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Light weight travel machine

Light weight travel machine

Old 10-16-2020, 07:00 AM
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Location: Michigan
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Default Light weight travel machine

HI! My sewing machine is a Bernina 440 QE which I love. The problem is I have a craft room in the basement, and it's heavy to carry up and down the stairs on arthritic knees. I'd like to get a light weight machine for travel that I can leave in the trunk of my car. I go to sewing days with friends and weekend retreats frequently. I want something for piecing as I'd still do my quilting at home. I'm thinking a Bernette or a Featherweight, but have never owned or used either.

I appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:11 AM
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A Featherweight is the ultimate piecing machine IMHO, but it doesn’t do anything but a straight stitch if you want to do other types of sewing. I took one for a number of years in my RV. It is a bit of a challenge to get perfectly matched seams between two machines, nut the FW has some aftermarket accessories that can help. I prefer the acrylic seam guide on mine. I don’t know if you would be happy with a Bernese after the 440. They just aren’t as solid a machine. The FW, though light, feels solid. Getting one a bit scratched up is much less expensive than a pristine one, but it sews just as well.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:23 AM
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To say I love my FW is an understatement! It is great for those travel days where I go with my quilt guild or to sew with friends or family. My Janome just went down until I can get it in the shop for repair so I pulled out one of my FW's and have been piecing a lot ever since and I love it. I can get a nice 1/4" so easy and it is as smooth as velvet. If you have the choice that is what I would do. I also have a light weight Brothers machine that I take with me from time to time but the FW still reigns supreme.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:31 AM
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I have a FW but it lacks any features. So if bare bones is what you like it will be great. Any new little portable machine will be find for classes and sew days. I have an older Janome Jem and it's great. I wouldn't pay a lot for one because it may get dropped or jolted about.
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Old 10-16-2020, 08:54 AM
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I have a Janome Gem Gold with an acrylic extension table that I use for classes. I like it very much with one exception: I have to change the needle position to get an accurate 1/4" seam. But it's light weight, reliable and easy to use. And, with the acrylic table, it looks good!
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:00 AM
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Will you be leaving the machine in your car between classes?

Will it tolerate temperature extremes? (Assuming you stay in Michigan all year?)
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:34 AM
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Featherweights are great. I have two. But it took me a long time to find them at a reasonable price.

I have some low end Brothers with some nice features that I take with me. Never had an issue.
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:42 AM
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I have a janome gem it is light weight alot lighter than a fw
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:10 AM
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I had a Gem Gold and I really did like taking it to classes where I did not need the fancy stuff....I had a little fabric carrying case for it and it was easy to fit my accessories in it too if I took just what I needed. I could carry everything in one load...unfortunately, I gave it to my nephew. So, I bought a Bernina 215 (red machine). That one is lighter than the 440 but heavier then the gem gold was. Also it has some computer boards in it although it is a simply machine. I would hesitate to leave any modern machine in the car in a Michigan winter...I live in Minnesota and my understanding is that you can damage screens in old weather and also you need to let the machine warm up for a couple of hours if left in a cold environment before using.
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Old 10-16-2020, 10:43 AM
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I also sew on a Bernina 440QE, which stays upstairs in my quilting room. I have several other machines, including a featherweight, but the one I use most when I want to sew downstairs or go to a class is a Singer 301. It's known as the big sister to the featherweight, weighs just a bit more but is larger and faster.
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