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Machine Shopping
Looking for the least expensive machine with all the features I like
civory1
civory1
Member since 3/28/10
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Date: 3/17/13 12:11 PM

I'm looking for the lowest price domestic sewing machine that has all these features:

Drop in bobbin
Built in even feed feature like the Pfaff IDT
Low bobbin alert
7mm or 9mm stitch width
straight, zig zag and blanket stitches (hundreds of stitches are nice but I rarely use more than 8 or 9)
Automatic presser foot lifting (great for machine applique so you can use both hands to pivot the fabric)
Thread cutting would be nice but not a requirement.

Right now, I have the Viking Tribute 140C and the Opal 760 and the Pfaff Tiptronic 7270.

I love all three, but wish the Tribute had low bobbin sensor like the Opal and was lighter weight for retreats and classes like the Opal or the Pfaff. I like the IDT on the Pfaff, but wish it had a drop in bobbin.

I see that the Pfaff Creative Sensation and Creative Performance have all my wishes (I think), but is there another, less expensive machine out there? It doesn't have to be a current model, I can purchase used machines.

-- Edited on 3/17/13 2:04 PM --

LynnRowe
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LynnRowe  Friend of PR
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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 12:33 PM

Between the Creative Performance and Creative Sensation, the CS is an embroidery machine (and very $), where the PCP is sewing, with the option of adding on the embroidery now or later. It's about $3500 without the embroidery module.

The only other machines that I can think of which comes close to your list and has the Pfaff style IDT are the Bernina 710 and 750. The 710 is about the same price as the PCP, but without the ability to upgrade to adding the embroidery. The PCP has a lot more sewing and deco features than the B710.

The 750 is also a sewing machine with option to add the embroidery module now or later. Without the module it's about $4500-5000. IMO, the PCP again has a lot more features, both in sewing and embroidery.

A few Janome machines has a built-in walking foot, which may suit your needss and are considerably less in price than the Pfaffs and Berninas, but I dunno nuthin' about them; others will though. Happy machine hunting!

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

civory1
civory1
Member since 3/28/10
Posts: 2
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In reply to LynnRowe <<


Date: 3/17/13 2:03 PM

Thanks for your insight. I need to go try them out.

The features on the PCP and the PCS both say they have 'electronic knee lift' and the Pfaff quilt expression 4.0 says "automatic presser foot lift". I'm wondering if that means you have to use the knee lift lever or can you set the machine to lift the presser foot without having to use the physical knee lift lever?

I have owned the Janome 7700 with the built in walking foot, but it was clumsy, in the way and hard to see what it was doing. I like the Pfaff IDT much better.

LynnRowe
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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 2:15 PM

The CS is Pfaff's TOL embroidery machine, and the PCP is their TOL sewing machine, so anything any of the other Pfaffs can do, you can pretty much bet the PCP and CS do it, and then some.

And no, you don't have to use the knee lift for auto foot lift. In fact, mine is still packed away, as I don't use knee lifts.

The CS and PCP can be programmed to start and stop with foot fully raised, foot fully lowered, or foot at hover. You can also use the buttons on the machine to raise, lower and hover the foot.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

FatMog
FatMog
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Date: 3/17/13 2:21 PM

The Pfaff QE 4 does indeed have all those features including the foot hover pivot thingy. I really like mine - didn't someone say that it's being replaced shortly? You might get a deal on an end of line.

And I seem to remember from the exhaustive research I did last year that (in the uk at least) it was better value to look at the Viking Sapphires rather than the anniversary model which seemed more expensive for fewer features.

And if you can bear to compromise on a few of the bells and whistles then I really fell for the Pfaff ambition, it was such a great machine for the price and I liked the way it sewed. But the deal-breaker for me was the absence of a manual buttonhole alternative to auto-buttonhole. Oh well!

wendyrb
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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 2:31 PM

I had a Bernina with a knee lift for years and was absolutely a confirmed user. Anytime I used a machine without it, my knee was searching. I have a PCP, only a few weeks old, and I'm with Lynn. The knee lifter's packed away. The machine will hover and gives me great control without the much loved knee lifter. My basic lessons start in a few weeks and and I'll learn to do all the variations.

I just went through the machine shopping research and had basically the same question of best features for the least cost. It took me months to even get to the point of your thoughtful list of wants- good goin'! The internet studies were a crucial foundation for me. I started with a much lower price range and gradually worked through testing many machines- not just letting the dealer demo. With experience on different brands and models, I learned through my hands what felt good and what I really wanted beyond internet research. I'm delirious with joy at my final decision and I got a very good price. I wish you the best with your search to find the machine that you can afford and is just right for you!

------
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. Andy Rooney

Pfonzie- my honey Pfaff Creative Performance, Bernina 930 and 830, Evolution serger.

AngieRose

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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 2:55 PM

You might want to look at the newer Juki HZL-F600, and 300 machines. I don't have one, but seriously considered the HZL-F600 before I bought the new Brother DreamWeaver.

Juki makes good machines. This model runs about $1000, and you can read about it on the internet, and Allbrands.com has some good pictures.


------
AngieRose, who love sewing, machine embroidery and quilting. 2008 Babylock Ellisimo, 2013 Brother DreamWeaver VQ3000, Bernina 1090, Singer Featherweight & 2009 Prodigy Quilter
http://timberhillthreads.blogspot.com

wendyrb
wendyrb  Friend of PR
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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 3:24 PM

Have you been to the Sewing Machine Reviews here? You can read to exhaustion about the machines after people have had them awhile. Most of the reviews are really excellent. It's a great way to learn more.

Also many brands have a thread here devoted to PR folk talking about their machines. There's one for Juki, Bernina, Brother/Babylock, Pfaff and I hope I haven't left anyone out. Unintended.

PS The Juki 600 has a lot of features for the price. Go see for yourself.

------
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. Andy Rooney

Pfonzie- my honey Pfaff Creative Performance, Bernina 930 and 830, Evolution serger.

Pinscushion
Pinscushion
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In reply to FatMog <<
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Date: 3/17/13 6:15 PM

Would really love to hear what you think the real strengths/weaknesses are between the Expression and the Ambition. I don't know which one to go for - the dealer has offered me the Expression 2 at quite a good price but I just wonder if I am being extravagant buying that when the Ambition is cheaper. I sew a mixture of upholstery/curtain stuff and dressmaking (so good buttonholes a must). Machines have moved on so much since my last one (Elna 5000 23 years ago) that I am going round in ever decreasing circles.

Eptreadle
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In reply to civory1 <<
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Date: 3/17/13 6:56 PM

Based on my experience with a variety of machines (I currently mostly use Pfaff and Bernina) the Pfaffs have more features for generally, but not always, less money. I also think Pfaff has the better integrated dual feed and low bobbin indicator than other brands. I have never found the Pfaff vertical bobbin difficult to use, if that helps. I'd pick Pfaff over Viking any day based on looks alone, but everyone likes something different.

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