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Forum > Sewing Machines > Pfaff "Performance" 2058 vs. Bernina "Anniversary Ed." 450 ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Pfaff "Performance" 2058 vs. Bernina "Anniversary Ed." 450
AncientElna
AncientElna  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/30/07 7:48 PM

I have been comparing the new Pfaff "Performance" 2058 with the new Bernina "Anniversary Edition" 450 (it says 435 on the box, but the dealer says that it is an error). Although I believe that the Janome 6600 and Babylock Quest may actually offer better value for the dollar, I really prefer the look and feel of the European machines.

The two machines are pretty comparable in features and price, in my estimation: both are 9 mm free-arm machines for garment sewing (my first interest), quilting, and home dec (my second interest) with an actual cost of $2,500 - $2,600.

The Pfaff seems to focus on creative embellishment through stippling, and other free-motion stitching, combining the pre-programmed decorative stitches in various ways (modifying the included stitches is possible on the Pfaff) and it includes the built-in IDT (even feed or "walking") foot. This machine is Pfaff's "top of the line" without the option to add embroidery (no USB port, no hoop).

The Bernina includes a large variety of stitches and "Editor Lite v5" to allow one to modify or add embroidery options via your PC. [I am certain that I will never use this feature as I use a Mac for graphic design.] It is optional to purchase the Bernina Stitch Regulator, retail cost $900 ($400 with purchase), to improve the quality of stippling stitches. The walking foot is an additional cost of $65 - 100 with purchase.

The Bernina 450 differs from the 440 QE by being a 9 mm machine like the Artista line. The 440 QE includes the Bernina Stitch Regulator and the walking foot and sells for only $100 more than the Bernina 450.

I thought it would be simple to focus on the 440 QE (because it seems like a much better value since it includes 2 expensive feet) and compare it to the Pfaff to make my decision, until I did buttonholes on the 440 QE and the 450 -- WOW -- how different they are!

The 440 QE's keyhole buttonholes (for tailoring) stitched out too open (not enough stitches per inch) and too narrow, apparently restricted by the 5.5 mm. Trying to adjust the density of the stitch created other problems. In contrast, the 9 mm Bernina 450 performed its standard 6 mm wide keyhole and automatically did a denser satin stitch, so that the finished buttonhole looked better-proportioned, even prior to trying to "tweak" it further. The sales person felt the 440 QE was clearly limited by its 5.5 mm stitches, but she mostly does decorative sewing these days, not garments. Does anyone have experience with this issue of qualitative differences in stitches between a 5 mm and 9 mm machine?? I would be inclined to look at the new 450 if the 440 QE really can't do a better buttonhole, and buy a walking foot but pass on the BSR, as I have never stippled before...). The BSR is designed to compensate for random movement and make your stitches even-lengthed, I believe).

The Pfaff's automatic keyhole buttonhole is stitching out somewhat unevenly, with the keyhole portion's stitches looking too sparse compared to the long sides of the buttonhole, and also there are not enough stitches in the area where the keyhole joins the sides. Can anyone suggest whether there are ways to adjust this??

I am definitely purchasing a new machine to gain more control than I curently have with my '78 Elna Air Electronic, which doesn't have a presser foot pressure adjustment and hence, creates a lot of slippage/stretch on my top layer of fabric. Also, it lacks a one-step buttonhole and doesn't have a lot of penetration power for that occasional thick pant hem (husband's jeans). I am also looking forward to having needle up/down and presser foot knee lift. Although I rarely use decorative stitches, I like Pfaff's selection, b/c they seem particularly nice and include some fun animal motifs, as well. I like that Pfaff offers the built-in "walking" foot (IDT), simply because I've had so much slippage with my Elna. I realize that I won't use it that much for garments, but it seems like a lovely feature (and I won't miss the clack-clack of my generic walking foot!).

The Pfaff SEEMS more in line with my needs, but its buttonhole seems to not meet my expectation by a good bit, and the owner of the store does not seem to know how it can be further improved (she is a former garment sewer and now does quilts and decorative). On the other hand, Bernina comes from a company with very stable ownership (unlike Pfaff, which has been bought and sold multiple times in the last 15 years) and Bernina has always seemed like the "Gold Standard" in machines.

I would GREATLY appreciate any detailed comments on my various issues raised in this lengthy post !! Thanks very much!

AE
-- Edited on 9/30/07 7:49 PM --

Warbler
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In reply to AncientElna


Date: 9/30/07 9:13 PM

You are right about the value of the Janome... it is why I decided on it rather than Bernina. I saved some cash that went into some improvements in my house. It appears that the Bernina has a better advantage over other brands but you have made some observations about stitch quality that will help to determine your choice. I would continue to test drive the Bernina line to see if the stitches improve with the 9mm. Your decision will boil down to which machine gives you the most features you want and the dealer who will work with you in an open and supportive way. If I had the cash today I would get the Bernina! If I had to make the same decision based on circumstances that existed when I purchased my Janome... I would choose Janome... trouble free, smooth and powerful!

------
Janome MC6600 Bernina 240 Juki MO735 Singer 201-2 Singer 221-1

Babylock52

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In reply to AncientElna


Date: 9/30/07 9:55 PM

First I want to thank you for such an objective comparison of two brands of machine. Your observations will be very helpful for others looking at those models. For myself, I own both Pfaff and Baby Lock machines, but no experience with Berninas. Although I think Baby Lock (and probably Janome) offers the best value, dollar for dollar, I really do prefer Pfaff, for all kinds of sewing. The IDT can be invaluable for garment sewing, especially if you use difficult to sew fabrics, or want to match stripes or plaids exactly. Plus, with built-in dual feed, you have better visibility than with a clunky, expensive walking foot, and the option of combining it with many different presser feet. As far as buttonholes go, I think that you can adjust the density (not sure about that), but see if the machine's own sewing advisor can help you get the best results, and of course stitch out test buttonholes on stabilized fabric, whatever the machine. Whatever machine you choose, I'm sure you'll be happy because you took the time to think it through. Let us know which one you get. Oh yes, how is the dealer support for each?
Mary Beth
Pfaff 2140/70, Creative Vision on order
Baby Lock Evolve, Espire, Embellisher

Doris W. in TN
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In reply to AncientElna


Date: 9/30/07 10:32 PM

Quote:

The Bernina 450 differs from the 440 QE by being a 9 mm machine like the Artista line.
Not all Artistas have 9mm feet. I recently bought a 630e with the 5mm feed dogs because I prefer that size and feel I have more control when piecing quilts.

My Janome has a 7mm wide stitch and I personally hate trying to piece a 1/4" quilt block seam on it, although there are thousands of women who have mastered that task on wide feed dogs. I do not like the snap-on feet; I think Pfaff has this type. They're small and easy to lose. The Bernina feet are *all* easy to put on and off. I love the Bernina feet. Expensive and worth it.

Check the throat plate---- is the Pfaff throat plate easy to remove for cleaning? Screw off or pop off? Bernina throat plate pops off.

I have never seen a perfect keyhole buttonhole on any of my Berninas nor Janomes.

On the Berninas you can sew any stitch in any length, width and needle position. (My Janomes don't do this) This means a lot to me with my various sewing projects. Check if the Pfaff can do that on any stitch. It really is a nice feature.

Test drive all the machines, compare the feet and throat plate removal, etc. and be sure to bring your own fabrics for those test drives. Also look at the dealer's support, service and reputation with other sewists.

Both brands you're looking at make great machines (despite my bias-). At some point you'll figure out which is the right one for you (just like buying a car.... lots of brands & models ....it can get confusing)

AncientElna
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Date: 10/1/07 7:06 PM

SewLovelyinvt, Mary Beth and Doris W.:
Thanks very much for your input. I still hope there is some wonderful person out there who has used or owned a similar Pfaff and Bernina to the models I am looking at, but I realize it may be quite unlikely! So receiving answers from a Pfaff user and a Bernina user, are the next best thing.

Mary Beth, thanks for reminding me about the advantage of the BUILT-IN 'walking' foot (IDT): that it can be used with other special feet -- excellent point. I will explore the 'Sewing Advisor' on my next visit.
Doris, thank you for reminding me to check on the ease of removing the throat plate and the flexibility of the Pfaff on stitch length, width + needle position. I appreciate your telling me that you have not had machines that sew nice keyhole buttonholes, as that was one of the key features missing on my '78 Elna (and I don't always want to do bound buttonholes on jackets!). Perhaps that is why my Pfaff dealer preferred to show me a straight-sided buttonhole, and I persisted in asking her to do the keyhole...

The dealer factor is a doozy! I am finding extremely nice, but extremely talkative dealers, which makes learning about a machine's features much more difficult! Also, everyone knows much more about quilting and embroidery than about garment sewing features.

I am really surprised about the difference in quality between the 9 mm and 5.5 mm buttonhole on the Bernina; I would have expected the dealer to have encountered this issue long ago and to have definitively resolved the quality issues and have a clear, final explanation for me. Instead, it appears that I am the first person to have compared the two buttonholes before, and it is a busy dealership. Perhaps it is b/c I am comparing a keyhole buttonhole, and not just a straight-sided buttonhole?? :tounge:
-- Edited on 10/2/07 1:35 PM --
-- Edited on 10/2/07 1:36 PM --

Restart06
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Date: 10/1/07 7:46 PM

I have owned Pfaff 2056 for about 1 year and love it. I have sewn all kinds of material, made silk purses, jackets, pants, quilted, and blankets with it. The feet are super easy to remove and place a new one on with ease. I don't have any problems misplacing them as each one has a case, or I keep them in my machine accesory box. I love the IDF feature for different fabrics, and highly recommend my machine. The 2058 should be better, and with my dealer I can trade in my machine for the new one, which I may do.
Of course my dealer support is awesome! Hope this helps. ;)

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There is no easy way! quote from my Grandfather
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AncientElna
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Date: 10/1/07 8:32 PM

Restart06,
Thanks very much for your helpful comments. Did you look at a Bernina model to compare with your 2056 when you were shopping a year ago??
-- Edited on 10/1/07 8:32 PM --

Restart06
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Date: 10/1/07 9:00 PM

I did alot of studying websites on various machines, pattern review information, asked questions, pondered , fretted, and with my DH suggestion to just go ahead adn get the 2056. It was the one I wanted, but also the dealer support was a big factor for me. But go sew on several models, take fabrics, sew on the machines, the 9mm stitches are great, and the variety of stitches are wonderful and I have used many of them. My MIL is a died in the wool Bernina person, and they are great machines. So look at the dealers, do they give classes, will they help you, and which one is the easiest to use in your hands. My dealer was/is so great that I have had to use the manuel very little because they instructed me so well. One feature that I really like is the needle up/down feature which has totally spoiled me. Hope this helps and good luck. It is too bad you can't buy both machines, hehe. That is the way I felt.

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There is no easy way! quote from my Grandfather
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Liane M
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Date: 10/1/07 9:11 PM

I'm a Pfaff person and I do love my 2140, which I've had now for 5 years. Pfaff is a great machine. I bought a Janome 6600 this spring and I really like the Janome too, but still not as much as my Pfaff. I looked at the 2058 before I bought the Janome for a 2nd machine. I could not justify paying that much money for a machine without a thread cutter so I bought the Janome. The 6600 is packed with features and sews very smoothly. It was about a $1.000.00 less than the Pfaff. I still love my Pfaff and go to that machine without even thinking about it. I don't have any experience with Berninas but I hear that they are great machines. I recently used one in an heirloom sewing class and I have to say that I still prefer my Pfaff.

I think the right machine is more about fitting the person, so buy the machine that you bond with, not the one with the most features. You can't go wrong.

AncientElna
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Date: 10/2/07 12:56 PM

Restart 06 and Lianne:
Thank you both for your responses. After reading them, I realize that I don't yet have a gut conviction about the two machines -- I am still in the 'mental sorting' phase, trying to weigh features, but I am not comfortable or familiar enough with either to actually have a preference based on my personal sense of their ease of use. I actually find testing machines tedious, which doesn't help!

Lianne: when you say that the Pfaff 2058 doesn't have a fabric cutter, do you mean the push button feature that cuts the threads to a 1/2" long and pulls them to the back of the fabric? Does your 2140 have a push button thread cutter?

Also, I agree with you about ultimately buying the machine you bond with; I have set aside the Baby Lock and Janome for the simple (and perhaps somewhat foolish) reason that I dislike their rounded styling and the big presser foot pressure knob (rather than an elegant dial on the side), as if they were cars, not sewing machines! I'm slightly embarassed to use this as a way to limit my options, but as I'm a graphic designer who spent 4 long years attending art school after already having a bachelor's degree, I know that what I consider to be elegant design will continue to be important to me...

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