Sewing Machine Review: the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0 (a sewing machine for quilters)
Hey guys! I'm really excited to talk about a trying out a few different sewing machines with you. I've been ready to switch for awhile now....my last machine was lovely, but it drove me crazy how quickly it needed its timing repaired (which is costly!), and I miss having a zig zag stitch a LOT more than I realized I would. Also, I still haven't fallen in love with a walking foot. Until now, that is :)
Pfaff sent me two machines to try out, review, and compare/contrast for you guys. In addition to regular reviews, I'm kind of anxious to try out sewing few crazy things. (Like....quilting with leather? LET'S DO IT.) Today I'll be starting with a sewing machine review for the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0.
First up, let's chat about the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0. This is the smaller machine that they sent me, and I wanted to try it out first, because I firmly believe that you can do great things without breaking the bank. I've been sewing on this for almost two months now to really get a handle on the ins and outs (because sewing on a machine once does not make for a great review, you guys!). Today I'll be discussing using the machine for sewing and straight-line quilting, and I'll follow up with some free-motion quilting next. Here are my thoughts on this machine so far:
*Note: Machine has been lent to me curtesy of Pfaff. All opinions are my own and I am not being compensated for this post monetarily.
1. The front edge of the extension table is sloped downwards. I found this detail especially genius, as I tend to get shoulder pain from hunching my shoulders up high enough to sew properly. I can't raise my seat any higher because, well....short legs....ahem. So this simple change has made a world of difference on my posture and pain.
2. This one sounds silly, but I grew up on a vintage sewing machine that was SO fast to thread. I got used to that and I get really grumbly about machines that take forever to thread. I don't have to grumble for this one - it's nice and easy to thread, too. If you want to use a mega spool of thread, you'll need a separate thread stand, but otherwise, it has a vertical and horizontal setup, depending on how your spool is wound. The only thread-related option I'm missing with this machine is the automatic thread cutter. Otherwise, I've used rayon, polyester, and cotton threads with success. I've also used 50, 40, and 30 weight threads in the top AND bobbin thread with no issues. I don't know about you, but I hate getting into thread arguments with machines; they can be so hard to win! So I'm super thrilled with this aspect so far.
3. I've never used a top-load bobbin machine before, and I was initially a bit worried to see it. With a bottom or side load bobbin, you can change out your bobbin while free-motion quilting, without having to pull the whole dang quilt out of the quilt. BUT then I started using it, and dang. It is approximately 1973% easier to use load bobbins in this guy. And a properly loaded bobbin reduces frequency of bobbin backlash (my archnemisis - ya know, when you get that nasty rat's nest on the back of your seam from your bobbin thread going all crazy). I don't think I've seen backlash a single time in the past months using this machine! You don't use a bobbin case, which is the main reason it is so simple.
4. While this isn't a feature I use for myself, it has a stop/start button for sewing - this option is a great one for my little guys. My six and four year old love to sew with me, but obviously can't reach the foot pedal. Problem solved! (I used to have them use the needle up/down button on my last machine, but that takes forever.) Below, Charlie is guiding pieces with his left hand. His right hand is up by the start/stop button. He doesn't have to hold it down, just press it once, so he removes the pins with his right hand as he sews. It goes just the right speed for him to coordinate everything without going crazy slowly. (And that's the 3 year old watching :) )
5. Let's talk about straight line quilting. This model has a lot of throat space, which is my personal #1 priority when picking a new machine. I have zero issues fitting a whole lotta' quilt to the right of the needle. (I would recommend a Supreme Slider to help everything move around more easily.) I was extremely excited to try out the integrated walking foot, since all my Pfaff friends rave about it. It's hard to describe, but it feels so darn smooth to sew with. It's like....butter. Not that one would sew butter, but you guys it's like buttery smooth. I've tried a number of machines brands & their walking feet; many of them worked satisfactorily, but I never fell in love with them. This one - well, this one I love. I always used to feel like my walking feet and I were enemies, but I might start writing creepy fan mail to this walking foot system. Yup.
You can even thread the walking foot guide through both directions. It's upside down on the left side, buuuuut you can totally still use it. The only downside I ran into is that I like to sew at a higher speed than this machine offered - especially for straight-line quilting, which can get a bit dull. (You guys, I adore the look of straight line quilting, but am I the only one who gets bored doing it?)
6. I find that I've had a much more accurate 1/4" seam allowance with this 1/4" foot. This is obviously something very specific from sewer to sewer, but I personally mesh well with this one. It came with a variety of feet, and they are a bit different than the ones I've used before. Rather than switching a foot with the entire leg at the same time, you disconnect just the very bottom part of the foot. It just pops off, then you pop a new one on. I know these sound like such little things I'm getting excited about, but they all add up to make a far better sewing experience.
7. Lastly, this machine is soooooo quiet. Well, as far as sewing machines go, of course! But it's definitely the quietest machine I've ever used. Considering the fact that I usually sew when 1) my kiddos are sleeping, and 2) my hubby is watching tv, this is an awesome quality.
Things I loved:
Simple to thread
Top load bobbin
can sew via a push-button
large throat space
integrated walking foot
walking foot guide (can go both ways/ish)
very accurate 1/4" foot
holder for all of the accessories
Things I missed:
super fast speed
automatic thread cutter
can't fit a super massive spool w/o a separate thread stand (easy fix)
Given the long list of loves, and the very short list of things I missed, I would rank this machine as being a great options for beginners all the way through advanced quilters. This a perfect one-time investment, but honestly, I would buy it for the walking foot alone.
Now I'm going to go see what that walking foot can sew!! Before I have to send it back, of course (wahhhhhh!)