I was lucky enough to get a new sewing machine for my birthday back in January and having used it for three months I thought I’d write up some thoughts in case others are in the market for a new machine. I decided to upgrade from my prior machine – the Janome DC3050, which I’d had since about 2009 – because it had a few annoying issues that couldn’t be fixed by my servicer and I wanted a few more advanced features. (My mum has taken it on extended loan for now!)
I didn’t do a huge amount of research but I think was instead gradually influenced by hearing bits and bobs about Pfaffs such as Manju’s review of the same machine and the fact that the New Craft House uses it for all their workshops. (I also bought my machine from NCH as they deal in Pfaff machines too.) The model’s called the Quilt Ambition 630, and not gonna lie, I was partially influenced to pick this over the 610 or 620 because of the lovely dark grey colourscheme alone.
Overall, my impressions of the machine now it’s been in use for a couple of months are really positive. I find that thanks to some of the enhanced features I can get an accurate and polished result without much effort and the overall operation of the machine is smooth and delightful.
Some of the features I particularly like are:
The feet it came with are useful and they and the throat plate has really clear markings on. I can edgestitch very accurately now! The working surface is large and the illumination is great; I can sew easily after dark now. Makes my old machine feel very cramped and dim by comparison.
The built-in ‘walking foot’ aka IDT system is fantastic. It’s a little arm that pulls down and clips onto the back of the presser foot to help the foot ‘walk’ over the fabric rather than drag it. Like a regular walking foot, but no need to bust a screwdriver out to attach it and much quieter to operate.
Winding a bobbin and threading up is really fast and has useful features like a thread cutter by the bobbin winder, a drop-in bobbin case, and a needle threader (which is actually easy to use!). And there are loads of stitches to explore which are handily set out on the lid and picked via the easy to navigate LED screen. I’ve used the built-in alphabet and buttonholes already and the mock-overlock is excellent and useful for finishing seams when I don’t feel like changing overlocker threads.
A few things that are less good or will take a bit more getting used to:
– I find the physical function buttons quite fiddly to use. The dark-grey-on-dark-grey is hard to see in my periphery while sewing; in particular the frequently-used reverse button is tucked away on a slant near the sewing area and as I sew standing up it’s hard to see/reach it while sewing in-flight. The start-stop button is nearby too and I’m scared I’ll hit that by accident one day and sew through my finger or something.
– The automatic tie-off feature is great but there’s no automated way to start a new line of stitching with a lock stitch or backstitch. My old machine had this feature and I really miss it!
– Weird one but all they grey areas are a rubberised finish and it smelled really bad when I first got the machine! It left a real plastic-y smell on my fingers too after handling it. It seems to be wearing off thankfully.
Finally, here’s a few stitch samples from recent projects:
Buttonhole and edgestitched pocket/hem on a chunky corduroy jacket I’ve just finished. I left the IDT system engaged for most of this project as it helps the foot glide over the bumpy, bulky surface.
Topstitched binding and hem using a zigzag stitch on a fine merino knit. Again, the IDT prevents the foot from dragging the fabric and causing it to stretch out.
So overall I love my new machine: I think it’s levelled-up my sewing a bit and made it much more enticing to get out of a sewing slump and start some new projects. I’d definitely recommend a Pfaff if you’re in the market!