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Recommend a Good Lightweight Machine?

Dottie | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I’m a liveaboard cruiser on a sailboat with limited storage space.  I’m looking for a compact sewing machine, a “mighty mite,” that can handle minor canvas repair and new interior cushion covers (in nothing heavier than an ultra suede) as well as regular mending and light duty projects.  Many of my crusing friends have heavy-duty machines specifically designed for sailmaking and canvas work.  I don’t need that kind of power nor want that kind of weight.  Can anyone offer any recommendaitons or advice as I conduct my search? 


  1. maskwoman | | #1

    In my art and sewing studio, I use a heavy duty Bernina machine that really cannot be moved.  Recently I went in search of a lightweight machine to use for taking to classes, emergency repairs at home, etc.  I bought the Huskystar 207 for about $200.  I must say it performs admirably, and an added bonus is that there are after-market presser feet avialable for about $3.25 each (as opposed to $30 for Bernina feet.)

    1. Dottie | | #3

      Thank you for the recommendation.  I'll research the Huskystar 207 online-- looks like this might be a good reason for a road trip to Miami for a test. 

  2. KarenW | | #2

    A couple options come to mind that fit the "compact" requirement... the Janome Jem machines are small, easily portable, stitch very very nicely.  I am not sure how heavy duty they are, while you don't need something really heavy duty as you've said your friends have, I'd take some of the canvas work you typically do to test on them first.  I know many people who use them for quilting, I have used mine to apply a faux leather binding to a double layered wool garment and it sailed (no pun intended!) through no problem.   Another possibility is one of the 3/4 size Bernina machines.  They would be (IMHO) heavier duty.  They weigh a lot less than a full size Bernina, but definitely more than the Jem, but are very stable yet smaller than a full size Bernina.  One of the big features is that you then have the ability to use any of the Bernina feet for your sewing needs - I love their feet!   


    1. Dottie | | #4

      I ran into a Janome Jem in my local (very limited) market here.  I will take a small mending job of my canvas with me and revisit, this time testing the machine.  Thank you for your help!

      1. Kiley | | #5

        The Huskystar line is made by Janome for Viking. They are also nice quiet machines. I believe the higher model 224 has a bit more power being it has electronic features like a speed control and one step buttonholer that the models under it don't have. I seemed to nitice the difference when test driving them. Someone on another site posted that she uses her 224 for her heavy duty work. I like this machine also and actually went to purchase it but I ended up buying a mechanical Pfaff for the IDT. I still like the Husky line. I had an older Viking Husky that was made in Canada that my daughter has and it is a wonderful machine. I gave my other daughter my Jem Silver and it is a good small machine. I love Janome and have a Janome made computerized Kenmore. The little Jems have features of the big machines but I believe it lacks a pressure foot control and they don't have electonics like some of the bigger machines. They now have newer Jems and I believe they have one that is computerized. The Janome site has all the new models to check out.

        Edited 10/17/2005 5:03 am ET by Kiley

        1. Dottie | | #6

          Thanks a lot for the good info.

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