Monday, February 20, 2017

Pfaff Performace 5.0

An early Christmas Present to myself (2016).  I purchased the Pfaff Performance 5.0 (P5).  I have admired this machine for months.  But found it a little costly for someone that did not know if they could actually use a sewing machine.  
The Pfaff Performance 5 (P5)

This machine was perfect for me, my dealer (Naaimachine Huis Haarlem) gave me a excellent deal (50% off), as this was the last model in stock, the new Performance 5.2 had been released. 

I looked at Bernina, Janome, Husqvarna Viking, Brother, Juki and others.  I liked the quality and weight of the Bernina. However, the Pfaff and Husqvarna just seemed to work for me. The others were nice but the feeling was just not right.  I purchased a previously loved Husqvarna Viking Topaz 30 as my experimental machine.  I found I could sew with all my limitations.  

So after several months I realized I wanted a second machine.  A sew only machine.  So my search began.  I was seriously looking at the Husqvarna Sapphire 960q.  But when I was offered the deal, I choose the Pfaff P5.  I have not regretted that decision.

The last few months, I have used my machine almost daily.  Being a Quilter, I have pieced, Appliqued, and quilted.  This machine is wonderful.  I am going discuss the technical and my personal feelings on why I love this machine.  



Technical

Features
  • More than 300 utility and decorative stitch options
  • 4 alphanumeric fonts
  • Maxi and Monogram stitches up to 48mm wide
  • Tapering
  • LED lighting
  • 3 free motion modes
  • Pfaff exclusive IDT [Integrated Dual Feed system]
  • Needle up and down
  • Start/stop button
  • Mirror imaging
  • Sensormatic buttonhole
  • Bobbin thread sensor
  • Variable speed control slider
  • Immediate tie off
  • Straight stitch needle plate sensor
  • On board stitch selection guide



Accessories
  • 10 snap on presser feet
  • Quilting bar
  • Lint brush
  • Seam ripper
  • Sensormatic buttonhole foot
  • Spool pins
  • Spool pads
  • Detachable accessories case
  • Extra needles
  • Bobbins
  • Screwdriver
  • Hard cover
  • Extension Table (I purchased separately)

The P5 is very user friendly.  Adjusting stitch length, width and even density is easy with the included stylus and the well light touchscreen.  The stitch quality is excellent, the tension is always spot on, and the electronic pressure foot works flawlessly.  It also includes a knee lift (Bernina Style), which I do not use, due to physical limitations.  


The very bright colored touch screen, with Stitch Controls

I choose the P5 because all the controls and screen are on the main machine arm.  This have been a very intuitive placement. I can glance up from the stitching area and see all the information my machine has to offer on its colored touch screen.  I like the Needle Up/Down, Pressure Foot Up/Down, Thread Snips, Speed Control, and the Fix function buttons on the main sewing arm.  This allows for plenty of space for each button.  After a few hours of using the P5 you instinctively know where every button is placed.  You do not have to look or guess, just reach up and push.  
The excellent spaced Control Buttons (Needle/Pressure Foot UP/Down,
Fix, Thread Snips, Speed Control, and Start/Stop Buttons)

Next I find the automatic presser foot up/down to be perfect for me.  When the needle is in the down position, the foot rises a little to turn or adjust your project.  If you press the thread snips the pressure rises up to remove your project.  This feature is great for me, as it allows total focus on my stitch line and the project.  
The Automatic Pressure Foot


Sewing

Straight Stitch is effortless. 

I have used the Patchwork Memory Feature to program the stitches to perfectly piece 2.5 inch blocks.  Starting a 1/4 from the edge, the program stitches 3 fix stitches, sews a perfect 2 inch seam with a 1.5 mm stitch length, and the ends with 3 fix stitches and snips the thread. This gives your piecing an excellent hand stitched look.  It has never missed a beat.
Also have used the Foundation Paper Piecing Method, in the Quilt Shows 2017 Sue Garmon Block of the Month.  Using a 1mm stitch length, the paper almost falls off after piecing. Funny I was distracted while paper piecing and the P5 sewed right across the head of my Clover Flat Head Pin, used to align the seams.  The P5 did not miss a step.  I sewed through the tough hard plastic head at 1mm without breaking or bending the needle.  I found that unbelievably amazing.  
The Pfaff Performance 5 sewed through the head of a pin

I have used the free motion setting to practice and play.  No serious work.  But it just worked for me.  Did exactly what I wanted when I wanted.

Decorative Stitches unbelievable.

I have used the Blind Hem, Blanket Stitch on applique. Amazing! Using the open toe applique foot and the stitch in the ditch foot, I have not missed a step.  The P5 is easy to use.  The sewing area is highly visible and well light.  I do however use alternative lighting connected to my magnifying glass.  This helps me see the details. 
My Personal Sewing Area Setup

The Satin Stitch is beautiful.  For various projects, mainly Applique, I have used a 1mm to 9mm wide satin stitch.  Every stitch as beautiful as the next.  

I have also used the decorative stitches including the Maxi Stitches in my quilting.  Using my Circular Attachment I have created perfect 20 to 40  mm wide Maxi Stitches in a circle and bordered by a Candlewicking Stitch.  This makes WholeCloth Quilting Fast Simple and Easy.  


Conclusion


I find the P5 to be the perfect machine for individuals with limitations.  The wide stitching area makes it easy to access your project at any time.  The LED lighting is excellent.  The control buttons and screen location is perfect for arthritic hands and limited vision.  The colored touch screen is easy to read and adjust with my fingers or the included stylus.   The automatic pressure foot is excellent as well for limited mobility and arthritic conditions.  
The wide and easy to access sewing area. Perfect for Quilting

The only feature I have found unuseful on my machine the Pressure Foot Knee Lift.  My Arthritis makes it painful to use.  So I use the automatic feature.  But the option is there for the person that can not live without it.  

I can envision myself creating beautiful quilts on this machine for years to come.  Thank you VSM and Pfaff for making such a machine for me.  


Video Review


The best Video Review of the P5 is from Village Sewing, excellent overview of all the functions on this machine



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Let's Begin

Years ago as a young boy, I spent many hours with my grandmother.  She was an avid seamstress.  She made Cabbage Patch Dolls.  She also used a Pfaff 230.  As she grew older she was not strong enough to lift the machine to change the bobbin or raise from the cabinet.

My job was to help her by lifting the machine.  While waiting, she helped me develop my quilting skills.  I was a hand piecer even though I did not know the name, I did enjoy the tasks.  As my skills developed, I was taken to my grandmothers Sewing Circle.  And with many older seamstress in the group my skills increased.

Life got in the way, I stopped quilting and sewing in general,  Work School Life all interfered.

However, several years ago, I had a minor stroke.  As time passed I learned little consequences of the damage.  Loss of concentration and trimmers were the biggies.  The Trimmers cause great difficulty in hand work, my hands shake.

So I tried machine quilting.  Amazing something I could do!!!

Over the last year I have been trying different techniques. A few have not gone well  Many have opened doors of possibility.

This blog is about my journey.  I hope to review various equipment, techniques, the why and why nots of each,  I will start by reviewing the machine and equipment choices.  As well a discussion on what techniques and styles work well or not so well.

My goal, hopefully helping others with limitations, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Stroke, and other issues that hamper movement and coordination

So let's begin !!!!!!!