Brother offers many different models of both dedicated embroidery machines and combination embroidery and sewing machines. And each model can have different ways of getting additional embroidery designs into the machine. If you’re looking to buy an embroidery machine, you need to carefully consider the options for additional embroidery designs, so you can decide which model is right for you. Once you discover all the beautiful things you can make with an embroidery machine, you will want to expand your creative design choices beyond the built-in designs.
There are three basic ways to get additional embroidery designs into a Brother embroidery machine:
1. Brother Proprietary Memory Card Slot
This slot takes little memory cards that look like the flash cards for some cameras, but are in a Brother proprietary format. The memory cards contain embroidery designs that the machine can read and sew.
You can buy compatible memory cards from Brother or third-party companies. But the cards are expensive and a better long-term solution is to buy a card writer/reader and software that writes the designs onto the card. With this software, you can download many thousands of free and purchased designs from the Internet, write them to a card, and load them into your embroidery machine.
Brother offers several software packages with different capabilities. If you only want to download designs from the Internet in PES format and use them as they are, the Brother PED-Basic software does exactly that. If you also want to create your own designs, you need more advanced software such as Brother PE-Design. Other companies also offer compatible software and card readers.
2. USB Port That Connects To A Computer
This type of USB port is like a small square cord opening. You connect the embroidery machine directly to your computer to transfer embroidery designs stored on your computer. No need for a card reader/writer.
3. USB Port With Memory-Stick Compatibility
This type of USB port is a long and narrow slot that takes a USB memory stick (thumb drive or finder drive) or any USB hard drive. This is even more convenient and easier because there is no need for a card reader/writer or to connect to your computer at all.
You just copy stored embroidery designs from any computer onto a USB stick or thumb drive, and load them into the embroidery machine to stitch out.
So which models have which capabilities? Here are the ones I’ve looked at:
The Brother SE350 Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine and the Brother LB6770PRW Project Runway Sewing and Embroidery Machine are combination sewing and embroidery machines. They only have the memory card slot. This means that if you really get into embellishing your projects, you will need software such as the Brother PED-Basic and a card writer/reader to take advantage of all the designs available on the Internet.
The Brother SE400 is identical to the SE350 except it has a USB port that connects directly to your computer to transfer designs stored on your computer to the embroidery machine. It also has a memory card slot to use if the design you want is only available on a memory card. You don’t need the Brother PED-Basic Software or card writer/reader unless you want to store designs on memory cards instead of your computer.
The Brother PE770 is a dedicated embroidery machine. It can’t do ordinary sewing. The Brother PE770 has a USB memory stick compatible port. You first copy the embroidery designs to a USB memory stick or drive and then transfer them to the PE770. This is the easiest, most convenient option because you don’t have to write memory cards or connect the sewing machine to your computer at all. The PE770 also has a memory card slot.