How to pick a Sewing Machine

I’ve been sewing on BabyLock machines for about 6 years now and have loved them (I have 3 of their machines, and 1 serger).
My favorite machines are in their Genuine Series, which you can read more about on the Baby Lock site.
These are entry level machines that have a broad price range, so if you’re not sure how deep you want to go on sewing haha, these are awesome. I have the Brilliant and Joy machines from this series. These are what I sew with in all of my videos.

You can purchase and read some reviews HERE.

And here’s info about my other Baby Lock called Lyric, which is fantastic too.

Guess what…
I have a new sewing machine!
And I love it.

Sorry for all the exclamation points.
It’s just really exciting to get a new toy.

And this little baby (heh, heh, baby).….is called Lyric, by Baby Lock.

Have you ever walked up to your front door and seen a pile like this??
Okay. You probably have.
But if your pile is filled with sewing machines?? rather than diapers and mulch for the front yard??….then jump up and down and start (carefully) ripping those boxes open!

Yay for Baby Lock!
I’m so happy I get to partner with them.
They’ve let me try out the Lyric machine, which just became available in retail shops.  Of course Baby Lock offers many wonderful sewing machines so you should also check out the Katherine, Rachel, Molly, and Amelia machines.

Over the years you guys have asked me for a recommendation on sewing machines. 
Maybe you’re even asking Santa for one for Christmas??
So here are my thoughts on selecting a new machine….

When it comes to picking any kind of sewing machine, I think two things are important:
1 – Quality
2 – the Basics

A good quality sewing machine can make the difference between really enjoying sewing, and being frustrated by it.  And no one wants to be frustrated with a new hobby.   Of course those decisions are hard to make if you’re just starting out—it’s hard to know how committed you are to it.  But if you think sewing is more than just a passing interest for you, I would definitely recommend getting a quality machine.  It will truly make a difference, especially when sewing with knits.

I love that Baby Lock offers a wide range of sewing machines for all skill levels.
If you’re new to sewing there’s a whole series of machines with cute names like Molly, Rachel, and Anna. Elizabeth.  Isn’t that adorable?  And if you’re a high-tech gal, you can jump up to the Destiny II  and Unity and do some top-of-the line fancy stitching.
So I would go for the best quality machine your budget allows.

Now,”quality” doesn’t have to mean that it can do 400 different things…..because I really believe that if you have a quality machine, then all you ultimately need are the basics—a straight stitch, a zigzag stitch, and a button holer.  And you’re set.  That’s all that I’ve used for years.

Now that being said….
I really do love all the extra things my machine can do, cause they make the process a whole lot more fun and more efficient!  And many Baby Lock machines offer similar features as well.

So let me give you a little tour of Lyric….

I’ve never had a machine with so many stitches!  I think there are over 250?
I know I will never use that many, since I’m not into embroidery and stuff like that.  But what I do love is that it offers multiple “overcasting” stitches which are meant to stretch with your fabric, so they’re fantastic with knits.  It doesn’t replace the overcast stitch that a serger machine can do (I’ll have to talk about sergers in another post) but it’s fun to play around with all the different stitches to see what they can do.  I’ll be showing you the overcast stitch in some upcoming videos.

Okay. Next happy-dance feature: Automatic Needle Threader!
Ummmmm.  Where have I been???  This function alone has changed my sewing life.

I thread my machine like normal, following the little guides.  And when I get to the needle, I just push that level on the side, and boom!  The machine threads the needle for me!  It’s such a time (and sanity) saver.

Okay: Speed Control
Are you a fast sewer?
Me too.  I sew like I talk.
And sometimes it gets me in trouble because I really just need to slow down and take my time around the curves.  So the speed control helps me do that—kind of like setting the cruise control on your car.  You just set the speed where you’d like and it will control how fast the foot pedal can go.  Then you’re always IN control. I never knew I would appreciate such a function.

But I definitely knew I would love this feature—the Thread Cutter!
Oh wow.
This little button makes me a much faster sewer.  Haah.  Weren’t we just talking about slowing down?

What I meant to say is that it makes me a more efficient sewer.  When I’m done sewing I just push the little scissors function and it cuts the thread for me!  I don’t even need my real scissors around.

Game changer.   For sure.

And finally…this machine is digital.
I know many of you have been sewing on digital for years. But I’ve always been a little old school, turning knobs and clanking along (which believe me, works really great).  So it’s pretty spiffy to have a nice digital display with menus and info to keep me organized.

And there are so many more things I could tell you about this machine, like the knee lift (which lifts the presser foot), the extension table, the programming features….but I’ll have to show you that in future posts.

Let’s just say:

One last thing to address before buying a new machine….
Where DO you buy a machine?
Well you can buy them online, in fabric stores, on craigslist, all over!

And when you buy Baby Lock machines (and other comparable brands) you buy them from a retail store that’s certified to sell them, with experts who help you get to know your machine right there in the store (click here to find a retailer).

Sometimes they even offer a few free lessons with the purchase of your machine so you feel comfortable sewing with it.  This is how it was when I bought my serger years ago.  And it was wonderful!….because that step always feels intimidating, especially if you’re new to sewing.  For some reason you’re scared to pull it out the box and thread it for the first time—worried that you might do something wrong?!  Which of course is a bit silly, but we’ve all been there.  So don’t worry!  Those store experts are there to help you get started.
And of course I am too.
This is why I love blogging and sharing and helping where I can and asking for your advice in return!

So there you go.
Those are my tips for picking a new sewing machine!
I’m excited to see what you decide!
Happy shopping.

  1. 1) Brooke

    Congratulations, what a beautiful machine. What happened to your Bernina?

  2. 2) Tharana

    Hey! I was beginning to miss u…been a while since u posted. That’s a nice article thr! Very good if anyone’s planning to buy one! I had bought mine at A spur of d moment 2 years back! N it’s been doing well. It’s a Toyota!

  3. 3) Marilyn

    Nice new toy. Congrats!

  4. Beauty of a machine you have there!!
    Automatic needle threader and the cutter are my favorite parts of my machine!
    The knee lift sounds sweet! My vintage hemmer has it! LOL Yea, not the same thing.
    I have a BL Imagine and love it. My sewing machine is not a BL. I am resisting trying one for fear of getting the gimmies!


  5. 5) Ivana

    What a beautifull new machine! Congratulations… I wish you many undisturbed
    hours of sewing 🙂
    And I’m really looking foward to all your new creations with this precious.

  6. Vow, that’s beauty ! indeed ! I absolutely loved the idea of the thread cutter. and not stopping down completely just to cut the thread !

  7. I tried a baby lock at a craft fair and it was devine! If i win lotto i’ll be buying one of everything haha

  8. 8) Elisa

    wow I love it…..


  9. I just got the BabyLock Enlighten serger 6 weeks ago that threads itself and adjusts its own tension and it is AMAZING! My main sewing machine is a Brother Project Runway machine my parents bought me for Christmas almost 2 years ago, it also has the auto threader and cutter, and does things like automatic bar tacking. I still have my BabyLock that I sewed on for 18 years, it wasn’t computerized so getting the auto cutter feature was amazing!

    I love your blog and wanted to say thanks for the tips about where to go in LA–I went to FIDM and ML Loft and they were amazing!

  10. 10) Melani X.

    Yay, congrats!! I’ve been loving my Elizabeth since I got it after visiting the store here in Austin. Thanks for the recommend again!

  11. Here here for focusing on the basics, for garment sewing anyway. My Janome 4618le is pretty simple, but it is a work horse for me. I do covet the thread cutter and needle down options some machines have, but mine works so well for me.

    • 13) Satara

      In Kansas City Missouri off Truman road Missouri sewing machine company is an awesome place to buy baby lock products they service them as well is their website

  12. curious what kind of serger you have….I have the singer professional 5 but to be honest, i kind of dread using it because every now and then a needle breaks or a thread skips, and its a pain to have to re thread it so i just end up zigzaggin edges. i think i might just sell it and get me one with good overcast stitches. I originally got it to use the cover stitching but i have found it just as convenient to use a double needle. I’ve always been curious about baby locks….might have to check them out & see what i can afford, lol!

  13. I was wondering if you could share the price point with us? I am looking at a new sewing machine and wonder if I should wait for this one to come out! BTW I gave my local babylock dealer your website to send customers to for tutorials and inspiration 🙂

  14. 16) Sue Taylor

    Any idea when in spring they will be available?
    Thanks, Sue

    • I have the same question as Sue above. Any idea when in the spring they’ll release it? I want to get sewing! 🙂

  15. Very nice sewing machine. Just purchased a new old one Babylock Quest Plus and it’s awesome. Later on might purchase a new one like I like the Lyric a lot or Grace
    these seem for me the best machines. Tks for all the info. Would anyone have a pattern for a sewing machine carrying bag ??

    Jean Lapalme – Riverview, N.B. Canada

  16. Hi there! I love the look of this machine! What sort of budget would I be looking at to be able to get one? And how do I get one in the UK? I tried the store locator, but it just shows the U.S. 🙁 help!

    Many thanks,


  17. 20) Alissa

    Do you know what the lyric sells for, as far as the price. Thanks so much

    • 21) Tawn

      The price of my Lyric was $949.

  18. 22) doris camp

    What is the price of Lyric please? I don’t live near a dealer.

    • 23) Tawn

      My Lyric was $949.

      • 24) Linda Dhennin

        I paid $899- for my Lyric here in Orlando.

      • 25) Doris

        Where did you get the Lyric for $949? Yesterday, I was quoted $1099.99

        I think that price might be a bit high.

        • 26) Dani

          I just purchased mine in Southern California for $925.

  19. 27) Tawn

    I got my Lyric about a month ago, and I LOVE it. I had my old machine for 42 years, so there are so many bells and whistles to learn on these new machines. I am waiting for classes, but unfortunately the store is having to “revamp” their class schedule. So, that might take a few more weeks.

    Thanks for your great blog.

  20. 28) Dannell

    I just ordered a Lyric and am wanting to order a table. Do you know the dimensions?

  21. 29) Omolehin adebukola

    Pls I need this sewing machine, but am in east Africa n I don’t know where to get it .pls I need help Dana

  22. 30) Michelly

    That is REALLY nice! I just have a $70 Brother Machine.

  23. 31) evelyn ikponmwosa

    Please, where can I get the lyric machine to buy, I stays in Nigeria.

  24. 32) Emi

    Hi Dana! I’m very interested in a Baby Lock – it will be my first serger and from researching them they seem to be the easiest 😉
    You posted this blog several years ago and I’m wondering which of Baby Lock’s current machines you suggest? I’m thinking about the Enlighten or the Imagine.
    I’d love any feedback you can give! Love your stuff!

  25. 33) Nina-Jeanette

    Hi Dana????
    I’m just wondering how much your sewing machine cost in the states?? I live in Norway and it doesn’t seem like it’s Very easy to get my hand on this Baby Lock Lyrics….and everything is so expensive here too. Maybe I should order from the US, but then I have to think about the volt difference too…I really, really, REALLY want that machine. The one I have mu husband bought me a few years ago, but it’s not a very expensive one and doesn’t work like it should???? I want a machine that makes sewing fun again. Love your videos.

    • 34) Scott

      The brother 900 or 900prw is a similar machine but also has a stitch designer that might be sold in Norway. Babylock repackages other manufacturers machines but has their own serger manufacturer.

  26. 35) Dora

    Dear Dana,

    I always love watching your tutorials! You really inspired me to pick up my old project from years ago!
    Unfortunately my sewing machine did not agree with me 🙁 But the good news is I am going to buy a new one! I would love to have a babylock, but unfortunately babylock does not ship to Europe. Therefore I am doing a lot of research on Brother sewing machines. The options are overwhelming.

    I tend to go for a Brother sewing machine, I have a budget of approximately 250$

    I stumbled upon Brother FS40 and Brother XT27NT.. not sure if these are right choices or not.. could you help me out? Maybe you have a tip (good deal, ) and I overlooked other brands?

    Thank you!!


  27. 36) Joanna Tripp

    Oh I’m sorry Dana! I made a comment on your pillow case vid tutorial asking about your machine , but then I looked around and found this! Thank you!

  28. 37) mARY

    I looked at the Baby Lock after reading so many of the bloggers who seem to own one.
    Our Singer agent has one – he quoted me R17 750.00 – and I don’t even know what model it was!
    Looks lovely but a bit too expensive for my sewing abilities.

  29. 38) Kylie

    I want that sewing machine! I think you are amazinggg at sewing but, I probably think that because I am 10 years old-really! I love your fabric collection-it is so pretty. And your YouTube channel is great! Please make more vids!!!!!!Bye!!! 🙂

  30. 39) Kylie

    Hi Dana!

    Every time I watch one of your videos I feel inspired! I just want to make somethings, even though I don have the right fabrics. After I watched your zipper pouch video, I wanted to make one, but I didn’t have a zipper!!Please make more vids and more fabric collections! Bye! 🙂
    P.S. I love You Boardwalk Delight fabric! When I’m bored, I search pics of them!!!
    P.P.S I’m 10 years old and I have my own sewing machine and almost have my own business with my friends!

  31. 40) Roxanne k




  32. 41) Eleanor

    My Babylock Espire “Quilter’s Dream” has become a quilter’s nightmare. In 7 years the F01 motor speed warning has come up on the screen and the machine shuts down. They have replaced the electrical panel about 5 years ago, the next time told me to put it on a serge protector, the next time told me not to have it plugged in with the refrigerator(seriously), and that the surge protector only protects about 5% of surges. They just keep resetting the computer and send me on my way. Treating the symptom not finding the problem. This time I got about an hour of sewing and it died again. I just picked it up yesterday. Now I am getting very frustrated. I paid 3000.00 dollars for that machine , yet my fifty year old Janome is more reliable. Very frustrated in Vernon, BC. Canada.

  33. 42) RachEl

    Hi just wondering how much and how can I purchase this Lyric baby lock sewing machine.
    Thanks ????

  34. 43) Beth Fairweather

    Thanks so much for the information on this machine! I am going to have to check this out, I currently have a very low end of the line, basic Brother machine, which is okay but it does have several little “quirks” that are really starting to get annoying! I am very intrigued by the Baby Lock!

  35. 44) Sarah

    I live in Montpelier, VT where can I buy a lyric just like yours near me.

    • 45) Dana

      You can go on the website and find a retailer near you (it’s the button on the top right).
      Hope that helps!

  36. 46) Sarah

    Thank you but a retailer near me does not have the lyric is there a way to order the lyric online?

    • 47) Dana

      Sorry I don’t think so 🙁 But hopefully in the future! I think Baby Lock is working on carrying some online machines.

  37. 48) Emma

    Hi Dana ,I love your easy to listen to voice & spunky personality. You’re a good teacher & make things so simple. Thank you !!I have been sewing for years but have spent most years as an amateur as I feel like I’m first & foremost a sewing machine mechanic …always dealing with tension problems & such. I was looking at your new Baby lock… was it Lyrica? Perhaps someone else has asked & you’ve answered this question but I don’t see it. I was just wondering about the approximate cost of the machine. Although it is probably too late I have to ask it before I fall in love with it. Btw I share your videos with my young girlfriends 10+ yrs old who want to learn to sew.

    • 49) Dana

      Thank you for the kind words! I agree that I always learn new tricks from other sewers, even when I’ve been sewing for many years. I love that this community is so friendly, inclusive and helpful that way! Yes. I have a Babylock Lyric. You can find some links to it in this post. I don’t know the cost, but you can contact a dealer/shop near you and ask about price. If you don’t know of a BabyLock dealer near you, look on and there’s a store locator at the top.
      Thanks for sharing my videos! I’m always amazed at how many 10 year olds are sewing. Love it!

  38. 50) Katy

    Thank you for this tips!

  39. 51) Bella

    any idea where to get one in Australia?

  40. 52) Ashley

    Hi, I love all your tutorials!! I am looking to get this machine esp. since you is it in most all your tutorials so I can see how it runs and sounds.. but jw would it be a good choice to do quilts on this machine as well as garments?
    Thanks 😊

  41. 53) Sheri

    Hi Dana,

    Do you still use your Lyric? I’m thinking about buying one.


  42. 54) MYYA Barkley

    Hi Dana, do you still recommend this machine? I’ve learned from a few of your vide8s how to make pillows, I now just started my own pillow business and looking to upgrade my sewing machine asap!!! Is this a good machine to have?

  43. 55) Nafisat Usman

    Hi Dana any idea on where to get the machine in Nigeria?

  44. 56) andrew

    Hi Dana any idea on where to get the machine in Trinidad & Tobago?

  45. 57) kathy

    Hi i am new to sewing yet I would like to buy a sewing machine. I am thinking about the brilliant. Mind you I have never sewed, I am hoping to take classes, and really enjoy, what do you think of the Brilliant for a 1st machine to purchase? I just am not seeing spending 400 on a Jubilant and they wishing I had purchased a Brilliant? Please Help me to decide..LOL

  46. 58) Vanessa

    Does baby lock have a website that I can order from them directly?
    And do u benefit from any order I make?

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