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How To: Travel With Your Sewing Machine on a Plane

Craft & Design

I recently attended BlogHer ’10 this week in New York City and needed to bring my trusty Hello Kitty Janome with me. I wasn’t sure how best to get my machine on the plane, but after a date with some painter’s tape, we made it on just fine. Since security rules are always changing, here’s the latest and greatest advice for all you traveling seamstresses.

When taking your machine on a plane, follow these steps:

  • Remove the presser foot, bobbin, and needle. It’s best if you have a piece of luggage to check to play it safe with getting the needle through. I put all of the pieces in one small sandwich bag
  • Make sure you didn’t leave a spool thread on the spindle
  • Fold up any protruding pieces. For me, I taped down the spindle
  • Tape down any piece you might be worried about coming loose
  • Make sure your handle is secure. If you don’t have a handle, find a cushioned bag to use
  • When you’re actually ready to put the machine through the X-ray, make sure it goes by itself in its own bin

I had no problems going from Detroit to NYC and back. They did inspect it both times, but nothing was taken apart. If anything, I was praised for having glasses that matched my sewing machine.
Have your traveled with crafty tools before? If you have, let us know some of your tips!

4 thoughts on “How To: Travel With Your Sewing Machine on a Plane

  1. says:

    I traveled with my Pfaff machine from Spain to Israel and had no problems at all. I didn’t even bother so much with the parts etc., as I took it with me to the cabin inside a trolley suitcase with some extra lightweight blanket as cushioning. I just packed my extra needles separately, and that’s it, and hoped nobody in the check-in would weigh it (it was slightly over the 8 Kgs allowed). The security people didn’t give me any trouble and just asked to see the machine outside the suitcase, to make sure that it is what they saw on their screen.
    I think they would be more troubled had they knew I was carrying knitting needles, too…

  2. Cinder says:

    I traveled with my Bernina Activa about a year and a half ago. I did much as you describe, except that I put my machine under the seat in front of me. It fit perfectly. It was the easiest way to pass the machine along to my daughter, who now is happily sewing away.

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