For quite a while, I had been reading about the new line of Baby Lock sewing machines. I finally had an opportunity to review a couple of them when I visited Laura’s Sew and Vac in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
In fact, Laura’s husband and business partner, said they had just unpacked the Baby Lock Soprano BLMSP machine the day before I arrived. The Soprano is one of three long anticipated sewing, quilting and embroidery machines… the Soprano, Lyric and Katherine.
The Katherine is a basic computerized sewing machine with 190 on board stitch options; the Lyric is Baby Lock’s newest sewing and quilting machine, with 250 on board utility and decorative stitches; and the Soprano is Baby Lock’s latest offering in affordable embroidery machines for the home, offering a total of 300 stitches from which to choose.
At A Glance
At first glance, all three of the machines in the brand new Baby Lock line look exactly alike.
They all have an advanced needle threader; start/stop button; needle up/down; thread tie off and cut; adjustable stitch length and width; automatic needle threader; two bright LED lights – one above the needle and another over the work space; knee lift; drop feed; free arm; on board accessory storage; memory keys; and on board seam guides on both the needle plate and bobbin cover.
The ergonomic design of the monochromatic LCD screen and function buttons are great for people who are challenged with carpal tunnel syndrome or issues with changing vision requirements.
- Monochromatic LCD Screen
- 300 On board decorative and utility stitches
- 99 Utility with 10 one-step buttonholes
- 94 Decorative stitches
- 17 Satin stitches
- 18 Decorative satin stitches
- 14 Cross stitches
- 58 Combinable utility stitches
- 5 Alphanumeric fonts
- Adjustable stitch length and width [maximum stitch width 7mm]
- Automatic presser foot pressure adjustment
- Automatic tension adjustment
- Advanced needle threader
- Automatic thread cutter
- Quick-Set, top-loading bobbin
- Advanced Pivoting Feature
- Bright LED lighting
- Knee lift
- Drop feed
- Utility stitch editing
- Capability to store personal stitch settings for each utility stitch
- Reset key
- Decorative stitch editing capabilities
- Back to the beginning key [returns to the beginning of a decorative stitch pattern]
- Edit and combine Character/ Decorative stitches
- 15 Memory pockets
- Variable needle positions
- Needle up/down button
- Start/stop button
- Lateral and diagonal feeding
- Automatic built-in darning
- Twin needle settings
- Automatic presser foot lift
- Reinforcement/stitch lock key
- Quick set bobbin winder
- On board seam guides on the needle plate and bobbin cover in inches and centimeters
- Free arm
- Two on board accessory storage compartments
- On board tutorial
- On board threading and bobbin winding guides
- Automatic fabric sensor
Working on the Baby Lock Soprano BLMSP
When I sat down to review the Baby Lock Soprano BLMSP, I knew it had just been uncrated, but I was not aware that I was the very first person to work on it.
I saw the word ‘English’ on the LCD screen, but ignored it. I followed the threading and bobbin winding guides to set up the machine, and set the straight stitch to start the review.
However, when I attempted to press the ‘start/stop’ button, it did nothing. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had to first press ‘OK’ to alert the machine that English was the language in which I would be working. With that done, everything went smoothly.
The stitch selection process involved first identifying the desired stitch and then finding out which menu category it is stored in.
With that done, the next step is to first depress the button assigned to that menu category and then toggle through the stitch patterns until the desired stitch appears on the LCD screen. Each stitch that I sampled was perfectly formed, secure and excellent in every way.
While working on the Baby Lock Soprano, I discovered that the machine is one of the most solidly built sewing machines that I have worked on in quite a while. It is whisper quiet.
Having a conversation while sewing was no challenge at all. It was not necessary to raise or voices even a little bit. It goes without saying that working on a machine this quiet also means that there is absolutely no vibration whatsoever.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 16 Snap-on feet
- Buttonhole foot
- Overcasting foot
- Monogramming foot
- Zipper foot
- Zig zag foot
- Blind stitch foot
- Button fitting
- Free-motion quilting foot
- Free-motion open toe quilting foot
- Free-motion echo quilting foot
- Walking foot
- Stitch guide foot
- Open toe foot
- Teflon foot
- Adjustable zipper/piping foot
- 1/4″ Quilting foot with a guide
- Knee lift
- Extension table
- Quilting guide
- Soft cover
- Extra bobbins
- Seam ripper
- Twin needle
- Straight stitch needle plate and presser foot
- Double spool thread stand
|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
For a little while, I was wondering if the merger between Baby Lock and Brother was a good idea. Everybody knows that Brother not only sells machines through authorized dealers, they also sell online and in big box stores.
Those sewing machines and sergers are generally of far lesser quality and what many in the sewing machine industry refer to as ‘throw away’ machines.
I am pleased to say that my observations so far have been that the Baby Lock quality and workmanship has not suffered one bit. The Baby Lock Soprano is an excellent sewing machine that I believe almost any home sewer would be proud to say that they own one of these machines.
The only feature on the Soprano that I am not pleased with is the placement of the drop feed control. I have said over and over again that every single feature control, regardless of how seldom or often it is used, should be within easy reach.
Having to remove the accessory case to do anything more than replace a bobbin is, in my opinion, a highly inefficient use of time and energy.
If and when the folks who design and manufacture sewing machines ever have to use one in a real sewing room situation, the drop feed control will be moved to a more accessible position and never again tampered with.
I know enough about actual mechanics to understand why the drop feed control is not on the column with most of the other controls, but it seems to me that there should be a way to put it someplace near the needle plate or on front of the machine. As my granddaughter says… “I’m just saying”.
The only other feature I observed that was not really a minus for me, but could understandably be a negative for some people is the shorter distance between the needle and column.
It isn’t a real big difference, but an extra inch or two could make a difference for those who prefer working on larger sewing and machine quilting projects on a regular basis.
While taking those two relatively minor disadvantages into consideration, I believe that the Baby Lock Soprano BLMSP is a strong contender for being one of this year’s top ten sewing machines.
It is a great machine for anyone who has already mastered the basics of sewing machine operation and an excellent option for the advanced home sewer who is in the market for a new machine.
The bright LED lighting, solid construction, quiet operation and ergonomic design make it an ideal choice for anyone who has the slightest concern for comfort and ease of operation.
I hesitate to recommend this machine for a beginner because learning to use all of the features might be a bit intimidating for anyone who is the least bit challenged or frustrated by being required to make a lot of choices and decisions while still in the learning phase.
There are, however, many people who welcome such a challenge and could excel in making their very first sewing projects on the Baby Lock Soprano.
This is definitely not a machine for use by children younger than 13 or 14 years of age, however… even those who many consider to be advanced.
I watched a few episodes of the kids’ version of Project Runway, and still maintain that even those youngsters were not ready for a machine as sophisticated as the Baby Lock Soprano.
Although I have not yet had an opportunity to review it, I am inclined to believe that the Baby Lock Katherine is better suited for the younger set.
Of course, the final decision should be made by the actual user. If you or someone in your household are in the market for a new sewing and quilting machine, I urge you to visit the nearest authorized Baby Lock dealer and ask for a demonstration of this brand new machine before deciding to take one home.
- 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
- Sturdy construction
- Smaller space needle to column
- Placement of feed dog control lever