Exploring the Innov-is XP1 Luminaire

I recently took delivery of Brother’s new, top-of-the-range XP1 Luminaire sewing and embroidery machine. Having previously had the Innov-is XV machine, I was excited to explore the XP1’s many new features.

The Luminaire XP1 has a large, high-resolution screen featuring touch gestures akin to smartphones and tablets, which means you can use your finger and thumb to pinch and zoom, resizing images and designs with ease. If you have owned or used the Innovis XV, much of the user interface will be familiar to you, and the XP1 has an even cleaner look and feel thanks to some of the icons now being tucked away in drop-down menus. The screen is very clear, and the new fonts are easy to read.

The machine itself is pretty big! There is now a generous 13.1” from needle to arm, which is great for quilters like me. With the embroidery unit attached, you will need to make sure you leave sufficient room behind the machine to accommodate the largest embroidery frame (it is 16” x 10 5/8”). Incidentally, you also need to make sure you allow enough room in front of the machine, so you may need to sit away from the machine when embroidering using the largest frame.

Updating your machine

One of the first things Brother recommend to do is to update the machine’s firmware to the latest version. This is simple to do. You will need a formatted USB memory stick and a computer with access to the Internet. The Brother support website (http://support.brother.com) is where you will find all the latest updates for all machines (as well as electronic versions of the user guides). 

Download the latest software update for the Luminaire XP1 and save it to your USB memory stick, then follow the instructions shown on the website to update your machine. In summary, with the XP1 switched off, turn on the machine while holding the automatic needle threader button. Next, insert the memory stick into one of the USB ports and then press the load button on the screen.

The update will then be loaded and installed. Note that this can take a few minutes. Once installed, turn off the machine, remove the USB memory stick then turn the machine back on. I recommend checking the Brother support website from time to time to see if there are new updates for your machine.

New features

There are many new features on the XP1, including the ground-breaking projector. On the sewing side, this allows you to preview stitches on the fabric and control width and length settings using the new wireless stylus. It really is fun and easy to use and can also be used to project embroidery designs onto your fabric to allow for preview and alignment. I can’t stress it enough – being able to preview your design onto the fabric is such a useful feature!

The Design Centre now features new line designs and region fills as well as auto-echo quilting. These build on the designs and features found in the Innovis XV Premium Kits 1 and 2.

One of my favourite new features is the stitch plate, which doesn’t require the use of screwdrivers when swapping over plates! I always use the straight stitch plate for patchwork and quilting, so the new button-click mechanism makes it much easier and quicker to swap.

Wireless networking

One of the new features of the XP1 is wireless networking. This allows the machine to connect to Brother’s PE-Design 11 software on your PC or laptop so that you can send embroidery designs to the XP1 directly from the software.

The setup is easy to do, and there are step-by-step instructions provided in the Operating Manual for Sewing, pages 46-48. You will need your wireless network details – the network ID and password – which can usually be found on your wireless router.

Once you have set this up, you can send designs from PE-Design 11 wirelessly to your XP1.

Useful accessories to consider

Included with the machine are a wide range of feet that cover most sewing needs. If you are a quilter, you may wish to consider purchasing additional feet such as:

  • Stitch-in-the-ditch foot
  • ¼” piecing foot (the ¼” piecing foot with guide is included with the machine).

As with Innovis V7 and XV machines, the XP1 includes the electronic Dual Feed foot. This comes with a standard foot. Additional Dual Feed feet are available, including

  • Open-toe Dual Feed foot (better able to see the needle when quilting)
  • Stitch-in-the-ditch Dual Feed foot
  • ¼” piecing foot with guide Dual Feed foot
  • Quilting guide for Dual Feed foot.

For me, the Extra Wide Table is an essential purchase for patchwork and quilting but is also useful for general sewing and clothes making. It provides a large area to support your work while sewing and quilting (free motion and Dual Feed).

I particularly like and recommend the Multi-Foot Controller and there are many options available in the Settings screens to help configure it to your liking. I have my machine set up so that the heel press trims the threads and the small pedal is set to reverse stitch. My machine is set so that when I start to sew, the presser foot is automatically lowered. I also use the knee lift, so I can raise the presser foot, and this all means that I can keep my hands on the fabric.

You can tailor the settings to the way you want to work – it really is very flexible. The pedals are also heavier than the standard foot controller, which makes them better at staying put during use!


One often-neglected area of the machine worth exploring is the on-board help menu. If you are a visual learner, you can watch short instructional videos on the machine covering all sorts of features. If you prefer to read, then the complete user guides are now also on the machine and are completely searchable, which is a great new feature.

If, like me, you cannot always remember which stitch to use, you can find suggestions and instructions for sewing, patchwork and quilting. To access the help section, just touch the ? icon at the top of the screen – it is well worth spending a few minutes exploring the help available.

There are so many features on the XP1 machine and I have only just begun to scratch the surface. For my first project I wanted to take advantage of the new super-sized embroidery frame, so I used PE-Design 11 software to design quilted panels for a bag that I then sent to the XP1 wirelessly. I stitched them out and then used the sewing machine to assemble the panels together. Simple to do and a pleasing first result!

Tim Cooper
December 2018

Tim first used a sewing machine at school. He has always had a keen interest in the Arts leading to the study of Music and Fine Art History at university. After graduation, Tim pursued a career in IT, and following post-graduate study, Tim spent several years as a University lecturer in Business and Management. He continues to work in business as a management consultant. Tim has been a paper crafter, rubber stamper and mixed media crafter for more than 25 years. This led to an interest in and passion for patchwork and quilting. A chance encounter with Brother embroidery machines at a quilt show sparked an interest in machine embroidery and in-the-hoop projects. Tim enjoys all types of sewing from making clothes, bags and home furnishings to patchwork and quilts.

You can follow Tim on Instagram (http://instagram.com/timcooperuk) and he is a regular contributor to Sweet Pea Embroidery Designs Blog (https://swpea.me/author/tim-cooper/).