April is National Serger Month. In honor of the occasion, I decided to devote most of my review time to looking at as many sergers as I could possibly get my hands on.
While visiting Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics in Tamarac, Florida, I came across the mother lode… lots of brand new high quality sergers all in one place.
One of the sergers I had an opportunity to review during that visit was the Baby Lock Enlighten, a multi-functional serger with Baby Lock’s exclusive ExtraordinAir threading system.
At A Glance
To be honest, the Baby Lock Enlighten looks very much like the Imagine – Baby Lock’s third generation dynamo of a serger. The difference, albeit subtle, is significant for anyone who is looking for a serger that can do more than the usual tasks.
Unlike the Imagine, the Enlighten has a wave stitch feature. It also has all the great features that makes the Imagine such a wonderful serger… bright LED lighting; air threading; on board side thread cutter; heavy duty cutting system; differential feed; built in needle threader; and automatic tension adjustment.
There is also an on board threading guide, a seam guide on the needle plate and the very noticeable absence of tension guides.
This is because the Baby Lock Enlighten has a self adjusting tension feature, which takes away all the guesswork when working with different fabric types and weights.
- Sew with 2/3 or 4 threads and 1 or 2 needles
- On board stitch length and width adjustment
- Built in needle threader
- Wave and serging stitch options
- Dial adjustable built in rolled hem
- Sew up to 1500 stitches per minute
- Differential feed
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Side thread cutter
- Flatlock stitch with two or three threads
- Heavy duty cutting system
Working on the Baby Lock Enlighten
The threading reference guide, the threading guide inside the looper door and easy to use exclusive ExtraordinAir threading system makes setting the Baby Lock Enlighten up for sewing as uncomplicated as possible.
The main thing to remember is to always move the lever inside the looper door to the ‘threading’ position before you begin to thread the Enlighten and then put it in the ‘serging’ position when you are finished.
There are several threading options, and the chart helps clear up possible confusion as to which threading option is needed for each desired stitch.
The stitches you can get on the Enlighten are: two thread flatlock stitch – wide or narrow; two thread blanket stitch; two thread ladder stitch; three thread wave stitch; three thread rolled wave stitch; four thread overlock; three thread overlock wide or narrow; three thread flatlock seam; narrow three thread overlock hem; and three thread rolled hem.
For this review, I sampled the three thread overlock stitch. While sewing, I toyed around with the stitch length and width settings as well as the differential feed. In all cases, the stitches came out perfectly. They were well formed, secure and evenly spaced.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- Instruction manual
- Quick reference threading guide
- Lint brush/needle insert tool
- Extra needles
- 2 screwdrivers
- Replacement upper cutting blade
- Looper threading tool
- Soft cover
- 4 Thread nets
- 4 Spool caps
- 4 Sponge disks
- Allen wrench
- 4 Cone holders
Optional accessories available for separate purchase:
- Beading Foot
- Blindhem Foot
- Clear Foot
- 2 cording feet (3mm and 5mm)
- Elastic applicator Foot
- Lace Applicator Foot
- Rufﬂing Foot
- Size 90 top stitch needle
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
Tying Off The Loose Ends
The convenient threading reference chart makes threading the Baby Lock Evolution and preparing it for sewing is so easy, I have no doubt that a beginner would be able to master the task after watching the process only once or twice. That’s about where it stops, however for the beginner.
Once the machine is threaded, it is necessary for you to take several steps that could frustrate or confuse someone who is using a serger for the very first time.
These steps are not complicated nor challenging for anyone who is familiar with the workings of a serger. I am of the opinion that someone who is learning to use a serger should not be burdened with having to take on the added challenge of learning steps that are not required to use a machine that does not offer as many options.
The Baby Lock enlighten is very much like the Imagine. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought I was actually looking at an Imagine.
The difference between the two is the fact that the Enlighten has the wave stitch feature while the Imagine does not.
The Imagine, on the other hand, however has jet air needle threading while the Enlighten has a traditional automatic needle threader similar to the apparatus found on sewing machines.
I like the way the Enlighten performs. It is a solidly built machine that does not vibrate and it is very quiet.
Anyone who has ever worked on a serger knows how great they can be… and how challenging it can be to try to execute a maneuver that you have seen someone else do only to discover that it isn’t as easy as it seems.
This is why I do not believe this machine is good for beginners. As I said above, I think a machine with so many different options could prove to be a challenge for someone who has never used a serger before, or someone who has very limited serger experience.
The Enlighten is, however, a great choice for anyone who is adept at basic serger operation and ready to expand their skills to include a lot of new tricks.
The Enlighten is, no doubt, one of the quietest sergers you could possibly ask for as well. It doesn’t take a lot of space and as far as I’m concerned, would be a terrific addition to any sewing room.
If a new serger is in your future, visit your local Baby Lock dealer and take a close look at the Enlighten. It just might the machine you have been looking for.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
- Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- Easy threading
- Not an ideal choice for beginners