Whether you’re looking for a portable sewing machine to take to classes or craft nights, or a small but full-featured machine that doesn’t take up too much space at home, or a sturdy, yet affordable sewing machine, you’ll find something to love about the Baby Lock Jubilant. In this post, I’m going to share my review based on using the machine regularly for four months. UPDATED: I’ve added a video review based on using the machine for 3-1/2 years.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. My sewing machine sponsor is Baby Lock and this post is part of our ongoing collaboration. Baby Lock provided me with a Jubilant sewing machine, accessories, and Madeira thread. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
Why Baby Lock?
If you came to this post hoping to find the perfect machine for you, I think I can help! Last summer, I started looking for a new sewing machine and I found myself searching for “best portable sewing machine” and “best light-weight sewing machine” online. I found a lot of really interesting posts, but I noticed right away that none of them were written by people who had actually USED the machines they were recommending! Instead, these posts were a bunch of affiliate links to sewing machines sold on Amazon or elsewhere online written by bloggers hoping to earn commission on each sale.
This was super disheartening to me because not every sewing machine is as good in reality as it sounds in its Amazon or big box store description! I started doing more and more research and I kept coming back to Baby Lock. I have been the proud owner of a Baby Lock Quilter’s Choice since the mid-2000s and I’ve used other Baby Lock models in sewing classes at the Snap conference.
I love my Quilter’s Choice, but I bought it when I lived alone in a larger apartment and had a quilting table set up. Once I moved in with MC, the machine was used less and less because I just didn’t have the space to set it up. I do most of my sewing outside of my apartment now, and the Quilter’s Choice was far too heavy to be truly portable for someone like me who relies on public transportation. And, thus, I sewed less and less each year.
I reached out to Baby Lock in the fall and they agreed to provide me with the Jubilant, several quilting accessories, and plenty of Madeira thread if I would write an honest review and share several sewing posts during the year. You can see all my sewing posts where I used the Jubilant here. In case you’re wondering, my Quilter’s Choice has found a new home as my mom’s sewing machine. It still works great!
If you’re buying a sewing machine for the first time, check out my post, How To Buy a Sewing Machine for Beginners.
About the Jubilant
It turns out that the Jubilant is quite literally the “perfect” machine for me, according to Baby Lock’s Match Maker.
You can take the quiz to find your perfect Baby Lock here. The Jubilant is one of seven machines in Baby Lock’s Genuine Collection. This collection includes affordable machines, portable machines, and beginner-friendly machines. You can see them in action in this short video from Baby Lock.
So what makes the Jubilant special? It’s very light weight at under 15 pounds/7 kg. The Genuine Collection machine tote is what I use to carry my Jubilant around. Here’s I am on the bus with my Jubilant.
I can fit the machine in the tote comfortably on my lap. Inside of the tote, there’s enough room for my fabric (which is in the canvas tote bag), the manual, and a project book. The tote also has a large front pocket where I can keep my fabric scissors, thread, and other supplies like fabric markers.
You can watch my unboxing video to see what’s included in the Jubilant box and the other accessories I have, like the extension table and Quilting Foot Kit. Even though I just posted the video last week, it was actually filmed about four months ago (#becauselife). If you can’t see the video below, click here to watch it on YouTube.
UPDATED: I’ve also added a video review based on using the machine for 3-1/2 years below.
If you can’t see the video review above, click here to watch it on YouTube.
In spite of its light weight, the Jubilant has a lot of features. Here are some of my favorites.
- 80 built in stitches. While I will probably never use all 80, it does have my favorites including straight stitches in 3 different positions, 4 types of zig zag stitches, and 4 types of overcasting stitches (like the one I used for the Simple Stamped Napkins). Some of the stitches that I haven’t used yet but plan to try out soon are the hand-look quilting stitch, some of the 8 buttonhole stitches, and the decorative cross stitches and satin stitches.
- Free arm capability and retractable feed dogs. I like that I have the free arm if I want to work on sewing sleeve cuffs or hems (yes, I do aspire to one day sew garments!) and that I can lower the feed dogs if I want to do some free motion quilting. I can also add an extension table for quilting.
- Built-in needle threader and lighting. My eyes are not what they were 20 or even 10 years ago. Having help threading the needle is the difference between sewing or not sewing for me. Having the light is great because even if the room I’m sewing in is dark, I can still get illumination around my stitching.
- Start/Stop Button and Reverse Stitch Button: I’ve been so spoiled by Baby Lock machines for the past 10+ years that I didn’t realize all sewing machines don’t come with a Start/Stop Button until recently. If you’re new to a Start/Stop Button, it is amazing! Basically, you can use this button to control your machine instead of the foot pedal. It’s great if you having pets or young ones underfoot, or if your feet hurt, or if you want to make your Jubilant even lighter for your next trip. The Reverse Stitch Button is great for securing your stitches at the start and end of your project.
- 7 included presser feet, plus many more available. The machine comes with 7 presser feet. I use the J zigzag foot the most. I also have the Quilting Foot Kit. You can see a complete list of compatible presser feet and accessories here.
- Portability. It’s not just the light weight that makes the Jubilant portable. Other portability features are the handle; the measurements on the needle plate that help you see your seam allowance; the accessory compartment where you can store extra bobbins, seam ripper, presser feet, etc. when traveling; the built-in lighting that lets you sew even in lower light conditions; and the Start/Stop Button that lets you leave your foot pedal at home. The LCD screen also tells you which presser foot to use with a particular stitch so you don’t need to carry the manual with you.
Since every sewist is different, the Jubilant may have other features I haven’t mentioned that are perfect for you. You can read more about it on Baby Lock’s website.
So far, I haven’t come up against any problems with the Jubilant. I keep the manual in the tote and the troubleshooting section has covered every question I had. Baby Lock also has online classes that help you get to know your own machine and how to maintain it and understand its features.
Finding the Right Machine for You
I’ve been sewing for years, but when bought my first sewing machine back in 2005, I had no idea what I was looking for. I ordered several machines online and ended up having to return or resell them because they didn’t have the right features, were too hard to maintain, or were not in good shape. Now I know enough about my preferences to take a quiz, but how do you find out what’s right for you if you’re new to sewing?
One of the best ways to find your perfect machine is to talk with a sewing machine dealer. Dealers know A LOT about each machine they stock and they will ask you questions about how you plan to use the machine, your budget, and your preferences. Last week, I visited one of my local Baby Lock dealers, Pieceful Quilting. UPDATE: The owner of Pieceful Quilting has since retired and closed the shop.
Check out the Facebook Live I did in the shop and you can see what it’s like to speak with your local dealer.
Buying from a local dealer also connects you to the people who will help you maintain your machine. Most sewing machine dealers offer free classes or one-on-one lessons to help you get to know how to use your machine. And, many sewing machine dealers sell fabric, books, and notions, or offer sewing classes, or have fun events, or all three!
You can find your local dealer by clicking on the “Find a Retailer” button at the top of Baby Lock’s website.
What If I Don’t Have a Local Dealer?
Not everyone lives in a major metropolitan area with several local dealers to choose from like I do. As I mentioned before, all of the machines in Baby Lock’s Genuine Collection of affordable, portable, and beginner-friendly sewing machines (and a serger) are also sold online through other local sewing machine dealers, like Sewing Machines Plus and Quilt in a Day. If you buy online from a dealer, be sure to email your questions or call and talk to them. They will give you plenty of recommendations and suggestions before you place your order online.
I hope this post has helped you to see why I think the Baby Lock Jubilant is the best portable sewing machine on the market today for sewists and quilters. If you have any questions about the Jubilant, ask me in the comments, via email, or on social media.