After sewing for years with a Singer Touch and Sew, I bought a basic Baby Lock. (If you are interested, I wrote a little about that decision in a recent post called “An Old Friend and a New One.”) But I knew when I bought my basic Baby Lock that I would be looking for something else in the not-too-distant future with a few more features.
So, one of my main purposes at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in Atlanta a couple of months ago was to look at every sewing machine on display, and decide which one would best suit my needs. I was on a mission. I tried Brother machines, Bernina, Viking, Janome, Juki, Baby Lock, and Pfaff. I skipped the machines with embroidery capabilities; I didn’t want to spend the money required for a feature that I knew I would hardly ever use.
A funny thing happened when I got to the Brother booth and sat down to do a test-drive on their “Project Runway” model. I felt like I had just sat down at home in front of my Baby Lock “Grace.” The guy in the booth told me that Baby Lock sewing machines are made by Brother, and that my Grace and this machine were basically one in the same. Alrighty, then.
But I was looking for more bells and whistles than what I had at home, so I moved on to the higher-end Brother machines. After a morning of learning about a myriad of features on every brand at the expo, I narrowed it down to a Pfaff model and a Juki model. I was really impressed with the Juki company, and with their well-made machines, but in the end the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 won me over. I bought it, put my boxed-up brand new treasure in my car, and then headed for Nashville with my family for my niece’s wedding. (I’m trying to forgive her for making me cut my expo weekend short…)
After a really wonderful weekend in Music City, I unloaded my new machine as soon as I got home, set it up in my studio, and got out the all-important owner’s manual. Almost three months later, I’m still pulling out the manual and learning new things.
While I am not a quilter, at times I need to be able to sew through a thick layer of fabrics without worrying about skipped stitches or stalled-out feed. But I also want to be able to sew thin, delicate silks smoothly and accurately. My new Pfaff has not let me down. The IDT (integrated dual feed) system has been key. It is a built-in option that is ready to go with one pull on the IDT, which stays tucked away when you don’t need it.
My Pfaff has a beautiful and reliable stitch. Threading it and making bobbins is a breeze. You can even make a bobbin through the needle, if if runs out in the middle of a project. (This is the best news for someone who used a Singer Touch and Sew, with that fantastic automatic bobbin winder, for more than three decades!) The buttonhole attachment, which I used for the first time last week, works like a dream and makes beautiful buttonholes. So my old Touch and Sew, which I had set up with a treasured special attachment to use for making buttonholes after I bought my Baby Lock, is becoming more and more obsolete in my studio.
Other features I love are the automatic reverse, the automatic thread snips, and the pivot-height option on the presser foot. There are so many more options I have not yet tried. My Pfaff has a large graphic screen to display all the programmed info for a chosen stitch, and there are more than 200 decorative and utilitarian stitches. I used number 49 this morning to create a decorative bartack to reinforce a pocket seam.
I would recommend this machine to anyone who sews a lot. Although it is called “Quilt Expression,” it is not just for quilters. Those of us who love to sew clothes need this type of versatility. I don’t do much home decor sewing, but this Pfaff would be perfect for those who do, because of the same great features that make it so wonderful for fashion sewers and for quilters.
Okay, enough blogging. I’ve got a lot of sewing to do!