Monday, 3 March 2014

Meet FiFi!


 If you follow me on Twitter (@jolittletime) you'll probably know that I bought a new sewing machine!  I inherited some money recently and decided that rather than be sensible and save it, the person who left it to me would much rather I spent it on something I'll love!

I went into my local sewing machine shop (we are lucky enough to have 2), primarily to look at Berninas (cos we all want a Bernina, right?).  The extremely helpful and knowledgable sales person talked to me about what I wanted and planned to use it for and recommended a Pfaff if I didn't have my heart set on a Bernina.

She is a Pfaff person and thought the Ambition 1.5 had all the features I was looking for:

- a drop in bobbin I could see (running out of bobbin thread half way down a long and fiddly seam is the worst)
- option to finish with needle up (to avoid the top thread whipping away out of the needle on the next seam) or down for pivoting
- pretty 1 step buttonholes
- good length of warranty
- speed control on the foot pedal (I have a heavy foot on the pedal!)
- good lighting (my dining room doesn't have the best task lighting)
- adjustable presser foot pressure

It has all of these and more!  Specs can be found here.

It has 195 stitches - I'm sure I'll never use most of them but N LOVES them!

The drop in bobbin is easy to thread and to see when it is running out, but it also has a "bobbin empty" warning that appears on the touchscreen quite a way before the thread runs out.

As it has a touchscreen, the front is very clean with only essential buttons:

The buttons you can see are the needle up/ needle down toggle, permanent reverse, the speed slider, start/ stop button and automatic tie off.

It also has a built in walking foot called IDT (Integrated Dual Feed) which you can pull down from behind the shank and engage with just about any foot or stitch.

Much as I liked it, I decided not to rush into a big purchase.  I came home, canvassed options/ experiences on Twitter (thanks to all who shared!), checked out online reviews and booked a trial for the following Saturday.  I tried it out and loved it.  I also tried the Bernina at the same price point (the 350 I think?) and the one above (the 380 - about £300 more expensive) and to be honest, the stitch quality on the Pfaff was on a par with the more expensive Bernina!  I was sold and brought her home that day.

Things I love already:
- she goes through anything - 8 layers of folded thick denim as easily as a single layer of chiffon
- the stitching is gorgeous!
- the bobbin empty warning
- the low noise compared to my Brother
- the speed control - it feels like I have so much more control
- the automative tie off - I had no idea i needed it til I had it but it is so neat compared to my previous reverse stitching!
- those automatic buttonholes - love love love!

Oh and really stupid thing I love:

Bobbin and foot storage! So neat and tidy!

 On the suggestion of the lovely Vicki Kate, I have called her Fifi (much to the disappointment of N who wanted to call her Vanilla - who knows the workings of a 5 year old's mind?)

I think the moral of the story is - make use of your local sewing machine shop if you are lucky enough to have one.  They can really help.  Mine also offers free follow-up sewing lessons if you need them.


  1. Looks great! I'm not familiar with Pfaff's - I have a Brother - but it does look like a good machine! I do love that bobbin and foot storage though. And what IS automative tie off? I've never heard of that!

    1. i wasn't til lady in the shop suggested i consider it! auto tie off means you press a button and it takes a few small stitches on top of each other to avoid you having to back stitch. in patterned stitches, the back stitches are in the pattern.

  2. Aaarrgghh! Can I come round your house to play? She looks wonderful! I have to admit that if I'm ever allowed to upgrade my machine my two must haves (other than the buttonhole being one step like I currently have) is the integrated walking foot thingy and the auto tie off. Can't wait to see how you get along with her!!

    1. definitely! it has so many of the features i have seen other people mention but my basic brother didn't have. i think the best things are the power - no slowing down or griding over seams where they cross - and the control - the brother was either stop otr go. it's so easy to control the speed on this.

  3. Fab! I got an Ambition Essential last year and I love it, for all the reasons you mention above. Mine hasn't got built in bobbin and foot storage though - boo!

    1. glad you like yours too sam! i do love the bobbin storage - beats my old box of tangled and unravelling threads!

  4. What a great idea to book in a trial of a prospective machine. So glad you're happy with Lady Fifi - a great way to spend your inheritance!

    1. it's a great thing about local sewing shops vs the interweb. i could have maybe got a freebie at the same price but preferred to support local shop. i may have to call her Lady Fifi now - very posh!

  5. This looks amazing! I thought I was happy with my pretty basic machine but now I think I might want/need a Pfaff...!!

  6. How exciting! I am sure you will just love Fifi!

  7. Oh my gad! This is amazeballs! I wish you a long and happy relationship. I agree with you on road testing. Those old sewing shop bods no their shiz xxx

    1. thanks rehanon - they do and if we don't use them we will lose them!

  8. Congratulations! You made a good choice - Pfaffs are nice machines! (I think too many people overspend on Beninas just because they hear they are the "best" - which I don't believe they are.)

    Such a nice way to use your money - I'm sure you will always think of the person who gave you the money every time you sit down to sew. =)

    1. thank you brooke! i haven't heard of many people who have them really - tends to be all janome or bernina. but i am happy with her so far!

  9. Congrats on your new machine! I think Fifi is a wonderful name for her and I hope she brings you many many years of sewing joy! :)


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