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.

Baby Lock Rachel

Baby Lock Rachel

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.

Double needle button and a reverse stitch locking button

Double needle button 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.

Features

  • 50 Built-in stitches
  • 5 one-step buttonholes
  • Drop-in bobbin
  • On board needle threader
  • Quick-set bobbin
  • Free-arm
  • 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.

Easy to use thread guide and bobbin winder

Easy to use thread guide and bobbin winder

The on board stitch selection guide and dial are equally as easy to use.

On board stitch selection guide and dial

On board stitch selection guide and dial

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.

Bright back-lit LCD window

Bright back-lit LCD window

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.

Perfectly formed, stable, secure and well defined stitches

Perfectly formed, stable, secure and well defined stitches

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.

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

  • 7 Snap-on presser feet
    • Blind stitch
    • Button fitting
    • Buttonhole
    • Overcasting
    • Satin stitch
    • Standard/zig zag
    • Zipper
  • 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
Accessories

Accessories

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 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.

Baby Lock Rachel 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
  • Excellent stitch quality
Cons
  • Vibrates
  • Manual tension adjustment
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (10 Votes)

11 Responses

  1. joyce

    I usually sew at top speed and have no problem with vibration on my machine. I have it in a sturdy drop down table. I give this a 5 star rating.

    Reply
    • Mark

      I’m a quilting guy. I need a machine that is a speed demon! I have a sewing table that takes two people to move, so if I can attach it to the drop shelf I’m good..Does it have bolt holes on the bottom? How does the straight stitch look?

      Reply
  2. Vernelle

    Thank you for sharing your positive experience, Joyce and thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    No doubt, you are working on a table built and designed for stability. As with most reviews, this machine was reviewed in a store. Some sewing machines and sergers I review are mounted on actual sewing tables. Others are not. This particular machine was not on a sewing table, but rather on one of those long conference type tables. I will definitely share this insight with the store owner.

    Happy stitching.

    Reply
  3. Virginia

    I have been sewing on the Baby Lock Rachel for 2 weeks. I prefer to use the foot pedal as opposed to the start/stop button on the machine. I really like being able to press a button and the machine automatically back stitches at the beginning and end of the seam. I love the stitch dial selector and that the display tells you what foot to use for each stitch. No having to pull out manual to see which foot to use. This may sound silly but I love the instruction guide because it is all written in English. The Singer machine I have the instruction guide has directions in English, Spanish,German,and French. It is so confusing the way they have it payed out. So far so good I like the machine.

    Reply
  4. Nancy Hartley

    I own a Baby Lock Symphony and just purchased a Rachael. I make fabric wrapped baskets so I needed a tough machine. I love the Rachael’s curved top, as it makes a wonderful addition to my Baby Lock family for what I do. I am very hard on my machines, and these machines are tough. I am using them as commercial machines and they have never let me down. Perfect for sewing anything, and tough, tough, tough!!! I also teach quilting and sewing classes. The Rachael is very light weight, again, just exactly what I needed.

    Reply
    • Debbie

      How do you feel this machine would work with quilting? That’s in advance!!!

      Reply
  5. Baby Boom

    I purchased Rachel for my son with high functioning autism. He was attending a sewing camp, and I needed something safe and not frustrating. The speed control is great for kids. The slowest speed crawls. I’ve never seen any machine on the market that can run that slow. Also the error message will ring if your presser foot is up and will not run the machine. After 30 hours for the week long sewing camp, no accidents at all or meltdowns. He calls it his machine and loves it. As for vibrating, there was none at my home on top of my dining room table. At camp, they used the cheap yard sale tables. Every child’s machine which were Janomes and Singers including Rachel vibrated somewhat but not dangerously. The straight stitch is super nice and may give my featherweight some competition. It can also be stored easily in one of the Joann’s rolling bags. Only thing I don’t like is that the default stitch is left of center. I prefer that sewing machines turn on and be in the center position. Also if you put the whole assessory bag in the storage compartment, it does not fit well. You have to take it out for the compartment to close. I would still give it 4 stars only because the center needle position is a must for safety. Center should always be the default especially if you are a quilter and like using piecing feet which are often single holed. I have tons of different brand machines that start in center needle position so I will need to train this old brain to not forget to move the stitch to #2.

    Reply
    • Joe

      You can change the default needle position to be either in the center position, or left of center. The procedure is in the manual on page 36: “While pressing the needle mode selection key, turn on the sewing machine. When the machine beeps twice, release the needle mode selection key”

      This was something we also wanted to change, and were very happy to find the option in the manual.

      Reply
      • Baby Boom

        Thank you for the reference. However, I firmly believe it should come to the customer in center needle position. I have no idea what they were thinking. As an avid sewer and quilter, I want it the way I’ve traditionally done in the past without having to change something. It’s a small change for Babylock to do, but I think it would be wise for them to do this. This was a class machine for me so I expected to sew with it right out of the box and, honestly, without reading the manual. There are other quilters in my guild complaining of the same thing so thank you, Joe, for the information so I can share with them.

      • Dede Duly

        Thank you, thank you. I have broken so many needles since buying this machine a year ago. I was ready to give up on it. I love everything else about the machine. It sews evenly, is light weight to take to sewing groups, has a great choice of stitches, love that it tells you which pressure foot to use and the light is bright. What more could hobby seamstress want!

  6. Debbie Wilson

    I have very expensive machines that vibrate on those conference tables. I had a Grace and could sew full out on the tables I have at home. I think in this case the problem is the table and not the machine.

    Reply

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