Tell me about your travel machine

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I'm finally at the point where I am looking to go to classes and guild events WITH my sewing machine.  The problem is that my original Janome is HEAVY and I don't love lugging it around.

What do you have for a machine to take to classes?  What do you love about it?
Do you have a favorite bag for transport?

Love to hear what you all think!  Thanks!

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Brenda has a featherweight and I’ve used the Singer 301.  The 301 has a built in handle and weighs about the same as a featherweight in it’s case.  They both use the same bobbins and hook.  My 301 came in a table and snaps in and out of the table in seconds.  My complaint with the featherweight has been every time I found one for myself someone wanted to buy it off me.


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I've been thinking the same thing Deb and actually went so far as ordering a small Janome MOD100 from Costco before Christmas. It sewed okay, but what I found was it does not have the same amount of adjustment available in needle position that I'm used to on my 6600 Janome, to name only one of the many features the smaller ones don't have.  The fact is, my 6600 has spoiled me for dropping down to a smaller/lesser machine :(.  Subsequent to the MOD100 trial that I returned to Costco, I had a look at the dealer's where I was having my Janome 6600 serviced.  They carry Janome, Bernina and Hobbylock and I looked at them all. I ended up asking them to put me on the list for a possible 6600 trade in so I could pick up a second on for classes :rolleyes:.  Failing that, I wouldn't mind upgrading to the 6700 for home and taking my 6600 out to quilting, but still reeling from the sticker shock on new machine prices ;)!  I'll be interested to hear what you come up with for yourself in this dilemma. 

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I have taken my featherweight to classes too.  I bought a Phaff passport 2 that I am now using.  I got it just before the passport 3 came out.  The 3 has a thread cutter that I wish I had on the 2.  It has several stitches but I haven't used them.  I went to Harbor Freight and bought a rolling tool bag for $20.00 that the sewing machine fits in and it works great.  The bag has pockets for the cord and foot control.

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I use a Pfaff Sensation as my main machine, but did get a Pfaff Passport 2.0 when my previous second machine was not able to be fixed.  I take the Passport when I am going places.  It works great and is easy to carry.  I also got a Stanley Fat Max tool box with a couple latching sections to transport it and projects.  The Fat Max holds the Passport (or a Featherweight) with space for fabric and supplies in the main box that also has a telescoping handle and larger wheels (that don't get stuck in cracks or bog down in soft ground).  I can put more supplies or projects in the upper boxes that snap on secure or just not take one or both.  Works really great for me.


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I have a Janome Jem Platinum 760 which is a great little machine for classes. It is light weight, has multiple stitches, and sews perfectly. I have a medium Tutto bag and I stuff it with most of what I need to take as the sewing machine is really doesn't take up much space in the bag. I put a light, sewing supplies, patterns, small rulers and cutting mats, a pillow to sit on, several bottles of water, and more into the case. I think the machine only weighs about 12 lbs.

I have also seen the newer machines which I think would be a great inexpensive machine to take to class. The used to be  their top of the line machine has lots of stitches and great features and I felt it was reasonably priced when I looked at it in December. I now noticed that they have a bigger machine that is also an embroidery machine.

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I have Pfaff Passport 2.0 I use...this one has several stitches...and is fairly lite to carry.......I also have a little Janome Jem Gold....and I do like to take that one when all I need is a straight has a whopping 3 straight stitch lengths and about the same for zig-zag....It came with a little bag to carry it, the manual, and basic stitching supplies doesn't do much but straight stitch...kinda like featherweights....I also got a walking foot, open toe foot, and quarter inch foot...and I bought one of those surround tables for it....I miss the features of my heavier stay at home machines....but then again, as I am taking a class....I actually don't get that much stitching done on is so easy to transport it is my machine of choice for a class, if I need a bit fancier, I take the passport,  If I have to lug a bigger machine to class, I have a rolling cart...but I really like the little machines that best as if I prep before hand.....I usually can carry everything in one trip.....Lin

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I, too, am in love with my vintage Singer 301!!! I was taught to sew on my Mom's many (50+) years ago & was lucky enough to be gifted that very machine a year ago. It's a treasure and I recently ran across another black, long bed 301 that I just had to have. I also have a featherweight but prefer the workhorse 301. It's also very easy to travel with. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love machines.  One might say they are a bit of an addiction!  Almost all of my machines are pre-loved and from either yard sales or 2nd hand shops.  (I bring them home, clean, oil and stitch them in... and dh says, "That will keep you occupied for the weekend!") (People have actually left machines on my patio....) 

They are all wonderful! They all have their little quirks and personalities!  I want to save them  all!... unfortunately, I'm running out of floor space! 

I have a Bernina 1530 for my stay at home, best machine. It doesn't go anywhere, b/c I'm afraid of jostling the machine and messing up the computer bits. (It's probably made of stronger stuff, but I am just unwilling to take a chance with it, after a qgf had her machine in her car, slammed on the brakes and it went tumbling! yeek!)  Seat belts!

The runner up is the Bernina's a mechanical machine, and a real work horse...that machine sews through anything I've thrown at it without hesitation.  LOVE!  Just have a JA's roller bag for it.  It's a mid-weight model, has a built-in handle to make it easier to lift in and out of the tote. It goes to retreats and sewing night on a regular basis. It's only drawback, the silly thing does not have a button-hole stitch which I could really use for machine applique.  'ninas can be pricey. (just looked: The new model of this one is the 1008, their website lists it at ...whew...1699!)  I got the 1001 at an estate sale.   (I just weighed it...21 lbs)  While dh (dear hubby) got me the 1530 which is set up in the sewing room and I use it all the time; the 1001 is really my go-to travelling machine. I don't ever worry that there's something I will need to do but won't be able to sew, because there's always some cute thing, like a new bag or wallet pattern or something someone will bring to retreat...!

Also have an old green Bernina Record...that thing EATS denim and canvas like it's butter. I've replaced Carhardtt jacket zippers, but, it's chunky, not exactly easy to move about.  Found a portable, folding sewing machine table at a parking lot sale, and... It FITS!  Green beastie is going to be set up in this table soon to re-do camper seat covers, and I have no doubt it will chug through them with no hesitation. 

My DM (dear mom) just blessed me with her best friend's Featherweight. I have given it a spa treatment (thanks to the Singer Featherweight Shop tune-up kit..what a kit!  Comes with all kinds of great stuff to give your FW some tlc!  (Not affiliated, but really impressed with kit and service!  Be sure to read their article on FW grease comparisons.)  I'm in the process of fixing the case; it was badly damaged. As in, the bottom fell off!  There are a ton of patterns now, for totes that wrap the cases! fun!  There are a lot of places that have FW's that are more reasonable now, the prices used to be wild. 

Singer has a ton of little electric machines...they're really indestructible. Oh, and not to forget, there's the little Singer MOD!  

 I also love a little Kenmore's a green, light weight portable and has a case that has roses embossed on the outside. If you can find one, they are light weight, more wallet-friendly than a Featherweight, and has a zig-zag.  15 lbs, self-contained accessory tray, etc.

Older Kenmore straight-stitch/ziz-zag machines...those are not light, but worth their weight in gold. I have a blue one that isn't easy to lug around, but it sure sews great. 

Pfaff...they have a couple of lighter weight portables... the Grasshopper, of course, but not to overlook the Supermatic, which does a lot of different stitches with cams. 

 Elna 1010 that is a great little portable machine. I have sewn quilting fabric on it, but haven't done anything like jeans mending or a big bag on it yet. It has lots of stitches.  I was going to re-home it, but discovered that it has all these little snap-on feet, and friend gave me a 1/4 circle piecing foot and it fits this baby, so I have to keep her!  lol!  Oh, that foot is great, btw, if anyone is doing a drunkard's path or anything that has a circle shape...NO pinning!  (Curve Master)

Too many machines, so little sewing time!  (, I haven't actually counted lately...?!)

Maybe we should start a pool? lol!






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