Today I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my sewing machines! The amazing sewmamasew blog has been posting some fantastic sewing machine reviews this month and I thought I'd share my machines with you.
I'm going to start with my personal sewing machine, my Pfaff Performance 2058. I also own a Brother Innovis, a BabyLock Imagine Serger, a Pfaff Select and a 1951 Centennial Singer Featherweight. I'll devote separate posts to each machine, except the featherweight because it's currently at the hospital and I've yet to use it :)
What brand and model do you have?
It's a Pfaff Performance 2058
How long have you had it?
I purchased it in October 2008 but only recently started using it in April 2009
How much does that machine cost?
When all has been said and done, I've paid around $2,000 for it, but I believe you can get them for around $1,400.
What types of things do you sew?
This machine is for machine piecing and personal projects. I make bags, pillows, skirts, everything! I don't use it for shop work (cloth menstrual pads) although I originally purchased it for that purpose. Now that I'm working on some patchwork and quilted items, I'll be using this machine for those :) So pads no, quilted stuff yes :)
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I'm a marathon sewer. When I sit down to sew, I'll sometimes sew for ten hours straight. I don't use this as much as my work sewing machine, but for the past two months it's gotten daily use for 5+ hours a day easily. I am pretty rough on it, it goes with me out of town, to friends houses, to quilting. I'll admit that more than once its fallen off the backseat in my jeep ;)
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love it! From December til April I hated it with the fiercest passion EVER. There was a simple problem with it and because I bought it online, no dealer would honor the warranty. Once the problem was found it took from January til the first week in APRIL for the part to arrive as it was backordered, so it sat in Chico, California that entire time. I'd only sewn on the machine for two months. That's where the extra $600 came into play. It now has an entirely brand new bobbin housing unit. After the machine came back to me I'd debated selling it but realized reallllyyy quickly that I'd lose money on it so I started sewing with it more and more. Now I ADORE it.
Her name is Etheline Tenebaum, from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums. Since she has blue bits on her, when she's doing something fantastic I say "Your true blue Ethel, true blue". Dorky, yes!
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
As a newb quilter, it has some great quilting programs. It has a free motion quilting program, a program that allows you to set it up for chain piecing, it will stitch a quilt to look hand quilted. It has some gorgeous decorative stitches as well that I so love! You can also wind a bobbin while the machine is threaded, which is nice! It has a automatic needle up/down function, as well as it'll raise the presser foot automatically for you at three different heights. That comes in SO handy. The free motion is really really easy to use, I tried it on both of my other machines with baddd results.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
YES! My Brother has a fantastic back stitch button that will back stitch automatically and THEN CUT YOUR THREAD. It makes the machine extremely economical on thread, this one...not so much. It also has a bobbin low feature that I have a love/hate relationship with. It requires special blue bobbins that are expensive and sometimes hard to find, in the middle of sewing, the machine will stop, beep and flashes a bobbin low message. It can get annoying FAST, mainly because it stops you from sewing until you touch the screen again. As much as I hate it, it is helpful when quilting a large quilt because it helps you get to a stopping point and not have to worry about running out of thread in a bad area. I do sometimes wish it had a wider throat/arm to squish a quilt into but I'm quilting a full size bed quilt on it with no problem.
Do you have a great story about your machine?
Well, aside from dropping it multiple times, not really. Except when I bought it, it arrived and the screen wouldn't work. I shipped it back to the seller (+$65) only to have him call and say "it's set to european voltage". DOH! *face palm*. I felt like a boob. A simple button on the bottom of the machine needed to be flipped. Mr. McPorkchop leaves me post it notes on it to find on Monday mornings! The current one says "Ohhh you know they call me Dr. Feelgood". We are big into hair bands in this house ;)
Would you recommend your machine to others and why?
I would for sure. This is my second Pfaff and I adore them. They are dependable and can sew through layers like no ones business. The IDT is one of the best features out there. I bought the 1/4 inch foot with the little guide on it and its the best thing ever, the machine sews a perfect 1/4 inch seam and doesn't cause fabrics like linen to slip and pull. It has a great light which makes me really happy. It came with a ton of different feet. I really like the classic, simple, clean aesthetic of Pfaffs.
What factors do you think are important to consider when you are looking for a new machine?
Making the most of your budget and buying from a dealer!!! I had just been accepted to the Bazaar Bizarre and wanted a new machine ASAP, couldn't make it to a dealer (4+ hours away) and just bought it online. Bad move! I ended up not doing the craft show but thought "ok, this machine is good, it'll work for business stuff" and it turned out that I just can't sew with it as fast, comfortably and as neatly as my Brother, it just has a different "feel" to it, if that makes sense. I think its really really important to "test drive" your machine before you buy it, my Brother I sat at the dealer for more than three hours, I grabbed lunch with my mom and mulled over it before buying it later that night and when I bought my serger it was a two day long process of coming home, grabbing fabrics, writing questions and going back 3-5 times a day! My older Pfaff gave me some experience and I knew that was the brand I wanted, no doubt about it, but I still wish I'd sewn with it before buying it.
Keep your future in mind. Sure, you might only be a straight stitch sewer now, but you might go from sewing garments to sewing quilts or making fabric art or something else and wanting more stitches or embroidery or computer USB friendly, I think its good to have a sewing machine that you can grow into. I think its a good idea to get a machine that isn't so basic that you get bored but isn't so fancy you can't figure it out. A good middle of the road machine! Does that make sense? I feel dumb saying that considering I bought a featherweight just so I could sew beautiful straight stitches but thats ok ;)
Before I bought my very first Pfaff I bought 5 sewing machines at Sears in the course of a year, each one were cheap (like $30-50) and clearly meant for occasional sewing...barely. In the time I bought those 5 machines, I could have bought one really nice basic machine the first time and I wish someone had helped me with that! After spending $50 on a machine going to $400 seemed like a lot but it was worth it, that machine has been with me since 2002 and I've beaten the crap out of it, won awards with stuff I've sewn on it and I still use it and it started a huge passion for me! It's a good idea to buy the best within your budget. Not everyone can spend $5,000 on a top of the line beauty right away, but if you have $500, for example, buy the machine that makes you the most happiest, will be with you the longest, feels the best to sew on, makes you feel like you could sew ANYTHING your little heart desires, has a great warranty and you'll be set! Sewing machines are investments in my opinion and its important to stay within your budget and getting the most from your dollar! All of my machines except this most recent Pfaff had classes available for free when you purchased your machine, that is so so so awesome and something I'd look for when I buy my next machine!
Know how your machine works! Read sewing machine forums! Compare brands! Read consumer reports! Be BFF with the manual! Does it sew what you want? Will it fall apart fast? Is it easy to maintain? Is it all plastic? Is it metal? Those are all things I think about constantly when looking at machines.
Do you have a dream machine?
Ohhh yes! Pfaff Creative Vision I'd love one and used it at a dealer in Oregon, hollly gorgeous. However, the $9,000 price tag makes me cringe. I'm pretty sure I could buy a little car for that much...hmm...car...or sewing machine...tough call ;) Either way, its totally not within my budget ;)
Phew! That's a LOT! Hopefully it all makes sense. I'm totally not claiming to know everything about sewing machines, this is just one girls opinion about what works and doesn't work for me :)
I hope everyone is having a fantastic Thursday! Mine started rough but its getting better thanks to my fantastic friends, espresso and some loud music :)
Have a great night!