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August 11, 2017

How to Travel with a Sewing Machine

Sewing

My day job frequently keeps me on the road, and whenever possible, I take along a sewing machine. Here is my process of keeping my sewing machine companion safe en route.

The Process

    • Sewing Machine

Since I travel a lot, I don’t pack up my main workroom machine for each trip. While you certainly could, I find it easier to have a second machine for travel. For this purpose, I specifically chose a model from the same manufacturer and with similar features as my main workhorse. This way, I don’t have to struggle with relearning the machine everytime I’m on the road.

    • Travel Settings

When I first attempted to travel with a sewing machine I asked my local service technician for some guidance. Their most important tip was to put the presser foot down, and the handwheel turned, so the needle is also down and secured into a small piece of fabric. I use a square of felt fabric for this purpose as it is strong and solidly holds the needle in place. Another tip I learned was to keep the machine in its normal upright position. For plane travel, this is not always possible; however, I do follow this practice when packing my car for a sewing road trip.
How to Travel with a Sewing Machine Settings for Safety

    • Security Screening

Previous research on this topic had me believe that I needed to remove the needle from the machine before the screening process. My local service technician negated this, and my practice remains as described above. Fortunately, I have never had a problem taking a sewing machine with me onto a flight, nor have I had any damage to my machine as a result (even with having the machine on its side for most of the trip). I go through security with my sewing machine like any other piece of luggage and most of the time I am not stopped or even asked about it. I do always allow extra time in case the TSA folks want to check it out.

    • How to Carry On

For car road trips, I use the hard-sided case that came with my machine. I find the handle and size easy to carry- like in the photo above. If your machine didn’t come with a case, or you are going to be doing some plane travel, the following information may be helpful.

In the past, I utilized a small, hard-sided roller bag for airplane sewing travel. My machine fits in here perfectly, and it is still small enough to fit in the overhead compartments of most planes.
How to travel with a sewing machine
Recently though, I met another traveling sewist, who recommended I try a tool bag for this same purpose. As any good sewist would do, I hightailed it to my local big box hardware store, and I came home with a heavy-duty, nylon tool bag that I now love! The bag has a reinforced wide mouth with a zipper, to encase and protect my machine. There are also pockets on the outside for extra storage on this bag which thankfully fit all the necessary accouterments. I took this new bag out for a long trip earlier this month and was thrilled with the results. Having the shoulder strap meant that my hands were free and most importantly my machine was perfectly safe.
How to travel with a sewing machine

How to travel with a sewing machine

What About You?

Have you taken your sewing machine with you on the road this summer? Have you found a case or piece of luggage that keeps your machine safe en route? Please share any other tips or tricks you have on traveling with your sewing machine, and I hope to see you out on the road!

How to Travel with a Sewing Machine by Sewing is Required.

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  1. Wis says:

    Hey Jennifer
    Great post with interesting tips. I also travel a lot with my sewing machine, always by car. Although I know about the travel settings I do not always take care of it ;(. But now I will.
    Wis xx

  2. Joy McCalvin says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I love this blog post. Great travel tips. I have never traveled on an airplane with my sewing machine but I have traveled to different states by car with my sewing machine. I also have a tool bag for my sewing machine it’s awesome. They are so much money sturdy then a type sewing machine travel case.

  3. Joy McCalvin says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I love this blog post. Great travel tips. I have never traveled on an airplane with my sewing machine but I have traveled to different states by car with my sewing machine. I also have a tool bag for my sewing machine it’s awesome. They are so much money sturdy then a type sewing machine travel case.

  4. Susana Cunha says:

    These are great tips and ideas. I have brought my sewing machine on holidays, but I haven’t traveled by air with it yet. That tool bag looks very good.
    Thank you!
    Susana

  5. Susana Cunha says:

    These are great tips and ideas. I have brought my sewing machine on holidays, but I haven’t traveled by air with it yet. That tool bag looks very good.
    Thank you!
    Susana

  6. Rosemary says:

    i have taken my sewing machine in the car and have sewn in a tent trailer. i also took it on our sailboat. i liked to be at a dock with water and electrical hookups.

  7. I like how you said that it’s easy to travel in a car or even on a plane with your sewing machine when you have a bag for it. Thanks for your comment about how they usually come in hard or soft cases. My mother travels to visit her grandkids a lot, and she loves to sew during the day for them. She is looking into bags for her machine to make traveling easier and to make sure that her machine stays protected.

    • Yay Ashley- I love to hear that your mother is looking into ways to make her sewing machine travels easier! I’m hoping she will get to bring her machine next time and has a wonderfully productive trip 🙂

  8. I like how you said that it’s easy to travel in a car or even on a plane with your sewing machine when you have a bag for it. Thanks for your comment about how they usually come in hard or soft cases. My mother travels to visit her grandkids a lot, and she loves to sew during the day for them. She is looking into bags for her machine to make traveling easier and to make sure that her machine stays protected.

    • Yay Ashley- I love to hear that your mother is looking into ways to make her sewing machine travels easier! I’m hoping she will get to bring her machine next time and has a wonderfully productive trip 🙂

  9. Maureen says:

    I travel to Europe for business two months at a time. On my last trip I brought hand applique work to do, but I miss my machine and I have a long list of projects to do. Thanks to your tips I’m going to take my machine with me next time.

  10. Maureen says:

    I travel to Europe for business two months at a time. On my last trip I brought hand applique work to do, but I miss my machine and I have a long list of projects to do. Thanks to your tips I’m going to take my machine with me next time.

  11. the tips are real useful. sometimes we go out and miss our machine so much. we can carry them with us to do a lot more work on it

  12. the tips are real useful. sometimes we go out and miss our machine so much. we can carry them with us to do a lot more work on it

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