Whether you are a seasoned home sewer or new to the art of home sewing, the Grace by Baby Lock is a sewing machine worth considering.
We had a chance to review one recently and found that it is an excellent choice for the beginner as well as for the person who is skilled at sewing, but only uses their sewing machine for occasional mending or alterations.
- Excellent basic sewing machine for beginners
- 40 available on-board stitches
- LED screen
- Built in needle threader
- Built in buttonholer
- Presser foot lever located beside the needle
- Presser foot must be disconnected in order for start/stop button to work
At A Glance
This machine is part of the Baby Lock A-Line series, which features seven conventional electronic sewing machines – all with girls’ names… Elizabeth, Grace, Anna, Sofia, Jane, Audrey, and Molly.
Of all of them, the Grace is emerging a favorite among new sewers and experienced users alike. Perhaps this is because it is so easy to understand how to operate this particular machine.
There are precious few bells and whistles on the Grace, and the few that it does have are key elements of the machine’s popularity.
This machine was not designed to do a lot of the things more expensive sewing machines are capable of, but it does enough to make using it fun and easy.
What it does offer, however, are 40 different stitch options and a reliable sewing experience every time you sit down to sew.
The 40 stitches available on the Grace by Baby Lock include a variety of stippling and appliqué stitches, quilting stitches, an assortment of decorative stitches and several different zigzag stitch options.
The machine also has an illuminated LED screen and a quick set drop in bobbin. All that is required of the user is that they simply drop the bobbin into the top loading bobbin case, pull the end of the thread up and let the machine do all the work.
Other features include step-by-step threading instructions, a built-in needle threader and a built-in buttonholer making it possible to get perfect buttonholes in just one step.
The Grace also offers users the choice of using different three different speed settings, a reverse stitch option, the ability to stop the needle in either the up or down position and the capability to sew with or without engaging the foot pedal.
The Grace weighs approximately 14 pounds and is easily moved from one place to another with the convenient molded plastic carrying handle that folds down out of sight when the machine is in use.
It also comes with a 25 year limited manufacturer’s warranty; a 10 year warranty on parts; a two year electrical warranty; and a one year warranty on labor.
Working on the Grace by Baby Lock
The top loaded bobbin winder is literally a snap. Simply snap the bobbin onto the winding pin, pass the end of the thread through the bobbin winder seat, snap it to the right, push the start/stop button and watch it wind itself.
When the bobbin is full, simply drop it into place. Threading the needle is even easier. The numbered step-by-step guide is designed to take you through the entire threading process as easy as one-two-three.
When you get to the needle itself the automatic needle threader takes over and threads the needle for you. With the automatic tension adjustment feature, you are ready to sew before you know it.
The 40 stitch options are at you fingertips. A convenient graphic on the right side of the machine shows you exactly what each stitch looks like.
Each stitch has been assigned a number which is displayed in the LED [light emitting diode] window when you turn the dial beneath the grid. You can adjust stitch length and width by touching the plus or minus buttons located to the right of the LED screen.
The stitch speed adjustment lever is located above the workspace, to the right of the needle. Other controls conveniently located on the front of the Grace are the needle up and down button, the reverse stitch button and the stop and start button.
In order to sew using the hands free start/stop button, the foot pedal must be disconnected from the port located above the on/off switch on the right side of the machine.
The novel placement of the accessories kit makes changing presser feet and needles efficient and fast. By having the kit right at your fingertips all the time, there is no need to stop sewing to hunt for anything.
When the accessories kit is in place it is part of the work surface. When it is removed the free arm is exposed.
During the review, we experimented with several different stitch options and all three of the speed levels. We found that changing stitch options or speed while sewing is just as easy as it sounds.
A simple turn of the dial puts all 40 stitches at your fingertips. Shifting the speed adjustment lever from the slowest speed setting to the left to the center – medium speed – or the high speed setting on the right is quick and simple.
We were impressed by the fact that changing stitches or speed on the Grace does not require any additional steps or motions.
When sewing at the slowest speed, we found that it is quite helpful when navigating around corners or for working on intricate maneuvers.
The medium speed is good for working with decorative stitches and for putting in zippers, sewing curved seams or performing tasks that require close attention. The highest speed setting is ideal for sewing long straight seams.
For the experienced home sewer, the presser foot lever is a bit of a challenge. Most presser foot levers are located on the back of the needle housing.
This one, however, is located to the right of the needle. Those of us who have been sewing for quite some time will have to make an adjustment from raising and lowering the presser foot with our left hands to reaching through the workspace and performing the task with the right hand instead.
During the review of the Baby Lock Grace sewing machine, we found ourselves constantly reaching for the presser foot lever with our left hands. Obviously this is a natural reflex that was established many, many years ago.
We are certain that if we were to use this machine on a more frequent basis, we would eventually become accustomed to the location of the presser foot lever and not give it a second thought.
The owner’s manual advises users to unplug the Grace when it is not in use, when there is a power failure or when the machine is being cleaned.
The manual also recommends that the machine be plugged directly into the wall socket, rather than into an extension cord or a surge protector.
People who purchase the Grace are cautioned not to use or store it in direct sunlight, or near a halogen lamp, an iron, a space heater or any other hot surface that could cause damage to the machine’s inner workings and to consult the owner’s manual when attaching accessories, and when changing needles or presser feet.
The LED unit and any other part that becomes worn or broken must be replaced by an authorized service professional.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
The plastic accessories case is conveniently mounted on the front of the machine. When removed, it reveals a free arm that makes working on small hard to maneuver projects easier to negotiate.
Inside the accessories case you will find:
- Seven snap on presser feet
- A blind stitch foot
- A button foot
- A buttonhole foot
- An overcastting foot
- A satin stitch foot
- A standard zigzag foot
- A zipper foot
- A soft cover
- Four bobbins
- Spare standard needles
- A twin needle
- Three spool caps, one small, one medium and one large
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean loopers 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 Grace by Baby Lock is one of the simplest new machines we have reviewed to date. It is easy to understand and easy to operate.
So easy, in fact, that we believe it is a viable option for beginning home sewers of all ages. The Grace is also a good choice for the person who has been sewing at home for many years.
Sewing on this machine is a pleasure. Its 40 stitch choices, self threading option and thread cutter mounted on the left side are some of this machine’s major assets.
The self threading feature is especially appealing to the home sewer who is advancing in age and beginning to experience difficulty in threading needles.
The placement of the presser foot lever is a challenge, but only a minor one. No doubt, after sewing on the Grace for a little while, anyone would be able to make the adjustment with ease.
The location of all of the controls, including the stitch selector, speed adjustment lever, needle up and down control and reverse stitch button, on the front of the machine make its operation even more appealing.
The owner’s manual is easy to understand and laid out in such a way that using it is simple and uncomplicated.
To sum it all up, this machine is so easy to operate we believe it is one of the best options for beginning sewers – especially children.
Even a child as young as 10 or 11 will be able to master the operation of the Grace by Baby Lock with minimum supervision and guidance. It is a wonderful option for the experienced home sewer as well.
Regardless of the user’s age or skill level, with a retail price of approximately $400, the Baby Lock Grace is an affordable sewing machine that is easy to learn and yields perfect stitches every time.