What to look for in a travel size sewing machine

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Sewing Tips

Summer is the time to be out doors, traveling and visiting friends and family, but that does not mean you have to leave your sewing at home! People sew just about anywhere they can: on a picnic table while camping with an extension cord, in an RV, at a lakeside cabin and hundreds of hotel rooms across the nation! No matter the location, it is nice to take along a smaller sewing machine.

Most people do not want to take their main sewing machine from home. After splurging on the newer BIGGER sewing machines to help with machine quilting and larger embroidery options, the machine itself is no longer “travel-size”. They want something lighter and smaller to tuck into the suitcase or sneak along in a tote bag. Really, we just don’t want others to know we are taking a sewing machine on vacation! How weird is that anyway?!?!

But on the other hand, who wants to give up all those modern conveniences you so now can’t live without that are on your new sewing machine? Just because a sewing machine is small and light weight does not mean you will like sewing on it. Remember, you are supposed to be on a vacation to relax.

Here are some common questions that should be answered before selecting a travel size sewing machine:

Do you want to use the same accessories and feet between the two sewing machines? Purchasing the same brand of sewing machine as you already have can cut down on buying extra accessories. Be sure to ask if the bobbins are interchangeable.

What type of sewing projects will you be taking with you? Do you need more stitches than a just a straight stitch? Many people like to take pre-cut quilting projects on vacation. If so, you might not need a sewing machine with a ton of stitches.

Do you want a blanket stitch for applique? Not all mechanical sewing machines have a blanket stitch. Blanket stitches are found on computerized sewing machines. It is nice to have this stitch when patterns call for some basic applique along the way.

Who is spoiled with the featured stopping up or stopping down? (Me)! This is one feature I really don’t like to live without these days. It is such a time saver!

Does it have a needle threader? Again, another item I don’t think I want to live without.

Check out the on-board sewing light. Is it an LED light or a regular light bulb? When sewing on the road, a room’s lighting is usually no were close to what we have at in our sewing studio. Lighting becomes a big challenge in hotel rooms. If the built-in sewing light is not that bright, plan to purchase an external sewing light that can be used in extreme cases.

Select a machine heavy enough so it does not vibrate or bounce off the table while being used. Purchasing a super light weight sewing machine can become dangerous if it is moving while you are sewing! Sewing machines should be just heavy enough to not move while sewing full speed.

Sewing Machine Weigh In:

13.9 Pounds – Pfaff Passport 2.0
15 Pounds – Husqvarna Viking H100S – Click here for free SewingMastery tutorial videos
16 Pounds – Husqvarna Viking Emerald
 – Click here for free SewingMastery tutorial videos
18 Pounds – Bernina activa – Click here for free SewingMastery tutorial videos

Driving or Flying?

Will you be driving or flying to your vacation destination? If flying, plan to ship the sewing machine ahead of time in its original box via UPS or FEDEX with insurance. This will guarantee safe arrival with tracking information.

We do NOT recommend checking a sewing machine in its original box as luggage. Airlines will not be able to insure it for its real replacement value should anything happen it to.

Need a Travel Size Iron?

Check out our favorite iron which just happens to be a nice size to travel with!

In Summary…

If this is the summer to catch up on some of those forgotten projects, plan ahead and use your travel time wisely. Treat yourself to a travel-size sewing machine and just wait to see where your sewing machine will take you!