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Best Portable Sewing Machines

By: Kelly Burgess on May 25, 2018

Portable sewing machines sew to-go

Pretty much everyone loves a portable sewing machine, but they're particularly beloved by sewing teachers, sewing students, and those dedicated sewing fans who attend conventions and/or belong to quilting groups. Many of the other sewing machines in this report have a degree of portability, from our Best Reviewed Brother CS6000i (Est. $160), which comes with a hard shell case, to our suggested sewing machine for kids, the Brother XM1010 (Est. $100), which is lightweight and has a handle for portability.

However, those who want a sewing machine for maximum portability, yet with all the functions of a high-end machine, say the Pfaff Passport 2.0 (Est. $700) is the gold standard. It's the darling of sewing teachers because they can tote it around to their private and group lessons and it will do anything a heavier, full sized, high-end machine can do. Some dedicated sewers buy it as a second machine just to travel with.

The Pfaff Passport 2.0 has 70 stitches as well as four one-step buttonhole settings. Users rave about the integral, pull-out stitch selection guide, which, we agree, is pretty brilliant. Its ease-of-use is almost unsurpassed, with on-board guides for everything from threading to bobbin winding.

What sewing enthusiasts really adore about the Pfaff is the proprietary IDT system, which stands for Integrated Dual Feed (yes, we know that "Feed" starts with an "F." We don't know why Pfaff doesn't call it an IDF system, but they don't.) This technology smooths and feeds the fabric simultaneously to provide for perfect stitches on a variety of fabrics, from super flimsy to heavy-duty. Although reviewers do say that the Passport 2.0 doesn't perform well on the heaviest fabrics -- so don't buy it if you're planning to make sails. (Don't laugh, the Janome 1600P (Est. $1,150) is top-rated for repairing sails and is a favorite of soldiers who need to repair rucksacks or heavy uniforms.)

The Pfaff is not just for travelers either, many sewers who have limited work or storage space buy the Passport 2.0 because they can tuck it away on a shelf. This is a fairly new machine -- it was released in 2013 -- so there isn't a lot of input into its long-term durability, but Pfaff is a very well-respected sewing machine company and the Passport 2.0 comes with a two-year warranty. It must be purchased from an authorized retailer for the warranty to be valid, however. Many Pfaff dealers will extend that warranty period as well.

A dedicated sewing machine table or cabinet is a must-have

Even if you're only a casual sewer, a sewing machine table or cabinet will make any sewing task so much easier. These give you a dedicated area to store your machine and to keep all the fabric, accessories and associated paraphilia you need to create your projects. It also saves time on set up and tear down, and keeps your sewing activities from spilling over into family areas like the dining table.

One of the highest-rated sewing machine cabinets we saw anywhere is the Sauder Sewing Craft Cart (Est. $140). Owners love it because it's highly affordable, very attractive, and has great organizational options. It includes a shelf for storing a sewing machine and bins and shelves in the cabinets for other items. To use it, you open the main door and lift out the sewing machine and set it on the desktop. That leaves plenty of room for your legs as you sew. When you're done, just put the sewing machine back on the shelf and fold it up to make an attractive cabinet. It measures 19.5- (d) by 28.5- (h) by 38.5-inches (w) when folded. Unfolded, it's 63 inches (w). It comes in three finishes, Cinnamon Cherry, Amber Pine and Soft White.

If you have a dedicated craft or sewing room and don't need to disguise your hobby, the Arrow Gidget Sewing Table (Est. $120) gets great reviews from quilters and those who work on larger projects. They say it's a perfect height to ease strain when sewing and quilting. It measures 20- (d) 29.5- (h) by 40.5- inches (w). Reviewers say it can accommodate all but the largest, heaviest machines.

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