Lightweight Sewing Machines -Any Good? (1 Viewer)

Dec 9, 2018
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Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
Have any of you got or used one of these type of lightweight sewing machines:

41VGRW1TG4L._AC_US327_QL65_.jpg

Could not get it to do a proper link to Amazon, it is described as: Portable Sewing Machine with Foot Pedal, 12 Stitches 2 Speed Heavy Duty Sew Machine, Electric Handheld Quilting Embroidery Overlock Quick Sewing Machine Household Sewing Tool

If I am going to live FT in a MH/PVC I will have to have a sewing machine and think I may have payload issues. ATM I have a nasty old Lidl machine masquerading as a tractor - it sounds like one and sews puckered furrows! I have oiled it and tried to sort out the tension with no improvement. My daughter has a nice quiet posh one, so tend to use that. She has offered to buy me one of the lightweight ones for Christmas but I have my doubts about them. There are similar ones that have very good reviews on Amazon, although I am sure many who buy them rarely use them.

Do any of you cart a machine around with you? Any suggestions for good, light as possible ones?


Thanks
 

scotjimland

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Jul 25, 2007
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Modern plastic sewing machines will do the job, but don't expect it to last for 100 years.. or even past the 12 month warranty..

Look for a vintage Swiss made Elna Lotus SP Sewing Machine.. lovely little machines..
they can do zig zag and a range of decorative stitching.

example.. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Swiss-Se...h=item3d7be1a8bb:g:D6AAAOSwaIpcAFAG:rk:2:pf:0

Full specifications here http://ismacs.net/elna/lotus.html

One I owned https://scotjimland.blogspot.com/?view=classic
DSCF2365.JPG DSCF2367.JPG DSCF2368.JPG


When full-time, I carried a Singer 99K .. used it to make curtains, repair awnings etc .. , it's a 3/4 size machine but still quite heavy.. also don't discount a hand crank machine.. they are really good, ideal when off site camping .. a little on the heavy side but without weight a sewing machine moves all over the place.

I then started to collect them... https://scotjimland.blogspot.com

my everyday machine at home is a Singer 201K .. a real workhorse, sew just about anything you care to throw at it

eBay is a good place to find them, happy to help you find good one if interested
 
Last edited:

Jenben

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My friend has one of the Elna ones as described by @scotjimland which she inherited from her mum and it is a really lovely little machine.

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Nov 18, 2011
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I am attempting a reupholsters job during the winter on the drivers and pasengers seat
bill
 
Nov 18, 2011
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nice project Bill..

do you have a sewing machine ?
yes haven't got a clew how it works my son fund one singer hand crank in a skip and another one haven't got a clew what make but think it Japanese
bill

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scotjimland

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yes haven't got a clew how it works my son fund one singer hand crank in a skip and another one haven't got a clew what make but think it Japanese
bill
if you look for the serial number on the Singer, I can look it up and get some instructions .. they are really easy to use and I'm sure you would soon get the hang of it..
 

two

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I'd see if you could borrow one and use it to complete a project (garment?). The Elna is a good machine but might be a bit fiddly for serious work. Good machines will tend to be heavy because they need to be robust. If this is important to you, I wouldn't risk being disappointed for the sake of an additional kilo.
 

scotjimland

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@scotjimland the power one is a Winfield model fw141
cannot believe I am on a motor home forum talking abut sewing machines
bill
they all work very similarly.. the Singer 15 book will get you started..

http://www.singerco.com/uploads/download/8d903d48695caade8f297664674de354a175ca4c.pdf
do I need to use special thread and needles for upholstery
bill

yes, you can buy a pack of needles in mixed sizes , heavier needle for heavier materials.. lighter needle for cotton and silk .. if too light they can bend when going though the material.. any sewing machine shop will help you

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Nov 18, 2011
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they all work very similarly.. the Singer 15 book will get you started..

http://www.singerco.com/uploads/download/8d903d48695caade8f297664674de354a175ca4c.pdf


yes, you can buy a pack of needles in mixed sizes , heavier needle for heavier materials.. lighter needle for cotton and silk .. if too light they can bend when going though the material.. any sewing machine shop will help you
will let you know how I get on I am going to pick one of the chairs in to bits and use it as template pattern as I have never done this before I think this will be the best approach bill
 
Aug 31, 2015
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i recently started sewing and was bought the same machine as in OP post for xmas last year. it is perfect for me (total beginner) and i have sewn many cushion covers with it so far and some fabric bags. I am just starting with quilting. It isnt as fast as the bigger machines and i will probably upgrade at some point but it is easy to move around as it is so light and is a lovely dinky size. foot pedal works well and it seems to sew things nicely. I am too much of a beginner to be able to comment on things like tension etc though.
 

scotjimland

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Jul 25, 2007
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Another Singer that is a true portable and lightweight.. very popular with quilters, but they are quite expensive as have become collectors items

The Singer "Featherweight" 221k and 222k .. 222k has a free arm , the table comes off for sewing narrow sleeves etc

I owned two, bought them at a boot sale for £25 each.. and sold them to a collector in the States.. £400 each !

keep an eye open at boot sales and auctions, not everyone knows the real value ..

http://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/featherweight/221k/

Example on eBay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FINE-SIN...h=item2609935ba4:g:t48AAOSwB9Fb6VPN:rk:1:pf:0
 
OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
74
127
Isle of Wight
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Searching for a Tardis
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Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
Modern plastic sewing machines will do the job, but don't expect it to last for 100 years.. or even past the 12 month warranty..

Look for a vintage Swiss made Elna Lotus SP Sewing Machine.. lovely little machines..
they can do zig zag and a range of decorative stitching.

example.. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Swiss-Se...h=item3d7be1a8bb:g:D6AAAOSwaIpcAFAG:rk:2:pf:0

Full specifications here http://ismacs.net/elna/lotus.html

One I owned https://scotjimland.blogspot.com/?view=classic
View attachment 271241 View attachment 271242 View attachment 271243


When full-time, I carried a Singer 99K .. used it to make curtains, repair awnings etc .. , it's a 3/4 size machine but still quite heavy.. also don't discount a hand crank machine.. they are really good, ideal when off site camping .. a little on the heavy side but without weight a sewing machine moves all over the place.

I then started to collect them... https://scotjimland.blogspot.com

my everyday machine at home is a Singer 201K .. a real workhorse, sew just about anything you care to throw at it

eBay is a good place to find them, happy to help you find good one if interested

Thanks so much Jim, very useful info. Had not thought about the sliding about, I think one of those very lightweight ones would get hurled out my door quite quickly. So have abandoned that idea.

The Elna one is really nice, that is a strong contender, I like the idea of the metal cover, more bomb proof for FTing. Also less to go wrong, I don't like the idea of these fully electronic ones bouncing around in a van.

I can't believe how many expensive machines only have a glorified plastic bag cover. The one my daughter has (Pfaff Hobby) weighs 7.5kg, I like using that as it is so quiet but am not prepared to pay what it cost. She also has a singer industrial one (inherited from her grandmother) from the 1950's, don't know model. I also have a Singer Vibrating Shuttle Hand sewing machine, not sure of the model, the instruction manual is dated January 1895, comes in a beautiful wooden box and it still has all the bits and pieces with it , it is so heavy, I can hardly lift it. You can see why I am trying to downsize.
 
OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
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Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
My friend has one of the Elna ones as described by @scotjimland which she inherited from her mum and it is a really lovely little machine.

Yes, I really like the idea of that little Elna, not too heavy or light.

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Sep 15, 2009
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Another Singer that is a true portable and lightweight.. very popular with quilters, but they are quite expensive as have become collectors items

The Singer "Featherweight" 221k and 222k .. 222k has a free arm , the table comes off for sewing narrow sleeves etc

I owned two, bought them at a boot sale for £25 each.. and sold them to a collector in the States.. £400 each !

keep an eye open at boot sales and auctions, not everyone knows the real value ..

http://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/featherweight/221k/

Example on eBay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FINE-SIN...h=item2609935ba4:g:t48AAOSwB9Fb6VPN:rk:1:pf:0

My wife has one we spoke about it a long while back she loves it and it looks nice also shes recently been given a handcrank Singer but we havnt looked at it yet.
 
OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
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That sounds like swearing :clap2:

Yeah, I had trouble typing it :oops: I do have a habit of getting letters and numbers confused.

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OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
74
127
Isle of Wight
Funster No
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MH
Searching for a Tardis
Exp
Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
Another Singer that is a true portable and lightweight.. very popular with quilters, but they are quite expensive as have become collectors items

The Singer "Featherweight" 221k and 222k .. 222k has a free arm , the table comes off for sewing narrow sleeves etc

I owned two, bought them at a boot sale for £25 each.. and sold them to a collector in the States.. £400 each !

keep an eye open at boot sales and auctions, not everyone knows the real value ..

http://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/featherweight/221k/

Example on eBay https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FINE-SIN...h=item2609935ba4:g:t48AAOSwB9Fb6VPN:rk:1:pf:0

Will keep a lookout for that one. Thanks
 

scotjimland

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if you want lightweight .. this one sits on my desk.. :xlaugh:

and yes, it sews

Singer 'Toy' Model 20 , circa 1926
The 'toy' isn't really a toy but a working miniature. a Singer Model 20, made between 1926-1950 made to teach girls about sewing and no doubt influence them when the purchased their own full size machine. ... Perhaps the motto on the Singer box gives a clue to Singer's marketing strategy.. " As the twig is bent so is the tree inclined"

DSC_7925.JPG
 
OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
74
127
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Searching for a Tardis
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Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
i recently started sewing and was bought the same machine as in OP post for xmas last year. it is perfect for me (total beginner) and i have sewn many cushion covers with it so far and some fabric bags. I am just starting with quilting. It isnt as fast as the bigger machines and i will probably upgrade at some point but it is easy to move around as it is so light and is a lovely dinky size. foot pedal works well and it seems to sew things nicely. I am too much of a beginner to be able to comment on things like tension etc though.

Thanks for that. The more thought I am putting into this the more I think a almost standard machine is the way to go. I am experienced and can make just about anything, I expect to be able to cut out the fabric for a pair of trousers and be wearing them 2 hrs later. I don't think a tiny machine will cope with the punisment it will get from mexroll:

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OP
BOD46
Dec 9, 2018
74
127
Isle of Wight
Funster No
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MH
Searching for a Tardis
Exp
Several years living in a very basic campervan in the 70's
I'd see if you could borrow one and use it to complete a project (garment?). The Elna is a good machine but might be a bit fiddly for serious work. Good machines will tend to be heavy because they need to be robust. If this is important to you, I wouldn't risk being disappointed for the sake of an additional kilo.

That is a very good idea and great advice thanks :)
 
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Maureen has a Bernina, she bought it in 1974, it is not used so much these days.
It was on this machine that Maureen made a wedding dress that won NSW Bride of the year. That and the fact she spent hours sewing on the Crinoline 1500 false pearls by hand. She had her own label then, so the Bernina has done sterling work in it's time. I thought the thing was overpriced when we bought it, but it's proved otherwise, can't remember what she paid for it new, but it has certainly proved it was value for money!
 
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I’m thinking about how /whether I’m going to take my second best machine (Janome TXL607) with me on our extended travels next year. I’d really like to as I enjoy sewing but the weight, plus all the bits and pieces such as scissors, rulers etc may be prohibitive.
So I may have to make do with taking knitting, crochet and cross stitch projects instead which are considerably lighter.
I do think you’ll be better off with a full sized machine if you’ve got the room / payload for it.

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scotjimland

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Maureen has a Bernina, she bought it in 1974, it is not used so much these days.
It was on this machine that Maureen made a wedding dress that won NSW Bride of the year. That and the fact she spent hours sewing on the Crinoline 1500 false pearls by hand. She had her own label then, so the Bernina has done sterling work in it's time. I thought the thing was overpriced when we bought it, but it's proved otherwise, can't remember what she paid for it new, but it has certainly proved it was value for money!

yes, excellent machines.. never owned one.. ...yet, :xlaugh:

the old mechanical models were the best..
 

Puddleduck

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I have a Bernina 440 QEE which I love but I would never take it out of the house except for when it is serviced.

For travelling I have a Lidl special which is clunky but does a decent straight seam and an accurate 1/4 inch seam for my patchwork. If it lasts three years I will be happy.

Because I quilt I like a machine with a reasonable size harp so much prefer a full size machine.

Like @scotjimland I used to have a couple of featherweight machines - one of the "classics" and one of the 1960 models in the carry box. I didn't really use either of them so sold them on and made money. The 1960s machine I bought for £17 at an auction (it was listed as a toy sewing machine and no one wanted it) the other I paid £60 for privately. The 1960s machine sold for £200 on ebay and the classic for £450 in the USA.

@Wildbill if you get in touch with Barnyarns

https://www.barnyarns.co.uk/en/

or on facebook

they will tell you everything you need to know about needles and thread :) For upholstery you will need a heavy thread (maybe a Gutermann extra strong) and a minimum of a 100 universal or topstitch needle. Personally I prefer the topstitch needle.
 
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Puddleduck

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Just in addition to the above,

I use good quality needles in all my machines, not the cheap organ needles that are supplied with the cheaper machines. The machines need to be cleaned / oiled regularly, I clean and oil after every second bobbin which is a bit excessive but little and often is better. Also change your needle as soon as you hear a sort of "pop" as it pierces the fabric. Needles are the cheapest part you can get yet people never change them. Blunt needles cause problems.

The clunky Lidl machine ran far better after I stripped it down and oiled it and used a good quality needle (Superior).

I also use a USB keyboard vacuum cleaner (poundland) to get into the small spaces around the bobbin where lint tends to build up.

For my Bernina I have her serviced at least every two years. The cheap machine I do myself as it would cost more to service than to replace.

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