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Forum > Sewing Machines > What are some of your WORKHORSE traveling machines? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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What are some of your WORKHORSE traveling machines?
Looking for a workhorse under $1200.
Ruth Designs
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Ruth Designs
North Carolina USA
Member since 6/7/08
Posts: 14
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 8/5/11 8:11 AM

Hi, I am looking for a second sewing machine that is light enough to travel with, but is also a workhorse. Looking to spend under $1200 but I can go up to about $1500 if I had too. I would like this second machine to have a good quality stitch because it will get used at home as well by my daughter and I. These are the brands I'm interested in Babylock, Viking, not sure if Bernina parts will be too expensive and didn't know if Janome and Brother will have the quality that i'm looking for. I don't need a thousand of stitches, but if it came with a few that would be great. Need automatic threading and auto thread cutter would be nice. Also if it's possible in this price range would like auto tension. Would also like for it to go though thick layers of fabric with no problem. Thanks
-- Edited on 8/5/11 8:15 AM --
-- Edited on 8/5/11 5:10 PM --

annenet
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annenet  Friend of PR
Virginia USA
Member since 8/2/03
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Date: 8/5/11 8:32 AM

I have an Bernina Activa 220 as my travel machine. It's pretty robust - right along the lines of my Artista's. It does have a needle threader and even though it doesn't have auto tension I have no tension issues with it anyway. I paid $699 on a really good sale. The 3 series are the current ones and might be good to look at. They have the upgraded lighting and all do an auto buttonhole. My Active does one manually but they're really good and frankly I don't need it for buttonholes often anyway.

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So many projects, not enough time
At my house in VA:
Bernina Activa 220, B580, B790
Singer 201-2, 221, Bernina Serger 1300MDC, BL Enlighten, BL Sashiko, BL Cover Stitch, Consew 75T

At my Lake House in PA:
Bernina 1010, Artista 165E, Singer 503A. Bernina Serger 1100d

http://sewingtechie.blogspot.com/

sewfrequent

sewfrequent
Texas USA
Member since 6/27/03
Posts: 3512
Skill: Intermediate
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In reply to Ruth Designs <<


Date: 8/5/11 8:52 AM

I think only brother/babylock and elna or janome can provide all that you are looking for at under 1200 with exception of low-bob tho one of the brother/BL models may have that. Personally own janomes and like them but the Babylocks are just as good and of equal quality. Personally if sewing heavy fabrics I'd go BL route bc the motor is a little stronger but be aware not all stitches are adjustable in length and width. Also the juki 600 is huge bang for your buck prob best value going in new at 1000 price point.

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
Texas USA
Member since 2/25/05
Posts: 1248
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Date: 8/5/11 10:58 AM

I LOVE my Activa 230. The motor is the same one as on my Bernina 440 so it is quite robust. The stitches are all fully adjustable and the buttonholes are lovely. It has 2 speeds, a needle up/down and decent lighting. I later added the knee lift and the heel tap foot pedal because I was used to that on my those on my other machines.
Leslie

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Bernina Gal

GothDom
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GothDom  Friend of PR
Member since 3/24/10
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Date: 8/5/11 11:52 AM

I like my 222K
free arm in the form of a Featherweight? All metal construction? Sews through cows?
Heck Yeah!

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http://www.acdc-vintage.com
This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

Melody
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Melody
Michigan USA
Member since 2/7/02
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Date: 8/5/11 12:35 PM

I travel with either my Singer 301 (which is a 3/4 machine) or my featherweight. Love them both wouldn't trade them for anything.

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Melody

Ugh, really?

SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
USA
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Date: 8/5/11 12:51 PM

You say it's for travel, but most of the features you list aren't often found on the lighter weight travel machines. Especially not bobbin sensor. Most do not have presser foot pressure, but I think the Janome Jem Platinum has that, and it also has a needle threader. No bobbin sensor.

I have the newer 350 Bernina, and got it at a very reasonable price, way below your $1500 range, as a floor model. Now, it does not have lower bobbin sensor, adjustable presser foot pressure or auto tensions. But I've not missed those features at all - especially for travel use. The bobbins hold lots of thread. It's lightweight enough to travel with at 18 lbs. It does have a needle threader which actually works, and it has the start/stop button (no foot pedal needed) which is great for traveling.

I also have a Babylock Audrey which is a great little machine for travel. Same as the Bernina above as far as what it has and doesn't have. Comes with more feet and stitches. But, both of these machines have powerful motors on them which is really nice. I don't have to worry that either machine won't make it through layers.

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Bernina 780, and 530
Viking Opal 690Q
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

AminaHijabi
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AminaHijabi
Member since 10/22/10
Posts: 1188
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 8/5/11 2:12 PM

isn't there a light weight Janome machine which has pressure adjustment and the automatic thread cutter she's seeking? the 3160 or something?
-- Edited on 8/5/11 2:13 PM --

SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
USA
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In reply to AminaHijabi <<


Date: 8/5/11 4:19 PM

If anyone has one with all those features, it would be Janome or Brother. It's weather or not they are lightweight for travel.
But, some folks wouldn't mind a regular size machine that is heavier than around 18 lbs for travel. I would not want one heavier than that.

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Bernina 780, and 530
Viking Opal 690Q
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
Illinois USA
Member since 10/27/10
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Date: 8/5/11 6:25 PM

I think the 3160 is about 12 lbs, the Janome website gives weights. I've heard only good about it except the occasional complaint that it doesn't handle thicknesses, even sewing over seam allowances. It does have autocut.

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

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