Also, if the needle is not inserted correctly this will not work. If in doubt about it, take the needle out and reinsert it by pushing it up as far as it will go before tightening. If unsuccessful with the auto threader, you'll have to thread the needle by hand. Sorry.
  • There is a spool adapter (blue with a hole in center) to support and align the spool better. Make sure to transfer this each time the thread spool is changed.

The Bobbin[edit]

The bobbin is located under the clear plastic cover in the base just front of the needle. There are instructions for how to load the bobbin when it runs out of thread in the manual. Hints for successful loading:

  • Make sure the bobbin is at least one-quarter to one-half full depending on the design before beginning. If in doubt, load a fresh bobbin for your project.
  • Unlike many sewing machines, the embroidery machine does not require that the bobbin thread be brought up to the sewing surface before stitching. However, you may find it useful to do so if the bobbin thread insists on tangling when stitching the first color.

Preparing your fabric[edit]

  • Determine where on the fabric you want to place your design and draw a box the size of the design on the fabric using a washable marker or heat-sensitive marker (these can be found at most hobby or fabric stores). Mark the center point.
  • Select a hoop of sufficient size that there is a fabric margin of at least 3/4" around the design once it is secured in the hoop.
  • Cut a piece of embroidery stabilizer at least an inch larger than the hoop on all sides.
  • Lay the stabilizer on top of the hoop back such that it extends past the hoop edges on all sides. Lay the fabric to be stitched right side up on the stabilizer such that the center of the design box aligns with the center point of the hoop.
  • Pin the wrong side of the fabric to the stabilizer so that the right side of the fabric faces up with the stabilizer pinned to the back.


  • The hoop needs to be positioned so that the metal tabs on the side are free from the fabric and will not catch on anything.
  • The bottom hoop should be loosened as much as possible and positioned under the fabric and stabilizer.
  • The top hoop has a small arrow at one end that should match up to the arrow on the bottom hoop.
  • Tighten the hoop once the top has been pushed down into the fabric. It is important that the fabric is tight so it does not move around during embroidering.
  • Click the hoop on to the machine
  • The embroidery machine will only create a pattern up to 4” by 4” in size. This means the design should not be any larger. While the machine can do some resizing of the pattern, it cannot shrink much.

Picking a Design[edit]

The machine has a number of pre-programed designs. Additional designs can be uploaded from a computer by using a USB cable and following the instructions in the last chapter in the Brother Operations Manual. The embroidery machine reads files with a .pes extension. There are two .pes files on the computer that contain Tinkermill logos. Other .pes files are available on the web for downloading. Check copyright restrictions. When you select the upload option on the embroidery machine, the machine will look for .pes files to upload from the PC when they are present in the proper location on the PC. Refer to the last chapter in the Brother operations manual for details.

Note:Turn on the computer before the Embroidery machine to keep the computer from trying to read the USB for booting.

Loading a design - Brief instructions[edit]

NOTE: if the instructions below are insufficient, try How to download designs to the SE400

  • If you have a design, use a USB drive to upload to the computer and save it to a folder.
  • Plug the USB from the Embroidery machine (EM) into the computer.
  • Open the folder for the EM and copy files to the EM from the other folder that contains your design. If the designs look essentially the same, copy only one at a time as the machine does not name them and the low resolution display will make both look the same.
  • To locate your design select the USB symbol and select the design by touching the icons on the screen.
  • Then touch the icon on the screen that looks like a pocket to modify or adjust the design for embroidery.
  • Use the button called Adj and the layout button that has an arrow and square to show what area of the fabric the EM will be using for the design.
  • There are buttons to adjust the size and orientation of the design.
  • Once the design is acceptable as to size and orientation, lower the EM’s foot.
  • The red button on the machine will turn green.
  • Hold both the threads (bobbin and top) before pushing the button. This will reduce the likelihood that the bobbin thread will wad-up underneath.
  • Push the green button and the EM will begin. It will stop when the design is finished.


  • Basics of Hands-on Machine Embroidery (offered 2015-present)
  • Customizing embedded patterns (altering the designs that come with the machine) and transferring external designs (.pes files) to the Embroidery machine to be stitched (offered April 2017 - present)

Classes under development or being considered[edit]

  • Intermediate Machine Embroidery - the simple math of embroidery, preparation of article to be embroidered, embroidering variables and troubleshooting lessons
  • Appliques and Monograms
  • Preparation of .pes files from custom designs - Converting from a sketch or digital image to final stitched article
  • Embroider a cap
  • Embroider a T-shirt
  • Artistic embroidery

Resources and References[edit]