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Experience with using a sewing machine in a car?

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I'm contemplating a 6000 mile, coast to coast road trip with my husband in a passenger car, and want to do some machine piecing in the car while my husband drives.  Has anyone successfully done this?  Note - this is in a car, not an RV.

I found several battery powered machines that looked like they might work.  One weighs less than 2 pounds, one less than 5 pounds.  I'm thinking I could set up a little table across my lap with the machine on it and do simple piecing.  Am I crazy?  My son thinks I will sew my finger if we hit a bump in the road.  I think of 90+ hours in the car and think of all the quilt tops I could make... :)


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Just thinking out loud.

Impact forces formula F = 1/2 m v(squared) / s ; F as Force, m as Mass, V as velocity (squared in this case no way to write formula correctly), s as slow down distance.  Professor Medberry would be so proud.  But to make things simple, small objects can strike you with a force 30 times their weight.  Thus a 5 pound sewing machine could strike you weighing 150 pounds.  

Backseat only endeavor - otherwise lead story nightly news/front page morning paper X-ray picture of woman with sewing machine thread pin driven into skull in crash.  It would make a great family album keepsake.  I am surprised we do not already have one from MB.

Horizontal verses vertical thread holder pin - no X-rays - curved plastic top with no sharp edges - featherweight not the machine you want - newer plastic machine covering as much internal workings as possible that will poke your eye out or worse in a crash.

300 Watt DC to AC Inverter - will need a DC to AC power inverter.  Online it says a typical sewing machine needs 120 watts.  Double that to ensure it runs - test before leaving home with car in garage not running.  See if cigarette lighter fuse burns out when test running through multilayers of fabric.

Homemade table that sits on seat and vehicle floor - to provide a stable as possible platform while driving - sewing machine will have to be attached to table so it does not become projectile that maims, injures, and/or kills front seat passenger(s).  Table and machine weight times 30 is not the killing force.

In the end, I'm thinking you sleep all day in car while hubby is driving.  Then you sew all night while hubby is sleeping getting ready for another day of driving.  Your like two ships passing in the night, no contact or fuss the entire travel time of the trip, some may call it a win win win situation.  Husband wins as no back seat driving, You win no hotel forays as he is to tired from driving all day, family and friends win with new lovely pieced quilt tops.  Everyone wins.



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What an idea!  I'm not sure I want to try to have good resulting piecing while in a car, just trying to keep everything handy and not falling in the cracks of the seats and console or under my feet would be a problem for me.  I would do the sewing in the hotel rooms when you stop, but even then the rooms don't always have a table area nice for that. 

We do a fair amount of driving (just went to PA from MN and back last week)  I take my iPad full of books and read.  You can also get some of the doodling/drawing apps and plan quilting designs on the quilts you already have or plan to make.  Put your own pictures in the iPad and pull them into the apps and have fun.

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Ok, my luck, we'd get rearended.  Then a nice sewing machine imprint would be permenantly embedded into my skull along with the spool of thread.

I'd NEVER do it. But that's me. Roads are not smooth enough to ensure a quality pieced quilt top, or anything for that matter.  But, good luck to ya!

I tried hand embroidery ONCE.  yup, ONCE!  Roads not smooth enough to get that dang needle back in where ya want it. Wont do any sewing while riding along in a car.

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  • 3 years later...

Don't do it! Your fingers are not worth this experiment! Just imagine a situation that can take place on a trip. You are using a sewing machine while your husband drives, and then suddenly someone appears on the road. Using a needle in a car might be dangerous. How dare a person must be if he or she plans to use a sewing machine, which is way faster? I am using a sewing machine that stays stable on a table and doesn’t shake. Recently, I’ve read this info http://sewingmachinebuffs.com/7-differences-between-sewing-machine-and-overlock-machine/. The overlocker machines are even way faster. Can you imagine if someone will use it in a car? Portable sewing machines are designed to take them to another place, but not using them in transport.

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This is an old topic, but since it's been bumped up, that photo of a Featherweight on a handmade modification to a vehicle depicts an irresponsibly dangerous activity.

In the event of an evasive maneuver or rear end collision, that machine is flying around the cab and/or that passenger's face is slammed into the machine

In the event of a front end collision and airbag deployment, either the modification prevents proper deployment of the airbag OR the machine is explosively thrown into the passenger's chest/throat/face.

The modification alone may have altered/damaged the airbag function of the vehicle.

Don't do it.

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