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On The Road - Taking Your Machine to Bees and Retreats

When we host a sewing day for Quilts of Valour, I try to get a few volunteers to help haul in people’s sewing machines. Some folks have “away” machines as opposed to bringing their “home” models. "Away" machines are smaller, lighter and usually, not computerized, providing less opportunity for something to get jostled out of place.

But first we need to make sure our babies will arrive safely.


1. I usually un-thread my machine, just so I have to re-thread it when I arrive. A lot of rattling can happen just carrying it to the car.

2. Drop your presser foot down on a scrap of fabric, but not the needle, leave it up.

3. If you have a pedal gripper pack it, chances are good it’s an uncarpeted floor and you don’t want to spend the day chasing your pedal around.

4. Booster seat. If you are headed to a community centre or a retreat that uses regular tables, the surfaces will be higher than it should be. You’re going to be sewing for six-plus hours, don’t wreck your shoulders, back and neck.

5. Protect your baby. Machines used to all come with a nice hard case, unfortunately that is no longer true. If you are not going far, you may feel comfortable with a soft-shell padded case, there are lots on the market. Cases on wheels are handy, but they are also heavier if you need to carry it up a set of stairs. I’ve been tempted to use a carry-on suitcase, but I would need to transport it on its side- not a good idea to rattle all those fine parts around.

6. Set the case on the floor of the backseat or support in the trunk/hatch so it will not fall over. Cases on wheels are handy but are also heavier if you need to carry it up a set of stairs.


7. When you arrive, take your other items in first, there may be volunteers inside who are there to help – let them. They won’t be there when you’re heading home, so take the help when you have it. If you do carry it in, set it on a chair or head straight to your table, don’t set it on the floor, forcing you to bend over to lift it back up.

8. Unpack your pedal gripper. Assess your sewing table, it’s more than likely you’ll need the cushion, start with it and try to get your arms at 90 degrees.


9. Take two minutes, reach for the sky, big stretch, walk around and shake it out. Get your water and keep it nearby, dehydration will make you achy and sore.

Now you are ready to Sew.

Have you had any near disasters?

Do you have any ideas you'd like to share about taking your machine on the road ?

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These are great tips, thank you for writing this article!!

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