The 5 Best Portable Sewing Machines


Here are the BEST portable sewing machines – cause let's face it, we like to sew errywhere. Some people bring books or magazines with them to entertain themselves when they’re on-the-go… but I bring quilting projects. Now, before you give me the side-eye, I once sat next to someone who was knitting a baby sweater in a dark movie theater, so in comparison, I’m not even that weird.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one looking for ways to take quilting with them when they’re on the move, either. That’s why I wanted to write a post about the best portable sewing machines out there. They may not be movie-theater portable, but they are machines that are easy to take with you when you want to take your quilting project to a class, club, or family reunion. (PS, if you quilt with your family members during family reunions, will you invite me to the next one? I promise I’ll fit in.)

The Best Portable Sewing Machines for Every Style & Budget:​


1. Brother CS5055PRW

At only 10.1 lbs and 19.5 x 10.8 x 16 inches, this baby could fit in your favorite crafting bag. It’s one of the lightest machines out there that is still going to deliver 50 built-in stitches and the option to carry it with you to class without difficulty. It is sturdy enough to handle stretch materials and bulkier fleece, and can crank out 850 stitches per minute when you really get it going. Because it’s light, versatile, and easy to use, it earns one of my top spots.


This machine is the heavyweight on the list coming in just shy of 16 lbs. If you want to shave off a pound, the Maker 100 is only 15 lbs. I'm a sucker for peach, however, so I'm including the 200 series on our list. A little heavier and a little smaller, at 14.5 x 6.5 x 11 inches, the EverSewn Maker 200 packs a big punch into a small machine. The interior frame is metal which makes it very robust.

If you didn't know, EverSewn is a sister company to BERNINA – which is my brand of choice. If you too are a BERNINA loyalist, keep it in the family and take an EverSewn on the road!


3. Janome SEW MINI

Now we’re moving into the SUPER small machines, and the super low prices, too, starting with the Janome Sew Mini. Yes, it’s still a real sewing machine, made in the same factory as Janome’s larger machines, but it’s only 10.5 x 9 x 5.8 inches and 6.9 lbs. As you may have already guessed, it’s a bit limited in what it can do, and probably can’t take on your heavy-duty projects, but you can literally lift it with a few (strong) fingers, and it’s great for beginners. Added bonus – multiple color options!​


4. Brother ES2000

The Brother ES2000 brings some different strengths to the table, while still being light enough to lift off the table at 13.5 lbs. This model from Brother offers a free arm option (That's an extended area around the needle plate to give you more space for maneuvering fabric.) A computerized screen lets you shuffle through tension adjustments like they’re your favorite playlist. My favorite part about this portable machine is the option to switch to free-motion sewing. Most machines this size and price don't have that feature.

(Also, if you want to see a video about this machine with some really exciting background music, click here.)


5. Michley LSS-202

I’m putting this crazy, tiny contraption in a league all of its own. At 7 x 4.5 x 8.5 inches and 2.2 lbs, the Michley LSS-202 is a whole different animal, and maybe… not exactly what you think of when you think “sewing machine.” Yes, it sews. That is its purpose. But this baby makes the list for a different reason than the others. This is the equivalent of the little flashlight you keep on your keychain – you don’t expect it to do what your normal machine will do, but it delivers in a pinch, and it’s easy to have on-hand. The price ain't bad either.​

Now here’s what I want to know: where is the craziest place you have taken a sewing machine? On a cruise? Into the mountains? Your in-laws? Comment below!


39 thoughts on “The 5 Best Portable Sewing Machines

  1. Deb says:

    This will be the second year of a family quilt retreat. Trying out a new spot, stitch supply in Wisconsin. So not too far. One aunt who flies in does borrow a machine versus making it go in the overhead.

  2. Michelle says:

    Have you sewn with #5? Because friends asked me to help with their daughters machine, and it was #5 – I could not get it to form a complete stitch.

    • Erika says:

      I have!! My friend brought me hers for the same reason.. it’s the tension on top.. I loosened it all the way and it still felt super tight but started sewing great!

      • Kerryann Mowry says:

        My husband and I have travelled the US in our Fifthwheel for fourteen years. I have two sewing machines and a serger onboard so I’ve seen in most of the 47 states we visited. Only missing Delaware, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Looking forward to including them soon. My favorite sewing place so far was probably Glacier National Park.

  3. Rhonda Crisp says:

    I use a portable Kenmore and I love it. I’ve got a fancier machine but I’d rather sew on my Kenmore. My mother used it for many years and when she died I inherited it and I’ve used it for 6 years and it still runs smooth as a baby’s breath. It’s simple with lots of different stitch choices and easy to use. I spent most of the day today sewing on it and it kept trudging right along.

  4. Elaine says:

    I’m a textile collage artist and have an opportunity to be an Artist in Residence at a National Park this fall. I’ll need a lightweight, portable machine to take with me that has satin stitch capacity. Would you recommend the Brother CS5055PRW as the best choice? Speed is important! Thanks so much!

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Congrats! What a cool opportunity! That Brother machine will definitely be fast and is lightweight. I recommend these machines for trips and day classes. Once you are set up at your residency, how much will you be moving your machine around? If you plan on staying in one location for a few weeks, portability may not be as important. I have another sewing machine article that might be more helpful for a high-performance, fast machine –

    • Di says:

      Wondering what machine you have on the sail boat as I need a portable for a salt air foreign beach house. One has already locked up in the tropical air and failed! Thanks, Di

      • Suzy Quilts says:

        Sailing while sewing has just hit my bucket list. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but now I need to do it! Sadly I’m not much help giving advice for beach climate sewing – I’m a midwestern girl with access to only the fresh water of the Great Lakes. I will say that I’ve never heard of tropical air causing a sewing machine to lock up. This sounds like a question you should ask a sewing machine dealer.

  5. Elaina says:

    My youngest daughter has the Michley LSS-505, and we really like it. I’ve even sewn on it myself, and it works great for a mini sewing machine. I also like all of the fun colors the Janome minis come in.

  6. Anette says:

    My brother recommended I would possibly like this blog. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  7. Embroidery designs says:

    This will be the second year of a family quilt retreat. Trying out a new spot, stitch supply in Wisconsin. So not too far. One aunt who flies in does borrow a machine versus making it go in the overhead.

  8. Rebecca Winders says:

    I took my sewing machine from Texas to Iowa to make a bridesmaid dress for a bridesmaid who was pregnant and could not fit into her dress. We found satin the same color and sewed on the little table in a hotel room three days before my daughters wedding.

  9. Nadine says:

    Hi, am really in love with crafts and want to learn how to sew… i have been doing so with my hands and it really does not have the finish i hope…. i have never used a machine before . I am interested in a light portable sewing machine on which i can learn at home and take with me if i have to… please if you could also recommend some online sites that teach sewing… Thank you

  10. Barbara says:

    I bought Brother CS5055PRW for my eight-year-old daughter who is taking private sewing lessons. She doesn’t feel intimidated by the machine and it’ll still be a good one for her to use for years to come. It’s perfect for a beginner but still a good machine for a more experienced person

  11. JD says:

    Somewhat disappointed in the post after finding out that #5 was chosen for looks and was not even tested. I am looking for a portable machine for classes and retreats. Was hoping ti find reviews that included experience in extended use.

    Quilters have recommended Janmone jem Gold and 760 Platinum but these reviews seem focused on new machines only without real use involved in the list. Any chance you might do a list of quilters all time favoritues? Most of us end up buying used machines anyway.

  12. Jeanne says:

    Any suggestions on which machine would do best for plain stitching on heavy fabric like canvas? I don’t need to carry a sewing machine outside the house, but portable is attractive for stashing it in the closet when not in use. So it’s okay if a machine for heavy fabric is on the heavy side. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      If you’re going to be sewing heavy-weight fabric, I’d look for a sturdy machine so it doesn’t rattle around while you sew. From these options, I’d suggest the EverSewn, or something that is more in the 15 lb. range.

      • Jeanne says:

        Thanks so much. It helps to narrow the field. I haven’t owned a machine in a lifetime, but I want to get back ’round to some household projects mainly.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi! I’m looking for a portable machine to take to Mexico with me (we do three to four weeks every year). While I am a quilter, I’m looking to work on clothes for 18 inch AGD’s. What are suggestions for a light weight machine to pack??

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Well, since you’re going to be there for a while, I think you could get away with taking a sturdier machine. These machines that are 15 lbs. or lighter are really great for short retreats, but may not be your go-to for extended sewing. You could actually take your home sewing machine, or, I think these Bernettes are really great quality for the price.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I would recommend taking it as a carry-on. The way I’ve seen luggage get tossed around an airport, I wouldn’t trust someone else with my machine. A big reason to look into lighter travel sewing machines is so that it would still be possible to store them easily while traveling in a plane or car.

  14. Andy says:

    Thanks a lot Suzy, this really helped. I love denim fabrics, I love putting on fabrics that are heavy… though I am new to sewing, I would like you to recommend a Sewing machine that can hold heavy fabrics, and one that is very affordable, or if you would recommend a website where i could get fairly used ones. thanks..

  15. Dawna says:

    Hey I’ve taken my little sewing machine to St Martin on holidays and pieced together a double size quilt. My hubby has now rigged it up to use our solar power in the camper and have done some basic ‘slabs’.

  16. Louise says:

    I take my machine almost every time to the motels. I use the desk usually, but sometimes have had to use the bedside table , or ironing board!

  17. Helen J. Regina says:

    Wonderful review article. but only five! if you mentioned more at least ten that would be great. however I learned about new companies that you mentioned. all other sites only provide brother sewing machine. among these which one do you recommend for customer>

    Thank you, for sharing such an informative article.

    Hopefully, waiting for your reply and more article in the future.

  18. Darlene says:

    I took my sewing/embroidery machine to the basement of a college engineering building and sewed seat cushions and head rests for a collegiate student designed Baja car (i.e. dune buggy). I even embroidered the teams name on the head rest. The car was for an international collegiate competition sponsored by SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers).

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