Sewing on the Road: Taking Your BERNINA on Vacation!

Vacation with your BERNINA

Do you take your BERNINA on vacation? A lot of people do, because sewing is their favorite way to relax. I know people who take their machines along on RVs, trains, even transcontinental flights!

During the winter, my B 560 (AKA Karl), and I are squeezed into a little city pied-a-terre, where it sits on my desk next to my computer.

Vacation with your BERNINA

But for a couple of months each summer, I pack my sewing supplies in the car and head to an island family home with my own “sewing shed,” which is as close to paradise as you can get with a machine and fabric stash!

Vacation with your BERNINA

Vacation with your BERNINA

Vacation with your BERNINA

I’ve learned over the years to travel light in terms of sewing supplies, because for some strange reason my family thinks that they should be able to stuff a few things in the car, too!

Vacation with your BERNINA

I pack my fabric and necessities in folding cloth boxes from the Container Store, so I have a place to store them when I get to the island. When I return to the city in the fall, the cloth boxes fold flat to stash away until the next summer. I bring only what I need for the projects I have planned, and use small zippered bags to hold things like fusibles and elastics.

Vacation with your BERNINA

When I get to the island, I put my scissors, pattern making supplies and other tools in a toolbox from the hardware store to keep them handy.

Vacation with your BERNINA

Actually, I love going to the hardware store to find little items to help with my sewing – and I couldn’t live without these foam kneepads I picked up. They save me when I’m pinning and cutting on the floor!

Sometimes things can go wrong with this “less is more” philosophy, though. When I arrived on the island this year, I discovered that I had remembered to pack everything but my magnetic pin box. When I went to the local quilting store, they didn’t have any for sale—but the nice proprietor, seeing that I was in a bind, loaned me one and said, “just bring it back at the end of the summer.” Proof once again that sewing people are the best!

For other sewing items that I can’t find on the island, I’ve found that Amazon Prime can get them here in a couple of days. If I’m looking for a particular fabric, websites like moodfabrics.com can usually send me what I need.

Vacation with your BERNINA

This summer I brought a new little friend to help me sew—a B 215 that I named “Coco.” Coco is a ¾ size machine, but it still has the BERNINA power and stitch precision I need for sewing the wide variety of garment fabrics I use in vintage reconstructions. The B 215 is the right size for a carry-on, but I can still use all of the BERNINA presser feet I rely on when I use my B 560.

Vacation with your BERNINA

For example, Coco made quick work of these folds in finicky thin jersey, with the help of my Walking Foot #50.

Vacation with your BERNINA

Vacation with your BERNINA

And check out these sweet little tucks! The B 215 did a great job on this tricky vintage detail from a 1950s Claire McCardell pattern.

Vacation with your BERNINA

Of course, I miss the decorative stitches, range of buttonholes, and other advanced features on my B 560, but for summer sewing, Coco is a great little helper! If you’re interested in learning more features of the B 215, this series of videos on YouTube can walk you through them. There’s nothing quite like being alone with your thoughts in your sewing space, and—hey, what’s my hubby doing in here! Grrrr.

And I’ll admit it can be hard to tear myself away from the shed to go to the beach with my family, because what I really want to do on vaca is stay in and sew!

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