Monday, 3 August 2015

Pfaff Creative Expression 2.0 Review

Oh, this has been a long time coming, this review.  My relationship with this machine is developing, but it isn't easy.  Unlike most people, I didn't go into a shop, try six machines, and fall in love with one.  I determined ahead of time that I wanted a Pfaff for the IDT. I went to three Pfaff stores in Switzerland, and was always overcome by ennui at the idea of trying the machines in the store.  They clearly all...sew.  So, what is there to try out?

I was debating small machines like the Passport 2.0, and the Ambition 2.0.  I was swayed toward this machine because:

-The Pfaff store in Chur (my nearest) could have ordered the above machines, but didn't recommend them, and was pedantic and difficult to talk to.

-The Pfaff lady in Zürich was too busy to answer most of my questions, but finally recommended a mechanical model, and gave me some prices.  I would have probably otherwise gone for that because the Ambition was 1099 CHF without extra feet, and she considered it a worse machine.  She didn't recommend the passport, and at 899 CHF it wouldn't have been a bargain either.

-The Pfaff dude in Bern was passionate and took time to talk to me.  He also determined my price range, my interests, and offered me what was technically the best machine, with the best perks (I wangled a free invisible zipper foot!) for the best price.  Bern was a long way to carry a sewing machine on the train though.  I liked the fact that I was getting a used machine, since I had so much luck with my used Janome.  But I had no sudden spiritual bonding with this Pfaff.

I still miss my Janome My Style 20.  I really lucked out buying something used on local ebay.  Nothing I have used since has functioned as well and efficiently as that.  I include this Pfaff in 'everything.'  Yes, I had to buy a walking foot.  But the stitches were reliable and the machine was simple. Tshirts that I have made using a non-stretch straight stitch on that machine still look great, and it's been almost 2 years!

So, the Expression.

Pros: It sews.

Cons: Everything else.  I still sort of hate this machine after eight months.

1. Automatic threader.
This seems like laziness.  Instead of making a machine where you have some space behind the needle and good visibility to thread it, ignore ergonomic engineering and add more equipment? I'm not with this logic.  Other machines have enough room that you have a good clear view of your needle. Again, lazy design.
(Admission: I still don't know how to use it.)

2. WORST BOBBIN WINDER EVER.
The Pfaff bobbins are small, narrow, with sharp edges.  They are uncomfortable to hold. I have callused fingertips, which makes it worse, as these tend to spin out of my fingers when I hold them.  The bobbin winder is the worst I have ever used and I mean this without exaggeration. You have to thread around a flat round disk on the machine, which is difficult because if you thread it securely, the bobbin doesn't wind, but if you thread it loosely, then it comes off the disk. On the bobbin side you actually let go of the thread and it winds itself into the bobbin.  Seems like a recipe for it to snag on the inside eventually because you don't have a way to secure the loose thread.  About 1/10 bobbins is threaded so badly that it causes problems at some point while sewing, and one was so bad that I actually had to throw it away.  I am not sure whether it is to do with the bobbins but the machine always makes a small snag nest on the bobbin side when backstitching.

3. Feet run away!
The feet attach with a broken, instead of a solid bar.  And they just press on instead of requiring anything more.  Result? Any time you are on thick fabric the foot falls off!  Also the normal zip foot is very narrow, it has two little legs that come forward, they aren't thick enough, and they don't hold the fabric well - I haven't looked into whether there is a better replacement.

4. IDT vs power?
This machine really hesitates any time it needs to go over more than two layers. I expected it to have quite a lot of oomph but it does not. It eventually sews things but you need to pull from behind and it doesn't sew with a regular stitch length due to clogging behind anything high.  I expected it to be less finicky about fabric.  The IDT also is irritating because you have to start 1 cm into your fabric, and it does not like to backstitch. The IDT itself does hold the fabric together nicely.  However this is a disadvantage for elasticky knits.  It holds them so tightly that it stretches the knit, and for some reason knits always shear away off to the left.  I have to put in extra effort to maintain a correct seam allowance when I sew with knits. 

5. It doesn't like to backstitch.
Yeah basically FORGET backstitching actually at the end of anything.  At the start of a piece of fabric, you need to begin 1cm in or the IDT will eat the fabric or will push it away, causing you to sew a curved line.  At the end of a piece of fabric it just eats it and makes a bubble.  The only way to backstitch is to do so a cm before the end of the fabric.(This seems kind of not helpful.)

So...it works.  I have sewn a lot of things with it since January.  I don't remember what it's like not to have an IDT.  I even sew a lot of silk without crying too much.  But I don't really like this sewing machine.  I expected a high quality machine to provide a clean finish to my sewing, and this one provides me with little nests every time I backstitch, huge messes every time a bobbin runs out, and chews up the ends of sensitive fabric.  I am moving again, naturally, and I am on the fence as to whether I put this guy into storage or sell it, and my goal buying such an advanced machine was to want to keep it forever...


4 comments:

  1. Oh no. It's sad to hear you don't like your machine. I really understand you though, because I have the Ambition 1 and after 2 years, I still have not bonded with it. It sews well, but there is something missing. I also have issues with the bobbin winding. I am also thinking I might sell my machine too.

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    1. Good luck deciding what to get next! I move so often and have enjoyed having a high quality machine at least, but it doesn't make sense to keep it in storage for two years while I am travelling when I don't love the machine. I had so much luck with my Janome that I would be tempted to look at them again when I am next ready to buy a machine.

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  2. I am so appreciative of this review as I nearly convinced myself that I wanted a Pfaff just for the IDT but now with you and Dibs not having bonded after so long will not buy one. I don't need one so I'll stick to my Aldi rebranded Elina 40. Maybe I'll buy a walking foot instead! I,m new to your blog!

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    1. Hi Summer flies! Welcome to my blog : ) I am glad that my Pfaff experience was helpful. I really waffle at times because in truth, having the IDT means you no longer know what life was like without it right? But I think a walking foot provides the same result (just a bit more noisily) and I definitely preferred the power of my first machine, a Janome My Style 20 (which must have been a New Zealand product, and nearly a vintage machine as there is no info about it online.) Because of this I will definitely have an eye on the Janomes when I am buying a machine again.

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