Adventures in Baby Lock land! Test drive on a new machine

I have been rocking my $100 Singer for a while now, and I think it is getting to the point where it is hanging on by a thread <pun intended nyuk nyuk nyuk>. The bobbin is good for about 3 or 4 runs and then the thread pulls itself loose and I have to stop what I am doing and open up the machine and start messing with it and tricking it into working properly. I have tried everything, the tension, tightening and loosening the little screw on that plate thingy, nothing works for very long. Needless to say it is driving me nuts! Now that I have my new Serger that runs so well and makes such good clean stitches I really have the bug to upgrade to a sleeker, higher end, computerized model. However, good sewing machines (especially with all the features I want) come at a price- usually a high one. Lucky for me my husband is in the market for an upgrade on his hobby too- a new kayak playboat- so we struck a deal 😀  I get a new sewing machine and he can buy a new kayak. Guess we will be eating a lot of ramen noodles for a while!

My dear friend Jo heard about my quest for a new machine so she graciously lended me her Baby Lock Decorators Choice to test drive for about a week. This machine is fabulous! It has all the features that I am looking for: drop in bobbin (no more struggling and tighting screws), over 200 stitches including 3 alphabets and even a cute little crocodile stitch, automatic threader, automatic cutter, start and stop self stitching without the footpad- sorry don’t know the technical term, dual needles, and it can sew through layers of heavy fabric. It also has tons of accessories, and something she was sure about which I have now confirmed through usage; if you make a mistake or do something wrong it will pop up a message telling you what the error is and what to do to fix it. Pretty bad ass!

Here is the threading trail for the machine- it reminded me a lot of my Serger.

For my Mom’s birthday I used McCalls 6338 to make her the casserole dish carrier. This pattern had called for hot and cold prequilted fabric, but I couldn’t find any. The regular prequilted fabric was crazy expensive so I opted for terrycloth instead. Since she will probably use it for things other than casseroles as she doesn’t really make casseroles then I think the terrycloth lining will work fine. This was the perfect project to test out on Jo’s Baby Lock since it had so many layers of thick fabric, I wanted to see if it could handle it! Well let me tell you, the Baby Lock sewed through these layers like a champ! Here it is in action:

And through a layer of terrycloth, and three sheets of cotton:

And the finished product, not as sturdy had it been made with quilting but I think my mom wll like it:

Overall I am really enjoying the Baby Lock Decorator’s Choice. The only complaint I have so far is that since the bobbin drops in and the thread stays down with it, there tends to be kind of a sloppy start to the stitching because the ends get caught up, but its not a big deal, it can easily be pulled out and snipped.

 I have looked for it online and have had some trouble finding it so I am not sure if it is even an available model. It is also pretty expensive, about $800. There are some models I have been looking at that are similar, the Brother IS Innov series have gotten great reviews on Consumer Reports, however the one that I think I am pretty dead set on is the Brother PC 420. It is very similar to the Baby Lock DC, all the same features, 294 stitches, and it is a Project Runway Limited edition so there is an added feature to create and program your own stitch. Not sure how it works or how much I will use this feature, but it sounds really cool!

This model has tons of great reviews, and it costs about $450-$500, more reasonable than a Baby Lock. I saw a lot of really cool embroidery machines, however I only use my machine for construction of garments and crafts and I know I will never embroider anything.  If anyone has used this machine or has any other recommendations I would love to hear from you! I am trying to stay in the $500 range.

On a final note (off topic) my SuedeSays prizes finally arrived! I received the 2011 Simplicty Autumn catalog and the two Fall SuedeSays patterns yesterday, all signed by Suede. The patterns are pretty cute, I really like the jacket and the flowy bohemian top. I’m still enjoying summer, but these patterns make me look forward to Fall outfits!


7 Comments on “Adventures in Baby Lock land! Test drive on a new machine”

  1. diana says:

    how about janome or kenmore?, better quality than the brother, in my opinion

  2. AllisonF says:

    OOooh I am excited you are thinking about a new machine. I have a Singer Futura embroidery machine which I really like. However, the embroidery functions are not easy to use. I do like the way it sews. The one thing I would say is consider other brands than Brother – Janome, Bernina etc. I had one for years and it did the job. But I think for long-term they dont hold up and need quite a bit of maintenance. Good luck and have fun. Love the new project!

  3. Stephanie says:

    The fall patterns look cute. I upgraded my machine a year ago and have been thrilled. I was able to buy a Bernina floor model at my local shop. One suggestion I would make is that if you plan on taking any local classes its nice to have the same brand of machine that the shop sells.

  4. prttynpnk says:

    that machine was lovely- now you have me tempted to retire ‘Old Paint’ for a newer steed!

  5. cjgal says:

    Wow thank you all for the advice- I guess I just got sucked in by how many features the Brother model had for such a low price. I looked at some of the Janome models and the Memory Craft models look like they have a lot of the features I am looking for. I would LOVE a Bernina but good Lawd are they a lot of money! I don’t think I have seen one under $1,000. Are there any other brands or specific models I should check out? There is a big sale at a local dealer next weekend and they carry Berninas, Brothers and Husqvarna- don’t know much about those.

  6. Diana says:

    Check this two, i know that kenmore is the same janome, i Love Janome! Mine works amazing even with denim or multiple layers

    You can go to a dealer and try the machine there, for 500 dollars you can buy a very solid machine

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