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Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

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    Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

    If you had a choice of a Featherweight or a newer light weight machine with many more features, which would you buy?

    I really need a machine for classes and have read the feedback on a couple recent threads. (Thanks to those posters.) I've been looking on Craigslist and Ebay for a Featherweight because people rave about them and because they are cute. The feedback on the other threads about the Janome Jem and Pfaff Passport is impressive and now I'm wondering if they would be a smarter purchase since they have so many features we're used to.

    For those with Featherweights, do you spend much on repair? It seems half the people selling them don't sew and can't answer questions well. (One didn't know what feet are and 2 others just today said they don't sew, are just antique dealers.) I'm worried I'll end up with one needing a lot of work.

    I have a Bernina Patchwork Edition that's about 10-12 years old as my main machine and it's heavy to take down 2 flights of stairs. I also have an antique Singer that I really don't use. I've had problems recently with tension issues when free motion quilting and also, the needle holder is slightly slanted, meaning I have to pay more attention to get a 1/4" seam. I've had it worked on, but need to take it again, I guess. I had problems earlier today and as I read the feedback, I wanted one of those. : )

    Do any of you use the Jem or Passport as a primary machine or do you use mainly for classes/travel? I hate to spend 700 for the Passport just for classes.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by cathym; March 2, 2014, 05:26 PM.

    #2
    Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

    One thing I want to say, since a Featherweight is all metal, it might have been lighter that other machines of the time, but it isn't really light. I have my Featherweight in a rolling bag for that reason. Plus my carrying case it came with has a broken latch.

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      #3
      Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

      I have the Pfaff Creative Sensation which is my primary machine. One of the reasons I bought the Passport was because it uses all the same feet (except the free motion foot) so I didn't have to purchase more. The Passport does stay set up because when I am embroidering I will sew on it. Also, my husband has been learning to sew and he uses it. It does have a small throat (compared to my primary machine) so I don't think I will be doing much FMQ unless it is a small project or just practicing in class but I have straight lined quilted quite a few larger items on it and it handled them well. I did get the extension table and that certainly helps. It does sew like a much bigger machine in my opinion.
      Ann

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        #4
        Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

        I only use my Passport for travel, but I have 4 other machines set up in my sewing room to use whenever I need them. My Passport lives in his suitcase so it's simple to take him when I need to.

        2 of my machines that are always available are vintage machines, and I ADORE my vintage machines, but they DO require more time, effort, and fiddling than my modern machines. If I take my machine out of the house, I want TROUBLE FREE, simple, easy sewing. I don't mind the extra fiddling that comes with using my vintage sweethearts while I am at home, but don't want to be messing with it if I am away, and especially NOT if I am in a class!

        I took a quilt class once with a lady that had a featherweight. GORGEOUS machine. But she spent just as much time messing with her machine as she did sewing and did not get done half of what everyone else in the class did.

        I paid $550 for my Passport, $700 is VERY high! That sounds like FULL MSRP with the extension table! I don't think dealers should be selling the machine for MORE than MSRP. I did not get the table, because so far I have not had any need for it. I will probably end up getting it, just because I do love my toys.

        edit:
        I should clarify I use my Passport every month at Project Linus meetings, for the 4 hours I am there. He sews many many many labels, and has made a few rag quilts while there too. Before I got my 2nd main modern machine, he was my backup while my other machine was embroidering.
        Last edited by Cat n bull; March 2, 2014, 08:06 PM.
        Cathryn

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          #5
          Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

          I got a Featherweight from my Mom who used to be an antique dealer. I paid $75 to a local sewing repair man (a mechanical genius) to have it serviced. Ever since then it runs beautifully. I take it in every year for a tune up.
          May the road rise up to meet you...
          May the wind be always at your back...
          May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead...
          Patt :icon_wave:

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            #6
            Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

            I agree with Jean....the featherweight is not a light weight machine! My Audrey by Babylock is about the same size but only 11 pounds and that is what goes to class with me.
            pat.

            No rain....no rainbows!


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            If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

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              #7
              Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

              This is exactly the type feedback I need. I'm surprised to read the Featherweight isn't light.
              I'll try the Jem and Pfaff next week and maybe a couple others.

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                #8
                Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                The Featherweight weighs 11 pounds. The box it comes in weighs a ton.
                K is for Karen 😊​..................
                Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.


                Before you speak,
                T - is it TRUE?
                H - is it HELPFUL?
                I - is it INSPIRING?
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                  #9
                  Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                  Karen is right about the featherweight case. It is made of oak and is quite heavy. The machine is not very heavy but it is limited to straight stitching. That said, I love to take mine to classes/retreats. I do have to plan what I am doing in advance and usually just do piecing when I travel with it.

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                    #10
                    Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                    If I was going with the Featherweight I would get a case with wheels for it. I have my mothers and when it's in its case it's no lightweight. Also you have all the other stuff needed for class to carry.

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                      #11
                      Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                      Originally posted by Claire Hallman View Post
                      Karen is right about the featherweight case. It is made of oak and is quite heavy. The machine is not very heavy but it is limited to straight stitching. That said, I love to take mine to classes/retreats. I do have to plan what I am doing in advance and usually just do piecing when I travel with it.
                      So that's why it's so heavy! I knew it was wood under the fabric but had no idea it was oak... I guess that's why it's lasted so long. Haha
                      Still like my featherweight for traveling, at least until I'm too old & weak to carry it. Then I'll get a case with wheels.
                      Anyway, I can't afford to get a new machine that's lighter.
                      May the road rise up to meet you...
                      May the wind be always at your back...
                      May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead...
                      Patt :icon_wave:

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                        #12
                        Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                        Thanks for all the feedback, esp explaining about the Featherweight case. I knew the machine was billed as under 12.

                        I went to Janome dealer today...Janome is no longer making the Jem Gold. They are making a Platinum with more features and a higher price as well as a few other machines that aren't real heavy, but have a much higher price. Oh well....
                        There are some Golds still on the web but I'd really like to sew on them. I'll go to Pfaff dealer soon.

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                          #13
                          Re: Another machine question: Featherweight or light modern Jem or Passport?

                          I recommend a Featherweight as it will last forever if you do keep it clean of lint and oil it and lube the motor and gears. You can service it yourself. No need to take it in for service. It is all so easy. I have several and never take them to a shop. My 2 cents. Ruth

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