One day while visiting Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics, I found out that the folks at Baby Lock are coming out with a new computerized sewing machine.
The Rachel was designed to replace the Baby Lock Grace, which had been on the market for several years. The main difference is that the Rachel has a few additional stitch options as well as some enhancements to the under the cover technology.
At A Glance
The Baby Lock Rachel has a sleek rounded design with an on board stitch guide, a bright back-lit LCD display screen, a variable speed control slider, start/stop button, easy to follow threading guides, and a huge dial that is used to select stitches.
There are also buttons to adjust the stitch length and width as well as buttons to set the machine for working with a double needle and a reverse stitch locking button.
There is also a drop in bobbin with a see through cover which allows you to see exactly how much thread is left on the bobbin, an on board thread cutter, an automatic needle threader and an on board accessories case that reveals the free arm when it is removed.
- 50 Built-in stitches
- 5 one-step buttonholes
- Drop-in bobbin
- On board needle threader
- Quick-set bobbin
- Drop feed
- Needle up/down
- Variable speed control slider
- Start/stop button
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- Variable needle positions
- Automatic thread cutter
Working on the Baby Lock Rachel
Following the easy to use thread guide and bobbin winder are easy enough for any beginner to master after just one attempt.
The on board stitch selection guide and dial are equally as easy to use.
In my opinion, the only stitch selection process that might be easier than this dial is a keypad that allows you to simply choose the desired stitch by touching the corresponding numbers with your fingertips.
Once a stitch is identified, the bright back-lit LCD window displays the stitch number, the presser ideal foot and the default length and width settings.
If you want to customize the length or width settings, merely use the plus or minus keys on the right side of the display screen to adjust the settings up or down until you get the desired stitch size.
There is also a button that allows you to set the machine for sewing with a double needle. When the Baby Lock Rachel is set to use a double needle, that setting is also shown on the display screen.
After sampling several different utility and decorative stitch options, I came to the conclusion that each stitch came out with perfection.
The precision of the stitches produced by the Baby Lock Rachel is reminiscent of stitches made by much more costly computerized sewing machines. Every stitch I sampled was perfectly formed, stable, secure and well defined.
There was one challenge in working on the Baby Lock Rachel, however. There was a lot of vibration, especially when I moved the speed slider from slow to fast.
The faster I attempted to sew, the more the machine vibrated. At the very highest speed, I was concerned that it might vibrate so much that it could possibly fall off of certain sewing tables.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 7 Snap-on presser feet
- Blind stitch
- Button fitting
- Satin stitch
- Standard/zig zag
- Soft cover
- 2 Screwdrivers (1 large/1 small)
- 4 Bobbins
- Extra needles
- Twin needle
- Plastic accessories pouch
- 3 Spool caps (1 large/1 medium/1 small)
- Quick reference guide
- Owner’s manual
|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 Baby Lock Rachel is one of those sewing machines that you either love or hate. I love the stitch quality and the easy stitch selection process.
I hate the fact that it vibrates so badly that it could very easily fall off of a table when sewing at higher speed levels. Once I moved the speed slider beyond the halfway point, the machine started vibrating.
The faster it went, the more violently it vibrated. This is a huge no-no for someone like me who is accustomed to sewing at high speeds.
I love the ease of threading the Baby Lock Rachel and winding the bobbin, but I am not at all pleased with the location of the drop feed control.
Before you can get to the control lever, you have to remove the accessories case and then reach around to the rear of the free arm.
In my opinion, the placement of the drop feed control was determined by someone who really doesn’t understand sewing.
They may have a great understanding about what it takes to make a good quality sewing machine, but when it comes to efficiency, they fall short.
Anyone who places a function control where it is not easy to access clearly doesn’t understand what it is to be a person who actually sews.
If you have been reading reviews on this site for any length of time, you already know this is my pet peeve about many of the newer sewing machine models.
If you do a lot of freehand sewing, daring, attaching buttons or bartacking, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When I consider the vibration problem – which is far more troublesome to me than the placement of the drop feed control – I cannot give the Baby Lock Rachel the high rating that the stitch quality would normally dictate.
I think anyone who is comfortable sewing at reduced speeds, then the Rachel might just be for you.
When you take into account the ease with which you can thread this sewing machine and how easy it is to select the various decorative and utility stitch options, this could be a good choice for someone who is just beginning to sew and is intimidated by sewing at high speeds.
The problem, however, comes about when that person gets accustomed to working on the Rachel and decides they are ready to literally put their sewing into high gear.
Without the vibration problem, I would not hesitate to give the Baby Lock Rachel an overall rating of 5 stars.
Were it not for the excessive vibration, I would readily recommend the Baby Lock Rachel for use by anyone who wants to work on a computerized sewing machine, regardless of age or skill level.
I was greatly disappointed when I realized just how unstable the Baby Lock Rachel is and sincerely hope the manufacturer goes back to the drawing board on this one to take whatever steps are necessary to correct the problem with the vibration as quickly as possible. Until then, I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone purchase this sewing machine.
Once the vibration issue is addressed, I believe the Baby Lock Rachel will be an excellent addition to any sewing room.
Until then, however, I must advise anyone in the market for a beginner level computerized sewing machine that they continue to shop around.
There are plenty of other computerized sewing machines on the market in this price range that do not vibrate nearly as much as this one if at all.
- 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.
- Excellent stitch quality
- Manual tension adjustment