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|Pfaff:Performance 5.0 (Sewing Machine)|
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1 more reviews for this machine
Review rated Helpful
by 2 people Very Helpful
by 29 people
|About lynne1nor |
|Member since: 5/23/07 |
|Reviews written: 44|
|Favored by: 8 people|
|sewing machines reviewed: 4|
|Posted on:||9/18/13 1:56 PM|
|Approx price paid:||$2400|
|Had this machine for:||1 month|
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- Needle Threader
- Needle Up/Down Setting
- Embroidery Stitches
- One step buttonhole
- Drop-In bobbin
- Free Arm
- Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
- Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
- Adjustable Needle Position
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|What lynne1nor likes about this machine|
This machine is amazing! It has every bell and whistle I wanted in a new machine: start/stop button, pressure foot pressure adjustment, tie ins/tie outs/thread snips, wider throat space, and a nice big foot pedal. But first, a little background...
I already have a Pfaff Quilt Expression 2048 with IDT. I have used this machine extensively for garment sewing, bag construction, and quilting. It sews beautifully and I love that the IDT is built in. I was in the process of teaching myself how to do free-motion-quilting when I decided that I needed more than just a straight-stitch needle plate. I needed more throat space and I needed all of the aforementioned extras. It was time for a new machine.
Having already a large collection of Pfaff feet, I decided to stick with Pfaff. The Performance 5.0 is probably the nicest sewing-only machine that Pfaff carries right now. The Creative Performance (sans embroidery attachment) is much like the Performance 5.0 except that you can layer two stitch patterns together on the CP. And the CP was more expensive.
Anyway, the Performance 5.0 is truly a computer that sews. Almost everything you do with it requires pushing a button. (I say almost, because you still can sew with the foot pedal). I find that I have to *think* a lot when using this machine.
Presser foot up/down. You push one button to lower the presser foot and a different button to raise it. Both buttons have two modes. The first press lowers/raises the presser foot. The second press (of the same button) raises the presser foot slightly (think hover)/raises the presser foot to its highest position. You can set the machine so that it automatically raises the presser foot to a hover position when you stop sewing (with the needle down). Sometimes I use this feature and sometimes I don't.
Presser foot pressure adjustment. On my old machine, I would sometimes try and sew fabric with a lot of texture. Not wanting my machine to crush the texture while it was sewing, I would manually hold the presser foot up just a little while sewing. My old machine did not have a presser foot pressure adjustment. On the Performance, you can set the pressure digitally on the screen. I have reduced the pressure to its smallest value to try and mimic holding up the presser foot manually, but I'm not convinced that it's quite enough to keep the machine from crushing the fabric. This is something that I will have to experiment with more later.
Start/stop button. This machine can sew ridiculously fast. There is a button on the screen that you can press to set the machine to sew slower. The default "slow" speed is still way too fast. You can change the "slow" speed, but the machine does not remember this value after you turn it off. So I've actually decided I still prefer to sew with the pedal. The pedal, by the way, is really large and very sensitive (in a good way). I feel like I have much better control over my sewing speed with this foot pedal. Oh, and you do not have to disconnect the foot pedal to use the start/stop button. That's another nice feature.
Reverse button. The reverse button is a multi-function button. While you are NOT sewing, you can press the reverse button to set one of two modes: sew in reverse or do a tie-off. There are two lights above the button that let you know which mode you've selected. The next time you sew, it will either sew in reverse or do a tie-off. You can also press the reverse button while you are sewing and the machine will do a tie-off and thread cut right away (if that's what you've programmed the machine to do). It's still a little confusing to me what the relationship is between the tie-in/tie-off/thread cutting menu on the screen and what the reverse button will do automatically. Gotta work on that some more.
Tie-off and thread-cut buttons. There is a tie-off button that, when pressed, will do a tie off when you next begin sewing. There is a thread-cut button which will do a thread cut immediately.
Needle up/down. You can set the machine to leave the needle up or down automatically when you stop sewing. Tapping on the foot pedal moves the needle to its opposite position.
Start pattern restart. If you happen to be sewing a stitch pattern that has a clear beginning and ending (like a flower motif), then pressing this button will restart the pattern when you next start sewing.
Bobbins. The Performance uses a new bigger bobbin style. The new shape forces you to load the bobbin correctly. It also forces you to wind them correctly. If you look at the spindle of the bobbin, there's a little ridge that breaks the spindle up into a narrow section and a wider section. You wind the starting thread around the narrow section before you let the machine do the rest. The thread is supposed to hold nicely in this narrow section so you don't have to poke the thread through a little hole anymore. I'm not too good at this yet.
Once you slide the bobbin winder to the right, the screen changes to a bobbin winding mode. You set the speed and start/stop the winding from this screen.
Bobbin thread low: The sensor does a reasonably good job of detecting when the bobbin thread is getting low. As another reviewer said, a little window pops up on the screen with a warning and the machine stops sewing. You can continue to sew, but the warning will continue to pop up unless you just leave it there instead of dismissing it.
Accessory tray. The accessory box has this nice little top tray in it that has a little section for each foot that came with the machine. It also has a rubberized tray for bobbins. The bobbins sort of stick in this tray which prevents the bobbin thread from unwinding. I think this tray will hold at least 20 bobbins.
Knee lift. The machine comes with a knee lift. I tried it once. It does work, but I doubt I will ever use it because I'd rather use the auto-hover setting on the machine.
Button holes. The Performance comes with some new kind of buttonhole attachment that actually has an electronic connection to the machine. You attach the button hole foot and plug in its connector into a hole up under where the lighting is. It's a little awkward to find this hole - you have to feel around with your finger or actually try and locate it visually. Once you find it the first time, it's probably easier thereafter. I did use this new buttonhole contraption and it worked *much* better than the old one on my Pfaff. There are a lot of different styles of button holes you can make and you can adjust their dimensions on the screen (which are shown in real dimensions, btw). The only tricky part is to make sure you position the attachment correctly before you begin sewing. I've only made one set of buttonholes on a fairly light-weight shirt, so time will tell if this new fangled buttonhole contraption is indeed better than its predecessor.
Stitch selections and WYSIWYG. This machine has numerous different stitch patterns you can use. The nice thing is that the screen shows the stitches in their actual sizes. So you can adjust pattern widths and lengths on the screen and really know what you're getting. The machine also has some "wide" stitch patterns that are wider than 9mm. For example, there's a really nice floral pattern that is probably at least 2 cm wide. How the machine does this is a mystery to me. It think it can stitch sideways, to some extent.
Alphabets. The machine has 4 built-in alphabet fonts (and some small monograms, too). As with most alphabets I've seen, they're fine. But because the letters have jump stitches between them, they never look completely clean. Given that, I wouldn't hesitate to use them for putting someone's name on a bag for ID purposes or perhaps even to make a simple quilt label.
Free motion quilting. Okay, I bought this machine to do free motion quilting with a straight stitch plate. I believe the machine comes with a straight stitch plate automatically, but I'm not positive as I specifically requested one when I bought the machine. Anyway, the machine has a straight-stitch plate sensor which is fabulous! The machine will never let you move the needle position while this plate is installed. The machine comes with a little snap-on clear plastic darning foot which they use for free-motion quilting as well.
When you select the "free motion quilting" button on the screen, you have three options for three possible different kinds of feet. The one that comes with the machine corresponds to the bottom option. I've tried using this combination and it works fine. But my preference is to use an open-toe foot which corresponds to the middle option on the screen. The top option is for something fancier that I don't have. For all of these options, the machine automatically lowers the feed dogs for you.
To get the feed dogs to come back up was a little trickier. I had to switch the machine to do something like a just a straight stitch. The first time I tried sewing the straight stitch, the dogs didn't come up. But with the 2nd try, they did. There's probably some other more consistent way to get them to come back up, but I don't know what that is yet.
Quilting issues (piecing and quilting). One of the complaints I've read about for these new Pfaffs with top-loading bobbins is that there is a little ditch between the front edge of the bobbin cover and the accessory tray or whatever extension table you may have. This little ditch will cause your beautifully pressed 1/4" seams to flip direction if they happened to be pressed towards the presser foot. I found this to be absolutely true. I did find a solution, however. I have the smaller "Supreme Slider" that I use for free motion quilting. I just lay this slider over the bobbin cover and the accessory tray or extension table to cover that ditch. This works beautifully. I also tried a piece of paper taped down over the ditch, but it wasn't a nice as the teflon slider.
Pfaff Quilting Table. I also bought the official Pfaff quilting table made for this machine. It's made in Sweden. So I expected high quality. The thing comes with 6 plastic feet that you have to install yourself. However, the plastic threads inside the feet were so poorly cut I could not screw in the plastic screws. 3 were fine and 3 were bad. Fortunately, my husband has some tools that clean up threads (I forgot what they're called). We used these tools on the 3 bad feet and were still able to only get one of them to work. So I installed 4 of the 6 feet and ignored the other two. The table itself is nice and sturdy and of decent size. However, it's oddly a little sticky. Not tacky sticky, but my fabric didn't seem to slide over it well. I did remove the protective plastic and perhaps it needs a little cleansing. Until I actually clean it, I believe I will continue using a Supreme Slider.
Oh, another thing with the quilting table. Because the bobbin cover needs to slide out horizontally, it hits the quilting table and cannot be removed unless I move the table out of the way. My solution to this problem was to leave the bobbin cover off. It was being covered by my Supreme Slider anyway.
Lighting and needle threader. Before I forget, this machine has excellent LED lighting both over the needle and towards the throat. And it has a built-in needle threader that works flawlessly for me.
Overall I love this machine - I love its features. I love the IDT and it just sews beautifully. But I would say that this machine makes me *think*. For example, if I want to switch from sewing to basting, I have to remember to turn off all my auto tie-in/tie-off features first. Even moving the presser foot up or down requires thinking about which button to push. Sometimes I push the start/stop button by mistake and off it goes at top speed! There's a lot of button pushing and screen tapping. But of course that is what I wanted! So it'll just take some getting used to.
What lynne1nor does not like about this machine
I really think that the bobbin cover needs to be redesigned so that it can be popped off instead of slid out horizontally. This would solve the ditch seam-flipping problem and the problem of the cover being blocked by the quilting table.
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