I bought this machine 3 years ago at walmart, where it had been red tagged at just $300. It took a lot of stubbornness to keep the staff from contesting the price it had been stickered. There were no signs that it had been previously opened or tampered with... so they ultimately had no choice but to sell it at the stated price.
Tell us about your first impression when you used this machine.
This was my first computerized machine, I didn't know what to expect. I barely needed to do anything to it, and it was sewing the most beautiful line of stitching I have ever seen on a home sewing machine.
Was the machine manual sufficient?
The manual(s) are extensive, if it isn't in there somewhere then it's not something you might be licensed to do yourself, heh.
Did you buy any accessories? Do you use them?
I am constantly buying accessories for this machine-- a seam guide (from babylock) that screws into the plate, a mess of presser feet including a no-name brand walking foot I bought on ebay that works magnificently.
Is this your primary machine?
Yes, this is my go-to machine for now.
Did you take any classes specifically for this machine?
A good sit down with all the CD's and manuals it comes should be enough for anyone-- a class seems like overkill to me. It's easy to set up and use.
How often do you use it?
I use it quite frequently. On average, I would say I use it once every 4 days.
Would you recommend this machine to others?
Definitely, this is a great machine for beginners or intermediates.
A word of caution, though:
Brother's customer service is not the best. They will give you the run around if they think they can get away with it. When I got home, my pristine unopened box contained only the machine and none of the accessories that were supposed to be with it. I called Brother requesting replacements, and it took 2 days of chasing down people, and being transferred to different departments and still nothing was close to being solved. Well I got so angry I just wanted to give up and return the machine, but then my husband called in and caused a scene-- well, after that they finally requested proof of purchase. 3 days later I got a package containing all the missing parts. I just hate the fact that it took these measures just to have the opportunity to prove we weren't cons.
Have you had any trouble with this machine? Please elaborate.
The only trouble I have ever had with this machine is when I attempt to sew through several layers of heavyweight material. I can hem jeans fairly easily, but when the layers start piling up it starts stitch sputtering. Of course, you'll have to use your judgement on this one-- typically, no currently made household will easily sew through a seam of 4 layers of denim or similar; the exceptions are the ones made before all the plastic made its way into machines.
Do you do regular maintenance on this machine? How?
I'm a HUGE advocate for preventative maintenance, I clean my machines after every project I finish on any of my machines. With the SE400 this is easily done, because it doesn't need oiling-- a dusting with some canned air and microfiber cloth, and it's good. I switched the stylus it came with for a rubber tipped one to prevent wear and tear on the touch screen. This cuts down on the amount of scuffing these types of screen suffer from constant use.