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How to Travel with your Sewing Project in 5 Easy Steps!

2016 July 14

I usually bring my sewing machine and a project or two on a family vacation – and this one is no exception. We’ve been enjoying Minneapolis for the past week and I am finding that I don’t need such a large project, since we are visiting with family – not as many free evenings as when we vacation alone!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Bluefig sent me the DS23 Wheeled Bag in Butterfly and the Dottie Notions Bag to review for this post and this is my honest opinion about them.

I’ve collected my best tips on how to pack up your sewing project – and how not to forget anything when you do!

Bluefig contacted me a few months ago to talk about a possible post to highlight their new Canadian website. Hooray for us! This company is well known in the US, and are now bringing their product to Canada – with free shipping even. (Yay!) Now that I’ve seen and used their bags I am even more happy to highlight them here for you today.

Let’s get started! Grab a spare basket or box to temporarily collect everything you want to pack. (I would collect it in a pile on my sewing table – but let’s be honest – it’s generally covered in piles of other projects!)

Tip #1: Pattern & Fabric First!

The most important part of any sewing project! Make sure you have a copy of the pattern and enough fabric to make your project. No brainer, right? Print out/grab your pattern and double-check your yardage. I find it useful to use a highlighter to mark off items as I collect them.

I’m using this super cute Tree Party fabric from Riley Blake Fabrics that Canadian designer Kelly Paccini sent to me to make my girls each a Cargo Duffle. I fit the pattern, printouts and machine instruction book into the zippered front pocket of the wheeled bag – so handy!

Tip #2: Collect Other Materials

Make sure you have the rest of your materials according to the pattern listing. Read the pattern over, sometimes the designer will mention recommended items along with things listed in the materials. Matching thread, zippers, bag hardware, interfacing and stabilizers are some things you might need to find.

Tip #3: Don’t forget your Notions

Gather up all of the notions and sewing supplies you need. This tip is likely the most involved and requires the most thought. I like to read through the pattern, thinking about what I will need to complete each step, and write down a list or gather items as I come to them. Most supplies are obvious – sewing scissors, rotary cutter, bobbins and needles.

If you read carefully you might come up with something you didn’t think of – for example, this pattern calls for a double zipper that closes in the middle. Since I am making my own, I brought along wire cutters and pliers.

I loved having the Bluefig Dottie Notions Bag to pack everything into. It is divided up with enough clear zippered pockets to make my organizer’s heart super happy! The bag has 1 large pocket, 2 1/2 pockets and 8 smaller ones, plus an outside pocket for your pattern or quilting ruler. (The notions bag comes as part of a 3 Bag Combo with the Wheeled Bag and Project Bag.)

Here are photos of my packed bag to give you ideas of items you might need to bring along:

Tip #4: Safely Pack your Sewing Machine

It’s your baby, and it allows you to create – you love your sewing machine and it’s important to pack it safely for your trip. (Side note: I had a machine that tipped over in my car once, and it was never the same after that – in fact I ended up having to replace it soon after, so I know the importance of this tip first hand.)

Bluefig bags are made especially with your sewing machine in mind. They come in various sizes, and lots of great colours. Of course I picked the red one in keeping with the Thread Riding Hood theme! It’s made from a brushed Chenille fabric with an appliqued felt butterfly on the front.

I packed and photographed two machines into this bag to give you an idea of size. This 23″ bag is made for larger machines like the Skyline S7 that I have on-loan from Janome Canada. The mesh pockets inside this bag fit my shorter quilting ruler and rotating cutting mat too, which is nice. I also like that the soft sides zip all the way down – making it easy to get your machine in and out of the bag! Bluefig has also provided lists on their website to tell you which machines fit into the Bluefig 19″ or 23″ wide bags.

I actually brought my smaller Janome 2030QDC on vacation with me. I didn’t think it was good to travel with an on-loan machine! Plus, I was glad for the extra space allowed in the DS23 bag from packing a smaller machine than it was meant for. You can see in the photos below that I strapped it in and then placed the hard case on it so I could pack around it. The notions bag on one side  and the foot pedal on the other.

If you don’t have a Bluefig bag yet, you could also use a large plastic tub – one that holds your machine upright. I’ve done this in the past, and the machine was squished held in place securely with all the supplies I was bringing!

Tip #5: The What If’s & Expendables

Of course you know by now that I am one of those people that over-prepare for absolutely everything! So I’m recommending you don’t forget a few more things that you might possibly need – you can never be too careful right?!

Consider bringing anything else you might use on a regular basis. Space permitting of course – and I had room in the large 23″ bag for some extras. Things like embroidery scissors, fabric glue, an extra rotary blade, hot iron cleaner, washi tape (marking lines/labeling fabric pieces), safety pins, hand sewing needles, regular pins, a pressing cloth and an iron might come in handy.

Now that you are packed, enjoy your trip!

I’m really impressed with this bag and how convenient it was to carry my things safely. Plus the materials used in the bag are really good quality and substantial. When I get it home and unpack, it’s good to know that it will fully collapse so I can store it in my small space until I need it again!

Do you take your sewing machine on vacation?

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20 Responses leave one →
  1. July 14, 2016

    The other tip I would add is that if possible put the sewing machine on the seat of the car rather than the floor, a little more cushioning from the bumps of the road will never hurt! I took my machine to the cottage once, although mostly I try to bring hand-work for those holidays.

    • July 15, 2016

      That is a really good idea Lisa! Handwork is so much more portable, true – and you can do it on the dock without electricity! :)

  2. Jo-Anne Cooper permalink
    July 15, 2016

    I would love to win this. I am a fairly new quilter and have to lug my stuff to sewing days. This would come in so handy. Plus tomorrow is my birthday so I am crossing my fingers ;)

    • July 17, 2016

      Hi Jo-Anne, I agree! Unfortunately this post isn’t for a giveaway – but that would be amazing! Hope your birthday was relaxing. :)

  3. Rosemary Gregoire permalink
    July 15, 2016

    This would be so handy.

    • July 17, 2016

      So true Rosemary! It’s been amazins – and really good quality!

  4. July 15, 2016

    I’m not sure we’d have room for my sewing stuff, with all hubbies fishing gear hahaha. But that’s an awesome bag. I stick to handsewing projects for now, but we do short trips of a 1-3 days.

    • July 17, 2016

      Hee Hee – oh dear! Two people with large hobbies in the same family is harder!

  5. July 15, 2016

    Wow, what a great travel set! I haven’t taken my machine on vacation, but I might if I had a set like that. It seems so secure and convenient.

    • July 17, 2016

      Thanks Reece! It really is handy. And it’s really good to know everything is secure!

  6. July 16, 2016

    What a fantastic travel kit! I need to check that out! I always leave the sewing machine at home when I travel, but there are definitely some vacations where it would be really nice to have with me!!! Great tips!

    • July 17, 2016

      I’m glad you like it. It’s super handy for sure! And when it’s just our family, I have time to sew usually in the evenings – which is fun ‘cuz I bring projects I’d usually not get to work on!

  7. Laurie permalink
    July 16, 2016

    As a ultra-newbie self taught quilter I was pretty pleased with myself taking my tiny beginner-type Brother machine(with th the oh so important to me feature of an on/off button replacing the pedal) cross country to a quilting course. I packed it in a 20″ carry on suitcase and had no issues with securit at the airport. I would take an extension cord/power bar next time. My next vacation s more like two weeks of camping- probably not going to take the machine but I pack up a bunch of stuff to work at mixed media art on a camping chair. I pack a plywood board to fit across the arms to make a working surface. Definitely not carry on stuff.

    • July 17, 2016

      Great idea! Thanks for letting us know us know that it fits into a carry-on! Good to know :)

  8. Pam permalink
    November 3, 2016

    Hi there,

    I have taken my machine on vacation to our trailer – it worked out really well.
    I saw Lisa’s post about putting her machine on the seat of her car. I used to do that until I had to slam on my brakes one day because of a driver in front of me and my machine went flying onto the floor. So, now it’s the floor in the car for my baby. Thank goodness it wasn’t damaged.

    • November 8, 2016

      Eeep – Not good! Thanks for letting us know – good call :)

  9. Pam permalink
    November 22, 2016

    Hi again,

    If I were to use the trolley bag as carryon for airline travel do you think the machine would be protected well enough when the bag has to go on its side in the over head compartment on the plane?

    Thanks for your comment.


    • November 23, 2016

      It might be, but I can’t say for sure. I’d hate for you to take my word for it and then your machine gets broken! I would probably do it myself, but make sure that it is padded with clothing or towels so it can’t move inside the bag.

  10. August 22, 2019

    I never thought about taking a sewing machine on vacation. Do you know if you can take it on the airplane with you?

    • August 28, 2019

      Hi Maureen. I believe if you have a case that fits within the carry-on restrictions you could. Maybe check with your airline?

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