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.

Baby Lock Enlighten

Baby Lock Enlighten

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.

On-board-threading-guide

On board threading guide

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.

Features

  • 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

Exclusive-ExtraordinAir-threading-system

Exclusive ExtraordinAir threading system

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.

Three-thread-overlock-stitch

Three thread overlock stitch

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.

Well-formed-secure-and-evenly-spaced-stitches

Well formed secure and evenly spaced stitches

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

Standard accessories:

  • Instruction manual
  • Quick reference threading guide
  • Lint brush/needle insert tool
  • Extra needles
  • 2 screwdrivers
  • Tweezers
  • 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

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean race hook and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

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.

Automatic needle threader

Automatic needle threader

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.

Baby Lock Enlighten Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
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
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Stitch quality
Speed
Ease of use
Maintenance
Pros
  • Easy threading
Cons
  • Not an ideal choice for beginners
4.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (13 Votes)

6 Responses

  1. Melinda

    I have the predecessor to this machine, the Imagine Wave, and it is one great machine. Baby Lock makes the vey best sergers!

    Reply
  2. anita brissette

    Would like to see the different stitch patterns this machine has to offer. Wondering if it makes a baby lock stitch with a sergering stitch next to it.

    Reply
      • anita brissette

        Thank you for your answer. I have just purchased this machine & think I will like it very much. I bought it at a closeout sale and did not receive handbook or accessories. I’m hopeful they will find it but I may need to order them. Until then, I’ld like to set up & use it. This will be helpful.

  3. Dee

    So, if you don’t recommend this serger to someone who is a beginner with sergers, what serger do you recommend?

    Reply
  4. Dee

    One more question. You stated that there are several steps that need to be taken once the serger is threaded, but don’t state what those steps are. Would you please elaborate on that?

    Reply

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