Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 - 4 month review

I have had my new machine for 4 months now and I think it's time for a review.

First I have to say I still love this machine. It is spacious, has lots of extras and just runs very very well! DH has now built it into my sewing desk which might be less practical than an sew ezy table but gives me plenty of space to spread my work out on.

What works well:
That black hook behind the foot gets pulled down and engaged to give you the walking foot
  • The built in walking foot: Nothing easier than that, just a little lever to push down and voila you have a walking foot that takes not any more space than your usual foot (note: this does not work on all feet, only on the ones with a cut-out in the back).
  • Lots of stitches - more than I will use on a lifetime but it has been fun playing around with them
  • Needle threader - so easy! I have to admit I bent it at first, but now it's back in the right position. (I threaded my old Bernina the other day, that was so much harder!!!)
  • Winding bobbins through the needle - no more unthreading and rethreading (when you only have one spool of that particular thread)

What took some time getting used to:
  • Needle up through the foot pedal: On my Bernina I used my heel, here I use my toes - silly, I know, but still! Same with the thread cutter on the side of the machine, one cuts from the front, the other from the back ;-)
  • Winding bobbins: I was used to a big 'clack' when the bobbin is full, this machine just slows down, and it took me some time to adjust the side lever so I actually got a full bobbin.

Changes I had to make:
  • I don't like the fmq foot it came with.

Like many things, Pfaff accessories are very expensive here in NZ, so I bought a Brother spring fmq foot from Spotlight for $20 and adjusted it.



This works a treat! Btw, this machine likes to fmq with feed dogs dropped (on my Bernina I keep them up).
  • The supplied 1/4" foot is nice BUT: It only uses the left one of the feed dogs to transport the fabric, so even with the walking foot engaged I have had issues at times.
Oops, a bit blurry but you can see that right feed dog - no fabric on it!

However, after reading Bonnie Hunter's recent post Buyer Beware on Vintage Sewing Machines, I realised that I needed the fabric to feed through both feed dogs and I am now using the 0A standard foot with the needle position on 2.5 which gives me a nice 1/4" seam and no more transport issues. 
The needle is moved to the right where it lines up with a little red mark in the foot and voila, both feed dogs are covered by fabric!
Pfaff, on a special quilting machine you should have done better!!!

  • The cover for the drop in bobbin slides to the front, and seams tend to flip at the edge of it. Initially I just arranged my seams to go the other way, but I have now bought a large silicon slider with cut out for the feed dogs which covers this area and I have no more problems as I now leave this on permanently.


Overall verdict: We all have our likes and dislikes in regards to machines and brands. I have always liked Pfaff and I am glad I have got the Quilt Expression 4.0 now. The fashion in which I got it (through family overseas) means I don't have access to warranty which was a risk I was willing to take - it was that or not getting it as I couldn't have afforded buying it in NZ (@ approx. $4000 they cost twice what they have paid in Germany incl. shipping to NZ! - I know that's not supporting local business, but unfortunately I haven't got that kind of money!). I would recommend this machine to any quilter, as long as you are prepared to deal with the issues I described.

On a side note, I still have my Bernina Virtuosa 150, it has been serviced just this month. I was tossing up if I should keep it for piecing or sell it and I am now tending toward selling, so if you are interested, just email me :-) NZ only as freight would be too expensive to make it worth it

Happy Sewing!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I also have a Pfaff QE4.0 and like you, love it! I have learned its little ups and downs over the last five years I've owned it, and still love it. I bought mine from England when we were there, for exactly the same reasons you bought yours in Germany - double the cost to buy it here in New Zealand. I enjoyed reading your post!

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