Friday, June 27, 2014

New Sewing Machine: Pfaff Ambition 1.5

It's official: I'm now a Pfaff owner! 

My Singer Quantum Stylist (only a year old) had a computer malfunction of some sort after I sewed through my finger making a giant teddy bear mat for my God-daughter. The machine had been purchased for $189 on Amazon Gold Box deals for my birthday last year. My mom owns the same machine and doesn't sew during the school year, so I borrowed hers while I figured out what to do.

Let me put it bluntly: Singer sucks at warranty repairs. There is no Singer warranty service place available in any of five states nearest me. I contacted Singer and asked what to do. They informed me I needed to pay to ship it to a warranty repair facility. Huh? Do you know what it costs to ship a sewing machine?

In terms of getting repaired without a warranty, the local repair place wanted $50 to even look at it and said the repair would be a minimum of $100.

And so, I decided it was time to shop for a high-quality machine. These days, I sew daily. It's a frequent refrain for sewing bloggers, but I wish I'd bought a higher-quality machine in the first place.

To start the process, I figured I'd go to a couple of dealers. From scouting around online, I was fairly certain I wanted a Pfaff or a Bernina.

I set my spending limit at about $1,000 and went to see what that would get me.

At Pfaff, that amount of money bought a lot of machine. There was the Ambition 1.0 for $1,000 and the Ambition 1.5 for $1,400, but the saleslady told me she could come down to $1,100 on the 1.5. 

The Ambition 1.5 had a fancy touch screen, more stitches and a few more options. For $100 extra, it definitely seemed worth it.

Next, I visited the Bernina dealer at G Street Fabrics. $1000 gets you a lot less at Bernina. The machine was nice, but had many fewer features. And I didn't think the stitch quality looked any better. And the Bernina didn't have a one-step automatic buttonhole, which is a feature I love. 

The Bernina also lacked a hard cover. Not a deal-breaker, but something I really love to have. 

So the following weekend, I went back to the Pfaff dealer with a handful of swatches -- silk, suede and cotton -- and met with the owner of the store (Sun Sew Vac in Alexandria, Va., if you're interested!) to test my swatches. 

Spoiler: Everything looked beautiful. The secret? Pfaff machines have a built-in walking foot. It is an incredibly beautiful thing. I folded my suede twice, so it was at four layers. The machine went right through it like it was cotton. No tension changes, nothing. Right from silk to suede. And the stitches were perfectly even.

Needless to say I was impressed.

And it turned out that Pfaff had just announced the Ambition 2.0 quilter's special -- and they were discontinuing the 1.5. So the store owner told me I could have the machine for $1,000. Win!

I treated myself to two feet that weren't included with the machine. Above is the rolled hem foot.

And this little lady is a 5/8-inch foot. I had never seen one of these before, but one of the salesladies said she loved it for garment sewing. (Spoiler alert: I used it on a skirt last night -- it's awesome!)

The machine also came with five feet, including this zipper foot. This foot is different from zipper feet I've had in the past and let me tell you. It makes the most invisible zippers I've ever done. The forked part goes toward the back (so you can pull down the walking foot) and you reposition the needle to hit in one of the cutouts. It's amazing.

Needless to say, I'm very very happy with my purchase!

What are you sewing with these days?

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