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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Need A Travel Machine - Advice? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Need A Travel Machine - Advice?
GreenMtn
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GreenMtn
Intermediate
NC USA
Member since 10/28/05
Posts: 293
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Date: 1/22/10 2:36 PM

I am currently away many weekends with a situation where I can use this weekend time for sewing. The travel is all by CAR and I believe I would be doing mostly quilt piecing. I would like to get a machine to take with me rather than pack up my current machine (Bernina Aurora) I have recessed in a sewing table).

A few features I must have are button to auto stop needle in down, good 1/4" foot with guide bar on right, good foot/speed control.

What would you do?
1. Stick with the current Berninas and get an Activa so I could use the same bobbins and feet. Which level 210-240?

2. Go with a USED Bernina but one that could still use the new style feet/bobbins. Any ideas which machines this would be?

3. Go with a less expensive brand that pieces good - Janome/Kenmore. It looks like there are only 2 listed on Sears site 19233 / 19110. Does anyone know the corresponding Janome models for these?

Thanks for the help!

Susannah

Susannah
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OH USA
Member since 10/29/06
Posts: 500
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Date: 1/22/10 3:55 PM

I don't know anything about Berninas, but I would definitely get another Bernina that would use the same feet. Piecing part of a quilt with one brand foot and another part with another brand foot could cause just a slight amount of measurement difference. When I took a beginner's class we were taught to always use the same feet for the entire project.

Aside from that, to have interchangeable machines would be so much more handy.

terrisewsew

terrisewsew
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OK USA
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In reply to GreenMtn


Date: 1/22/10 7:27 PM

Have you looked at the Janome Jem Platinum? I don't know if it has all the features you want or not, but, if money isn't a big object, and it probably isn't if you are considering another Bernina, I would check into the Jem Platinum. There's also a Jem Gold, but don't think it has the needle up/down feature. Anyway, whatever you get, I hope you enjoy it and get a lot of quilts made.

Barbara3
Barbara3  Friend of PR
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In reply to GreenMtn


Date: 1/23/10 1:52 AM

I think there's tremendous value in being able to share presser feet between machines. I have the Activa 240 that I bought for travel, and really like that I can easily use the feet from my 630. As you already know because you have an Aurora, Bernina feet are such great quality and, since they aren't inexpensive, sharing between machines makes great sense.

I haven't traveled with my Activa as I had expected but I'm glad I bought it. I like it so much that I use it often to alternate with my other Berninas. It just hums along with perfect stitches and is so darn cute. Haven't had a moment's problem with it.

Bernina has marketed the 230 specifically for quilters, so you might want to take at look at that. In any event, there are lots of choices for a nice travel machine. Good luck with your search.

JanyceR

JanyceR  Friend of PR
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In reply to GreenMtn


Date: 1/23/10 9:27 AM

I would stick with the Bernina because of the feet and bobbins. I also think there is merit to just being familiar with the overall features and functionality. Activa and Aurora functionality and use is very similiary. I have an Activa 230 that I purchased for travel and backup. I am amazed at how wonderful it is and how much I use it in my sewing room.
Good luck.

------
Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro, Bernina 780,
B350SE,other Berninas, Pfaff Performance 5, several vintage - multiple manufacturers.
Love all my machines!

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
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TX USA
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Date: 1/23/10 9:59 AM

I also have an Activa that I travel with. It is a capable machine and I really enjoy using it. The stitch is fully as good as my Aurora and the feet all share as does the foot pedal which gives you the heel tap to raise the needle. I added the CF light and the hands free and though it was a bit pricey to do that I already had the machine and missed those features.

------
Bernina Gal

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to GreenMtn


Date: 1/23/10 12:05 PM

If the majority of what you'll be doing is quilt piecing, give consideration to the Janome Jem machines.
They only weigh twelve pounds. Quilt piecing doesn't require a lot of different feet.
The Platinum is nice because it has a carrying handle, needle up/down, etc., computerized. And still weighs 12 lbs.

GreenMtn
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GreenMtn
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NC USA
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Date: 1/23/10 4:24 PM

Thanks for the replies. It looks like I should consider either the Activa or the Janome.

I'll check out the Janome this week.

If I decide on the Bernina Activa I wonder if there would be a big difference to me between the 220 and 230? I know the 230 has easier buttonholes but I doubt I would ever use it for that (use my other machine instead). I know at the end of the year the 220 was $850 and the 230 $1000. Ouch, that is a lot for a travel machine. I know I would love the Bernina but that price just makes me hesitate.

Betakin
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Betakin
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In reply to GreenMtn


Date: 1/23/10 6:07 PM

The little Janome Jems are quite small but were made for travel for quilting guilds and classes. I gave one of my married DD's the Jem Silver when she got married. The Jem Silver is like the Jem Gold but was an anniverary model for the ASG and has ASG on the head and also little carry bag.

The Jem Gold and Jem Silver can be purchased on line for about half the price they once were. They are mechanical machines but Janome also has computerized Jems with more features.
I would say that the machine that is best for travel depends on the type of sewing done while traveling.
The Activas are nice machines too. I hope you like the machine you decide to purchase.

iSewQuiltArt
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iSewQuiltArt
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Date: 1/25/10 6:11 PM

Just a thought, why not look at a used Bernina, I picked up a Nova 900 (made in the mid 80's between '82-'85) the other day, a little lighter than the usual ones, with a carry handle on top and hard case. It has die cast aluminium frame which makes it abit lighter than some other Berninas but very solid.

It has all the functional stitches you really need and one decorative shell embroidery stitch, does wicked good satin stitching and straight stitching, and offer I think a total of 6 stitches plus buttonhole, all for a few hundred dollars. I paid $350 for mine here in Australia but you may get it for less depending on where you live and the demand/supply of them.
From what I've heard and talked with others, it sounds like the quality would easily outstrip the Janome Gem. And at least with the Nova, all parts are still replaceable with Bernina or after market parts, so they can be kept sewing for a very long time if they need repair. I don't know how much the Gem is where you are and now easy it will be for you to find a 900 Bernina as not many were made, but you could also consider a 800 series machine if you are into mechanical machines- there is the 801, 802, 811 and of course the legendary 830-which may weight more than the other 800's.
It came with 7 presserfeet and one extra the previous owner had added. It sews beautifully, is solid, can be pulled apart properly for cleaning, and will sew through anything I've thrown at it so far- inlcuding 1.5cm high box pockets with a folded gusset made of heavy cotton twill ( I was mending a family member's pair of shorts).
You can still buy feet with the old Bernina style shank, like the quarter inch foot. The new feet on your Aurora won't fit the Nova though, so if you track one down be sure it has lots of feet included with it.

I actually bought my Nova for travelling to classes, and for students use in class as a back-up to their own...and for my children to learn on. Although I am going to find it hard to share with others- its a very lovely machine.
I had for about 5 minutes considered the Activa but didn't want a new machine and to spend that much for what I wanted the machine for..they are fairly expensive here in Aus, .and didn't want flimsy placky machine with questionable lifespan.
Goodluck in your hunting.

------
Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...

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