Carolina Patchworks

My thoughts on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 after one month

I purchased the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 on 8/12/08 and immediately started using it.  I do all my piecing and binding on the machine (quilting on a Mega Quilter) and so far it has done 15 quilts and started piecing #16 (holy cow!).  For reference sake, my previous machine was a Pfaff 2134.  There was nothing wrong with the 2134 but since I was doing so much quilting, some of the features that the 4.0 had made it very appealing.


— Dual lights.  Especially since I do so much of my sewing in the evenings.
— The presser foot can be controlled by the foot pedal.
— IDT (previous machine had it too but is definitely a plus if you’re coming from another brand)
— Needle down/foot up option.  Great for chain piecing and appliqué.
— Large foot pedal.  Never thought this would be a pro or con, but it’s actually really nice.
— I like the tie-off style of this machine better than the 2134.
— Low bobbin indicator.  The 2134 had one but never worked properly.
— It cuts your threads for you!
— Dual tension plates for the needle thread and bobbin thread.  If you’ve ever wound a bobbin without taking your needle thread out first, you’ll appreciate this!


— Sewing with the included 1/4″ foot is horrible.
Problems include:
— fabric is ‘eaten’ by the machine at the beginning of every seam
— fabric tends to veer off to the left (leaving you with 1/8″ or 1/16″ crooked seams)
— the machine has a hard time sewing over thick seams (think the middle of a kaleidoscope or while attaching binding strips when you have binding+backing+batting+top with seams).  The IDT doesn’t help and you have to tug a bit by the back of the machine to get it over the hump.
— The top fabric tends to bunch and become unaligned with the bottom fabric (even with IDT).

— The bobbin is top loading.  That alone isn’t really a problem but they designed the bobbin cover so that it could be removed without removing the free-arm part but in the process of that, they made a dip right before you reach the needle and it will flip all your seams that you have so neatly arranged (hopefully that all makes sense).
— Second thread spool holder is not nearly tall enough (that’s pretty minor but I usually sew with two spools of thread – one going to the needle and the second to wind bobbins so I don’t have to rethread every time.

Ok, so yes, those are some pretty significant cons.

The bobbin cover just downright annoys me.  I’m hoping they’ll come out with a table that I could use instead (or perhaps a new free arm?).  Honestly, I would have preferred to remove the free arm to change my bobbin than how they did it.  When you have you seams set and then they go through this hump/dip they flip.  Every time.  This is however a deal-withable problem.

The stitching problems are just downright ridiculous BUT THERE IS AN EASY FIX!

Basically, you need to buy a new 1/4″ foot.  I’m not sure if the style I bought 2 years ago for the 2134 are still made but I certainly hope so.  Sean and I both examined the feet and cannot see anything that would make the foot that comes with the machine stitch so badly.  But it does.  I pulled the old 1/4″ foot off of my 2134 and all of these problems disappeared.  Put the new foot back on and all the problems reappeared.

Some pictures (please pardon my linty cutting mat).  You can click on them for larger versions.

The bobbin dip.

The styles are different but none of these changes seem like it would cause these problems.

I oversharpened the next image to make sure the stitches were visible (I should have used black thread!).  In the fabric on the left the machine initially ‘ate’ the fabric and then tried to recover and the fabric veered to the left.  I never could hold and guide the fabric to prevent this.  The fabric on the right when straight in and has even stitches.  Both of these were fed in in the needle down/foot up scenario since that’s how I feed almost all of my fabrics for chain piecing.


So that’s that.  Why does the foot cause so many problems?  Really, I have no idea.  I think it’s rather silly to have to buy an additional 1/4″ quilting foot for a quilting machine to stitch properly.  But at least it’s fixable right?

Hopefully I got all my pros and cons in.  I’m sure there are more so feel free to ask questions if you have any.


UPDATE!  January 2009

I’m still having a horrible time with this machine.  Fabric is still being eaten, though not as often since I switched feet.  It still doesn’t sew straight.  Whenever I go over a thick set of seams (not huge, but quilts get like that sometimes, ya know?) it doesn’t go over them and the stitch length regularity is horrible.  The thread cutter is horrible.  It keeps telling me there are jams when there are no jams at all.  I’ve disassembled everything when it does this and there is never actually a jam.  You just have to sit there and press the middle button over and over until it finally lets you sew.   So frustrated.  I wonder who I could sell it to?  I truly have buyer’s remorse at this point.  I figured it just had some quirks and I would get used to them but this is totally unacceptable for a Pfaff at this price.


RANDOM NOTE: August 2011

I have moved past this machine. I stopped using it, bought something else and am done with the mess of the QE4. I’m happy to leave the comments open to let everyone read and discuss as they please, but I don’t have much interest at all in participating (Hopefully that doesn’t sound grumpy! It’s not intended to be. Promise. 😉 )

393 thoughts on “My thoughts on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 after one month”

  1. kim says:

    Thank you for the EXCELLENT info on the QE 4.0! I am relieved I am not the only one with the fabric eating problem. glad to know my old foot will fix things right up.

    I hope you sent your well written comments to Pfaff. They need to do some adjusting! And I agree–the bobbin bugged me, too.

    1. Cheryl says:

      I have the Expression 4.0 and love it. I have had “no” problems. Most machines eat fabric at the beginning, I have not seen one that does not. I don’t have that problem with my Expression 4.0, but my Pfaff dealer and I spent an afternoon with my machine, and she would just hold the thread to begin the stitching and we did this on several different weights of fabric and none of them were eaten. Give it a try. And one of my most favorite features was the check button that clears a jam! What a time saver when you are machine quilting!!!

  2. Veronica says:


    Thanks so much for this great review. I’ve been trying to decide between this machine and the Bernina 440. I’ve tried them both out extensively, but I still can’t decide which one to get. I haven’t seen any reviews on this machine, so your review is very helpful.

    I never had any problems with the fabric getting eaten up with the 1/4″ foot when I tried out the Pfaff QE 4.0. Maybe there’s something wrong with your machine or it needs to be tweaked or something. I would definitely bring it in to your Pfaff dealer and have it checked since it’s still under warranty. Or maybe there’s something wrong with the 1/4″ foot that came with your machine. For that much money, I’d be very ticked off if that happened to me. I didn’t try sewing anything with pressed seams, so I don’t know if they would flip like they did for you, but that would really annoy me, too.

    Thanks for all the great info. I’ll have to try sewing through a bunch of layers like a quilt sandwich with binding to see how well it does. And I never noticed if the fabric veered to the left. That’s all really important info to know before buying such an expensive machine.

    I was wondering if you knew if there was a way to disengage the auto presser foot lift that goes up halfway each time you stop sewing so that you can control the presser foot with the knee lift. Sometimes I’d like to be able to control the foot manually without the foot going up on its own all the time.

  3. emily says:

    I haven’t sent it to Pfaff but I’m going to. I just haven’t had a chance to go find an email address. There is nothing wrong with the foot that we can find from looking at it. It doesn’t appear to be a machine problem since it does fine with the other foot. I thought I was just going crazy with these things happening until Kim mentioned she had it happen too. I haven’t used the knee lift but I know you can turn off the foot up feature in the menu.

  4. Sue says:

    I also own the Pfaff Expressions 4.0. I’ve had similar problems and this is what I have used for fixes. For crooked seams, I purchased the Pfaff 1/4 inch foot that has a metal guide attached to it. No more crooked seams. I also purchased a single hole needle plate to help prevent chewing of the fabric. And for the times when the bulky items just won’t move thru the machine, I learned to increase the pressure of the presser foot (it’s in the toolbox) and now things move along just fine! I hope this helps!

  5. Julie says:

    Thanks so much for your review. I’m also trying to decide on a new machine. I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Pfaff 4.0 and the Elna 7200. I’m really leaning towards the Pfaff as I really like the machine, the dealer seems more knowledgeable, and the support and service seems more readily available. I do wish I could find more reviews on it though which is why I’m happy I found this. Overall it sounds like you’ve been able to work through and find solutions for most of your “cons” and that the machine does have many positive features as well.

    As for the machine eating fabric… I read somewhere online of someone else having the same problem. It turned out that the machine was not being threaded properly. The presser foot needed to be in either the up or the down position (sorry – I do not remember which way it was). There may have been another trick to threading as well. The other thing that helped in that case was to be sure to hold onto the top and bobbin thread when sewing the first couple stitiches of each seam. I’m not sure this info will be helpful for you as it seems you’ve been able to correct the problem but maybe it will help someone else.

    Thanks again for all the info on the 4.0. Now to decide!

    1. Diane says:

      If you use the automatic thread cutter, the threads are too short to hold on to.
      Using the right foot keeps the fabric from veering off to the left, I think.

  6. emily says:

    Thank you Sue! I will definitely look into those and try them. I wish you could get accessories without having to go to dealers.

    Julie, I will always quilt with a Pfaff because if the IDT. I know a walking foot accessory would basically be the same but those are so bulky. Overall though, the machine is great and a pleasure to sew with.

  7. Peter says:

    responding to Veronica:

    You can turn-off the auto presser foot lift in the toolbox. Then you can control the presser foot with the knee lift.

  8. Veronica says:


    I e-mailed Pfaff about disengaging the auto presser foot lift (the one that goes up halfway each time you stop sewing so that you can pivot) and they sent me a reply back that you can’t disengage it. When I was at the Pfaff dealer, a salesperson and I tried to turn it off in the toolbox. Even after we turned it off, it still kept going up halfway. I tried using the knee lift with the auto foot lift turned off, too, and it still kept going up halfway, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a knee lift. So I’m guessing it can’t be turned off. I’m wondering if it’s just the regular presser foot lift that you can turn off (the one that goes up all the way to the top).

  9. Joana says:

    Thank you so much for your review. Across the world from you, in Norway, I’m trying to decide wether to buy a Pfaff Exp. 4.0.
    I never had a Pfaff before. The machine I have now is Husqvarna Sapphire 870 quilt. I’m very happy with it but I like to change sewing machine when something better comes along. I’ve hadde the same problem with my Husqvarna eating fabric. I’ve found out that it happens sometimes after using the automatic thread cutter, because the thread jumps out oft place.
    Are you mostly pleased with your Pfaff or is there too many cons and frustrations?


  10. emily says:

    Veronica, I was able to turn it off completely so when you stop sewing the foot and needle do stay down.

    I’ve had the machine eat fabric in chain piecing too so there were no loose threads in that scenario. Overall I am pleased with the machine (now that it’s not eating fabric!).

  11. Veronica says:

    Emily, I tested it again today and I was able to keep the foot down, but when I used the knee lift, I couldn’t control the height of the foot. It kept wanting to automatically go all the way up. When I use a knee lift, I like to be able to control the height of the foot so that if I want to pivot the fabric just a little and want the foot to come up a tiny bit, I can do it with the knee lift. But it doesn’t look like you can do it with this machine. I still love it, though, and am planning on buying it. It’s the my favorite machine out of all the ones I tested.

    Do you know if they still make the old 1/4″ presser foot like the one you have? I wonder if you can still buy them from Pfaff dealers.

  12. emily says:

    I haven’t used the knee lift with any of my machines but now I must admit I’m totally tempted to try it. 😛

    I haven’t looked at what feet are currently for sale at the dealers. If the stores don’t have them anymore, you could probably find one on ebay.

  13. Sue says:

    I’ve found that lot of times when you are trying to get the 4.0 to do something, and it continues to do different than what you want, just simply shut the machine off, wait a few seconds and then turn it back on. I’ve had instances where the presser foot would raise every time I stopped sewing – even if I hadn’t selected the needle down position. That was so annoying. But by simply turning the machine off and waiting a bit, it seemed to reset itself.
    My dealer offers pfaff classes and if you take one, you can get 20% off all accessories. That helps a lot on the costs of the feet. You could check with your dealer and see if they have that type of promotion.

  14. Sue says:

    Just wanted to add that there are cutouts now for the 4.0. The sew-steady portable table and the sew perfect table have written me this week to let me know they do indeed have the pattern now for this machine. The slanted front on this machine drives me insane! I am constantly dropping my sewing stuff! Has anyone used a sew-steady table? Does it feel high to your arms when you are sewing?

  15. emily says:

    Has anyone used the portable tables? I haven’t had any problems with the slant on the front. I love my sewing table so I’m not sure I want a new one.

  16. Mia says:

    I use this portable table for my Bernina, and I´m very happy about it.
    I think I´m going to buy the Pfaff QE 4.0. Thank you for your comments about your 4.0.

  17. Sue says:

    Emily, I have so much trouble with the slant because this is the first time I’ve had a machine that has a slant and is not sitting in a cabinet. My previous machine sat flush in my sewing cabinet. The 4.0 doesn’t fit in my cabinet so now I am in search of a new one. Can you show me a photograph of what yours looks like?
    Mia, I couldn’t get your link to work but I think I figured it out. Is it ?

  18. Veronica says:

    Emily, when I tried this machine out, I noticed that when I stitched a long, straight line, I couldn’t see each individual stitch. All the stitches ran together like one long stitch. I didn’t like that and when I asked the lady at the Pfaff dealer about it, she said you can never see each stitch unless you change the color of thread so that the top and bottom threads don’t match. I know this isn’t true because my machine that I have now (Janome) shows each stitch when I have the same color thread on the top and bottom. So I was wondering if you noticed the same thing as I did with your machine. I’m wondering if this is a Pfaff thing. Every other machine I have sewn on in the past has stitched with each stitch separate from the next (with matching threads), which is the look I like. I think it looks more professional when you can see where one stitch ends and the next one starts.

  19. Mia says:

    Sue, I whrite wrong link, but you find the right.

  20. emily says:

    Sue — My sewing table is just our old kitchen table. It’s solid oak and doesn’t vibrate with the Mega Quilter and serger going at top speed so that’s why I’m in love with it. I’d love to have an inset machine table (or whatever they are called) but I want heavy-duty solid wood (and something that looks pretty too) and that’s just not in the budget. You can see it here (with the old machine):

    Veronica — I can definitely see individual stitches on the 4.0 and 2134. It sounds like a tension problem maybe? I agree though, it looks much better with individual stitches.

    Oh, and just a random note, all comments with links automatically go into moderation due to huge spam problems. So if your post doesn’t show up immediately don’t worry.

  21. Ghislaine says:

    Thank you so much for this review! I’m finally getting around to purchasing a computerized sewing machine I think the Expression 4.0 is going to be it! I plan on quilting on it too so the large harp is a huge selling point!

  22. Brenda says:

    Your work is just beautiful. When you do your top quilting you have the viking long arm quilter and what table are you using? You had pictures of two tables and Quilters and said the one was nothing but trouble. So just which one do you use of the long arm and the table. I ask because I am thinking about getting the Pfaff grand quilter and a table and a new program that is out called Qbot by inspira. It does the top quilting for you it is really cool but costly. Would like hearing back from you.

  23. emily says:

    I don’t use the Mega Quilter on a frame. I just set it on my sewing table like a normal sewing machine. I originally wanted the frame that Viking/Pfaff sold and had the Voyager frame for a short time but returned it because of the horrible sewing machine. I thought about getting the qbot but it was quite expensive (and the frame and cruise control must also be purchased) and it seemed limited in features for the price they were charging. I can easily do a queen quilt in my current set-up so I’m happy with that.

  24. Gloria says:

    I, too, have recently purchased a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.0 after quilting for 12 years on a 1475. I’m having a lot of problems with the automatic cut device especially cutting the bobbin thread. It works intermittently then not at all. This especially occurs when free motion quilting. I take off the tacks at both ends (obviously) as well as the automatic cut and use the manual cut key and it still doesn’t work. Other problems include: using my stitch in the ditch foot which has to have the needle position offcentered from the usual 0 (in the exact middle of the foot) to a 3 to force it to actually stitch in the ditch; when free motion quilting, it skips stitches, makes grinding sounds whenever using batiks, and does not accept good high quality threads(King Tut, Mettler, YLI, etc.) whenever changing from one to another. I’ve tried changing needle sizes and types, using all different weights of threads, rewinding bobbins, rethreading the machine, cleaning bobbin case, rechecking settings repeatedly. I’ve reproduced these problems on my dealers demo machine. Anyone else experiencing similar problems?

    1. carol says:

      I have just purchased the 4.0 and am having the same problems with free motion quilting – cotton thread shredding and breaking, skipped stitches and bad tension on both top and bottom
      dealer had same issues on my machine and her store machine – I notice your posts are from several years ago and problems still exist – I may have to return it

  25. Sue says:

    Gloria, Oh my! It sounds like your machine is out of alignment somewhere. Has your dealer offered to replace the machine or send it in for repairs?
    I’ve read a lot of forums on this machine and I have never heard of anyone having the above problems. Have you had these problems since day 1 of ownership? What does your dealer say about all this?

  26. emily says:

    That doesn’t sound normal at all. I did have some stitch skipping today for the first time. Thread cutting works most of the time. I haven’t done any free motion and I mostly use Aurifil.

  27. Veronica says:

    Gloria, I was just curious where your 4.0 was made. They were being made in Sweden and I just found out that they are now being made in China. I just bought mine yesterday. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until the middle of next month to get it because the 4.0s are backordered from the Pfaff factory in China. I was kind of leery about buying one when I found out about that, buy my Pfaff dealer assured me that Pfaff will still maintain the strict standards they’ve always had. I’m still kind of nervous, though. I hope I don’t have any problems with mine.

  28. emily says:

    Interesting Veronica… I checked the bottom of mine and it was made in Sweden.

  29. Sue says:

    I checked with my dealer today and she said all the Pfaff Expression machines are being made in Sweden. The Pfaff Select Machines are now being made in Shanghai, China.

  30. Veronica says:

    Hmmm. I wonder if my dealer got it wrong. Although, she worked for Pfaff for 10 years and has a close relationship with them, so I’m inclined to believe her. Maybe there’s still hope for my machine to be made in Sweden (got my fingers crossed!). I’ll have to ask her about it the next time I talk to her. Thanks for the info.

  31. Gloria says:

    My 4.0 Expression was made in Sweden. A friend bought the same type from the same dealer a couple days before me and has had the same troubles and even more so when changing threads. Hers rebels but cuts the threads more often. Our dealer has called Pfaff a couple times, made their suggested adjustments (some worked and some made the problems worse), he has torn her machine apart and is now in the process of putting it back together and will test run it tomorrow. I’m waiting to see how hers runs before taking mine in. Meanwhile, I’m not using it at all as it is too frustrating. Thinking of just asking for a new machine if simple adjustments can’t be made to make it right. I’ll be sure it is made in Sweden. Free motion quilting seems to be the downfall on both our machines and the floor model. Tried out the 2.0 and it also skips stitches and won’t cut 100% of the time on free motion quilting.
    Thanks for the comments, gals. Will let you know how it turns out in a couple days.

  32. Darlene Flanagan says:

    Any news on the free-motion problems? I just bought the 4.0 and I’m very accomplished free motion quilter and I can’t get the machine to free motion quilt well at all. It skips stiches every few inches and then the upper thread breaks. I’ve tried all the normal fixes I would tell my students to go through…new needles, threads, etc. I can’t believe Pfaff would release a “Quilter’s Edition” with a new free motion setting and not test that it would actually free motion quilt! That would be a major blunder. I’m hoping someone has found a solution…my thread cutter works fine thankfully. Thanks! Darlene

  33. emily says:

    I don’t use the 4.0 for free motion so hopefully someone else can chime in! There seems to be a lot of things that were not tested on this machine IMO.

  34. Sarah says:

    I found that the free motion stitching was awful and I couldn’t get it to look nice at all, so I’ve sent it back and a grand quilter is on it’s way 🙂

  35. Jenny Sandler says:

    Thanks for your comment Sarah, I have just purchased a QE4, and it works fine in all respects but today I tried free motion quilting, and I can’t seem to get the tension right. The bobbin thread seems to be too slack. I have tried trying to adjust the tension in the menu, but this makes no difference.
    Any suggestions from anyone, also I don’t like the free motion foot jumping up and down whilst quilting. Is there any way I can stop it doing this, and just hovering over the fabric?
    However, the 10 inch space is great for large quilts.

  36. Sarah says:

    Hi Jenny, You can tighten the bobbin tension. It doesn’t tell you this in the manual but you take off the needle plate, remove the small grey plastic piece closest to you and remove the bobbin case. On it there’s a black screw that takes a flat screwdriver and you turn it anti clockwise maybe only quarter of a turn. However while this improved my normal stitching the free motion was still rubbish. Maybe you’ll have a bit more luck. I just decided to return it as I already have the 2058 so only wanted the extra space for quilting. The grand quilter isn’t here yet and I’m getting impatient! I’ll get back to you about the foot going up and down in free motion mode as the 2058 does the same but I haven’t tried to turn it off before. Hope this was helpful.

  37. Jenny Sandler says:

    Hi Sarah, and many thanks for your comments, I will definitely try the bobbin tightening technique. If I discover how to stop the foot jumping up and down I will let you know. Free motion quilting is a pain with any machine, I think it is a question of perseverence and trial and error. Do you find the 2058 is a good free motion quilter? I have a cheapee Brother machine and although it is a bit involved to set up, the free motion quilting is good, although the throat space is very small, so no good for large quilts.
    After spending so long deciding which quilting machine to buy, I shall be disappointed if I can’t crack this.
    I will let you know how I get on, if at all!

  38. Sarah says:

    Yes the free motion stitching is great on the 2058 which is why I thought the expression would be the same as most of the functions are very similar. I don’t think that you can stop the foot going up and down as you cannot operate the foot function whilst in free motion mode. You get used to it though, I find it’s Ok if you set the needle to stay down when you stop. I love my 2058, I just can’t do big quilts on it. I thought the expression had it all, but now I think I’ll be better off with the two machines instead, the 2058 for piecing and the grand quilter for quilting.

  39. emily says:

    The foot going up and down is somewhat necessary — if it doesn’t, the quilt will come up with the needle. You can turn it off though for thread painting type sewing — it’s in the menu — something like Sensormatic? I have the other machine on the table right now, but I can check the name tomorrow when I switch. It goes up and down on the mega quilter but when you get it going fast enough you can’t really even notice.

    I use two machines as well. It works great. 🙂

  40. Jenny says:

    Hi Sarah, I thought long and hard about buying the Grand Quilter instead of the QE4, but as I understand it, it only does straight stitching, which of course is all you need for free motion quilting. I am interested in applique on quilts, so need the satin and blanket stitch as well. I thought the QE4 would be all that in one machine, which it is.
    I am sure I will get used to this system in the end, but I wish I could sort out the tension problem. I will keep on tweaking! I am determined to get there in the end.
    Any thoughts on my tension problem Emily?

  41. Linda says:

    Recently I purchased a new Pfaff Expression 4.0. Within a day I realized that the sewing machine would not do free motion quilting without skipping stitches and not always cutting the thread. All other operations seem to work good. I have done a lot of quilting on a Pfaff 7570 and it has always worked good in the free motion operation. I returned the sewing machine to the dealer a few times without the problem being resolved. About a month ago, the dealer sent the machine back to the “Pfaff experts”.
    Today, I tried to get my money back from the dealer without success. They said that they would “replace it when they get some in” without knowing when that will be. Now, I’m out the money and the defective machine.
    I’ve lost a lot of confidence with Pfaff.

    1. Marilyn says:

      I have found that the Expression 4 will not free motion quilting. The thread breaks, needle breaks and skips stitches. Every time I return my machine they find that i am doing something wrong. Will not take machine back or resolve issue. Bought the machine for quilting not just sewing. Some thread cannot be used on this machine.

  42. Sarah says:

    Would they replace it with a different machine? I changed mine for the grand quilter and still use my 2058 as well. It seemed a good idea to get one machine that does it all but the expression doesn’t seem to live up to expectations. Changing the machine for another the same might not help you as loads of people seem to have trouble with the free motion. Good luck with getting it sorted!

  43. Julie says:

    Jenny… I would love to hear how you make out with free motion quilting on the 4.0. I’ve never done it before so couldn’t try it out prior to bringing home my machine. Now I’ve been so busy with other projects that I still haven’t tried it. Thanks!

  44. Jenny says:

    Julie… Well, I am gradually getting there. With the Spring free-motion engaged in the settings menu Page 2:16 in the manual, and reducing the thread tension to around 4.5 (will differ with different threads and needle sizes) I use a needle with a large-ish eye as the thread will be whipping through the needle at a fair rate – Topstitch around 90 or 100. Also use the speed control to get a constant speed when you press your foot pedal. Move the fabric around smoothly preferably with quilting gloves (or thin gardening gloves – a lot cheaper!) to give you some grip on the fabric. Go easy and steady and it should work. Practice makes perfect though, don’t give up. Your first attempts will probably look a bit ‘spikey’ but will get smoother with practice. Good luck!

  45. Stephanie says:

    Very interested to read the opinions and review here- I have a Quilt Expression 4.0 on layby at present-not far from paying off. During my test drive I quilted a wallhanging, bound the quilt, used decorative embroidery threads and decorative stitches, stitched button holes in cotton and poly thread, tested some applique stitches, ditch quilted, outline quilted and did a tonne of testing of different threads for FMQ on about 4 batting types, and a little strip piecing. I was very impressed and have bought it to do custom domestic quilting of very large quilts. I have a Mega quilter which I use for my FMQ and adore, and a Pfaff 2027 which is being replaced by the 4.0 as it is really just too small for doing big quilts easily.
    I asked about the gobbling issue and the dealer said-which seems very logical really-that the reason this can happen esp. on fine fabrics is the 9mm wide slot for decorative stitching is just too wide for fine straight stitching with no wiggling. Solution is to use a straight stitch throat plate so there is no space for fabric to be gobbled up into.
    There are many, many variants in tension issues and every machine I have ever used personally or for a customer’s quilt, or any student’s machine I’ve ever played about on, must be tweaked for the exact combination of batting, thread and fabric. It is just like adjusting the stitch length or stitch style…and we all do that without fear or worry. Learning to FMQ and to adjust tension can be frustrating but is necessary if we want to get good results from whatever machine we are using. I guess for people having issues, after consulting the manual, make the most of the dealers out there who know how to get the best from their products they stand by and sell. And of course, occasionally, lemons are produced on factory production lines, which may need tweaking or adjusting, or replacing with new machines if truly faulty. At least Pfaff are a good company to deal with in this regard.
    Oh yes, the contributor who mentioned issues of threading the machine as the cause of tension problems, but couldn’t remember which way to put the presser foot-either up or down, is absolutely right- it is important that any machine, when being threaded, has the presser foot at full up position to open up the tension disks. Then once threaded, and the foot is lowered, the tension disks close around the thread and hold them in position. So if you thread the machine without lifting the foot right up, it is impossible for the thread to actually engage with the part of the machine that controls much of the tension that is applied to the thread. Hope this makes sense.

    I know that there are two free motion modes in the 4.0, one for the sensor foot, which goes up and down at slow speeds then lifts up for clearance at high speeds, and another mode to accomodate the free motion spring foot-which where I live is not included as standard, but can be purchased. The idea here is to choose the foot that gives you the best results, since FMQ is demanding on a machine and there are so many variations possible in fabric and thread, and batting choices.
    For those of you having trouble, it could be combinations of battings, fabrics, threads, needles, threading process and the foot chosen to FMQ with-so try the other foot if you have it. It may give you more control and eliminate the skipped stitches that some of you have been experiencing.

    As to the China manufacturing, I have been assured that Pfaff are making the Quilt Expression 4.0 machines still at the Huskqvarna location in Sweden-and the box label on my machine confirmed this. The lower end smaller Pfaffs are now being produced from China however, in Shanghai.

    I am really looking forward to getting my machine home- and putting it straight to work. My feeling was that I have purchased a very solid and easily adjustable machine that is capable of high quality stitches on a variety of combinations. I do hope that those of you out there with issues are able to happily resolve them and enjoy your lovely machine.

  46. Veronica says:

    I just got my QE 4.0 two days ago and I really like it a lot. I haven’t had time to really test it thoroughly and put it through its paces, but I think I’m going to be very happy with it. I tested the free-motion quilting and I think it does a pretty good job. I haven’t had tension problems with it so far.

    I do think I’m going to get the single stitch throat plate and the 1/4″ foot with the metal guide. My Pfaff dealer told me about a Quilter’s Toolbox that she’ll be getting and she thinks it’s supposed to have these two items, plus a a larger free-motion quilt foot that doesn’t come with the machine. The toolbox also has an 18×24″ clear extension table, quilting needles and a free-motion guide grip. Does anyone have this toolbox? Here’s a photo of it: The picture of the 1/4″ foot doesn’t look like it has a guide on it to me. I’m wondering if they have the wrong picture up or if this is an older Quilter’s Toolbox. My dealer said Pfaff just came out with a new Quilter’s Toolbox for the QE 4.0.

    These 4.0 machines definitely are being made in China. Mine says Made in China on the bottom of my machine. Some of the Pfaffs (like the Select models) are still being made in Sweden or the Czech Republic. The 4.0s are being made in China under the strictest of quality controls in factories that were already owned by Pfaff. So I’m not worried about my machine (knock on wood!).

  47. Jenny says:

    Stephanie… I read you comments with great interest. Very informative and educational.
    I have had my QE4 for about 3 weeks, and have FMQ a large quilt very successfully, using YLI cotton. I tried to do a little more decoration with YLI Fine Metallic, and oh my, it kept skipping stitches, and made a horrible graunching noise in the bobbin mainly when it took up the thread. I realise I have probably got the tension wrong, or perhaps I should have wound the bobbin a little looser. It was my first attempt at metallics.
    I had YLI 50’s cotton in the bobbin, and used a metallic needle.
    Any advice or ideas as to how to do the FMQ as successfully with mettalics?

  48. Stephanie says:

    Ah Jenny,
    I haven’t used YLI fine metallic, but the only really successful high speed metallics I have used are made by Superior and come on a large cone.
    Nearly always metallics run without trouble if you work upside down and wind the thread at low speed, onto the bobbin. Then quilt with the backing facing up. You can ditch stitch before you go to work upside down, just be sure to mark any directional lines in first so you know which way is up, when working on the back.
    Also you can try to lower the tension, use a topstitch or even jeans needle, not a universal, and don’t thread the last threadpoint just above the needle. That is where a tonne of fray will happen. Sew slowly and all should be better than it currently is for you right now. Also well worth your time to make/borrow/buy a thread stand. The $9 sort seem to work 99% as well as the $90 variety from what I’ve experienced. Keep at it and experiement. You may prefer a finer thread in the bobbin if using metallic on top, something like The Bottomline works well for me.

    About the previous post by Veronica, perhaps the 4.0’s had the early editions made in Huskvarna, Sweden, as mine says on the box, and then later production runs switched locations of manufacture? I know Husqvarna used to make their Sapphire in Sweden but are now making them in Shanghai… and Pfaff and Husqvarna and Singer are owned by the same company. Also you are right, so long as the quality control is extremely tight we shouldn’t need to worry-the parts are all genuine and not generic to my understanding, so the quality is much higher.
    I am itching to get mine home, making good progress paying the beast off!

  49. Veronica says:

    Stephanie, yes you are correct about the earlier models of 4.0s being made in Sweden. I think they switched later this year to being made in China. My dealer sold her last one made in Sweden a month before I got mine.

  50. Dianna says:

    Hello, I have just purchased the 4.0 and set it up yesterday. I did a little experimenting with it yesterday. All of the stitches I tried were just beautiful. (By the way, it does say on the bottom that is was made in China.)

    Anyway, I tried free motion with the included floating foot. The first try went well. After that the thread kept globbing up on the bottom. One time the machine stopped and I got an error message. I didn’t get a chance to try again today, but will persevere. I have 6 months of free classes from my dealer, so will make a list of issues and schedule a lesson after I’ve had more time playing with it. I certainly have high expectations for this machine and hope the problems have simple fixes. I also have the option of exchanging within 3 months for full value to an upgraded machine. Does anyone have experience with the Creative Vision?

    Happy stitching. Thanks for this blog.

  51. Elena says:

    Dear Emily and more friends.

    I live in Ecuador, sorry my English is very bad. Like you all, a have the Patch Work hobby and now I need to decide for a new machine, please help me to decide for the best choice. I need some very sure machine, easy to maintain, not to much computerizing, home size, well verified, not complicated.
    Very thanks of your opinion and maybe your friends can also help me in this question, thanks, I wait for you answer, I am Elena

  52. Stephanie says:

    I have finally got my QE4 home and have been piecing away and testing different presser feet. I think I may have information about why your old 1/4″ foot stitches better and more straight with no left-pulling.
    my 1/4″ foot, like your new one, has a little bit recessed off the side. Your old one is straight and does not. The little bit of extra metal on your old foot more than likely catches the edge of the feed-dogs and gives balanced contact with both sides of the feed-dogs, where certainly my new 1/4″ foot does not. Most of the contact is on the left side, which explains the pulling to the left you (and I) have noticed. To use the new foot with the recessed part, I use a blunt quick-unpick, or you could use a rounded awl, nothing too pointy that could cut the fabric- to guide the fabric through straight. You can use it underneath to help smooth out any seams that get re-arranged, too.

    Apart from that, something I found works well is to adjust the needle position to the right until it is your desired seam allowance from the edge of the foot O. Then both sides of the foot, which is wider than the new 1/4″ foot, are in contact holding the fabric down onto the feed-dogs. There is no pull with this method, but you loose your markings on the foot.
    I am thinking about buying a spare foot or infact drawing or lightly etching in markings for 1/8 and 1/4″ behind and in front of the needle’s position, to help with setting in of patches. I will have perfection!!!
    Maybe this is helpful to you?

    I have just started working on a massive and heavy quilt for a customer- cannot believe how much room inside the harp there is! Infact I rolled up the whole quilt, which must have been about 102″, by folding and rolling, just to see if it would fit in there, and yes, it did, with room to spare! Awesome!!

    Let me know how you get on. And thanks for starting this blog discussion, it has been useful to me and I suspect a whole tonne of other quilters out there!
    Stephanie from Australia

  53. emily says:

    That is a good point about switching to foot O and moving the needle. I will definitely try that. The space is really nice isn’t it!? When I sew my Jane blocks my scissors usually end up in that space. Heh…

  54. Stephanie says:

    You Dear Jane blocks are amazing. You are far more committed than I am to them. I have only done about 36 so far, since late 2000 when I was given the book. I have to decide whether or not to keep going: mine are in repros civil war fabrics, pretty.

    I know what you mean about storing stuff in the space: I was piecing a tonne of four patches the other day and found myself stacking up pairs at the front and the middle of the harp, ready to sew! If you want to see come and visit my blog: it should register at your end with the details.
    The current count of 4 patches is 470, a huge scrap busting exercise that has totally cleaned out the buckets of scraps, as it was intended to.

    I am working on a great big quilt for a customer now, and hit my first little glitch- skipped stitches during FMQ. I found the control to lower the presserfoot pivot height of the sensormatic free motion foot, so there is less wiggle room for the quilt when FMQ. This totally solved the problem so I am once again a happy girl.

    Love your blog! And Merry Christmas! Stephanie

  55. JANET MUECK says:

    Emily, I am so pleased that I found your Blog. I am on the verge of buying the QE4. I must make up my mind before December 31st, because my dealer is offering $500 off, or a free Fab-U-Motion w/Stitch Regulator. I haven’t decided which deal to take.

    I am disappointed with what I have read here about FMQ. I thought that using the fabric mover, I would really be able to do a good job. Now I don’t know if I should even try.

    Does anyone have any experience with the Fab-U-Motion? Does it really help, or is it a gimmick?

    Janet from Merritt Island, FL

  56. LynnD says:

    Hey All, I, too, just bought the 4.0 QE, again!
    Like many of you, I rejected the first machine (dealer is still miffed) because it didn’t free motion quilt without skipping stitches. It quilted forward just fine but when I’d back down the spine of a feather or back down the line of feather plumes with an echo, it skipped stitches. Even after dealer gave it back “adjusted” it didn’t work. The problem seemed to be just with thicker thread–fine thread (Bottom Line or YLI silk) worked fine with 8 & 10 (60 and 70? sorry, don’t remember European #) Sharp needles.

    Also I can’t see through or around the new sensormatic plastic foot. I can’t tell if I’m meeting a line of stitching or if I can back over something I’ve already stitched. Oh how I wish Pfaff would make an offset-arm foot like the Bernina folks have. Even an open toe metal foot like the Viking has would be helpful. As it is, I plan to have my foot drilled out with bigger holes and I’ll report difference and if successful, I’ll include pictures. I’ve ordered a few extra feet in case I massacre them trying.

    After fretting over the machine I returned in frustration, I talked to the Flagstaff dealer, Odeggards (great guy!) about the 4.0 and he’s not had complaints and sold many. I was shocked. I don’t live there so didn’t buy from him. I phoned my dealer and said I’d try the 4.0 again. He’d sold the one I returned and would set up a new one for me to come in and try. (Said he sold it to someone who was just learning to FMQ.) So, I tried his new one with 14 topstitch (80?) needle and 40 wt. Superior Thread cotton thread; it couldn’t free motion quilt backwards either! I also tested 40 wt poly thread and it did better but not perfect. I switched to 16 needle and it worked ok. Thread mfg recommends 14 Topstitch needle with 40 wt. thread. Hmmmm. Tried other 14 & 16 needles (sharp, jeans denim, universal–all from dealer’s supply) and worked ok. Very little skipped stitches but some just the same. Is needle the problem?

    This dealer decided if I bought this machine, it was mine for good. He’d not take it back. He took 5 min. to tell me this in no uncertain terms. I’ve not been back there.

    I went to dealer south of here and explained situation; tried their machine and same problem! Store owner is a quilter and she insisted timing was off. She sent it to her tech and when she got it back, it purrs. It purrs for me, too. But the 14 top stitch needle seems to not work well. 14 new gold embroidery needle is fine. Metallica needle is fine. I’ll do more research on needles soon. Anyway, this machine is a dream. I use it for quilting and am working toward the Gaudynski/Schamber style of quilting–it must be precision perfect for me to be happy–and I am!

    Sorry, I’ve not tried 1/4″ foot piecing. I’m coming from a 2056 which is an amazing, perfect machine. I kept it. I was looking at the new Bernina 820 coming out in a few days… but for many thousands of dollars less, I have every feature I wanted in a top machine and it’s light weight enough that I can take it with me if I want to. (New Bernina about 50 pounds)

    Hopefully those of you who aren’t happy can find a good tech to do your adjustments. In my opinion, this is an amazing machine and I hope I don’t have to take those words back later. I did use it a lot over the last week and a half and I think it’s a sound machine. Dealer assures me she’ll stand behind machine and has my confidence.

  57. Janet says:

    Whoops, my bad! I have never posted on a blog before, and didn’t know that you shouldn’t use your last name.

    I still want to know if anyone has any opinions on the Fab-U-Motion with Stitch Regulator for the QE4.

  58. Lois says:

    I purchased the QE 4.0 about a month ago and have experienced many of the same complaints as you. At first, it would break the upper thread while FMQ. I took it back to the dealer and the tech “tweaked” the timing and that has helped so much. Occasionally it will “throw” the upper thread from the take up lever. The dealer acknowledged that problem with the Creative Vision also but didn’t have a solution for it. I love the space, lights, thread cutter, pattern start so will continue to learn the machine and have more “tweaking” done if needed. My previous machine was a 2046. It just hummed along and never missed a beat but was limited in features.

  59. LynnD says:

    One thing that’s helped me in spotting problems asap is wearing a pair of reading glasses even though my vision is really good (wonderful Lasix ? surgery). The magnification of the area where I’m sewing shows instant bobbin pop-up threads or when the top spool is bound up (for some reason). It lets me correct the problem before there’s a real problem. I’ve also had the thread kick out and not sure why.

    Good Pfaff (industrial machine) tech over the weekend suggested I try to tighten up the top tension and see if the 14 Topstitch needle still skipped stitches. Not tried it yet though. He explained the topstitch needle has larger hole and kicks out a large loop for the bobbin hook to catch which it’s obviously missing. Higher tension would make smaller loop and maybe align it better with bobbin hook.

    The modified metal open toe free motion quilting/darning foot works once it’s cut off at the top and the screw hole is drilled open down in the recessed part below the original screw hole. It’s wonderful to see around and works well with the sensormatic setting. Pictures available for anyone who is interested, let me know.

    One thing though: the sensormatic setting makes an engine noise I find annoying that the spring motion foot setting doesn’t make on half speed. I like the quiet sewing on the spring motion setting better.

  60. shan says:

    Hi LynnD
    Would you mind sharing the picture of your modified foot? Thanks in advance!

  61. LynnD says:

    Sure, I’ll shot pictures of it and post it on my webshots page for you. It ought to be up there in a day or so. It does work well with the sensormatic setting and does float just like the plastic (Pfaff provided) foot when free motion quilting medium to fast speed. Otherwise, it lifts and lowers like the plastic foot does. I always engage the needle down and that might be imporant, too.

  62. Stephanie says:

    You know I found that the skipped stitches can sometimes be a result of not adjusting the sensormatic foot low enough to the quilt. You will find an adjustment in the tools and setting menu-the little spanner and tool button- to allow you to lower the foot, I think it was called pivot height or similar. If for your batting choice and fabric combination you can still not get it low enough (for very thin ones), you may find the quilt is pulled up and down by the needle, a little wobble up and down, and this is what contributes to skipped stitches. Happened to me just the other day. Lowering the height helped alot but I was using Signature 40 weight and a 90 Quilting needle and still had the odd stitch skip. Quick call into the dealer and I found that the optional spring foot, with great vision and a nice big square foot to hold the layers more securely has totally eliminated skipped stitches. You can see much better with this foot I think. Just be sure you set up the machine for the different foot you wish to use (again in the tool and setting menu).
    The reason Pfaff have given us both options is to get the best results possible with the best foot for the job, since quilting combinations of batting, thread and cotton (and needle can vary so much.

  63. shan says:

    Hi LynnD, Thanks, but could you please give me the web site details. I don’t see any links and I’m not too familiar with blog pages. Thanks again.


  64. Ann Marie says:

    I’m very new at this type of communication, but I was so happy to find the review of the Pfaff QE 4.0. In the past I’ve pieced on a Viking D1, a cheapy drag to class Babylock, a Pfaff 2170 and a Pfaff 2056. The Pfaff, from the first stitch, has been my go to machine. I was always so happy with the way both of them fed, stitched, purred…..everything. No problems. Then I saw the 4.0. Had some of the features that I did like on the Viking D1, and I think the larger bobbin size was a key feature. After thinking about it for way longer than I usually do, I traded in my Pfaff 2056 and brought the 4.0 home. I also bought the single hole throat plate because that is what I always use when piecing. From the first stitch, I’ve been disappointed. It sounds like a tank, sews all wonky, and eats my pieces wether I start them a few threads past the red line or not. Emilys description of the problems she’s having are a duplicate of mine. I am planning on bringing it back in and having their service tech take a look at it. I’m also buying back my 2056. I’d like to stay in touch with this group and see what we can come up with as a cure. It may be little things, but it is not what you’d expect from Pfaff. Just not acceptable.

  65. Robyn says:

    Happy New Year everyone. I too am very new to the medium of blogging and was very interested to come across this site. I recently purchased a QE 4.0 and did wonder from day one if I had chosed the right machine. Most of the features I am happy with however the problems I had were: missed stitches, cutter not always working, snarling at begining of sewing, having to re thread the machine often, the needle threader not working (and I’m as blind as a bat) and not happy with the quarter inch foot. When I purchased my machine, one of the questions I specifically asked the sales person was, “Why would you purchase this machine (QE4.0) above …..?” Her reply was it was made in Sweden.
    Just two days ago I had reason to look at the base of my machine to find it was made in China! I was not a happy customer and took my machine back. I do believe the sales people I dealt with were totally unaware of this. They contacted the New Zealand agent and to cut a long story short I was given the demo machine, which was made in Sweden, and a cash back sum of money.
    The boxes they come in are different. The Swedish made one has made in Sweden on it and the Chinese made one has German Design and nowhere on the box did it have made in China. As Pfaff has a long history I personally feel this is misrepresentation. Being a New Zealander and having knowledge about the Baby food scandel, which involved the NZ Fonterra Dairy Company, (who are a most reputible firm) I have very little faith in Chinese made products. I would be interested to know other peoples thoughts. I have yet to put my Swedish made machine to the test?
    Cheers and Happy Quilting

  66. emily says:

    I agree that it’s not up to Pfaff’s normal.

    My machine was made in Sweden.

  67. Linda says:

    I left a message in the October time frame concerning skipped stitches, etc. The Dealer replaced my QE 4.0 with a new one. I tried it out before leaving the dealer and had the same problem with skipped stitches and not cutting the thread. After some discussion with the dealer I got my money back. I did a lot of shopping around and ended up with a Janome 6600. I have yet to have this machine skip a stitch, knot up or not cut the thead. I do have a 1 inch smaller opening but that’s a small sacrifice to have trouble free sewing.

  68. Brenda says:

    I am glad I came upon this blog. I thought it was just my machine having problems. I just took it in for the second time since I purchased it with all of the stitching complaints you have mentioned. The first time I was having problems with it jamming every so often and I had to rethread top and bobbin to get it to work again with a good stitching tension wise. Then it got to a point that the bottom tension was always too tight. So brought it in and listed all my complaints (fabric eating, getting stuck when going over seams, jamming, tension etc). I got it back and the service report said they adjusted quite a bit. It seemed to work fine tension wise, but still ate fabric and had a hard time going over seams. I got the Motor blocked message a couple times for no reason. A bobbin thread jam message and no jam. Then one day while I was away from the machine pressing a seam, the machine started going by itself. The presser foot lowered and the needle started going up and down. The only way I could get it to stop was to turn the power off. It did this a couple times again on another day, so I brought it in yesterday to be serviced. I am about ready to ask for a different machine or my money back. After paying so much for this machine, it would be nice to at least be able to make one quilt without having any issues during the process.

  69. Lisette says:

    This blog has saved me from a gigantic blunder. I was disappointed at my Janome 6600 and I was to trade it in for this machine. I have decided to wait two more years to allow Pfaff to get caught with its glitches. I am also more than bitter about having a machine made in China misrepresenting itself as European made. Europe needs these jobs- We need European craftsmanship. If we do not stand up to this abuse a whole culture of craftsmanship will be forever lost- to no one’s but China’s gain. So when Pfaff smartens up and does what it should, I would consider this model or the next one like it. I have a Pfaff 2170, Pfaff 7570, and these machines are exceptional and I love them to death. Honestly. The Janome 6600 has a wider throat but I have never bonded too well with it, since i like the Pfaff ‘feel’. The QE4 machine, to me, is not pricey. But to have to struggle with it – for whatever reason- is not the Pfaff way. Now, the Bernina 820 is worth too much. I say Pfaff should have charged 300 bucks extra and make sure the darn thing works. I am an urban legend- a professional who works 12 hour days and yet manages to sew. I do not, cannot deal with frustration, worry and twitchy equipment. Men would never tolerate a table saw with poor functioning. Why do we tolerate glitchy equipment? We are all too nice- we should boycott poorly executed, and hastily assembled machines. We deserve precision, sturdiness, quality and fine functioning in our machines. The only reason they are pulling this nonsense is because we are putting up with it. Both my Pfaff’s are made in Europe. That is what people buy when they seek a Pfaff. They are not getting my money until they clean up their act.

  70. Gloria says:

    After trying two new Pfaff 4.0 machines at home and watching my dealer take out two 4.o machines right from the box and both could not be made to work either I demanded my money back and would not try another one “to make it right”. I bought a 6600 Janome and love it. Once again, quilting and sewing are fun not frustrating, there are not skipping or tension issues. the thread cutter works every time without fail and the free motion is wonderful. The Janome is much more straight forward and user friendly and the manual is very easy to read as well. I’m looking forward to doing more happy quilting and sewing and less time trying to make adjustments to make things work. Yea, Janome!

  71. emily says:

    I don’t think this machine’s problems are solely a European made vs. Chinese made thing. My machine says it was made in Sweden and it is horrible. I can not believe Pfaff released this machine.

    And why when I have the needle down – foot up option selected does the needle not actually go down? About half the time, the needle stays up halfway.

  72. Leslie says:

    Good grief, I felt this way about the Sapphire 850. I bought it and tried to like it but it just had too many buttons to push and far too much automation. I loved my 2144, but I could turn all of that stuff off. I sold the Sapphire after 7 months and decided that perhaps Viking and maybe Pfaff are not the companies they used to be. I had a Viking #1 and also a #1+ and they were joys to sew on, but the Sapphire was sort of cheap feeling. I did buy the machine because of the large harp and I felt as if I were pulling the quilt around when I tried to free motion quilt. I am a competent FM quilter and that machine was no fun to use. I replaced it with a Bernina 440 that free motions beautifully and is super easy to adjust. Between the foot pedal that raises and lowers the needle and the knee lift that raises and lowers the pressure foot I never have to take my hands away from what I am doing to push a button! I am sorry about every ones troubles and hope they are solved soon.

  73. Stephanie says:

    I am at a loss about all the problems people are having with their machines, I love mine to bits.
    As an award winning, professional custom domestic machine quilter and fmq teacher amongst other things I often see skipped stitches on every brand conceivable of machine, and in 90% of the cases it is down to operational error or inexperience- generally its moving the quilt too rapidly for the speed of the machine’s motor or dragging the quilt rapidly and roughly under the needle. Sometimes it is the wrong combination of needle and thread if the student refuses to follow instruction, and sometimes it is not correctly setting up the machine for fmq.
    I have been able to achieve skipped stitches on every machine and brand hat has come through a class room I’ve taught in, when handling the quilt wrong, in order to demonstrate what NOT to do! Very few of these machines were terminally ill and needing mechanical adjustment, although a good many needed a good clean out in the bobbin area- which can also produce skipped stitches. I think too often people think if they buy an expensive machine they will automatically become a Dianne Gaudynski or Sharon Schamber just by having a nice machine, and forget they are going to have to learn to adjust it, learn the fmq skills, learn about threads and needle combinations and performances of different battings, to achieve greatness. Even Dianne and Sharon would have experienced a steep learning curve when they began, and have only got so good by practicing the right things for thousands of hours, and by making mistakes, learning what not to do. Both claim the machine is not what is important in good fmq work if you read their books and websites.

    Put simply you can’t just throw any combination of threads, battings and fabrics, and needle, plus any range of user experience from novice to professional, at a machine and not have to expect to make adjustments to tension, presser foot choice, pressure foot height and pressure, no matter how cheap or expensive the machine may be.
    The new QE range have adjustable presserfeet height in the settings menu (the little tools icon on the front of the machine). If your quilt is very thin you may find it cannot go quite low enough to prevent skipped stitches, in this case use the spring foot. That’s what I did when I had a very thin quilt and had skipping stitches and breakage. Problem completely solved. Use the right foot for the job (along with thread and needle choice compatible with project) and you should get good results if your machine is functioning and you know how to fmq well.

    I wonder how many of the unhappy writers above have taken all the free or low cost lessons on machine operation and fmq classes available at their dealer? Most people need time and help to adjust to new machines unless they are working in the industry and exposed to good training-and even then they need play time to get to know the new models coming out.
    My machine certainly felt very different to all the others but it is just as capable of producing a perfect stitch in fmq mode as my $8000 husqvarna d1 machine is. And frankly it does nicer stitching than other machines that are more expensive. But then, I am very experienced. I have probably worked out every way to do fmq wrong through trial and error and years of practice! I think user skill has ALOT to do with success with fmq. But it is something everyone can learn, they just need education and practice. It is worth the effort, absolutely.

    If you are having ongoing issues I think the best thing to do would be take the machine to the dealer, get the help you need, and see if the dealer can make the machine do as it should with appropriate choices of fabric, batting, needle and thread, and adjustments to machine. If they can’t, then maybe the machine needs servicing or adjustment or replacement if you have been unlucky and received a “lemon” off the production line. You just won’t know if its user error -which probably can’t really be ruled out given you are using a new machine that is less than familiar to you- unless you make the most of the dealers expertise in operating your new machine. Most of us believe we are incapable of error, after all!! lol!
    It can be frustrating esp when learning to fmq if you don’t know really what you are doing or need to do for success, so don’t struggle along blindly, getting stressed out. Go and seek help from your dealers and from GOOD fmq teachers that know how to both quilt exceptionally and know how to teach.
    I’ve had very few niggles with my machine after purchasing the right foot for the job I was doing. It does almost shudder at really low speeds and thick, thick layers, but so to do other machines I”ve used. A little more speed and that niggle is solved on my machine.
    Apart from the feed dog position, which is inevitable on 9mm stitch machines when feed dogs are so far apart, and the impact that has on the design function of the quarter inch foot supplied, and even then there are ways to get the perfect 1/4 inch seam, I find little to complain about.
    I love my QE4.0 and know of several people with 2.0 and 3.0 machines – and sapphires for that matter-in my town, that are also very, very happy girls.

  74. Ritchie says:

    How is standard (as in straight, zig zag stitches, etc.) and decreative sewing on this machine? Does it also have these problems or just with fmq?

  75. nina brown says:

    I’m really unhappy with pfaff expresson 4.0 !!!!

  76. Dianne says:

    I am seriously considering purchasing the Pfaff Expression 4.0.

    I have read the issues several people are having with this machine. Is there anyone who is satisfied with this machine and who would recommend purchasing it?

  77. Shan says:

    Like Stephanie, I’m really happy with my machine as well. I did find the same problem with patching (not sewing straight). That’s inevitable for a 9mm machine. I get around it by using the number 0 foot and use the left edge of the feet dog hole as a guide. It works a charm. Free motion wise, it’s great, very quiet and at moderate speed, the foot doesn’t jump up and down, which is very distracting. Once you experience that free motion, the spring-loaded foot becomes quite jumpy for my eyes. And I’m a novice at free motion quilting.

    When I first got the machine, I found that I looked forward to quilting every time, which is more positive than what I used to feel like.

    I do think that there may be genuine quality control issues with this new line of Pfaff. What other quilters / sewers experienced and their frustrations are genuine. I therefore would advice those who are interested to ONLY buy the machine you’ve thoroughly tested out (not one fresh out of the box and not tried on). I’d bring a quilt sandwich and test out the piecing. The thread cutter needs to be tested also. Ask questions on problems you’ve heard of. I also tried a Husqvarna while I was there.

    Hope that helps.

    p.s. there’s another lady who loves her machine. Her name is Barbara Strobel Lardon. You can google for her blog. It’s fascinating that there’s such a wide range of experience/opinion on this machine.

  78. Shan says:

    Oops, I meant piecing, not patching!

  79. emily says:

    I don’t completely buy that this is a 9mm problem. My 2134 was 9mm and it managed to sew in a straight line.

  80. Stephanie says:

    Hi Dianne, and Ritchie,
    I’m really happy with my machine too. The decorative stitches are stunning and stitch perfect. Just be sure to use the appropriate thread and needle and above all stabiliser when using the decorative stitches. What sort and how thick will depend on your project and thread choices.
    Depending on the thickness of the thread you can achieve differing degrees of fullness to the design, i.e. Aurifil cotton 50 weight looks almost like embossed work, just beautiful, and finer polyester or rayon embroideries have less height and bulk, great choices for the really detailed designs.
    I finally had some time to sit and play and explore all the nice stitches, so far my work on the machine has been straight stitch ditch quilitng really heavy and bulky quilts including ones with lacy and ribbon embellishments that customers bring me to do, piecing patchwork, and loads of FMQ with both sensor and spring free motion foot, depending on the quilt thicknesses and performance under the foot.
    I’ve also just made a fitted sheet from fine silk that was purchased by my brother on a trip of a lifetime to China, he lived like the locals for 3 months, shopping and eating as they do- and it was an eyeopener but very rewarding. The machine did not skip a beat handling the slippery silk, very impressed by the stitch quality.

    It is a shame that some people have problems with their machine,
    When I bought mine I tested the floor stock one and took the one they gave me in the box. But that was before these problems seemed to have emerged. Mine is a Swedish made machine.
    I would like to know our of curiosity whether or not the problematic machines were made in Sweden or in China because maybe that would point to different standards of quality control or human error along the line somewhere.

    Emily, have you only ever pieced with the machine? I know you have a Grand quilter that you machine quilt with, but have you used the QE4.0?
    I think the problem with the quarter inch foot seems to be the design of the foot itself-I find no left pull happens when using the 0 foot-I just set my needle position to 3.0 to the right of centre, a nice scant seam allowance. You could adjust it the other way if you like a full quarter inch in your seaming. The 0 foot is a consistent width down the foot in a way that the new design quarter inch foot is not, so it has better contact with the feed dogs. I think you mentioned you have better luck using the old quarter inch foot from your other Pfaff on the new Qe4.0?

    And for those of you thinking about buying it, like Shan suggested, test the actual model you are purchasing, to be sure it will do what you want on the sorts of things you like to sew on. Then there should be no nasty surprises when you get home 🙂

  81. Dianne says:

    Shan and Stephanie,

    I really appreciate your feedback!

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  82. Ritchie says:

    I tested this machine twice now and can say that it did really well (in the store anyway). I have a 9mm Bernina and the decorative stitch quality on this Pfaff is actually better, in my opinion. For example, there is a bell stitch that both the Pfaff and Bernina has. I brought the samples home and stitched the Bernina bell stitch next to the Pfaff one. The Pfaff one is much more dense and seems to be crisper using the same type thread. As for the straight, zigzag, and other utitility stitches, the stitch quality seems to be the same as my Bernina. I’m actually thinking of selling my Bernina and gettng this one. Don’t get me wrong, the Bernina is very nice and great quality, but I really like the features on the Pfaff.

  83. PAT says:

    I am not happy with the 4.0 either. I have had Pfaffs for 15 years a total of 4 machines. I love the IDt, but with the 4.0 I can’t get it to sew straight with either one of the quarter inch feet. Have had it in for tension adjustment, thread jams, which the tech said he put air to a sensor and it worked after that. He wasn’t able to see the dust, but was probably there from the packing or making of the machine.!!!!. I find it difficult to sew over the corners when doing binding and making the mitered corners. Also when you do a back stitch it takes a stitch forward before it goes back. This messes up the mitered corner. Have used it for decorative stitching and it will see a ways and then just stitch in one place, so will go back for another adjustment. Dealer says the needle bar probably needs to be adjusted and to use a stabilizer. When you are sewing with 2 layers of thin denim and batting I don’t think you need stabilizer. I think the machine is very noisey and especially when sewing on Batik fabric. The thread cutter sometimes cuts the thread. Was told to start a seam, by holding the thread at the back. How are you to get the thread tails, when you can’t even see the bobbin thread to get a hold of it, if you have used the thread cutter? I do not do free motion, since I have a husband that does machine quilting, so he does that for me. RBG Thanks for all the comments, Am glad there are some that are happy. I am glad I only have to go about 25 min. to take my machine for repair, but it is still a pain.!!!

  84. Diane says:

    When I was deciding on my next Pfaff to purchase, I was very glad to find this blog site. I’ve been sewing on the 1471 for nearly 23 years and have been very happy with the Pfaff brand. Therefore, when I saw the Pfaff Expressions 4.0, I loved the idea of a larger working area, even though I’m not a quilter. Despite the issues many have expressed, I purchased the machine. I took a printout of this blog site to the Pfaff dealer and showed her all the complaints. We were able to work through most of them. Of course, after sewing on it for a week, I have new questions, but overall I am enjoying the machine. I took home the demo machine, which was made in Sweden. The staff did not know there were some being made in China. After checking their stock, every one (except the one I bought) was made in China.
    One problem that Emily brought up was something I was experiencing while sewing clothing…the bottom seam flipping as it passed by the ‘dip’ in front of the bobbin case lid. The solution I came up with was to take a regular piece of paper, cut it about 1-1/2″ x 3″, fold down 1/2″ along a 3″ side and simply slide the folded edge down into where the accessory box meets up with the bobbin case area, which results in a flat surface. I then put a little piece of tape over the remaining 3″ edge. That totally solved the problem of flipped seams. It is a bit odd that an expensive machine needs to have people like me coming up with a solution to a very annoying problem. At least that solved the problem! Also, since I sew garments, I did get the dealer to give me a 5/8″ foot, which I love! They also serviced my 1471, without charge, which I am keeping.

  85. Tracy says:

    Hi All

    I haven’t posted anything on a blog before so apologies in advance if I make any mistakes.

    In July last year I decided to return to sewing and learn patchwork and quilting. I wanted to buy a really decent machine as I was worried that I would get one and then realise it didn’t have all the features that I would need.

    I have been agonising for ages between the Pfaff QE4.0 and the Janome 6600 and despite the issues detailed on this blog I eventually made my mind up and bought the Pfaff QE4.0 on Tuesday last week. I would like to say a big thank you for all the comments posted – the information here has been very informative and I used it to ‘interrogate’ the dealer before I purchased!

    I have to admit I haven’t done much yet apart from read the instruction manual from cover to cover (numerous times!) and try out some of the different functions and stitches. So I am still very much a Learner at the moment, so far so good with what I have tried.

    Unfortunately despite all this reading though, I can’t work out how to alter the needle position whilst using the 0 foot for straight stitching. I know I might just be being a bit dim but I have spent ages tonight trying to find the instructions for how to do this (in the manual and online).

    I see that a couple of you have recommended this to help get around the issues with the 1/4″ foot that comes with the machine and wanted to test your recommendations but have been unable to as yet!

    I would be very grateful if someone could help!

    Many thanks in advance.


  86. Jo says:

    Hi Tracy, When you are sewing a straight stitch and you change the width it will change the needle position. I hope this helps.

  87. Tracy says:

    Hi Jo

    Thank you very much for your reply. I have just tried it and will now hold off on buying a new 1/4 ” foot and use the standard one and alter the needle position to give me a 1/4″ seam and see how that goes.

    Thanks again


  88. Megan says:

    I would appreciate advice from those of you who are experienced FMQ. I bought the Pfaff Expression 2.0 for the express purpose of machine quilting. I like the idea of the other “quilting” features – the long arm, IDT – so I thought this was the right machine for me. When I tried to FMQ the first time, I found that the bobbin thread floated on the underside of the fabric, so I changed the tension. I had to set the tension to 7.5 in order to get a decent stitch. I am concerned that if I have to set the tension that high for this simple procedure, will I be able to use decorative or invisible threads in this machine. Some more facts:
    I am very new to FMQ – I have taken 1 brief course, and realize that I don’t know much about FMQ.
    I put a new needle, size 80 (also tried 90) in the machine, used the thread recommended at my quilt shop, used high quality fabric and batting. Technicians at the quilt shop have worked on the machine 2 times, both times telling me that it worked just fine. The 2nd time the technicians worked on it, it took them over 1 1/2 hours to make the adjustments.
    Should I feel like this machine is okay, and the reason I am having problems sewing on it is because I’m new to FMQ, or does it sound like there’s a problem with the machine?
    Thanks in advance for all advice.

  89. Cheryl says:

    I purchased a QE 4.0 and have had it in and out of the shop for many repairs that have to do with thread jams and the cutter jamming up. The shop repairman said that they are awaiting parts to be shipped from the factory and that Pfaff is being very difficult to work with. I really regret this purchase.

  90. Rosemary says:

    I notice new to commenting people have to mention it and I understand that as this is the first time I have every written anything on a blog. I bought my Pfaff 4.0 with fab o motion the end of december 2008. I looked on the web and couldn’t find any comments one way or another so bought it. I have weak wrists and some arthritis so thought this was the way to go as the f.o.m. makes moving the quilt so much easier. In fact I have a Bernina with stitch regulator and just couldn’t move the fabric to my satisfaction. So a few days ago I found this site and started reading all the comments. I was having all of the problems that have been mentioned and I didn’t know it was a product of China, either. Which bothered me a bit. But Stephanie was very calm and logical and I really took her comments to heart. I made some notes to myself about reducing tension. lowering presser foot pivot height and the needle size. Speaking of the needle size, a friend told me she always uses a size 16 needle. I had tried different types and sizes but none that big. I just finished a medium size quilt which has all my mistakes, skipped stitches but my feathered borders are beautiful and I know its because of those three things I adjusted and changed. Tension, pressor foot and size 16 needle. Also I think I was moving too fast. The f.o.m moves so easily. Right now today I love it and am happy I bought it. I’ll let you know more as I quilt many of my ufo.


  91. Sally says:

    I had a Pfaff 2044 for many years and never experienced any problems with it – I loved it. I decided to upgrade to the Expression 4.0 solely for the larger space to the right of the needle.

    I have only had my machine for 3 weeks and it is already back at the dealers.

    It has had intermittent problems from the first day I got it. “Motor overload” when piecing cotton at medium speed, “thread jam” error when there were no thread jams, flaky stitch length, the tension not seeming to change and the same problems others have had.

    On Sunday it stopped working properly at all, with the needle “jumping” sideways every few stitches. Nothing triggered this – one day it was fine, the next it wasn’t.

    I really feel there must be a quality control issue somewhere – those who have good machines that work properly seem really happy with their machines. Those of us with problem machines seem to have LOTS of problems!!

    I’m so upset that I have paid a lot of money for a machine that is now back at the dealers after only 3 weeks use – and not a lot of use in that time because trying to use it has been so frustrating.

    Interestingly, my dealer said he would be sending the machine straight back to Pfaff rather than looking at it himself. Not sure why this is, but it makes me wonder if they have had similar problems before.

    Now I have to just sit and wait for it to be sent to Pfaff, fixed and sent back. I don’t feel that this is the dealers fault – he is doing what he thinks best. However, I feel really strongly that this should not be happening with a machine that’s only 3 weeks old. I hugely regret this purchase and would no longer recommend Pfaff to anybody.

  92. Ann Marie says:

    It’s been a while now since I have posted anything, and have been trudging along, hoping to fall in love with my 4.0. I can only get as far as like, but here is what I have found out about it. The feed problem, as far as the fabric being tossed around, is due to the lack of the small third feed dog on the machine. Pfaff had to eliminate it in order to add the drop in bobbin. It also makes sense that this is why the fabric gets eaten and not fed properly with the 1/4 inch foot. It just does not grip or control the way older Pfaffs will with the additional feed dog. I still have been using it to peice with, but I still am only up to “in like” withthis machine.

    I think dealers should let you rent machines before you purchase.

  93. Ann B. says:

    Thanks so much for your great review and hosting so many comments. You have saved me from buying the Pfaff QE 4.0. FYI–Pfaff is owned by the same company (SVP Worldwide) that owns Singer and Viking. My understanding is that all manufacturing for SVP is being moved overseas to China.

  94. Jackie says:

    I so enjoyed reading all of this blog. I have narrowed down my choices (of new machines) to the Pfaff 4.0 and the Viking Sapphire 870. I don’t need the machine to do anything fancy…just a reliable 1/4″ seam with no jamming, etc. I like the idea of the larger sewing area which I why I’m looking at these two machines. There’s much written about the Pfaff, but does anyone have any comments, good or bad, about the Viking Sapphire machines?

  95. Leslie says:

    Jackie, I had the Sapphire 850 and I had all these issues. It looks like the Expression and is made in the same factories. Ugh. Go to Pattern Review – you can check the machine reviews without joining.

  96. AB says:

    ………….so Emily – do you still have your QE4 – do you use it, or do you use your 2134??

    I had planned on purchasing a QE4 – but after reading all of these posts have decided NO to a QE4 – too much of a risk as I live in a rural area and don’t want to be travelling back and forth for machine repairs. I own current Bernina (2 yrs) but do not like it. Perhaps I should look at a Pfaff 2170 or 2058……….or maybe a Janome 6600? AB

  97. emily says:

    I kept meaning to try the 2134 again to see if the 4.0 really was as bad as it seemed. You comment finally gave me the nudge. It is a night and day difference between the two. It was so much nicer… straight lines, no fabric eating…. heaven.

    Anyone want a 4.0? I have one for sale. Cheap. 🙁

  98. AB says:

    Thanks so much for your informative blog Emily. I am sooo glad I read this before ordering my QE4. This blog confirms what 2 other quilters I know have experienced with their QE4’s. Their trips to dealer are 3.1/2 hours – so they are not happy (similar time for me)!! I really need the wider harp so my only other option is Janome 6600 (will be my first Janome) – thanks again.

  99. Allison L. says:

    Phew! Thought I was going crazy…just spend hours trying to FMQ on my mother-in-law’s new Pfaff QE4.0 and can’t get the same quality of stitch as on my old 20 yr old Bernina. (But I’m working on a large quilt and need the arm space.) It’s the bobbin tension. I have the computer controlled tension up to 7.0 but will try even higher per Megan’s experience above on March 6th posting. I will also try manually adjusting the bobbin tension per instructions in an earlier posting.

  100. Kathy says:

    I purchased the Expression 4.0 back in Oct 08 and absolutely love it….although I never thought about the seams flipping due to the height of the bobbin dip…thanks for the heads up. As far as the fabric being eaten, well, I had that on my Bernina 440 also and other machines too. This is easily solved with a straight stitch needle plate. I agree with the “extra stitch” when you hit the reverse button, but I just remember when trying to be accurate to hit it one stitch back. I highly recommend this machine. I love the knee lift and the auto scissor to cut the threads….it’s the best.

  101. Janet says:

    I belong to a quilt guild that makes numerous community quilts for local charities. Today, we were instructed to bring our machines and a walking foot to quilt the three layers. Since my Pfaff QE4 supposedly has the equivalant with it’s IDT, I assumed that it would work just fine.

    Our instructions were to use a serpentine stitch along all of the seams of the quilt sandwich. To my surprise, my top layer eased forward as though I didn’t even have the IDT engaged. I tried lowering my presser foot tension, increasing my presser foot tension, lowering my regular tension, and about everything else that my cohorts suggested, to no avail.

    Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? I just can’t find the right combination of adjustments to make this simple stitch work on two layers of good quality material with fairly thin batting in the middle.


  102. Stephanie says:

    Janet, you mention you have not engaged your idt function. There is the problem. The walking foot and idt are designed to duplicate the action of the feeddogs on top of the quilt to feed the layers through as one. Without idt or walking foot the presser foot will push the top layer along ahead of the bottom. This happens with all machines to more or less an extent but loosening the presser foot pressure does not solve the problem. Neither will tension adjustments because that’s just controlling the way the top and bottom thread interact. You really just need to engage idt or use a walking foot, and pinning here and there is a good idea too.

  103. Stephanie says:

    Janet, forgive my blindness, I misread you message not once but twice! I see you mention you had the effect of not having your idt engaged despite having it engaged. I wonder if it was fully engaged? Does it work well on other things? If it is not right under the presserfoot at the back then its not completely engaged.
    If the batting was especially slippery that can make things harder and if you haven’t pinned at all that will make it difficult too.

  104. Iris Bingham says:

    Great reading all your comments. I too bought a EQ 4.0 I have had a few problems but just returned from my local Pfaff dealer. The problem was both me and the machine. I found my main problem was the thread coming off of the last uptake on the top. My dealer repair guy (He is great) put a small shrink wrap tube on this uptake and now the thread stays put… I also had a problem with the thread cutter and he replaced the blade… he said some of the blades are a little short?? I don’t know why there is a difference in sizes but that’s what he said… he also said he sometimes has added a little bead..filler behind the blade to push it out a little further so it cuts better. On my part of the problem… I have to slow down and hear the click of the thread going into the bobbin tension and remember the extra upwards loop and also make sure the thread is fully in the uptake lever… Hope this makes sense to all. I too was told to get a single hole throat plate to make piecing better. Iris

  105. awe 🙁 I’m hoping your having better luck with your machine! I stumbled across your blog through your patterns on etsy, I’m buying one right now but had to post on this! I just upgraded my Pfaff in October, this was before I quilted, I went from a basic Pfaff to the Pfaff Performance 2058. Holyyyy smokes. I wanted to love this machine but I just HATED it. It was sewing crooked and no matter what, the bobbin tension was off. I brought it to a local dealer before Christmas and just got it back…last week. Yup. How crazy is that! They said that Pfaff isn’t doing so hot on the business front, everything is backordered and outsource, it took that long just to get a new bobbin housing 🙁 I can totally relate to machine problems but now that its back, I’m becoming happier with it! It won’t take the place of my work machine, but I’m liking it for quilting! I was thisclose to trying to trade it in for the 4.0! sheesh. I’m sorry for leaving you a whole paragraph :):)

  106. Irene says:

    Thanks for this blog. I am tempted by the big throat to buy me a QE 4.0. I started quilting three years ago and use a Pfaff 947 a friend gave. It works great, but I would like to have more features – first of all IDT.
    I live in Germany not far from the Pfaff location. November 2008 I was at a fair and saw the new Expression line. The dealer reffered the model expression 2.0 model to me, even though I was looking at the QE4.0????
    This dealer is located right next to the Pfaff company and as far as I can tell is very linked to it. In fact they do all the warranty service on Pfaff machines. I will go to this dealer in the next few days and look at the expression line machines. Maybe he has some infos/solutions on your complaints – he better has, because if I buy, he can sell four machines at the same time. I am looking forward to this meeting, since I would love to have the QE4.0 – but I am not willing to throw away my money.

  107. Stephanie says:

    I have news about fMQ using thicker threads on the Pfaff QE4.0. Use a thread stand, a Jeans number 90 and the decorative bobbin case, not the one supplied with the machine and the optional spring freemotion foot. You can adjust the tension spring in the decorative bobbin case to adjust for different thicknesses of threads, quite easily with the little screwdriver that comes with it. I’ve been using King Tut 40 and Mettler 40 weight machine quilting cotton in it and it was fine except for a couple of skipped stitches using a Quilting number 90 needle. I’ve not had skipped stitches until this quilt, different batting though. Turns out to be the Quilting needle, its eye is too narrow for some 40 weight threads bug not others! I switched to a Jeans 90 and the problem I’d had seemed resolved. So I am tending to think it is a combination of the needle used and having that little bit of extra space for the thread to move in the bobbin case without being a tight squeeze that makes the difference.
    Talked to my dealership people and their advice is definitely use a needle with a more slotted eye than the quilting needle such as Jeans and Topstitch and even look into teflon coated needles which work better if you have slightly furrier thread, such as the Mettler. And they also said to be very, very pedantic in following the threading guide down to the way the spool is loaded on the spool pin, as with thicker threads the QE4 is fussy about this. A thread stand ( they are cheaply available) eliminates this problem and will let you use the larger more economical cones of quilting thread too.
    Thought there might be people out there interested to know. Incidentally I’ve not had any issues FMQ with finer threads and the regular bobbin case.

  108. Irene says:

    It seems to me that thread is a Pfaff problem. I FMQ a few big quilts on my friends Grand Quilter from Pfaff. When I used Star thread #50 it worked fine, but every time I used King Tut #40 the thread broke. Lowering the bobbin tension several times and switching to a Denim needle finally solved the problem.
    My 947 also had problems with the cotton thread, since a friend gave it to me last year – I had it serviced and took the cotton thread along to the mechanic. He adjusted the machine to the thread now it is perfect.
    A friend of mine bought the coverlock 4874 last year and has a hard time with it, because the machine will always skip stitches in two certain programs. The mechanic who fixed my machine told her, that the Pfaff company adjust their machines to Gütermann threads in the production line. Using a lower or different quality thread can cause malfunctions in some programs. Thank you for all your infos, Stephanie.

  109. Debbie says:

    Hello, I’m new at this, but here goes. I just bought a 4.0 on Friday and asked the Pfaff lady about some of the complaints I read here earlier. Well, being that I was aware of a few problems listed here, I was ready for anything once I got home with mine. I was soooooo frustrated on Sat. that I felt like I had made a mistake buying this machine. I too had a problem with the feed dogs not picking up the fabric, (especially if you chain piece) and it seemed to pucker up the fabric and vere off to the left leaving a smaller seam to the right at the end of the seam with my piecing. It was like the IDT wasn’t working properly unless I put would butte up my fabric to needle before sewing and I had to really hold on to the fabric until it fed through. Well………I worked with it until I finished my block I was piecing. I called the Pfaff lady at the quilt shop and she talked me through some things to do and it took care of the problem!!!…I am happy dancing now! If anyone is still having these problems I wanted to share what she told me, which is: Use your 0A foot, change the needle position to red line to the right on the foot, which is a quarter inch….it may be on that line or close to it. Just test it (measure your seam too) and find your right neeled position. Problem solved and my fabric is picked up nicely with the feed dogs now! The other 1/4″ feet are too narrow to reach the feed dogs and won’t pick up the fabric. HTH’s someone out there! BTW……my FMQ with the Sensormatic works wonderful!

  110. Pllew says:

    Hello, how I wished I discovered this blog and other comments on Pfaff machine before I took the plunge on buying the Performance 2058. I totally dislike this machine the moment I took it home. Imagine that this TOL and costly machine can’t even sew straight stitches with proper tension at all. I threaded the upper tension and bobbin thread with contrasting colour and discovered the bobbin tension is overly tight. I am very new in adjusting bobbin tension and learnt it from other websites on adjusting it. It is slightly better now but some top thread can still be seen on the underside of fabric. Besides all these, the bobbin case is quite sensitve if it is not inserted properly and this is also done properly and extra care. Lastly, the bobbin winder is a total disaster. I don’t remember how many times I have to wind the thread to the bobbin and hold on to the thread and stepping on the foot pedal does not move the bobbin at all!!!!! And finally, when it moves, it took ages to get it filled!! I totally and strongly discourage anyone from buying this machine as it’s like throwing your good and hard earned money away.

  111. Emma says:

    I’ve had my new Pfaff QE4.0 for a couple of weeks now, and am so disappointed and frustrated. I expected to love it. I can live with little quirks, but it doesn’t FMQ, and for an expensive Pfaff, sold chiefly for that purpose, that’s not good enough. I happily FMQed on my Pfaff 6270 for years, but wanted more space. But whenever I try FMQing on this, the needle manages to hit the shuttle that spins around the bobbin – even though it shouldn’t reach it. Each time, it instantly bluntems the needle, and then of course skips stitches. I’ve had it at the dealer twice. Yesterday they had a good look, agreed it was hitting, checked the timing and told me it was fine. OK then, so why is it hitting? They say it’s because I’m FMQing too slowly. Now, I had been going a little slower than my usual flat-out, getting famimiar with the new machine, but really, that’s not good enough. Sometimes I need to go slowly. I notice no-one else has mentioned the needle hitting something – am I the only one?

  112. Jenny says:

    Such useful comments. Thanks all. The QE4 is a great machine and I love it. Just a tip that you might find useful.
    I too was having the thread (particularly fine like YLI silk and monofilament) ‘jump’ out of the top take up lever when I used the auto cutter. I got sick of re-threading the machine time and time again. I deduced that the cutting motion released the tension, and – bingo – out it jumped. I solved the problem by taking off the tiny plastic tube from the arm of an old pair of specs, and slotting it over the top take-up tension lever (cutting off surplus) thus causing a barrier to stop the thread jumping out. All is now well with any thickness of thread. I hope this makes sense, and anyone with the same problem finds it useful.

  113. Stephanie says:

    it is possible you could be actually pulling and bending the needle onto the plastic bobbin case if you are running the machine fast and trying to FMQ.
    Check also that you have the bobbin case properly seated in its required position. I’ve never had a problem with my Qe4 but did see a student once bend a needle and hit her own bobbin case on another machine by sewing way too slow and moving her hands fast-she bend the needle so far it touched the edge of the bobbin case and broke the top off the needle!
    If you have burred the needle and know you have hit the plastic bobbin case then you should change the needle right away, as a burred needle can also cause skipped stitches.
    Hope that is helpful.

  114. Stephanie says:

    Hi Emma,
    Comes of me posting late at night, tired brain and eyes, but first sentence above should read “….if you are NOT running the machine fast and trying to FMQ” Whoops! Slow speed and fast hands can lead to needles bending into all sorts of unnatural places.
    Some people try to fmq very slowly and yet move their hands at the relatively faster speed they see others do (when they are running their machines faster). If you run the machine very slowly your hands should be creeping along…to match the speed of the motor, does that make sense?
    Did you demonstrate your quilting technique in front of the store mechanic, they may have suggestions to make that could help.

  115. Tammy says:

    Greetings from Canada Eh?
    I purchased the Pfaff QE 4 on March 3, 2009 after reading this blog and discussing the problems with my local Pfaff dealer. I collect sewing machines and have been using the same dealer for 23 years. He told me if I had any problems at all that he would make it right even if that meant refunding my money and taking the machine back.

    I have been sewing with my Husqvarna 500 since 1997. I love this Husqvarna so much I kept it and still use it, but have always wanted the IDT unique to Pfaff.

    My Pfaff QE4 was made in China much to the surprise of the dealer as it was his understanding they were manufactured in Sweden. I took a demo home and tried it for one weekend in Feb. Not a single thing wrong with it.

    I bought a new QE4 in a box that worked beautifully about 20 hours. I made half a dozen cafe curtains which involved about 90 button holes to put the rings through. The QE4 worked beautifully for the button-holes every one was perfect. I love the auto tie-off and thread cutter. The bartack stitch was perfect. After I finished a queen-size quilt I was fmq with my small Husqvarna, the balance was thrown off for the specialty stitches.

    I took this machine back three times for the dealer to reset balance and the third time, he swapped me for the demo machine and put in a call to Pfaff. I have had the demo machine home now for over two weeks sewn one queen size quilt, a dog bed, quilted a wall hanging, quilted some words and did some fancy stitches for a baby’s quilt. The demo machine (also made in China) appears to work flawlessly (knock wood).

    I just bought a used Pfaff 7510 from the same dealer last week. My other machines are a 1909 Bernard Stoeway treadle called “The Phoenix” made in Germany, a 127 Singer treadle, an Imperial Husqvarna straight stitch electric machine with the long rod bobbin, a 1940s Domestic Automatic made by White with disks to make fancy stitches, a 1970s Piedmont zigzag machine made for Hudson’s Bay Company and a White Superlock serger.

    Most of the time, when my machines don’t make stitches correctly it is operator error. I run a weekly “Stitch n Bitch” in my craft emporium, where we get together to make rag baby quilts, nylon shopping bags, tea-towels, table cloths, dinner napkins, halloween costumes, grad dresses, pjs. clothes and to drink tea. I sew everything from sheer drapes to sheep-skin covers for motor-cycle seats. I put a zipper in my daughter’s motorcycle jacket with a treadle machine because my QE4 would only sew about three stitches before giving me the “motor overload error, please wait one minute”. There was no motor to overload in my treadle.

    Emily, do you still have your QE4? Perhaps you got a lemon machine and your dealer should be replacing it or refunding your money.

    I am sorry you are having grief with your new toy. It is such a disappointment.

    I love you blog and your quilts are fantastic.


  116. emily says:

    Mine is currently at the dealers. Nothing back from them yet.

  117. Pam says:

    Hi Everyone, Well I am considering purchasing the QE 4.0 but am concerned about all the problems you guys are having. i also have a couple questions. First, what size quilt can you quilt (meaning all 3 layers)?
    Second, I am currently just doing internet research for a machine as most dealers are over an hour away and if you wouldn’t mind could you tell me what you paid for the machine?
    Does the built in walking foot work good?
    Has all of you solved your problems with the machine, i.e. skipped stitches, etc.?
    I appreciate all your help and info. Thank you in advance for all you help and happy quilting.

  118. Susan says:


    My experience with this QE 4 is to look elsewhere for a machine. I do free motion applique and the thread constantly breaks no matter it’s brand or
    the foot I use. It’s never worked correctly. Dealer said he and the repair man went over the machine and it works fine now. He sits down to show me with the spring foot on and all
    he gets is broken, shredding thread. It’s still at the shop. He was also working on another one for another lady at the same time. Too much money to spend for a machine that has this many problems. I have a 2058 Pfaff that
    just chugs along with hardly a problem. I’m very sorry I bought this Pfaff QE 4.

  119. Tammy says:

    Hi Pam,
    I just completed a queen size quilt with room to spare on my QE 4 (aka Big Bertha) machine. The extra space is very nice. I also love the duel lights, thread cutter and tie-off features.

    I have used two different QE 4s. The first one I owned had problems when sewing the fancy stitches (the balance was off). After three attempts to adjust the balance, my Pfaff dealer took that machine back and gave me the demo machine I used before I bought. The demo machine works very well, with no problems at all. (knock wood). I am not sorry I bought the QE 4, even though my new toy did not work properly right out of the box.

    There are so many machines to choose from, I also considered the Husqvarna Saffire and the Janome 6600p. I bought the QE 4 for the larger stitches (9mm versus 7mm) and IDT. Test them out first and see what fits best for you.

    Have fun sewing machine shopping.

  120. Susan says:

    Emily, Did you ever get your QE4 back? My dealer is giving me a new one
    because he can’t fix the other one. Apparently there are new updates for that
    machine now to solve some of the problems. Was that your first Pfaff?
    My others have been great.

  121. emily says:

    No, it’s still at the shop. It’s been over a month now. I have a 2134 as well which works so much better but it’s starting to have some problems. It would really benefit from a cleaning but that would mean giving up the machine for a couple weeks which I just can’t do. I wish they had a better scheduling system for maintenance because I can’t just leave it there indefinitely.

  122. Stephanie says:

    Ahh, I’m going to report my QE4.0 is skipping stitches occasionally even with a decorative bobbin case , topstitch or jeans needle and 40 weight Signature and 40 weight Superior King Tut thread and also the 40 weight Mettler machine quilting threads, whilst my other machine will fmq happily with these except not Signature. The QE4.0 has been fine up until recently. Nothing else different in quilting style, or materials to before. Just like its decided to stamp its little foot and throw a tantrum.
    It will fmq fine with thinner threads, lovely stitches, just not the thicker stuff. It does sew straight lines with the feed dogs up with heavy thread ok. Mind you that is slower for me than when I fmq, and I am beginning to wonder if the thread is jumping out of the takeup lever whilst I sew-because that would certainly cause skipping stitches or jams. Everything else about the machine is fine and working to perfection.
    I am just a little annoyed to put it mildly. So now I simply don’t ask it to play with heavy threads, it is not worth the grief and the time spent unpicking. But otherwise I still like my machine.
    My mechanic has told me there is an update to some part or other -he thinks in the takeup lever department- so when that comes through I’ll have it done and see if it helps. Lucky for me it is not the machine I specifically bought to do FMQ or I’d be very, very upset.

    My back-up machine for fmq and for stitch regulated fmq , will be my Bernina 440QE which is on layby now and almost paid off. That baby sewed beautifully with anything I put in it, and I know of many others who are completely and totally in love with their Auroras. it may not have dual feed, but it sews so beautifully and I can’t wait to bring it home.

  123. Lynda says:

    Hi everyone !
    Just got back from buying the Pfaff Q4… I am scared to death to open the box. Should I take it back to the dealer before getting it out…
    I have a Janome 6500 but I wanted the Bernina BSR440 but when I went to a dealer I did nt really like it. The stiches did nt look as even as I tought they would so I had decided to keep the 6500 and went to the Janome dealer to get a second free motin foot but she showed me the Pfaff Q4 with the IDT so I left with this machine wich was heavier than the free motion foot for the 6500 wich she bought from me. I am suppose to bring the Janome 6500 to her in the morning but I really wonder if I should nt bring her the Pfaff Q4 instead…

    Thanks so much for your comments. I read everything about the Bernina before but i read nothing about the Paff… I am so addicted…


  124. Susan says:


    Did your Janome 6500 work good? I assume you’re trading it in. I was going to trade my Pfaff 2058 for the QE4 but changed my mind when I saw
    what a disappointment that machine was. I’d for sure try out that QE4 before I let the other machine go. The dealer is getting me another QE4
    but I’m afraid it’s not going to be any better than the other one was.
    If Pfaff has to update this machine so soon, you know there’s a problem with it. I’ve learned to appreciate my old machines through this experience.
    Good Luck to you.

  125. Willie says:

    Thanks for each of your comments. I am looking to purchase the QE 4.0 from the PFAFF UK website. PAYPAL is not offered.

    They are a little over 1,000.00 plus shipping which is approx. $69.00. In the U.S they are @ $2,000.00
    What are your comments?


  126. Helen says:

    I’ve had my QE4 for several months now. I’m interested to see the solutions to the thread jumping off the uptake bar as I am thoroughly fed up with this. I’ll try to adapt my machine to fix the problem.

    I actually love my machine and spend a lot of time on it. I have made a few small quilts and found the IDT worked very well. I have bought a new foot plate to avoid losing pieces down the wide hole of the one which comes with the machine. I love the tying off option, which takes all the threads through to the back of the work. I love the option to have the needle down when I stop.

    I did try some FMQ but as a learner I found the machine frustrating as the thread broke at every inch.

    Some very useful comments on this thread thank you every one. Incidentally my machine cost £970 from a website which just happened to be my local Pfaff dealer!

    Happy quilting.

  127. emily says:

    So I got my machine back on Friday (after a month or so). The 2134 was having some problems and I was hoping the QE 4.0 would be all fixed and sewing perfectly so I could use that. Well, in reality, the QE 4.0 is still sewing horribly. Totally unacceptable. I tried my best for 1.5 quilts but it’s now in the closet. I have no idea what to do with it. The dealer isn’t much help as they think the machine is fine and were shocked to hear I was having problems with it (and quite defensive too… and were also upset that I wrote this blog post in the first place). So I have two machines and neither of them works well — especially for how much they cost — and no money to go get something that does work and I have a LOT of sewing to do. The dealer also mentioned to Sean that I was using the machines too much and they weren’t made for this much sewing (nevermind the fact that the QE 4.0 didn’t work straight out of the box) and tried to sell him a new machine that could handle the number of hours I put on them. Right.

  128. Susan says:

    You and I are having the same kind of time with our QE4. I go to pick up the
    new replacement machine. The lady is sewing with it to make sure it’s okey.
    She has it in free motion and the thread is jamming and breaking. Some pretty good bird’s nests on the back too. Talk about a run around. I’m getting one too. Never, ever feel bad about this blog. I think ladies should
    know how bad this machine is so they don’t end up stuck with it like we are.
    I’m going to demand my money back. I did put it on a credit card. I hope this helps. I’ve owned this machine for a month
    and half, tried to sew on it for 10 minutes and it’s been down at the shop most of the
    time. Pfaff dealers are now having to defend a product they know has major
    problems. My Pfaff 2020 and 2058 have done hours and hours of sewing
    with few if any problems. I get this sick feeling in my stomach knowing
    I’ve spent this much money on a bad product.
    I bought your Rocker quilt pattern on Etsy.

  129. Stephanie says:

    Emily I’m so sorry yours has turned out to be such a nasty machine.
    Its rubbish for the dealership to say a machine is not cut out to do as much sewing as you do…I uses domestic machines in a commercial business quilting for others, piece truckloads of tops, make the odd garment, or home dec item and have never had my dealer berate me for sewing too much with any of the machines I’ve bought from them. And not one has blown up or failed from overuse either.
    It might be different if you were using the machine in a sweat shop with around the clock use, at high speed, with little maintenance. But honestly how can they say that even one or two quilts a week is too much sewing?
    If you were doing 5 tops a day, King sized, every day of the year, it might be different, but I don’t know anyone who does that much sewing!

    Maybe it would be worth trying to sell the machine locally or trade it against something else even if you have to travel some distance and go to another dealership to avoid the people who are giving you a hard time?
    If your other Pfaff truly is giving you grief maybe you could trade both machines on a more reliable machine.
    Alternatively you could contact Pfaff directly and go over the head of the dealership you bought from…let them know how unhappy you are, and ask nicely for their help in resolving the issues you have. Let them know you are not finding the dealership in your local area of help and you might be surprised at their response. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know if they could be helpful.
    Alternatively sell the machine that annoys you the most, keep the one you like best as a back-up, and if you are cash strapped consider a good second hand Pfaff or Husqvarna, Bernina or Singer (some of the vintage Singer ones such as the 200, 300 and even earlier models are real workhorses and aren’t at all expensive-except maybe the Berninas on ebay- to pick up and have serviced). If you are piecing a quilt, even a big one, you really don’t need a large harp. You could try the local charity shops, craigslist, ebay, second hand section of another dealership, newspaper or local quilting groups that might have a sale section in their newsletters, to find a good used machine.
    I have a second hand Singer 319k which is a workhorse and does beautiful straight stitching and it sews so smoothly and fast. I also picked up second hand a Singer 201 and whilst it doesn’t sew as fast, its stitching is beautiful too. I know others who are very happy with 185, 99, 66, and some of the 400 range too. Anything basically without nylon gears.

    Keep your Mega Quilter for fmq with on your frame and if you get truly desperate, pull it off the frame to piece with it (although I have to say mine does have a tendency to push the top layer forwards quite aggressively, I could probably fix it by adjusting the pressure on the foot but haven’t bothered much as I have another machines to piece with).

    Let us know what you end up doing-and hats off to you for writing this blog where these issues can be uncovered and hopefully some of them resolved.

  130. Shan says:

    Been keeping a keen eye on this blog … very helpful for everyone. Thank you Emily for starting it and keeping it. We are all very grateful. Emily, we have the protection of the Consumer Guarantee Act here in New Zealand. You may have something similar? It states that a product should perform to its specifications for a reasonable length of time or the consumer has the right to demand a replacement or refund. This protection lasts longer than the Warranty offered by the manufacturer, and a dispute tribunal will consider the complaint you file. You may find that there might be something similar operating in the States.

    As for those who have trouble with free motion quilting, have you ever consider taking the bobbin holder out and adjusting the tension. Adjusting the bobbin tension on a top loading machine is no different than adjusting the little screw on an old Bernina bobbin case. Assuming you’ve done all the top tension adjustments you can do, then this might help.. If you tend to get birds nest at the bottom, then the bobbin tension is too loose for free motion (tighten it by turning clockwise, little by little). If your thread breaks a lot, then the bobbin tension is too tight (anticlockwise to loosen). I would mark the screw position before doing that so you can always get back to where you started. Depending on the bobbin thread, I find that I need to adjust the bobbin tension from time to time. And I need to be patient.

    Hope this helps.

  131. Jane says:

    I have been thinking about purchasing a Pfaff expression machine for some time now as I would like a machine with more room to manoeuvre. I do a lot of free machining on dissolvable film and some FMQ and dressmaking using an Elna 6003.

    Whilst in the Chesterfield area yesterday I had the opportunity to have a play on the Pfaff expression. A couple of times the motor overload message appeared and it kept skipping stitches on both straight stitch and the embroidery stitch I selected. However the sales lady cleaned the bobbin case out and rethreaded the machine and put some stabiliser behind the fabric and it seemed to work OK.

    She was offering this machine for £445 which seemed cheap, as the online sites I have looked at are offering it nearer the £1,000 mark and I’m wondering if she has made a mistake, or it’s a different machine or if Pfaff are offloading it quickly before bringing out a new model, particularly after reading all the comments here about the problems with it. I am so glad I came upon this site, (whilst checking out internet prices for this machine) and I think I shall go to the Quilt Festival at the NEC later this month and look at other similar brands, now armed with lots of information to interrogate the sales people with.

    I was a little bothered that the machine played up a bit but put that down to me not being used to is, although the ladyseemed to have problems, getting the bobbin case back in properly. I was delighted at the price, but thought I would come home and think about it first. She said she can send the machine to me, although she doesn’t have one in stock it’s on order but I live a 2 hour drive away and I don’t want the hassel of driving from Mid-Wales to Chesterfield if there is a problem with it. I do wonder if all the wonderful features that it has will give future problems/play up as they start to wear out.

    I have also considered a megaquilter as I don’t actually use embroidery patterns a great deal, and wonder if a faster straight stitch machine would be better?

    I’m very glad I stumbled across this site and thank you to everyone for all your comments.

  132. Jane says:

    I forgot to mention that I often have problems with my Elna 6003 skipping stitches, gobbling the fabric at the beginning of stitching and having a birds nests on the back of the work. This is one of the reasons I thought maybe it’s time I bought a different machine, and was impressed with Pfaff’s claim to it being a family run business etc etc, rather than having being bought out by another company making several brands in China.

    I shall by trying some of the tips and hints suggested in some of the posts to rectify the problems I have with the Elna. Maybe I shall just stick with my Elna and get an older second hand work horse that stitches beautifully and hums along!

  133. vivian says:

    Hello everybody,

    A couple of weeks ago I bought the pfaff QE4.0.
    The first model I brought home was totally screwed up, it didn’t do any of the stitches the way it was supposed to do, some computer problem I suppose.
    I brought it back to the dealer and they gave me a new one. That one worked fine luckily. But…
    The only thing that I don’t like is that when you sew a little faster than average the machine vibrates way too much. I was wondering does anyone also have this problem?


  134. Stephanie says:

    The Mega Quilter does wonderful fmq and straight stitches. Way better than those on the Pfaff Qe4.0.
    I don’t like to piece with it really-I found it pushed the top layer forwards but maybe just didn’t adjust the pressure on the presser foot enough to compensate enough. Many machines push the top layer of fabric forward when sewing. And it is really just tasked to FMQ in my studio anyway.
    But if it is Quilting you are after then I can’t recommend the Mega Quilter enough…its very solid. I use it on a frame but also pull it off and do alot of free hand work by moving the quilt under the needle. It comes with a big extension table but it also fits into the larger Horn cabinets, just!
    Its size is wonderful, once you get used to end loading bobbin-which is abit awkward at first-maybe just for me as I have short fingers though- it is very simple to use and very reliable.

  135. Janet says:

    I wish I had found this blog before purchasing my QE4.0. I have all the problems listed here and am totally frustrated. I specifically told the dealer that I wanted a machine to FMQ with and this is what they sold me. At the moment it won’t even straight sew and I am tired of trying to figure out why, so I guess I’ll have to take it in. I think it’s disgusting that we purchase a machine this expensive and then need to buy extra accessories and fiddle with it so much to make it work right.

  136. Stephanie says:

    Janet I am with you on this one.
    Right now I am stitching out a bunch of samples using topstitch 80, and 90 needles, and Jeans 90 needles, on cotton, wool and poly battings with the same weight patchwork fabrics, both plain and pieced.
    I’m stitching out different quilting thread brands and making notes of when it skips stitches or breaks threads and what tension settings I have it on and what pivot height with the sensormatic foot the machine is adjusted to for specific battings.
    I’m doing it for the spring foot first as that is what i use most, and will be doing it for the sensormatic foot too…and I’ve found that was problematic right from the start even though the demo model worked perfectly.
    and if it is still mucking about when I’ve tested all the variables and documented them all I will be taking it to the shop for assessment.
    I want to see if there is a specific needle type and brand that it won’t work consistently which would mean a product failure only if those same brands won’t work with my other machines. OR that the Pfaff QE4.0 is extremely fussy and will have specific demands OR that it is faulty.
    I will be getting to the bottom of it and if its not right they can fix it under warranty or give me a new machine, for the money this thing has cost it simply has to deliver. I am not going to put up with a sub-parr machine in my studio.
    Right now I’m finding inconsistent performance with the machine really only when it is free motion quilting. What it would not do a fortnight ago with the same brand of thread and type of needle it is doing quite happily tonight at some tension settings but not others. Its the inconsistency I find difficult to fathom. My quilting style hasn’t changed significantly in years except to improve technique wise, and I have a pile of ribbons for machine quilting excellence, so I know its not a case of a learning curve or operator error here.

    At least, by doing these samples I can show the mechanic and shop staff all the samples stitched with the threads they sell and battings they sell and recommend, and give myself the best chance of getting a good outcome whilst its covered under warranty.

    Mine has luckily always sewed nice quality stitches for regular sewing but at some of the slow speeds has become abit more jerky than it was when new. I’ve had it since maybe February this year and am less than impressed with the problems its throwing me with fmq. Its foot pedal is also beginning so squeak but the mechanic said it can be tweaked when next in for attention.
    The other thing by doing so many detailed samples at different tension settings is I will scientifically be able to determine exactly what makes a difference to the results and quality of stitching so I can re-create the best conditions to suit this extremely temperamental machine. Perhaps its diet is far fussier than other machines from other brands, that will happily deal with the brands I am testing and I just need to find different brands of thread. I’ve just got a truckload of Aurifil 40 and 50 weight which I am also going to try as it is such beautiful thread and has worked well for me in other machines in the past.
    If it turns out it will not sew reliably in either fmq set up with every thread that is good quality then at least I’ll have really great ammunition to insist something be done about it at the shop.
    And I will add I’m pretty sure this will be the last Pfaff I will ever own unless this problem can be sorted out completely to my satisfaction.
    At least it sews straight lines well, does beautiful embroidery and quite nice buttonholes, but its an awful lot of money to pay simply for that considering I bought it for quilting.

    I pick up my new Bernina Aurora 440QE on Friday if all goes to plan and will look forward to consistent perfect stitches. Once I have it then even if the Pfaff is being assessed for months, it won’t impair my ability to work and I can leave it to the techies to get to the bottom of this,

  137. Susan says:

    I disputed the QE4 purchase on my credit card and the card company removed the charges from my bill. Sent a detailed letter to them listing
    dates, conversations, how long I’d waited for the dealer to give me a machine
    that actually worked. The dealer told me the problem was I free motion
    slowly around small pieces. The truth is that machine won’t free motion
    at any speed. My old Pfaffs have been great but I will not be buying another.
    Somewhere along the line they fiddled with a good product and lost.
    Very disappointing.

    Stephanie, I hope you’ll let us know how the Aurora 440QE works. That would be the machine I’d try next.

  138. Liz says:

    Pfaff – what an apt name …too much time pfaffing around with the machine, wasting thread and energy ! I own the Quilt Expressions 4 and regret the day I purchased it.

    The Owners Manual is not comprehensive enough – you are expected to know how everything works ! – ok, we all know how to sew but each machine is different in one way or another.

    First the needle refused to dis-engage when the bobbin was filling ! Techician had to oil something or other – crazy for a brand new machine !

    Annoying that the bobbin when full doesnt click back – 9/10 the bobbin continues threading down into the shank ! – grrrrrrr!

    Its terribly difficult to thread the machine, but once done (there is an art to it so says my DH) the thread catches on the threader arm, so you have to be careful in releasing it or you’ll run the risk of unthreading the needle.

    While threading the machine, the last clip (next to the threader) is difficult to get at.

    When sewing it veers off to the left.

    When in reverse mode, why on earth does it tend to stitch one forward and then go back and vis versa – one back and then forward !

    It doesnt appear to take too much thickness – keeps going into ‘motor overload – wait a minute’ !

    God help me when I start to experiment with everything else this ‘fancy machine’ offers ! – So far all, I’ve done is straight sew and zig zag !

    For an expensive machine I give the machine a thumbs down ….. sickening thing is that I cant return it and get a refund !

    Liz (UK)

  139. Stephanie says:

    Well I’ve had a full 24 hours with the Bernina 440QE and am madly, deeply and passionately in love! It feels great right from the start for me. It is very solid and precise. When you touch a button the effect of the action is immediate. No extra coasting on for an extra stitch before reverse engages. No pfaffing around with main motor overload message or shaky stitches at slow speeds. It sews stitch after stitch beautifully. I wouldn’t want a finger near that needle either, I know someone who sewed straight through finger and some bone-ouch-but the neelde went straight through that before it broke. The machine happily sewed through all that finger bulk- gross I know- but proves it has good needle penetration.
    So far I’ve pieced and applied binding to double thick layer of batting and quitling fabric, no walking foot on and not a single pucker. Also sewn out a few of the decorative stitches. Not a single stitch out of alignment-but then my Pfaff has always managed to sew the decorative stitches beautifully. I am probably lucky in this respect to some of the poor other unfortunates who are gathering here.
    The lighting on the Bernina is simply stunning. I was sewing late last night with only a ceiling light and the light from the Aurora 440. Amazing!

    The instructional manual is good and there is a helpful cd rom training disc with free project ideas and instructions as well as the training component.
    Far more extensively written than the Pfaff manual for the QE4 I might add.

    So far, I couldn’t be happier. It even tells me when it needs oiling (although I have heard not to rely on the timing of the icon as it will probably need more frequent oiling than the 180. 000 stitch intervals it is set to remind the user to oil at. It also tells me if it needs service by the mechanic. No other machine has ever done this for me before!
    The quality of the machine is very high, each part is beautifully made. The bobbin case is a piece of art and beautifully finished. I can remove the hook for thorough cleaning. And replace it again without needing a degree in mechanic repair work. Yes people do say you don’t get much bang for your buck, with Bernina, but I will say that you get extremely high quality for the Aurora and that in my mind is worth trading off absolutely all the bells and whistles that could possibly be installed. They are worth the money. 5 minutes of stitching convinced me of that. All the essentials and more are included as standard. And there are loads of specialty feet available.
    Impressed muchly, I am with this! Couldn’t be happier so far.
    I am going to do some quilting tomorrow with BSR and with the walking foot. And try some buttonholes.

    If you want more information check out the user reviews at Pattern Review for the Aurora 440QE. They appear to have excellent reviews and from what I can tell they’re well warranted. Totally different machine to the Pfaff even when it is behaving well.

  140. Susan says:

    Excellent review on the Aurora, Stephanie. Bernina should hire you to
    tell people the qualities of this machine. Now I will have to go to the Bernina
    dealer and see this machine. I feel so fortunate to not have to pay for that
    Pfaff. We have 60 days to dispute and I made it just in time. One thing in my favor was neither the first or second machine worked so I didn’t have
    possession of them except for a brief 6 days at the beginning.

    I bought a HandiQuilter 16 sit down model at our quilt show. I really like this machine. No feed dogs, only a walking foot, just a straight stitch and I move the quilt by hand
    under the needle. Nice big table with plenty of room to handle a quilt. It can be hooked up to a frame but I didn’t want that.
    So glad the Aurora is working for you!!

  141. susan says:

    Hi I just came across your web page. I have been a pfaff owner for over 30+ years. My mom also only owned pfaffs. I wanted to buy a new pfaff and didn’t know which model to buy. I want to get into more quilting and embroidery. I am glad that I stumbled onto your sight. HOwever I am even more confused as to what I should do. I was going to go and purchase the 40. Should I check out the Bernina?????? any comments would be great. I was headed out today to buy. mabey not????

  142. Sue says:

    Stephanie, after 2+ weeks with the Bernina aurora 440QE are you still, “madly, deeply and passionately in love!” with it? A friend recently showed me how the BSR works on her new 440QE, and I am Really impressed.

    I currently have a Viking Designer 1 and a Pfaff 2042. As a casual hobbyist, I don’t need another machine, but I’d love to do some fmq with the Bernina BSR. I don’t want to give up either the embroidery (D-1) or the IDT features of my current machines, but could the BSR alone be worth the price for the machine? Or, could the Bernina 440QE be a reasonable replacement for one of them?

    Your comments and thoughts will be appreciated.

  143. Stephanie says:

    Hi Sue,
    Its still a case of besotted love between Nina and I. She has exceeded by expectations and I just keep finding out new things she can do and am really impressed with it. Its just really nicely designed from one end to the other. I do think the BSR is brilliant. I’ve heard some people weren’t happy because they thought they would instantly have brilliant stitching and as you still have to work with the machine they were disappointed that their jerky, pointy curves were not smooth and graceful. BSR is not a silver bullet. It will speed up the learning curve for new quilters though. And it makes my life easier as I can now level the playing field and enter international quilt shows where many others are also using the same technology. With the BSR there is still skill involved in using it but for me it takes some of the brain strain out of the equation, and if you sew within the parameters of speed required (and you can set an alarm to beep of you go too fast for it), you should get even stitches so long as the hands are smooth and not jerkily dragging the quilt around.
    I think the machine itself is very solid and precise. Responsive. Oozes quality of manufacturing and performance. And yes I think that whilst the BSR is not inexpensive it is worth it, even if you quilt for a living as I do. I think of BSR as extra insurance against human error when FMQ.
    And whilst it is possible to get by without it-and to win prizes in shows without it, there is the less exy 430 which is mostly the same machine but different number of stitches, an extra presser foot and generally focussed on embroidery more from what I can tell, than quilting, I’ve also heard it is possible at least in the U.S. to have the BSR retrofitted-but that it ends up costing quite abit anyway to do this-you would need to make enquiries and see which is the better deal, you might be better off going into the 440 where the BSR is included than purchasing the foot and paying to have the machine tweaked to accept the foot later on.
    Can I also just say that I thought the Pfaff’s idt was really nice until a couple of months in, at which time I began to suspect it hasn’t been functioning to perfection- Ive had lots of puckers that I don[t normally get at all with working stitch in the ditch or straight line quilting. I thought it would be nice not to have to put a walking foot on-part of the attraction of idt- but the walking foot is easy to put on the Bernina and actually feeds the fabric far better than my Pfaff qe4 EVER did. I don’t think the idt it is all it is cracked up to be. The Bernina walking foot also has a handy 1/4″ marking so its good for sewing narrow bindings or matching long seams such as borders etc.
    As to your other questions…
    You know, your Designer 1 feeds fabric really well for patchwork and is a swanky machine…I have one too and whilst mine is about 10 years old I’ll be replacing my motherboard if it ever blows. Its just amazing. I’d be thinking if you wanted the BSR and all the other lovely convenient Bernina features that maybe the Pfaff 2042 might be the one to sell or trade.
    After all dual feed isn’t essential to good patchworking-accurate cutting, piecing and pressing is possible on just about any quality machine that does a good straight stitch. And you have the walking foot included when you buy an Aurora which is nice and you can use it whenever you need more control of layers, even when piecing.
    The other factor to my mind that would also make me suggest you consider dumping the pfaff is that the harp size of your Designer 1 and the Bernina are both larger than the 2042. This is an issue if you want to make large quilts.
    And any of the Aurora series machines have larger harps than your Pfaff.
    Maybe the issue is whether you really want BSR? You will need to go and sew on the machines at a dealership you trust on the fabrics, battings and using threads you like to sew with. See if you like it. I have had to really slow down when fmq with BSR but its not a problem-I have more time to think carefully about my designs that I did at the speed of light and am doing more intricate work as a result. Once you have used the BSR and also fmq without it using the darning foot-you will know if you like the feel, sound and operation ease of the Bernina or not. Just make sure the dealership have recently cleaned out and oiled their machine-as some months before I bought the Pfaff Qe4, I’d tried the Aurora and hadn’t liked it much-it was clacky and noisy and jerky. All it needed was a good clean and oil , and a sharp new needle- and I’d have saved myself alot of grief by not buying the Qe4.
    My advice to you is go and check it out. If it were me, I’d be dumping the pfaff unless you can find a way into the Aurora without selling or trading your Pfaff and even then only if it is precious to you.
    Hope thats helpful?

  144. Sue says:

    You’ve been very helpful and given me much to think about. THANK YOU! And, you’re right…the next step in my education is to get some hands-on time at a dealership. However, before I talk to a dealer I like to have some good background education and you and this blog have helped tremendously!

  145. Thanks to Emily and all the ladies for the comments. They were really helpful in choosing a new Pfaff. (I went with the Expression 3.0.) I tried out the QE 4.0 at my dealer and she pointed out something that explains why it eats the fabric. Some Pfaff machines (I think only those with a front-loading bobbin) have a tiny extra feed dog that grabs the fabric before it’s even under the presser foot so it will never get eaten by the machine.

    After reading about so many issues with Pfaff, Janome, and Viking machines with automatic tension, I’m very wary of it! I chose the 3.0 for the manual tension setting.

    Also, I agree that the Bernina Aurora is lovely! Unfortunately, it was out of my price range.

  146. emily says:

    The 2134 has that tiny feed dog. I realized it a while ago when I switched back to using it and figured that was helping it not eat the fabric. Thanks for the opinions on the Bernina. That is one I’ve looked at along with one of the new ones (I’m blanking on the name). Anywho, it’s like $7000 or so. Not quite in the budget this month 😉 but it has so many of the features that I was looking for when I got the QE4 (which is sitting in the closet. Hrumph.)


  147. Stephanie says:

    Hey Emily I am glad you are looking at your options too.
    And how was Quilt Market? Hope all went really well.

    Cannot you have the machine returned to Pfaff- if you are still under warranty? I bet your cupboard space could be better occupied with other items rather than a dodgy machine. OR see if they’ll take it as a trade in or store credit-perhaps better than taking up space on a shelf for a machine you can’t use. Maybe you could use a store credit for buying thread or needles for a long time, if you don’t want to buy another machine from them.

    I’m having mine looked at shortly. Odd really, it started out basically great intitially but not wonderful on sensormatic mode for fmq. Recently all quilting with feed dogs down, has gone pear shaped though. Samples stitched so far on 3 batts with any setting on tension or pivot height that allowed the quilt to move under the foot, and 4 different types and weights of needles , with sensormatic foot, show nothing but skipped stitches, messy stitches and broken threads- with a brand of thread sold at and recommended at the dealership. I saw many times thread pop out of the take-up lever. Shredding thread in the take-up lever area. Also false empty bobbin alarms frequently when the bobbin still has quite abit of thread on it. I’m documenting everything for the dealership and the company so there is no doubt as to how the samples were constructed. It will also rule out any brand specific issues of thread , needle or batting. I’m sure its a lemon or an entire range that is poorly designed.

    Today I do the whole thing again, with another brand of thread-which is also sold at the dealership. And after that the whole lot again, with yet another brand of thread. I’m stitching on commercially available patchwork fabrics-4 inch pieced squares- in soft cotton, homespun, batik, gingham and broadcloths and the shredding and skipping stitches happens not on the seamlines but well into the centre of the squares-contrary to what I was told would probably happen! Alll the samples are made of the same fabrics, all that changes is batting and needles. I will be replicating the setting of the machine across different threads.
    They’ll be so overwhelmed by the stack of samples and documentation, showing the nastiness of the stitches for just the sensormatic mode for fmq, that I”ll have enough to make a warranty claim-since the sensormatic foot is the one supplied as standard by the company and they claim it is suitable for quilting with. Our Trade Practices Act clause about Fitness for purpose is also behind me. If it turns out my machine is off warranty-as I can’t recall exactly when it expires- but think I’m still covered- then I hope my dealership may do something to help bail me out, even if it means taking a huge financial loss on the machine. They may take is as trade in or store credit. They’re very nice people. At least mine actually works for piecing and embroidery stitching so could be sold to a home dec or dressmaking person and work fine.
    I will also stitch samples using the spring motion foot and expect similar results to those obtained yesterday given its performance recently on quilts of different batting and fabrics.
    Worth the time if it means the company can’t argue I just need to learn to quilt, change the needle or try different batting or thread.

    The more I think about things, the more I regret ever buying this machine-and the more tempted I am by well established brands and models. Even purely mechanical ones where not much can fail.
    You mention a 7K machine- is it the Bernina 820 with the 12 inch arm?
    I couldn’t afford to shell out for that but did lust for it nonetheless. But I couldn’t be happier with my Aurora 440QE.
    It will be interesting to see what response I get from all of this.

  148. Olga Malott says:

    I bought my QE4 in July and so far have been pleased with its performance. I debated between it and a Husqvarna Saphire as I have had Husqvarna machines all along. I have Designer SE that I love. I chose te Pfaff because there is a dealer where I live so there is support and there is no HV dealer for 300 miles. Also I wanted the IDT. The machine does not like invisible thread but then neither do I so it works out. I did free motion quilting with rayon thread in the top and all went well. I have had no problems with the quarter in foot since I always use a feeder fabric before I start . Since I an a HV gal I did not find the veering off a problem since those machine do that and you have to compensate for that. I am saddened to read all the negative comments but I am sure that similar comments can be found for all machines. Yes every now and then there are lemons. The same os true of any product. Most things are now made in china so perhaps the quality control is less exact. Perhaps there is a language problem betweem the german engineering spec and the workers. I think for the price the machine is a keeper .

  149. emily says:

    Just an FYI, I’m not ignoring the comments over here. This machine just pisses me off so much that I try to avoid thinking about the machine too much because it’s just infuriating at this point. The dealer is absolutely no help in the situation. I’m not the only person who thinks such things about them too. I got the name of the (supposedly) best Pfaff repairman in the country. I might ship the machine out to him once life settles down. But I’m not sure it’s worth the cost of shipping (sad isn’t it?) I really need the 2134 serviced because the spool of thread image blinks at me constantly (even though nothing is wrong) and it’s quite annoying but I don’t have enough trust in the dealer to actually fix the problem and I have to be willing to give up the machine for a month which I can’t do and the QE 4.0 isn’t a suitable replacement to use in the meantime.

  150. Stephanie says:

    Sounds like you need to shop around for a good dealer nearby at least for servicing of your 2134. I’m lucky as my dealership are both friendly and fantastic-and did not hestiate to back me up. Infact they were delighted to have solid eand substantial evidence to present to Pfaff outlining the very same issues they had been reporting to them.
    The technicians at head office in my country are looking at a copy of my report and samples as I type (or would be if they worked weekends!) and my warranty information has been verified by the dealership and transferred to the PTB-my samples and report went straight to the top and has got their attention so I am hopeful of a good response. The new thread tensioning part that is the first threading point that has been replaced on the store demo, appears to hold thread in place at full speed of embroidery stitches but whether it will for freemotion quilting is yet to be determined. Whether it helps to solve the thread cutting problems or not is unclear at this point. They are I think going to check it on my machine and we will then see. At least Pfaff here do appear to want to investigate if there is a problem so long as they have the evidence staring them in the face-so here’s hoping things work out.
    Maybe what you need to consider Emily, is to contact Pfaff directly in your country or via another dealer who is interested in honouring the terms of their contract with Pfaff-and whilst you are at it report the dealership that refuses to do so. Then you might get a result that pleases you.
    Good luck with it. 🙂

  151. Stephanie says:

    Thought you might like an update, I just got off the phone from the mechanic at Pfaff at head office-she received my machine yesterday and has been working on it all day today. There were several parts replaced and lots of adjustments. It sounds from what she said that thread early on in the piece ripped into the plastic and took out a slit more than 1mm deep that the thread has been catching in and shredding- just above the needle clamp thread slot. How this could happen neither of us knew. It has been affecting not only the stitch quality and function of idt but also its ability to fmq. Also there have been several parts replaced including thread cutter blade and parts replaced. Apparently the reason the cutters don’t cut properly is that we should be lifting the cutter out to the right and cleaning off a little black thread catching pad-looks like black velcro-of the lint. This is what catches the thread and holds it whist the cutter is working. Hmmm, she said there was a truck load of lint around the back of the cutter that of course I wouldn’t be able to see (and I dont’ think it was mentioned to clean there in the manual either)
    The mechanic blamed the cotton thread I’ve been using and interestingly said I should switch to poly-cotton-which I do not use- because it wears the insides less than all cotton. The poly content stretches abit and allows the thread to move around more. She suggested if I wanted my machine to last that I should stop using cotton as the modern machines are not designed to take the wear and tear that cotton dishes out, from her perspective. If found this most interesting. She mentioned she couldn’t get further than an inch without shredding and was surprised I managed so far as I did (a few inches to a small area) and that technically the machine should not have been able to sew at all with what was wrong with its insides.

    She also said she’s sending photos, my report and samples to the manufacturers with the suggestion to make a new thread guide for just above the needle clamp, inside behind the faceplate, to keep thread in place for the way that we quilters tend to work. She felt is was important that the manufacturers are made aware of the way in which the machine and the materials quilters will choose to use in the real world-as she said none of them would ever sew with all cotton in the technical dept. She hopes they will take this on board and come out with a new additional thread guide- this is one more beyond what has just recently released- that could be retrofitted to all machines-which should eliminate problems-and hopefully this feedback from my machine could result in some major improvements to the line.

    There’s been quite a few adjustments inside and resetting the tensions to factory specs. She is testing the machine and so far its freemotioned half a metre square perfectly- but only with poly thread and their battings. She is going to track down some cotton and test sew on my samples and set the beast up to sew with what I use-and then it will be returned assuming it passes all its tests. Fingers crossed for me.
    And I will say that the service and lengths she has gone to to trouble shoot and repair and explain her actions go beyond good service-I am very happy to say that at least in this corner of the world Pfaff’s customer service is great!

  152. Aseel says:

    Dear Emily,
    Thank you for a well put informative blog. I have no experience in Pfaff machines, but recently purchased Pfaff Creative 2134 which I use for embroidery! I keep have this problem, the needle does not go through the bobbin case. And eventually the machine stops! Any idea how to resolve this?

  153. Tammy says:

    Hi Emily, et all,
    My Pfaff QE 4 (Big Bertha) quit on me today after I attempted to fmq two layers of denim with one layer of 100% cotton batting using denim polyester/cotton thread with a new denim needle, and a straight stitch throat plate. I say I attempted because all Bertha did was straight stitch the outside border on one 6×6 inch sample before it started having major thread jams in the bobbin casing area. I took the entire bobbin casing out cleaning everything with my miniature vacuum crevice tool. I put it all back together, tried plain 100% polyester thread in bottom bobbin with denim poly/cotton in needle thread, it sewed about two stitches before another thread jam. After two hours of trying different threads and cleaning out thread jams in the bobbin area, Bertha is now jammed in the bobbin casing area again this time with 100% polyester guiterman thread after sewing only two stitches on two layers of plain cotton. What a piece of junk this machine has become.

    I am beyond annoyed. My Pfaff QE 4 is going back to the Pfaff dealer tomorrow. I so hope he will fix it. I’m going to ask him to go over the entire inside needle thread path as I suspect that my 100% polyester thread may have cut the plastic insides like Stephanie’s quilting cotton threads did hers.

    This is my second Pfaff QE 4 because the first one had problems, now this one has problems. I have had this one back to him about two weeks ago when it jammed up in the needle bar area, I kept getting “main motor overload error please wait one minute” the machine was stuck in the middle of the needle up/down position it was set for needle down. Turning it off and on did nothing. Again I took apart the entire bobbin casing looking for thread or lint clutter… nothing. The Pfaff dealer took the top off and the machine unjammed itself. He blew some compressed air in the thread path area and sent me home with it.

    There are so many features I really love about this machine, the large harp, the little thread cutter, the automatic pivot and duel lighting. The fancy stitches are gorgeous.

    I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’m back to using my Husqvarna 500 and Pfaff 7510 both sew anything I can force under the presser foot.

  154. Stephanie says:

    Machine is back. So far so good, totally miraculous. A bit of tweaking needed to get nice stitches with sensormatic mode but it was simply lowering pivot height and adjusting tension abit.
    I am putting it on trial for the next few months and deciding if to keep it based on its performance.
    It had modifications done inside to remove damaged plastic interior and new thread guides inserted, plus cutting device parts replaced.
    The new ones coming out of the factory have had modifications made already but you may need to if your machine was one of the early released done-and it should be done through the dealership network and not cost a cent.

  155. Julie says:

    Hi everyone…..I was looking to purchace the QE4.0. But after reading this blog, I doubt I will…..Like others I tend to do a lot of work on my machines.
    I have worn out a few over the years & tend to keep one good one for detail work and another, more worn out one for standard work.
    Unfortunately I need a new good one….any ideas??
    I would like some basic embroidery stitches, as well as the standard ones….and a large throat area for quilting….

  156. Dianne says:

    I was interested in purchasing the PFAFF Expression 4.0. My concern is encountering problems described in this blog. If this machine was problem free, it would be my first choice.

    I’m considering a non-computerized machine to avoid problems. Has anyone worked with the PFAFF Select 4.0? Would the (Mechanical) PFAFF Select 4.0 be suitable for quilting and occasional clothing? Has anyone encountered problems with the Select 4.0?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  157. Tammy says:

    Hi Diane,
    I collect sewing machines. I had the Pfaff Expression 4, for a brief time. It is an awesome sewing machine. A real workhorse! Mine was a Tipomatic, identical to the Expression 4, only the name was different. I sold my Tipomatic to my neighbour and sewing buddy Barb. She just loves it. It sews through denim and leather without any grief at all. It makes lovely free motion quilting stitches, button-holes and stretch stitches. This machine is perfect for quilting and sewing anything from fine sheer fabrics to leather. I made booties for my dog out of polar fleece and leather with velcro fasteners with this machine. What it does not have, that I missed is a low bobbin indicator and needle up/down setting.

    I sold it in March 2009 when I decided to buy up to the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4 (Big Bertha). If you look above on October 4, I posted on this blog cause Bertha had yet another breakdown and was back in the shop. I got my Pfaff QE 4 back on October 13. My repairman told me it just needed a minor tune-up. He adjusted a spring and tweaked the needle bar position. He got it sensor free motion quilting on two layers of jean weight denim with 100% cotton batting in between and not skipping any stitches. I am sewing a quilt with QE4 right now. So far, knock wood, Bertha is performing beautifully.

    Good luck with your search.

  158. Tammy says:

    In the first paragraph of my post above I had a Pfaff Select 4 not an Expression 4 which I sold to Barb. Ooops sorry for the blunder.

  159. Dianne says:

    Thanks for your response and feedback Tammy!

  160. Jocelyn says:

    Heavens! I don’t think I’ll touch the Expression 4.0… about the
    Pfaff Expression 3.0 ? I think she’s my deal.
    And please…..don’t use cotton thread. Yeah, right.
    Sounds like they should just have traded you a new machine for
    you little lemon. Hope you got all the burps worked out.
    Right, back to the 3.0….any ideas?

  161. Stephanie says:

    My machine is fixed and working well but I am selling it. I wouldn’t personally be touching the quilt expression 3.0 as it has the same shaped chassis and internal threading system which can be problematic. I believe new ones released from factory are now modified with an additional thread guide added inside where it cannot be seen, along with the new threading point at the first one after the button/mushroom, which should eliminate or reduce the problems many people have had. I think its dodgy to tell quilters not to use cotton thread-and I’ve never come across a machine until now that was not happy to sew with cotton. Now it has been modified it sews well with cotton, poly or embroidery threads from rayon or poly- but the head mechanic at Pfaff said that cotton will chew through the thread guides faster than other threads, with heavy use- I wonder what sort of metal they are using for this to happen? I think that’s abit dodgy too.
    I prefer to use a brand that can sew with anything I throw at it and for me it is Bernina.
    As for me I am glad it is now sewing but it looks very much as if we are moving states for work so I’m selling off anything that I absolutely do not love or need badly.

  162. Helen says:

    I am baffled by my QE4. On two days ago it would not sew invisible thread in any way! It just kept making horrible birds nests on the back of my quilt. I got so frustrated that I actually went and did some housework – so you can see how serious things were.
    Today I have had another go – got to get this quilt finished. It is sewing like a dream. The only difference is that I have left the reel on invisible thread upright instead of laying it down as usual. I can’t see why this makes a difference but it does!
    Once I’ve finished this quilt I’ll try metalic thread upright and see if it will do that.
    Am I expecting too much? I wanted to quilt with metallic thread on a table centre I had made using the heat proof batting. It could manage a straight stich but anything fancy sent it completely haywire. I have no trouble doing this when I use ordinary batting, perhaps this was a bridge too far?

  163. Deb says:

    Goodness! I wish I had read this blog before ordering my QE4. It arrived in Dec. 2008. I live in rural Texas and have a stroke and can no longer drive. I paid a good price $1700 for it from a shop that does not carry Pfaff. I like it for piecing, but not for quilting. I am an experienced FMQ, but although the machine/bobbin are threaded correctly, when i choose stitch 51 and manually drop the feedogs, needles break like crazy. I cannot even get a table runner done! I do not have another machine. Any thoughts? I am at the end of my rope and my husband reached his 6 months ago. I had it serviced/updated while on vacation and it worked fine. I have not been able to use it to FMQ at all.

  164. Angela says:

    Have been reading all the information contained in this Blog, it’s a lot to digest!

    A year ago I bought the Pfaff Expressions 2.0. I love it, but at first I had to learn my way around some of it’s quirks. The thread bunching —on the the 2.0, using a leader cloth takes care of that every time. If you try to start to stitch on this machine without fabric totally under the needle, it’s quite unhappy, the thread jumps off the take up arm and the bobbin throws up.

    Yes, the 1/4″ foot they supply with these machines is useless. I solved that by buying the Pfaff 1/4″ foot with the spring guide on the right. No problems since getting that. Also, I got a plate with the single hole instead of the wide hole, and have had no problems with fabric getting shoved down in.

    Since it’s just about my 1 year anniversary, I am entitled to a “free” (yah, right!) upgrade to a 3.0 or Quilt Expressions 4.0. I can give them my one year old 2.0 plus $700 and get the 4.0. I am sorely tempted. The features that appeal to me are the auto up and down on the foot, the thread cutters and the alphabets (the 2.0 has none). It’s a lot to pay for some convenience, but I sew ALOT every day, I love to sew. I have multiple sclerosis and sewing is my great big joy in life. I don’t do free motion quilting so don’t give a hoot (right now) how that feature works. All of my sewing is on quilts. I do quilt my baby quilts by hand and some times by machine. Larger quilts I send to a long-armer, as I do not have the strength in my hands to handle the large roll of fabric.

    I am going to park myself at the shop and practice every single thing that I normally do. Lumpy seams, curves, etc., quilt sandwiches, and really put the machine through it’s paces.

    But, I need advice, please HELP ME DECIDE!!! Thanks!

  165. Deb says:

    Personally, I do not think all the bugs have been worked out on the QE4…. I do love it for piecing though. I am thinking about getting a used Juki for quilting… Anyone having trouble with Jukis?

  166. Angela says:

    I went and sewed a whole bunch on the 4.0 at the shop today. Walked away thinking there’s just too many things on it that can go loony. Also, I didn’t like not being in control of the foot and also didn’t like the auto thread tension. My Pfaff dealer told me that machines being shipped “soon” will have a modified take up arm to stop the thread from jumping off, but that problem is easily dealt with by using a leader cloth.

    I’m going to upgrade to the 3.0, which won’t cost me that much money and will give me the alphabets, which I’d like to have for quilt labels. It sews like my 2.0, which I am very happy with.

  167. Angela says:

    Hello all,

    Checking back in to let you know that I upgraded to the 3.0 and could not be happier.

    Once I figured out the quirks on my 2.0, it became a machine I simply loved to sew on. Those quirks also exist on the 3.0 and so I’m ahead of the game and also have the two alphabets.

    For others that may be looking at the Pfaff 2.0 and 3.0 I’m going to save you some time here by giving you the solutions to the small quirks.

    1. 1/4″ foot–the standard Pfaff one does not make good enough contact with the feed dogs. I bought (on E-Bay) the Pfaff 1/4 inch foot with the spring guide on the right. Love it. Other people have mentioned that the “old” 1/4 foot works better also.

    2. If you start to sew on this machine without good tension on the upper thread, it will jump off the take up arm and throw up thread. There are two ways around this: always use a leader cloth or always start holding the threads from the bobbin and spool to the back.

    3. Get the throat plate with the single hole. You need it for piecing, it makes going over bumpy seams and lumps much smoother.

    4. Thread. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use any old thread we want, bought on sale for as cheap as possible. But, why spend hundreds on fabric and a machine and then use lousy thread bought at JoAnn’s for $1.00 a spool. The Pfaff machines will sew with any type of thread, HOWEVER, I have found that my Pfaff runs best using Mettler Silk Finish 100% cotton. My Pfaff dealer/fabric store is aware of this, so offers a 30 percent discount on Mettler thread to anyone who has bought a Pfaff from her. She has found that the machines being used with Mettler are in her shop rarely for fixes and adjustments.

    You may view this as a large list of quirks. However, every machine has it’s quirks. Once you figure them out, you’re golden. Since I have figured out the Pfaff quirks, I’m pleased as punch. The Pfaff machines are known to be long-living work horses.

    I would stay away from the 4.0. I can raise and lower my own foot and cut my own threads just fine, thank you very much.

  168. tammy says:

    I have posted on and off this blog a few times. I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of owning my Pfaff QE 4 purchased March 2009. I named her Big Bertha because she is so big. Bertha and I have a love/hate relationship going.

    I love the duel lights, auto thread cutter, presser foot lifter, the large harp and all the fancy stitches. When sewing properly Bertha is the star of my sewing machine family (I own and use nine other machines).

    I hate thread nests in the bobbin area, broken top needle threads and the fact the bobbin cover plate flips my seams when not using the extension table. I mean really? this is a quilting machine, I certainly expected someone to test sewing over seams before the machine was put on the market. Fortunately for me, my Pfaff dealer’s shop is two blocks from my office. If I have to I could drop Bertha off daily for service.

    So far he has
    replaced the thread guide which completely eliminates the thread jumping out of the take up lever.
    reset the default tension setting because it was too low.
    adjusted springs and stuff inside to fix the bobbin thread nests.
    replaced the first QE4 I bought with the demo I tested.
    adjusted the needle threader so it works now
    unfroze a software glitch when the machine wouldn’t do anything “motor overload, please wait one minute” error message.

    Currently, I am quilting a queen size tie-dyed batik card trick variation quilt for my daughter. I have pieced the whole thing on Bertha and plan to quilt it all with it as well. I had some trouble with thread breakage when using the blanket stitch. I resolved this by lowering the automatic tension. I continue to sew with my QE4 because I do not want a different brand or model. This Pfaff is exactly what I wanted in a quilting sewing machine. I just want it to sew consistently well without having to troubleshoot my machine every time I use it.

  169. Angela says:

    Hi Tammy,

    You have certainly had a time of it with “Big Bertha”! I do not do any free motion quilting with my Pfaff, so I’m not going to run into those issues that arise when quilting. I use a Singer 301 to do any quilting I’m going to do. It’s the machine I sewed on for years before getting my Pfaff, and is the one I learned to quilt on so I’m not going to mess with something that’s working for me.

    Yes, the approach to the bobbin cover is annoying, the way it flips those seams. I’ve gotten used to it and have eliminated any problems by pinning and also by lifting the fabric slightly as it approaches that spot. It’s become automatic to me when feeding in a row of blocks, so it’s not a big issue. I’m a pinning monster anyway, so this works for me.

    Am off to the sewing room to spend the day finishing off Diagonal Madness, a Kaffe Fassett design. I went to a workshop of his in Tennessee in October and this is the pattern we worked with. Lovely.

  170. Karen says:

    I’ve been reading your notes because I’ve been considering purchasing a QE 4.0. Definitely rethinking. I have a longarm, so wouldn’t be doing any quilting, but would do clothing constuction, piecing, and decorative work on the QE 4.0. With that in mind, what do you recommend?

    Also, several have commented about working with metalic threads. I have a longarmer’s tip for you all. Lightly mist your metalic threads with water, put in a zip-lock style bag and store it in the freezer. You will be surprised how much better the thread will serve you. Also, use the same metalic in the bobbin. Believe it or not, that makes a difference.

  171. Stephanie says:

    Well Karen, I found that once the thread guides were replaced and the machine overhauled it sews everything but freemotion quilting very well. Once the feed dogs go down it still doesn’t matter how much tension and presser foot height/pressure I alter, it still skips stitches with both the freemotion feet provided regardless of needle type and thread combination. But, if you have one with the new thread guides in it, I think you may find it might be safe for garment sewing, embellishment with decorative stitches and piecing so long as you are prepared to put up with some quirkiness which you will have by no doubt have already read about here and elsewhere. And don’t expect to be able to do nice sewing with feed dogs down without some issues with this machine line. If you don’t want some risk factors I’d steer a mile clear of it if I had my time over.
    Personally I wouldn’t recommend buying one given my and other’s experiences, but it should do what you want. However, I think if you want a large harp and decorative stitches there are other machines better performing and better tested in the marketplace already working beautifully which do not report any of the issues this series has.
    IIf harp size is less important I think you’d be hard pressed to beat a Bernina Aurora, if you want 9mm stitching the 450 would be lovely otherwise the 430 or 440 depending on which feet you would like. And, these machines all freemotion quilt wonderfully, no quirks and no complaints. They are solid as an ox too. If you have deeper pockets and want serious size, then look at the 820 or if you want to embroider ever, the 830 Bernina.

  172. Diane says:

    I purchased my 4.0 last Spring and had a serious auto accident the first week in May, so I have not been able to use it as much as I would like. I have had most of the problems you have described. I plan to order the straight stich plate which should help with the fabric eating. I had the machine in to be looked at last week because it was skipping stiches in free motion. The adjusted the bobbin tension and suggested I use the sensormatic foot for free motion. They also gave me some Mettler thread to try. Both worked very well and I competed a small project with great results. The reason I bought this machine, was because I envisioned doing lots of free motion quilting with all the beautiful verigated thread available, now I doubt that will happen. I’m working on an Amish Puzzle ball for my new grand daughter and I’m using my nice little Pfaff Fashion machine. No jaming, no thread breaking, no fabric eating. My husband is so excited that I bought the 4.0 and I hate for him to know that I’m using my other machine, which is only 2 yrs old.

  173. Chele says:

    I have been researching machines to get a few more bells and whistles. I am using a Janome Decor 3050 for quilting and thought I wanted a Pfaff. I’ve also looked at the Babylock and the Janome 6600. I had made up my mind on the Janome 6600 but now I’m rethinking. I love the piecing I do on my Janome. Is anyone out there using the 6600 and do you have any feedback for me?

  174. Debbe says:

    I bought my QE4.0 last Dec 2008. I love it and it too is having the cutting problems and jamming up the bobbin.It seems that when I rethread it then it works for a while then it will do it again.My auto threader the little hook that cathes the thread to go into the eye has walked off .This is not my first Pfaff.I have 7570 so the thread guide is not new to me.This is the greatest machine for quilting.I’m going this week and talking to my dealer and seeing if they had anyone else bring in this machine.It took 9 months for any of these problems to appear.That’s why I looked up problems with QE4.0.I’ll also inform them after I hare what they say, that I have read blogs to see what’s going on with others like you Stephanie which I have also read on Pfaff-Talk.I’ll print up what you have said what they have done to yours Stephanie.I like the Pfaff’s for quilting but if this is how Pfaff is now.This just might be my last.It’s a shame to ruin the name of Pfaff as this company has.I’ll post whay I get told.

  175. Wendy says:

    Oh dear Oh dear! Have just received QE4.0 for Christmas. Should I not even take it out of the box? I have been using my 30 year old Pfaff 1222E and thought it was time for an update.

  176. Meg says:


    I’ve got a Pfaff 1222E and upgraded to the QE4.0 in May ’09. It is a big jump, a lot to learn, but you can do it. I strongly urge you to take classes for this machine; does your dealer offer them? I hope so. Remember that learning a new ‘thing’ takes time, and your most valuable tool is _patience_. Allow yourself the time to learn and you’ll be rewarded.

    Also, be sure to use an uninterruptable power supply for this machine. It will help to eliminate some of the computer quirkiness due to uneven power, which can damage your new machine.

  177. corina says:

    I am glad I was directed to this website (thanks Tammy). After reading everyone’s comments on the QE4, I was well prepared when I went sewing machine shopping. I tried the Janome 6600 but I just didn’t like the huge feet and having to unscrew the foot each time I wanted to switch. Tried the Elna, Brother Innovis and I don’t remember what else. When I tried the QE4 I felt like I was home. Loved the feel, the quality of the stitches and the sensor fmq is heaven. I agree that the 1/4 inch foot is poorly designed. I have a creative 2124, so I use the 1/4 inch foot from that machine and it pieces very well. I will, however, try it with the regular foot and just move the needle over slightly. Hopefully my love affair with this machine will last!

  178. Debbe says:

    Stephanie ,I told my dealer of what you had Pfaff do with your machine and now I can’t find where I read your post.Could you please post what Pfaff did to your machine.Because my dealer would like to read it. I would great appreicate it very much.Debbe

  179. Stephanie says:

    Hi Debbe,
    Basically what Pfaff did to the machine was to replace the thread guide- which is a standard upgrade now on those machines- it is the first thread guide to be threaded. And, they made a thread guide out of wire and attached it inside just above the needle clamp- I can almost see it if I look straight down in the open slot that the thread runs in. After of course they had cut out the rough patch and sanded the edges smooth inside. My machine had a burr that had caught in the thread I think but the mechanic thinks it was my choce to use cotton thread in the Pfaff that cut the plastic- I think it is a very silly thing to say a machine cannot take cotton thread- well it would seem it cannot if it has not been designed with enough thread guides in the right place to keep the thread from shredding the insides. I was told after a phone call to the designers at HQ by the mechanic who worked on my machine that they are now modifying all Pfaffs of this series off the production line with this additional thread guide as they must recognise it is necessary for good stitch formation and machine function. And, they replaced the velcro part of the thread cutter and put a new thread cutter blade in also. Then she adjusted the tension settings inside the brains of the computer to make it more tolerant of thicker quitling threads- and I mean by this standard 40 weight cotton quilting thread designed for machine use- the weight that is probably most commonly used by quilters everywhere.
    Now..what I have found is it sews very nicely but will STILL not freemotion quilt well with either the freemotion sensormatic or the spring freemotion quilting foot- without skipping stitches. Grrrrr. And sometimes breaking thread. I once had some small area of stitched out quilt without trouble but it has thrown stitches every single time I’ve adjusted and worked with it in freemotion modes since the initial test on its return from the mechanic.
    Not impressed. It seems to do all other sewing tasks fine however. I will probably sell it when I have the opportunity to someone who makes clothes alot or someone who doesn’t want to drop the feed dogs and sew. It would be fine for those things. My machine does not actually do all of what it claims to be capable of doing so I’m selling it-when I get around to organising how best to do it.

  180. corina says:

    Hi stephanie. You must be really frustrated and I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but just in case…

    I had trouble with freemotion with the sensor foot. I used a topstitch needle and the single throat plate and that helped but still had some issues until i lowered the pivot height. I didn’t realize that you could lower it in the negative. When using regular cotton fabric and warm and natural batting the height is at -2. With very thin fusible batting between cotton fabrics I put the height at -3. Even when using the regular freemotion foot I lower the pivot height. So far I have had no more trouble with freemotion quilting. Hope that helps and good luck.

  181. Debbe says:

    Thanks Stephanie , for the information.Now my dealer will know what is going on if they haven’t got any infor from Pfaff. I haven’t talked to him since after Christmas and they were in the middle of a remodeling of the 20 yr store. So I’ll be going real soon.But now I have your info.Thanks again. Corina,I’m going to try what you posted about freemotion mode.I’ll post real soon on my luck.

  182. tammy says:

    Cross your fingers and toes… Big Bertha my QE 4 is fixed! No more baby sewing machines for her. LOL

    After I finished Shannon’s quilt on Heidi (Husqvarna 500), because Bertha refused to fmq, I took her back to Wayne (Brandon Sewing Centre Pfaff dealer). This time when he used the blanket stitch the top thread snapped for him three times in five minutes! He tinkered around and adjusted the feed dog height. Bertha has been sewing like my Husqvarna ever since, even nylon and dare I type it.. yes.. I dare Free Motion Quilting! Yippee… doing a large victory dance around the room!

    Wayne took the plastic covering off Bertha and used a little flashlight to show me the inside of her thread guides and guess what? No plastic in any of the thread guides on Bertha… all metal. I asked him about thread, he said any kind of cotton, nylon, polyester or rayon will be fine.

    In Brandon, Manitoba Canada, I can buy Schmitz and Inspire that Wayne recommends or Klasse at Fabricland he does not . I have a large variety of each brand. Some of my sewing machines came with Singer, Pfaff and no name brand needles. Wayne thought part of Bertha’s woes could be attributed to the Klasse needles. Since I use all brands of needles I did not believe them. But I was surging a drapery weight lined cotton bag last week, it was too heavy for my surger and I snapped off both needles. I replaced them with Klasse surger needles, they look identical to Schmitz needles. My surger would not sew, it was skipping stitches and making a horrible clanking sound. I rethreaded, took the needles out and but them in again, still clanking around and skipping stitches. So I put in two universal Schmitz needles, the surger is happy again.

    Hello Corina, I am delighted that you treated yourself to a Pfaff QE4. I hope you will enjoy a long and happy love affair with her.

    Hello Emily, thanks so much for starting this topic and hosting these comments. Have the issues with your QE4 beeen resolved yet? Probably the main reason I am happy with mine is because my local Pfaff dealer is so excellent. I have two years of free service warranty. I know Wayne could fix yours, it is just too bad that you live so far away. With reference to your Pfaff 2134 and the bobbin light staying on, I would try cleaning out the bobbin area with canned air or a mini vacuum.

    Happy sewing all.

  183. Stephanie says:

    Hi Corina,
    Thanks for your suggestions. However I tried different needles and lowering the presserfoot height at every setting it has with the sensormatic foot before being sent off for assessment with the head technician of Pfaff in my country, and after its return. It was possible to set it up and get it sewing after a bunch of snapped threads and skipped stitches by making the usual needed adjustments, and it then sewed in fmq for about five minutes before the problems began to recurr. The first time around I tested an a massive variety of factors that affect fmq to rule out reasons as to why it was failing to quilt well. I tested over 200 variations of needles, threads, batting, and presser foot heights in combination with different tension settings which took days to do. It wouldn’t sew properly due to several reasons which are apparently And a functioning machine doesn’t need to have a straight stitch throat plate on to successfully fmq. I have spent quite abit of additional $ for accessories to try to fix its problems and so far all of them have failed-and I don’t want to waste more money on a lemon.
    It does everything well except fmq with either foot, (which was the reason I purchased it, to quilt) regardless of where I set the tension or pivot height and trying different thread and needle types has not solved the ongoing problems. My dealership suggests the easiest way to deal with the machine is to sell it and they are not very impressed to see the way it is behaving with someone who knows how to troubleshoot the machine correctly…I hate to think how others who don’t know what to do will get on. I am sure there is some part that has poor design or defect for there still to be problems. I’ve never seen the like of a machine in 30 years of sewing with a range of brands and pricepoints and hope I will never again.
    Now all I need to do is find a buyer who will be happy not to fmq, because otherwise the machine works well.

  184. Janell says:

    wow girls high five thanks for all the good info. So here is my question if anyone has the time to answer. I am a spoiled baby that learned to sew on an expensive top of the line Pfaff about 30 plus years ago. I am 43 and have used a crappy ole singer since ive been married. I have suffered enough and i think i owe it to myself to get into the 21st century at least before i die. I need some help! Would anyone suggest a good machine preferably a pfaff as i do love the IDT feature that even the ancient one of my moms had when i was two. I mostly do home deco, some tailoring and fussing with remakes for friends and quilting is my new passion since there aren’t little kids around to get in the way anymore. I would love to find a good sturdy machine that will sew when i sit down to it without hrs of monkeying around to get it to work….plse send suggestions for hopeful sewer returning to the craft after a long time away.

  185. DeeAnn says:

    Hi, Janell,
    Each of us has different criteria for the “perfect” machine, and with the number of options available, I have found this website helpful, as there is a section on sewing machine reviews of practically all brands and models.
    I have had a Bernina Artista 170–more machine than I needed as I never branched into embroidery and the machine is now outdated for that function. It also has seemed finicky lately. I wanted something I could piece and machine quilt with that is solid and sturdy, so I bought a Juki TL98Q–I love it, but it does only sew a straight stitch. However, it has needle up/down, thread cutter button on the foot pedal, knee lift, reverse lever, and drop feed dogs options. It is a mechanical machine, so stitch length, presser foot pressure, and tension are all manual adjustments. There is a learning curve with the tension, but if you sew a sample of the fabric weights and thread you plan to use, you can set it before you start a project. I paid $650.00 for mine new. (I paid 2800.00 for the Bernina 10 years ago). I have several friends who have the Pfaff QE 4.0 and are having similar problems as those expressed here. Some had older Pfaff machines they swore by. Some were die-haard Bernina users but now are looking at other brands. I have other friends who own the Janome 6600 and love it, and if I were to look into a new, multi-stitch, multi-function machine, I think I would also try the Baby Locks, particularly the Espire. I will not ever pay for embroidery functions I won’t use, but I have been spoiled by some of the finer functions available. Companies are getting better at offering some of those functions in the medium-priced machines. (It used to be you had to spend $2500 plus to get needle up/down, drop feed dogs, etc.) I would suggest reading as much as you can find, narrowing it down to a few that have the features you want or need (in your price range), and trying them out to make the final choice. Manufacturers each have websites which list their machines and features of each, making it easy to compare. I hope this helps.

  186. Stephanie says:

    Hi Janell,
    I’m going to suggest you go and test drive the Bernina Aurora either 430 or 440 depending on your budget and whether or not you want BSR.
    They are sturdy, dependable machines that have been around for a while and are often the machine of choice for alot of quilters. The stitch quality is amazing, they are not fussy temperamental creatures and I can say I have never had a moment’s tantrum or problem from mine- vastly different to my experience with my Qe4. And they make the most beautiful range of automatic or manual buttonholes with no fuss. And now, Bernina are the only European made machines left in the mainstream domestic market- and are not at the mercy of stockholders demands- HV and Pfaff have closed the Swedish factory and all machines in their range are now going to be made in China.
    Oh and if you want a 9mm stitching machine look at the 450 Fashionista Bernina- they might even have the deal still of My Label for free included.
    The other machine to consider is the 1008 Bernina mechanical or any of the 900 or 1000 classic range- wonderful workhorses with legendary quality. Even a classic 830 if you can find one in good condition wouldn’t go astray from consideration. My Mum’s 1010 is an awesome mechanical machine and every time I use it when visiting it is a joy- not too many bells and whistles but it oozes quality with every stitch.
    You can probably tell, I have become a massive Bernina devotee-they’re the only brand I’ve used or many different sorts, that has not thrown up trouble of some sort during a variety of projects- and I do alot of sewing.

    If you absolutely must have idt and want to have a Pfaff why not look into the select range, or the 2000 series Pfaffs? I will say the space in the harp is less than in the Bernina though…so be aware of you want to quilt larger pieces harp size can matter.
    Alternatively search for something in the used category depending on what you need.
    If you only need straight stitch you can find some great vintage machines out there-even the newer semi industrials do a halfway decent job of quilting if you get one with a front or end loading bobbin, not a top loader.
    Have fun finding your machine according to your needs.

  187. Janell says:

    Thank you so much girls…..funny you all love your Bernina’s! Contacted my Home Economics teacher from Highschool and the lady that did all of our schools sewing (and my best friend from highschool’s mom) and all of the towns alterations and bridesmaid dresses. Guess What? They ALL love and swear by Bernina’s! Sooooo back to the drawing board. Have to put the B’s back into the mix!. So far I am in agreement with you DeeAnn about all that embroidery “stuff” i seriously doubt that i will ever use any of it much. With that said i have almost entirely ruled out the Husquavarna/Vikings seems that is the big feature on most of the mid and high end models and just makes the price go up. I do so love that IDT..from the Pfaff’s.have been very frustrated with my piecing quilts without that function…or what i remember of it. Perhaps user error?:)
    So i have narrowed my importants to this:….i would like some of the antique looking quilting stitches, IDT, needle up/down. and Yes Stephanie…the Harp size is definitely a plus….the H/V’s seemed to have the best of these so far. Thanks for the advice i will go back and do some more do diligence!

  188. Shirley says:

    This is the most informative site I’ve found on Pfaff QE4 and I really appreciate all the great info. Got mine new in July 09 and found this site. Almost regreted having traded my old pfaff 2042 in when I read all the trouble so many were having, but had no problems until I started fmq with QE4. Shredded threads galore. Kept trying different remedies suggested on this site and finally (thanks to Corina’s pivot suggestion) I’m having great success with fmq. Thanks girls for all your help!

  189. Nancy says:

    Hey you Bernina lovers out there! I love my Aurora 430! I had a ball sewing everything for my new grandson’s nursery. I do, however, have a problem with the embroidery module. After doing Christmas embroidery it started this thing of showing a thread breaking when the thread has not broken. The machine beeps, stops, and I must start it again about every 20 stitches. Help!

  190. Tammy says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I do not own a Bernina yet. I collect sewing machines and enjoy trouble shooting their glitches. Here are some things to try:

    take out your bobbin, bobbin casing if it comes out and throat plate. Clean the area out thoroughly either using canned air or a mini-vac attachment, as I suspect there is a bit of lint or thread annoying a sensor underneath. If that doesn’t do the trick try blowing canned air or using a mini-vac in the upper thread path. If that still doesn’t reset the sensor, change the needle and the thread. Turn the machine off and on after cleaning and before trying to sew again.

    Good luck.

  191. Stephanie says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I’m betting there is some fluff or thread setting off a sensor too. I had that happen once with a different machine and nothing but a trip to the mechanic would fix it- the fluff was not within reach for me to remove it.
    Turning on and off your machine may reset it, but be sure to pay attention to where you are with your embroidery design to be able to resume at the correct place when you are done- its irritating to have to guess

    If its been a while since you had a service you should take it in anyhow for a good ‘deep cleanse’ by the mechanic. Its amazing how even a small amount of fluff in the wrong place can cause all manner of grief.
    The other thing is when you go in with it- get them to check it is not a glitch in the computer’s ‘brain’. It may be there are updates available for your machine which may also be worth finding out about.

  192. corina says:

    Well looks like my qe4 is going to be a problem child too. Was getting skipped stitches using the sensormatic fmq and thread is constantly jumping off the takeup lever. I have the newer style thread guide so that isn’t the problem. I think the problem is that when i stop with the needle down while fmqing i get a huge loop of thread hanging in front of the machine (probably about 3 inches of slack). The dealer says that’s just the way they are. Do any of you gals have the same issue? I can’t believe they would make a machine that would have a giant thread hanging in front. Tammy, do you still have issues or is Bertha truly fixed?

  193. tammy says:

    Hi Corina,
    I do not ever recall having three inches of thread forming a huge loop hanging in front of my machine. I have never had the thread jumping off the take up lever. Not once. My troubles were the upper thread snapping when using the blanket stitch (feed dogs up), as well as fmq and sensormatic free motion quilting (feed dogs down). I always quilt using the needle down feature. My Pfaff dealer adjusted the feed dogs in December 2009, and my QE4 has been sewing flawlessly ever since. Oh I also dumped all my Klasse needles for Schmitz ones.

    Since we are both in Manitoba, I suggest you have your Pfaff dealer phone Wayne at the Brandon Sewing Centre. Knock wood, Wayne and I believe that Big Bertha is truly fixed.

    BIQ = buddies in quilting

  194. corina says:

    Thanks Tammy and glad to hear Bertha is fixed. My Pfaff dealer has been very good. Brought it in and was back to me within 48 hours. The fmq is wonderful after a bit of tweaking. No more skipped stitches. Still have a bit of excess thread but a new take up lever is on the way. One of the reasons I bought a Pfaff is for the service the dealer here provides. Hopefully the take up lever solves the last issue I have with my qe4. I bought the yarn couching foot set last week and have been having a blast with it! In January I got the quilter’s toolbox. Piecing is wonderful with the newly designed 1/4 inch foot. They’ve widened the left side of the foot so the fabric no longer pulls to the left.

  195. tammy says:

    Most Excellent News Corina! I’m so glad you have a good Pfaff dealer, it makes such a world of difference. Happy sewing.

  196. sandy says:

    I’ve just bought a Pfaff 4.0 & it’s still in the box since I am giving my sewing rm a total make over. Now these informative tips make me wonder if I should keep it. I do special occasion sewing & figure if a machine has trouble on COTTON, what’s it going to do on CHIFFON etc?? If I do decide to try fmq I should be able to, since this IS a specialty quilt mach. Hopefully some of the quirks have been worked out in the last yr? Anyone know? Thanks for all the info, Sandy

  197. Stephanie says:

    Sandy you won’t know how your particular machine handles chiffon until you sew it. Mine sewed large amounts of silk early on before it developed problems. Just because it is a machine marketed as a quilting machine does NOT mean or guarantee it will give good results, or in the case of mine, even after apparently ‘fixing’ and the installation of new thread guides. Marketing claims are one thing and actual performance of the machine quite another. Mine doesn’t do anything with the feed dogs down well, embroidery or quilting. No other machine I’ve ever owned or sewing with has behaved in the ways this beast has…and I am in the process of selling it.
    I just need to find a buyer who doesn’t want to fmq!
    I have to say I’ve come across way more people who have serious problems with their machine in different countries around the world than found ones who are happy. So be aware when you make your decision whether or not to open that box and perhaps talk to your dealership about it-maybe they can help you out if things do not end well.

  198. Emma says:

    I’ve had my machine about 8 months now, and am happy with it. It took a long time (several months) for me to feel this way though. I think mostly it just takes a LOT longer than I could have imagined to get used to FMQing on a different machine (even though I was previously using a slightly older Pfaff, and expected it would be similar). I really wanted to use the sensormatic foot, but found it hopeless. I use the spring foot from my old Pfaff, and now have no trouble with thread breakages.

    The machine definitely has some quirks which I believe should have been ironed out before releasing it. Even though I’m satisfied now, I should have been delighted with it from the word ‘go’ and was severely disillusioned for several months. I’m planning to contact my dealer about some of the fixes, but here are a few things which bug me: I’m sick of the thread jumping out of the take-up lever, I hate it taking an extra stitch after pressing the reverse button before changing direction, it doesn’t thread smoothly through the take-up lever (it catches on the casing) and the needle threader doesn’t work anywhere near as well as the one on my 10-year-old Pfaff.

    But, I love the extra space (one of my main reasons for upgrading) and it does FMQ much more smoothly than my old machine.

    I’ve long been dedicated to Pfaffs, but after this, if the Bernina 830 were in my price range, I would seriously consider that. I think Bernina are crazy not to make their Aurora range with the extra space to the right of the needle!

  199. tammy says:

    Hi Emma,
    On March 5, I will have owned my Pfaff QE4 (Big Bertha) for one year. I love the large harp, duel lights, thread cutter, the 9 mm decorative stitches and automatic presser foot lifter. This machine has all the bells and whistles I want within my price range. I am mostly happy with it because my Pfaff dealer is excellent at servicing it. My needle threader didn’t work well either, until he adjusted it now it works as well or better than on my 1995 Pfaff 7510. I never had the problem with the thread jumping off the take up lever, but I did have the problem of the top thread breaking when using the blanket stitch and fmq. In December 2009, my Pfaff dealer adjusted the feed-dogs and it appears to be much better. The top thread did snap twice last week while straight stitching (hemming a nylon shower curtain). Pfaff has come out with a new take up and I am on the list to get one as soon as it is available here.

    I have to agree with Stephanie that the Pfaff QE 4 is more far problematic than it should be. In hindsight, I should have waited a few years before buying it so the bugs were exterminated.

  200. Loisa says:

    I have a relatively new Pfaff QE 4.0 and decided I needed a break from using it as it is driving me crazy. I am trying to foundation piece and it usually “misses” the first 8 or so stitches, then sews the rest of the seam OK. Sometimes it doesn’t sew at all, but does after I re-insert the bobbin.
    Has anyone else had the same problem ? And a solution ?
    I am also very annoyed that it chews up the beginning of a seam v(as mentioned earlier in this blog) unless I start 1/8″ or so in from the edge. That isn’t what you want to do on a 1/4″ seam !
    I will be taking it back to the dealer to see if I can reproduce my problems and ask for help.

  201. Samantha says:

    I’m debating upgrading to a Pffaf QE 4.0, but am nervous about it after reading this blog. It all seems to depend on a good technician, and the year you purchase your QE 4.

    I love the idea of the IDT, my Husqy wont feed my quilting very well when doing specialty stiches in applique on them. But, i’ve finally worked out all the wierdness on my HV 870, love it except with any type of specialty stitch or thicknesses i need the IDT.

    Hate to so quickly go back to troubleshooting another sewing machine. Maybe since it’s the floor model all the quircks have been worked out as it’s the technician doing the demo and he loves his Pffaf over his HV, so it’s my only upgrade path as Bernena is too expensive and these guys will trade me in at full value since it’s under a year since i’ve had it.

    Any comments?

  202. corina says:

    Hi Samantha. If you don’t need a new machine now I would wait a year or so, until all the quirks have been worked out. I’ve had my QE 4.0 since December 31/09 and wish i would have waited. There are way too many quirks. I’ve never had a machine with so many issues, and so sensitive. A person shouldn’t have to constantly take it in for repair, or have the desire to throw their machine out the window. I had read the negative reviews but disregarded them after seeing a couple of good ones. Big mistake. Yes the machine sews nicely, most of the time, until you want to do freemotion. It is soooo finicky. The big throat space is wonderful, but only if you can actually make use of it. I have several other machines, and they all do freemotion better than the new 4.0, including a cheap singer from the 90’s, a 10 year old Bernina and a 50 year old pfaff. That’s pretty sad considering how much money I spent. The dealer has been great but that doesn’t change the fact the QE 4.0 is more trouble than it’s worth.

  203. Jeanette says:

    Hi Samantha

    I totally agree with Corina. I wish I had held out too. There’s just too much wrong with this machine. I would not recommend Pfaff to anyone.

  204. Diane says:

    Just to update my earlier post, I am FMQ up a storm these days. I have learned some things that have helped:
    1. I am using a needle with a larger eye
    2. I am using Coats and Clark cotton quilting thread (the large spool on the cardboard spool instead of all the expensive thread that didn’t work.
    3. I stand the spool up on the table behind my QE 4.0, bring it around the flip up piece (that has all the stiches shown on it) and through the bobbin winding thread guide, next through the reg. thread guide and then thread the rest of the way as usual. I am using the same thread in the bobbin. I was previously using bobbin thread.
    4. I am using quilting gloves and focus only on the small area between my hands.
    5. I am taking more care to put the fabric in a puddle in front of me, arrange the fabic in the harp in accordian pleats (post if you want me to describe this) and make sure nothing is hanging up the fabric on the table to my left.
    6. I try not to FMQ over other stitching too many times as this seems to break the thread.
    Since making these changes, I have had very few problems. I have also called my quilt shop and they told me when I bring my machine in for it’s one year cleaning in April they will install the part on the take up lever to prevent the thread from slipping off (although it hasn’t happened in weeks, I still have the thread loop thing from time to time-it hasn’t caused it to slip off, but it distracts me none the less.
    I am thrilled and hope this helps you!!

  205. Debbe says:

    Diane, I too have done those things and mine stopped acting up.I even called my dealer and they were just staring a major remodling of the store so asked me to hold on for 3 weeks.In that time I changed the threading to the stand behind and though the guides for bobbin winding and I have wound the thread just one time around the thread pin with one of those thread caps so it doesn’t come off. and I have been having no problems.Very little thread breaking or it coming off the take up guide.I didn’t change my thread in the bobbin.What ever it takes to make this machine happy which is a weird machine with more problems then most soap operas.

  206. Diane says:

    Thanks Debbie-great idea to wrap the thread around the tread pin-I’m assuming that is in the up posiiton. I’ll try that tommorrow. The ladies in my sewing group have had problems similiar to the ones we have had with the QE 4.0 with other machines with similiar features. From what I understand, when you get into the computerized machines that sew at very fast speeds, these problems are prevalent. A very good friend of mine who works at our local quilt shop (that only sells Pfaffs) wanted to avoid these problems and bought a $5,300.00 Viking after trying one out and being told they are better than Pfaff. She is having the exact same problems, including the thread loops and slipping off the take up. She is now sewing with her thread behind the machine in a coffee mug. Please let me know if you have any other tips. Enjoy sewing!!

  207. Debbe says:

    Yes Diane the pin is in the upright.Sorry I didn’t state that in the beginning.Let me know if that helps with your machine? It has really helped me.I don’t have as much in fact very few since I started doing that.

  208. Tammy says:

    Last Saturday my Pfaff dealer installed the new take up on my Pfaff QE4. It is amazing…Big Bertha is now sensor motion quilting and spring motion quilting with no top thread breaking or skipped stitches. I was sewing a Strawberry Shortcake Tutu Cute baby quilt, I even fmq with white thread on the top and hot pink in the bobbin, with excellent results. The only glitch, now is the thread cutter not cutting consistently when fmq. I tried it with feed dogs up and down, the cutter will cut 3-5 times in row then fail to cut the bobbin thread. When it doesn’t cut the bobbin thread gets stuck in the cutter arm and a thread jam happens in the bobbin area. So as long as I did not use the cutter when quilting Bertha quilted beautifully. My Pfaff dealer said there is a fix coming out for the cutter which should fix this problem. I found my thread cutter works super for buttonholes, bartacks, fancy embroidery stitches and general sewing, just not fmq.

  209. Doris says:

    Almost glad to hear that other people are having trouble while fmq. Attending a class today to learn more about quilting was less than fun when my expressions 4 spent all day making birdsnests, breaking thread, jamming up and breaking needles! Never have I had a more frustrating time. Designer I never gave me any problems; sorry I switched. What’s more, I bought this in Canada and brought it to Florida (my winter home) and must take it all the way back up north or void the warranty.

  210. Audrey says:

    I too did lots of research before buying a QE 4.0 in mid Dec. 2009. A friend and I both went to the local dealer with all of the issues. We test drove one machine that was a dream and one that had issues, but we decided it was worth a shot since our local dealer had a 30 day money back guarantee. We had our machines for 3 weeks when the feed system started to fail. Apparently this is a known problem. When my machine worked, I loved it. But I hated having a black cloud hanging over me wondering if/when it would break again. So we both returned our Pfaffs. I bought a Baby Lock Espsire, she bought a Brother Inovis (they are basically the same machine) and never looked back. We both love our new machines. They handle everything we throw at them. Our Pfaff dealer is very frustrated with the company. He is only remaining a dealer to support his customers who have bought from him in the past. If he relinquishes the dealership, he will no longer be able to buy parts to service the machines he has sold. I wouldn’t touch a new Pfaff until the reviews are consistently positive.

  211. Debbe says:

    Doris try some of the tricks some of us have been doing and you’ll find it does less thread breaking.I even had called my dealer to warn him I was going to bring it in.But they were going to start a 3 week remodel could I wait.In the mean time I tried wrapping the thread around the spindle that raises up just a loop.Plus I put the thread on a stand behind my machine and I have been happy ever since.That was January too.The thread cutter will jam a bit but not all the time.Another thing I found that every time the machine does a birds nest rethread the machine. Every time too. It helps getting the thread back into the thread disks.You maybe able to last the summer in Florida this way.Let us know if these little tricks help.We just have sensitive machines I guess.Good Luck and enjoy your summer sewing OK?

  212. Carl says:

    I have noticed the thread untwisting, and then causing problems.

    This is easily seen, after you have been sewing awhile, between where the thread exits the shroud and meets the needle.

    My theory is, this is caused by the lay of the thread.
    Some thread is laid right handed and some left.

    Solution is to pull the thread off the spool causing it to rotate, or pay it of the end, whichever works.

    We are trying to twist the threat tighter not looser. The tighter twist will pass through the eye of the needle without jamming and breaking.

    In the QE4 this is simply done by mounting the spool either vertically or horizontally.

    That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.


  213. Carl says:

    BTW…. can one edit a comment on here after it’s submitted?

    Thread isn’t spelt threat…. 🙂


  214. Carl says:


    I would love to see a picture of that new take up arm.


  215. Tammy says:

    I posted photos on my blog, just click on my name to follow the link.

  216. Carl says:

    Thanks Tammy

    I’m half upgraded.
    I have the new first thread guide but not the new take up arm and black thread guard.

    Good photos


  217. Carl says:

    This thread untwisting problem has to do with initial direction of the twist in the first place, and then how it is wound onto the spool in the second.

    Some spools are rotated when loaded and others are not.

  218. Carl says:


    I have informed the gang at

    That you have these pics on your blog. I am sure they will find them of interest.

    Thanks again


  219. Gisha says:

    I received the QE4 as a present for my birthday and my Janome 6000E was given as trade in for it. I had trouble with the machine “eating” the fabric when started to piece, I overcame this problem by changing the plate to a single hole plate. Regarding the thread cutter problem – I found out that from time to time I open the bobbin case and clear the lint from behind the cutter – I just move the cutter carefully, lift up the blade and clear the lint. Then return the blade carefully, push the thread cutter and it comes back into place. That way I prevent any problems with the thread cutter. I have a problem – when I start to sew, on the back side of the fabric at the beginning of the sewing line there is like a nest of threads. Has anyone experienced it, is there a solution? I didn’t experience this problem with my Janome. I would appreciate your input.
    Best regards,

  220. Jeanette says:

    Hello Gisha

    Have you tried using a “leader” piece of fabric? I use my scraps – fold a small square of fabric in half… feed it into the machine and start sewing…as you get to the edge of the “feeder” then put the fabric you’re really working on and all you have to do is snip the leader piece off when your done. You can finish your piecing with a bit of fabric too so that it’s there at the ready for your next piecing; but I would only do this if I was finished with sewing because otherwise you could to chain piecing.

  221. Gisha says:

    Thanks Jeanette for your answer. I am a quilter and do my quilting with very small scrapes and it is not convenient to use a “feeder” piece cause is slows me. Thought that there is a solution in the machine characters that I didn’t discover. Is there?

  222. Diane says:

    Took my QE 4.0 in for it’s first year cleaning last week. They raised the feed dog height for me to help with the fabric feeding and also installed a piece of very tiny tubing on the take up lever. I am very happy with the results. I am still planning on purchasing a straight stitch plate because I’m tired of the fabric jamming down in when I start a seam. I am stalling on that one because I just know I am going to forget about it and try to zigzag with it on. I guess wanting the large embroidery stitches has caused this problem- it makes sense that the larger hole need for embroidery would absorb light fabrics and knits. DARN IT!!

  223. corina says:

    Hi Diane. I have the straight stitch plate and just set the machine on stitch width safety, that way it only sews straight stitch. If you try and zigzag it will beep and say that is set for straight stitch only. I was wondering if you noticed a big difference when they raised the feed dogs? Were you having trouble with the fabric feeding or had the feed dogs been set wrong to begin with? My machine is getting the new take up lever as soon as I’m done with my current project. I might get them to check the feed dogs if it’s made a difference for you.

  224. Diane says:

    Hi Corina,
    My fabric wasn’t feeding very well especially over thick seams. This drove me crazy as the Pfaff I bought the year before sews over anything and was almost $1,000. less. The feed dogs on my QE 4.0 were barely above the plate. Now they are feeding much better and sewing better too. Has the straight stich plate helped with starting new seams without getting the fabric jammed down into the bobbin area??

  225. Donna Miller says:

    Hi Girls,
    I just looked at a few different machines recently and like the Pfaff creative 4.0. Of course I am concerned with the problems that have been posted; the machine eating the fabrics and not getting a good straight stitch. Has any one try using the needles designed for the differnt weight fabrics. I know it takes time to change the needles but maybe that would solve the problems. I would love to know if any one tryed that. Thanks

  226. Debbe says:

    I do that for every project I work on that sewing 101.And when working on a quilt every 8 hours I change needles.I have been using Schmetz gold.I like them.I only use Schmetz needle only.I HAVE NOT (KNOCK ON WOOD) HAD ANY PROBLEMS IN A WHILE. I have been sewing and piecing an graduation quilt for my oldest granddaughter and it’s smooth sailing.When I sewing with a friend once a week we use my 7570 and boy do I miss all those bells and whistles.We are making clothes we have it all set up in kitchen then much more room. I love my QE4.0 really do.

  227. Sharon says:

    I am so thrilled with my Pfaff, but then I have had junk all my life so getting a top machine the minor things don’t bother me at all. I love the 4.0 because it mirrors, it has lots of stitches, I can’t see any problems with my machine. I recommend it. I truly love my QE 4.0

  228. Donna McCauley says:

    What a great blog. I have been a Pfaff lover for over 30 years and have loved every machine I ever had. 11 years ago I got the 7570 with the embroidery unit. It was the beginning of my embroidery business. I now own several large commercial embroidery machines and the best digitizing software in the field. I love my 7570, it is a work horse and can go through everything from carpet to silk. Pfaff was bought and sold several times after that machine which broke my heart, and I don’t think their machines will ever be the same. 4 years ago I got into quilting and Pfaff didn’t have a good quilting machine yet so I purchased the Janome 6600. I ran that to death with free motion quilting. It always ate the beginning of my pieces and I always have to use scrap material to begin my piecing. (my 7570 never gave me that problem) I also have a major problem with the tention of my stitches when I free motion quickly. The Janome is just not the work horse that my 7570 is. Last winter a friend convinced me to get the Juki TL98. It is a simple straight stitch only machine. My mistake is that I purchased it on e-bay because there is no dealer near me. I live in up state NY and the nearest dealer was near Boston. (a 3-4 hour drive) The Juki is a great simple machine and works well… for the most part! But the needle threader broke and the upper tention has been a problem from the start and I believe it needs to be replaced, and I HATE the added walking foot. I’m very frustrated and would love to have one sewing machine that would meet my needs instead of 3. I was going to go look at the QE4.0 this weekend when I found your blog. Should I invest in yet another machine, that may have lots of problems? I really want the percission and IDT of the Pfaff, but I need to be able to work quickly and run the machine for hours on end when I free motion and know that it can take the stress I place on my machines. My hubby wants me to get a long arm, and yes that may really help, but I’m not ready to go back into debt and I do pretty well with free motion and question the need for the long arm at this time. I know you can’t make my decission for me but will the QE 4.0 take the hours of constant free motion?

  229. Debbe says:

    Donna they have a lot of the flaw’s worked out now. If you read this blog and take notes of some of the simple fixes we have come up with. I too have been a Pfaff lover for more than 20 years.Before I did buy my first Pfaff 7550. I did demo’s with all the other brands and hands down Pfaff was going to be my baby.I loved the IDT. Well then I had an 7570 almost fall into my lap and couldn’t pass it up so I sold my7550. I have had my 7570 for 17 yrs. Yes it is a work horse but mine is on it 3rd mother board.Thank goodness the second time was 2 weeks before the 2 year warranty was to expire on the replacement.Well my husband & I were just wondering what next should I look into another machine.So we went and I was sat down in front of a QE4.0 and I played and all the bells and whistles I loved. So I bought it. It was at least 5 months before I too started with problems but with trail and error I fixed my problems and I love this machine. A couple times a week a friend of mine is teaching me a long time quilter to make clothes.I set up in my kitchen table and I use my 7570.Boy do I miss all those bells and whistles.But my 7570 is purring just like a new born kitten.I’ll never give that baby up. I do all kinds of quilting and free motion too. I don’t have any problems and now get done faster than doing all kinds of tugging and pushing of quilts in that small harp of the 7570.I have mine in a quilter’s cabinet and it’s like heaven here on earth.When I die I want to be buried with my QE4.0 and all my stash.If I had to do it over I won’t change a thing. Good Luck in your decision but go and try it and mention this blog.Most likely they won’t know about it so they say to you.But all I did was googled problems with QE4.0 and this came up. Take notes on all of this blogs fixes and go armed when you go to look.Don’t forget the credit card or checkbook 🙂 Please post what you have decided to do.Another Pfaff friend…..Debbe

  230. Helen Walland says:

    I had my QE4 serviced recently and it had to go back to the factory for something. When it came back the take up arm had been modified with a hook and a black plastic thread guide.

    I had read on this blog earlier, that there were modifications so I asked my dealer about them, months ago. She phoned Pfaff, here in England, and they said there was no such thing!!

    So I now have the modifications and my dealer is hopping mad because she hasn’t got the modifications on her own machine!!!!

    I haven’t tried metallic thread again yet – that will be another adventure.

  231. Stephanie says:

    I have tried every single needle suitable for quilting for the fabrics and threads I use. Generally a topstitch will give the best results for freemotion quilting for a massive range of threads. I used and tested topstitch, jeans, quilting, and sharps needles in size 70, 80 and 90 with a range of high quality cotton quilting threads of different weights, 50 and 40 weights, on different battings and at different ension settings, and recorded the results for each combination- over 200 variations tested. It took days! Not a single sample was acceptable. NOT GOOD. My machine ended up being assessed by Pfaff and passed their tests after some bits of shredded plastic were sanded down, the mechanic said the machine had been built without sufficient thread guides inside, added some which I think are now being put in at factory. They put in a new thread guide near the spool of thread. There is a new take-up lever being issued, which my dealership didn’t offer me because they knew that I was still unhappy with the machine’s erratic performance after having it fixed under warranty. ..and because they are having alot of problems with the line and are not at all happy about it. They advised me the simplest solution for everyone was for me to sell it to someone who wasn’t a quilter. They have so many very upset customers, and little help from the company. I was able to tell them what had happened when the machine was sent to the head office, as the company had not even bothered to issue them with a report beyond telling them they had fitted a new thread guide near the spool. I had had two phone conversations from their head technician and they had been told absolutely nothing. Whilst I got good customer service in terms of being informed, the dealership was left out in the cold. When I got it back, It sewed everything else fine apart from freemotion, didn’t matter which foot, or thread, or needle combination I threw at it. Before when I was preparing for it to be looked at under warranty and was told I had to supply extensive evidence it would not sew, I spent 4 days testing it and sent off every stitch sample and report to the company to show it simply would not quilt. I couldn’t be bothered repeating the process when it was erratically sewing, skipping stitches and back to its old tricks within a couple of hours of its mofidications. After trying a range of presserfoot heights, needles and threads for over an hour, and still not getting good results I decided then and there to sell it, since the dealership were not happy with the range, they are very disappointed with what has been produced they are expected to try to sell, sad to see the quality of Pfaff in such decline with machines being sold before sufficient road testing had been performed to discover these issues, and actually recommended to me to sell it whilst I could, incase MORE problems developed. Just so you know, I make my living from teaching quiltmaking and exhibiting work with many ribbons for machine quilting excellence, and the dealership and company ruled out user error on my end. I expect stitches for form in a balanced manner when correctly adjusted machine and compatible fibres, thread and needles are taken into acount. I expect a lock stitch for form on every single stitch, not skipping stitches here and there, and not leaving long loops of unsewn thread between areas of stitches that have formed, effectively a massive jump stitch with a series of needle tracks in the fabric. Any machine that cannot do this after being looked at by the best technician employed by the company that sells this brand, has some serious issues going on, and I simply could not be bothered to spend more time, money, inconvenience and trouble effectively being a road tester for this company, feeding back information to the company as I was asked to do before. I want to quilt!!
    So I managed to rehome the machine with only a $500 loss involved to right buyer, a dressmaker. She doesn’t free motion quilt so it was a good match for her. She is happy and is aware of the problems the machine has in FMQ mode 1 and 2. The machine sewed all the dressmaking functions perfectly, all decorative stitches, and all the clever time saving features well. It just would not quilt which is a more demanding activity for any sewing machine to perform. It is also the test of a good machine because of the demands that the technique on the machine.
    I just think it is very important to know that there are highly skilled people out there who are still having problems with these machines, they have not ironed all the problems out yet, and there seems to be diffrences in the sewability of machines depending on when they were made, which bits have been upgraded or not from the factory or afterwards, and the sort of work quilters are demanding their machine to be able to sew.
    Whilst my machine quilted with the feed dogs up and straight line work, the thread cutter jammed repeatedly even with 50 weight poly, which the machine is tested and set for at factory, would not FMQ without missing stitches- 8 to 12 or more stitches in a row not forming at all, then continuing to then stitch. With the machine sewing at exactly the same speed, on the same pattern with no sharp points or curves. I’ve heard rumors of a new thread cutter. I had been advised to pull the cutter sideways, clean out the area underneath where there is a little bit fo black velcro like materials to catch the thread with, and then retract the cutter by pressing the button, after every bobbin change to keep it very clean, but even when doing this my machine was still jamming now and then.

    For the price they sell these machines at it is unacceptable that they are having to bring in fix after fix after fix to get the machines to function, after the machine was released to market rather than to do this in their R & D department before releasing the machines. The other thing is there still seems to be problems for quilters here and there, even though there are some satisfied people around also…after they have had all the upgrades available done to their machines. Why there is this variation in machine function I dont’ know but think its not good that there is a lack of consistent good performance with the model.
    To those people reading this and considering whether to buy the machine or not, personally if I had my time over, I wouldn’t touch this machine if you paid me to. You might get lucky and have one that works, but then again, you might not and might suffer the same buyer remorse so many commenters here have. Go into the decision making with your eyes wide open, things are not as simple and well designed as the glossy brochures and sales pitches suggest. Read the entire lot of comments here, not just the last few. Read the reviews elsewhere online, and educate yourself before you put down your cash on what might be a machine that can quilt or might not be. And one which you might have problems getting dealership support on if you do have problems. Weigh up the decision carefully before you jump in, credit card , cash or cheque book melting in anticipation. Buyer beware never applied so well as to this product.
    It all depends on whether you buy into the claims that all problems have been fixed and whether or not you are prepared to risk a couple of thousand dollars on the machine being able to function or not.
    Selling mine off was the best thing I ever did, after buying a Bernina.

  232. Marilyn (NZ) says:

    Thank you so much for all the info. Have tried to read as much as I can – but I am now OFF Pfaff in a big way. I am too old to take on all those problems. My 40 yr old Elna has just died, so am desperate to buy a new machine. Dealer yesterday was trying to persuade me to buy the Bernina 820. If anyone has one, I’d be so grateful if you could tell me pros and cons. Also about the Bernina QE, because the 820 is so big, I think we’d need a new house! I really need a machine that can do FMQ and also sew with metallics.

  233. Stephanie says:

    Marilyn, I use the Aurora 440 QE and its a brilliant machine, I have been quilting with metallics running through the needle, no problems, just lower the tension. I used The Bottom Line and Madeira mettalic threads in three colours. I have to try my superior spool in it too next thime I need metallic gold in a project. I have some new threads from a brand I’ve not used before and they said to use a rayon thread in the bobbin and a lower tension also.
    Topstitch needle, of course, for these threads.
    My 440QE has never skipped a stitch or caused a single problem for me in the time I’ve had it- purchased in August last year and it takes a hammering. Love I can easily get in to clean it out, removing the hook to do so. Oiling it is no big deal at all. The BSR foot is fun, but of course I quilt at great speed for some styles of quilting so I don’t use it all the time, it doesn’t function optimally at high speeds as there is a working range. The foot reads the movement of fabric and has to adjust the speed of the motor in conjunction with the movement of cloth beneath the sensor, so that’s why you can’t get fantastic results at speed with it- it can’t read fast enough to keep up with me. I do use it for when I am working slowly or at a moderate pace however.
    The CB hook system with the vertically positioned bobbin was made for quilting. Because the thread doesn’t make a 90 degree bend as it comes out of the bobbin case as is the case with all top loading machines, there is less strain on the thread and less pull when quilting complex designs that move around. The thread spools straight off and comes up through the throat plate off the side of the bobbin with just the right amount of tension on the thread,not too much. The difference is that eyelashes are a thing of the past with this CB Hook system. I ‘ve seen beginners who have bad technique- who pull overly rapidly and jerkily with their hands on the quilt, working on top loaders and consequently getting many eyelashes at the changes of direction in their quilting, get onto an Aurora 440 and have those eyelashes completely disappear, because of the difference of the bobbin system. Whilst there are quilters who have no problems with top loaders because their technique is good, there are alot of people who have quality issues with the stitches on the back due to the system their machine has and their lack of skill. The Aurora 440QE because of the way it is designed reduces the effect of their lack of skill and makes their quilting look so much nicer on the back.
    I find the machine sews quietly and smoothly as long as you do correct maintenance on it, and I oil more frequenly than one every 180, 000 stitches which is when the oil can symbol pops up to remind you to oil. With quilting I brush out after every bobbin or two, depending on thread type, and oil whenever the machine tells me it needs it by the change in sound. A little oil, more frequently, keeps it purring along. Cleaning out is no problems because the stitch plate pops up when pressing down on the back right hand corner. No screws, no screw driver, I love it!

    The walking foot is the best ever for gripping the layers and feeding through evenly. I thought at first I wouldn’t like a wider foot, but it is less bulky out the back than other brands and the width of the foot and feeders gives me really great results on a variety of fabric weaves and weights. I make clothes now and then as well as quilt and love the walking foot.

    For piecing, not a single piece munched up, pieces go straight through front to back, no wiggling out sideways under the foot, no bunching, or bad feeding at all. The 5.5 narrower feed dogs than on the QE4 means you don’t really need a straight stitch only throat plate for piecing. I make miniatures and quilts with very small pieces and haven’t had any problems at all. I use the number 37 foot that came with the machine for most of my piecing.

    I find the machine is even tempered, doesn’t throw tantrums and is easy to adjust the tension for sewing a variety of threads and battings with. There is a dial that is easy to adjust in fine increments, better than with the Pfaff’s alterations hidden in menus. Its more easily accessed.
    The needle penetration I should add wipes the floor with the qe4.0. I have sewn through denim layers with no problems at all, no stalling or hanging up on patchwork seam allowances which would cause my Pfaff to continually give a main motor overload message. My Bernina sews straight through seams with perfect stitch quality for freemotion or straight line work. It is hugely responsive, touch a button and the change to stitch function or command happens immediately, not a stitch later. The stitches sew out super neat and very precisely and I adore the white day light lighting. Matching threads is more accurate and i have far less eye strain with the wrap around light than I did with dual lights on the Pfaff, which were yellow, and less light output than what is on the Aurora.
    The 820 has lighting right down the harp and would be very nice indeed to work on…one day I will be able hopefully to work my way into one of those but for the time being I am more than fully satisfied and content with the Aurora machine. No hesitations to recommend them at all. They have also been around since 2004 and are more than road tested, no kinks in the system anywhere, and you see many of the world’s best quilters use this machine or have them for back-up use. For your dollar they are less than half as expensive as an 820 and if space is an issue, that might make up your mind for you. And the fact is they don’t weigh as much and are actually portable if you have a strong arm or trolley case. My back isn’t great and I do find because the majority of the machine is all metal under that sturdy plastic exterior, it is quite heavy. But not nearly so heavy as the 8 series and the width and length isn’t a problem to take around in the car to classes or groups. The 820 was not designed as a portable machine.
    Even when I do end up in an 820 I will never part with my Aurora 440. It is quilting and piecing heaven on a stick! Any other questions about the 440, ask away. I am sorry I can’t tell you much about the 8 series though, perhaps Emily will overcome her desire not to jinx her baby and tell us what she thinks about hers and how she is getting on? Although I would think with her quilt output going through the roof that is indication enough things are going well!

  234. debbie says:

    I purchased a 4.0 10/09 after having owned 2 Pfaffs in the past and loving them! Silly me, I wanted more bed space to FMQ as I use a Gammill at my shop and needed something at home to FMQ and piece. I’ve had all the problems above. I notice when the expression line changed to top loading bobbin they removed all of the extra feed dogs-I feel that is why fabric doesn’t feed well when piecing. I’ve contacted Pfaff directly three times. My dealer has replaced the board-doesn’t help. Now we’re waiting for another part to make the cutter work better. I should have kept my old Pfaff 2056 – but new owner is too happy to sell it back! Don’t know what to do as I can’t afford to just go out and buy another machine and actually have no idea what to buy. I am very disappointed in Pfaff and feel sorry (my dealer is also a good business acquaintance) that my dealer has been in business with Pfaff for 20+ years and they are no longer giving him a good product to sell.

  235. Stephanie says:

    Debbe, if you get your machine fixed and still hate it, I would sell it to someone who only sews clothes, or crafts that do not involve freemotion quilting. That sort of sewer has different demands to a quilter and seem to do ok with the functions the machine can do, at least what mine could do before I sold it. Take what you can get for your machine, perhaps 60 percent of new price…remembering that at least since your machine is modified it should actually work better than it did before. Put your money to one side then go do your homework. Test sew everything you are interested in that meets your needs. If you only want the larger harp and straight stitch capability you might find a larger harped s/stitch machine might fill the need for a larger quilting machine, but if you don’t have anything to piece with, you might want to consider even a vintage Bernina 800 or 900 series machines or the new 1008 machine that is purely mechanical if you don’t like the way the larger harp straight stitchers piece Some of the s/s machines have annoying raised stitch plates that are a royal pain to change over with a screw driver and two screws. Some quilt well but don’t piece well. You could probably procure a used machine for piecing and a straight stitch only machine for the price you would sell your Pfaff for and be rid of the problems you currently experience.

    Also think do you really need the larger harp after all? I can easily quilt a queen to King size in the Aurora machines, the harp is larger than the old pfaff you have sold, surprisingly large for how it appears…as you will have no more than half a quilt in the harp at any one time. And you can do quilt as you go if you want to go bigger than King size.. Get the machine down into a table or cabinet and the harp size matters far less than if it is on top of a table. The cabinet supports the weight of the quilt and you can slided your project around really easily.
    If you don’t need or want BSR then look into the 430 Aurora, they are less expensive because of this, have different feet included and different number of stitches, but stitch every bit as well as the 440 does. What you save you could put into additional feet or supplies…
    Test sew and compare new and vintage machines. Think how hard parts might be to source in future (the old 830 have some parts that are increasingly scarce), and what that could end up costing. OR that if it blows out you might need to hunt down another used machine which can be fun to do. They can still represent excellent value. Who knows how long they’ll last? Maybe a few years, maybe more than a decade or more. Depending on condition of the vintage machine, you might even decide to buy new a mechanical 1008 or 1010 machine that will last 20-30 years and have warranty support. But whatever brand or machine you decide on, be sure it will do everything you need it to and not be frustrating to use.
    Check out the reviews for machines on Pattern Review, there are loads of reviews to read- you have to sign up but some of the services are free- any reviews under 6 months old are free but you have to pay to access the older ones. There are other reviews online with different forums. See what your quilting guild teachers and skilled quilters use, see what the national circuit teachers are using. That will give you an indication of what is reliable and consistenly high performing machines because those people do not muck around with inferior machines. Ask people you know what they love and dislike about their machines. Then test drive again and be sure you have made the right choice.
    Can I say how liberating it is to be free of a machine that caused so much frustration, loss of time and money? And how wonderful it is to own a machine that totally delivers what I need from it without hesitating or being temperamental or fussy? Even though you will probably loose a few hundred on selling the machine, weigh that loss against a cost per hour of your time spent dealing with the beast that gives grief and against the lost sewing time you will never get back. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and not look back. Find your new happy match made in heave sewing machine and move on, there are so many quilts to make and so little time!!

  236. Donna McCauley says:

    Thanks Stephanie and Debbe for all the helpful comments on my search for a new machine. I never did get to Vermont to look at the Pfaff, and hubby and I decided getting new replacement windows is more importent than me getting a new mcahine. 🙁 (the sad part is that I know he is right!) But now that I’ve started looking I want to continue asking you all questions so that later this year I will know what I want. I looked over Bernina’s web site at the 830 /820, I’m actually not that impressed. OK I liked the size, but I do not need embroidery, I already have a large table working area and I question whether the 820 would fit since it is so deep and I figure that machine is in the $7000 to $9000 range. If I go that expensive, I will start looking into getting a long arm. One thing to consider is that often more (bells and whistles) is not necessarily better. I want a large throat space, knee lift, automatic thread cutter, a built in dual feed and great stitching with even tention that works well after hours of free motion work. I do sew and quilt very quickly and need a machine that is reliable stitch after stitch now as well as 5, 10, even 15 years from now… just like my Pfaff 7570! I

    I’m hosting a wedding shower in two week and as soon as that is over I plan on doing a physical search for a new machine. Thanks,

  237. Tammy says:

    I’m with Debbe on this one. My love/hate relationship with Big Bertha (my qe4) is now a love/love relationship! I collect vintage sewing machines which all sew lovely stitches. At the moment I own one dozen machines including a Pfaff 7510. Big Bertha sews the best buttonholes and bartacks. Ever since I got the new take up installed my pfaff qe 4 does excellent fmq with no thread breakage or skipped stitches. I’ve used both the sensor motion and free motion feet. The decorative stitches are beautiful and precise. The large harp makes quilting a queen-size quilt easy. Big Bertha is a joy to sew with, if I was going to trade her in I would trade up to the Pfaff creative 2 for the embroidery.

    “Nothing sews like a Bernina…nothing.” In my personal experience this saying is not true. I have a lovely Bernina Nova 900 which sews excellent stitches, but they are not superior to my Necchi Lelia 513, Pfaff 7510, qe 4, Husqvarna 500, Husqvarna 6570, three Japanese machines, two Elnas or Singer 15-91. The Singer 15-91 and two of my Japanese machines were gifted to me. After a good cleaning and oiling nothing sews like a free machine…nothing. 😉 In Canada, the vintage mechanical sewing machines are very inexpensive, plentiful and easy to maintain.

    What is true is that nothing is more expensive than a Bernina..nothing. If you are shopping for a new machine I personally recommend Pfaff, Husqvarna/Viking, Elna or Bernina. If you want an excellent vintage machine for quilting the Necchi (the ones made in Italy) is number one followed closely by all the others. Necchi is my favourite because she sews so quietly. The all metal Singers like the 15-91 are very good, but stay away from used sewing machines with nylon or plastic gears. Over time the gears crack, replacing cracked parts is usually cost prohibitive.

    Happy Sewing All!

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  239. Debbe says:

    I don’t know if Pfaff will be my choice again. With all the changes I have done which I should of had to do in the first place has been going smoothly (Knock on wood) so far.I have loved the journey though with Pfaff. But if I have to do it again I won’t. Too much money is being spent and they should have a great product for that money. True???

  240. Kay says:

    I’m thinking (now rethinking) about purchasing a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.0 from a dealer near me that’s offering a great deal. After reading all the Blog entries I’m questioning whether I should or not ? I did notice that alot of the problems were in 2009 … and the latest entry – June 2010 says everything is OK ???
    any comments ?
    should I or shouldn’t I
    Help please.

  241. sewkatiedid says:

    I have all the same problems with mine. Change foot and got a single hole plate that fix the eating problem. Quilting is horrid and pushes the top layer even if you baste your heart out!

  242. Debbe says:

    I have the 4.0 and I won’t trade it for anything.I love it.I do quilt with the single hole plate with the walking foot Pfaff plus I use the teflon disk in the bobbin and let me tell you that works.Plus I use the slider on the bed when I do any sewing and free motion and it takes no time at all to do a quilt now.I have a quilters dream cabinet so it easy to quilt. I still haven’t taken to my dealer so I don’t have any of the problems any more with all my fixes.I love mine! I had all the problems y’all had and I have found solutions and now sewing up a storm even clothes too.

  243. Diane says:

    I just finished a quilt with wonderful results. I even used high loft batting which can be a fmq nighmare. I have started using the sensormatic foot exclusively and have worked to sew at a consistent speed, this has made the world of difference as far as thread breaking. I also put the thread behind the machine. I am finally enjoying my QE 4.0! Thank goodness.

  244. Susan says:

    Just finished reading all the great comments in the blog. Hmmm
    I have a Pfaff 1471, 35-40 yrs old. Repairman said the timing belt/gear (rubber or plastic) was at the end of it’s life. He could not fix it. Any idea who might have the resources to do this? It sews smoothly, but I know I’m on borrowed time. I can tell from your blog that I don’t want a new machine as need reliable fmq & tension (no dealer within 50 miles).

  245. Debbe says:

    Email Pfaff for a place to get parts.I’m sure they could at least direct you to the right path.I have heard that there is parts for the older machines and I have heard there are not so .The only other way to really find out you might do a search on the internet for the part yourself, if Pfaff can’t and then what will your repairman say if do do find them? Let us know what happens. As I have a 7570 which has had 3 mother boards in it. I was told by my dealer he didn’t know if or when a mother board was going to be found then in Nov 08 so that’s when I got the QE4.0. Then a week later surprise my 7570 had a new mother board. But I was still in the market for a new machine.I was thinking 2058 but I like the bigger harp on the QE4.0 plus all the bells and whistles which when I sew on my 7570 I miss. I expect the thread to be cut and the foot to come up and I wait and then it hits me. I still love all my Pfaff’s

  246. our local shop is giving away some free coffe mugs that are also of high quality,-;’

  247. Keti says:

    Hi from Bulgaria! I read almost everything written here and THANK YOU ALL for the significant advises! I chose the QE4 and really liked it until the free motion quilting problem and the skipped stitches. I asked the dealer and they sent me a technician right away. He fixed the problem by regulating thequilting foot which has to be down, the program number 51, the transpors switched off, the thread tension around 6… I really, really hope it will work as apart from that I LOVE that machine… Thanx for the wonderful blog once again!

  248. Lynn says:

    I also purchased a Pfaff Expression 4.0 and had the same problems. Took it back to my dealer yesterday and the 1/4″ foot had been revised – they are on sale in the Pfaff store. The jams in the bobbin are from the “Take Up Lever” She replaced the Shield Take Up #0413232201 and the Thread Take Up Lever #413232001. Those parts have been revised and were replaced at no charge to me. As for opening the bobbin cover – just moisten (lick) your fingers a bit and press down on the cover and pull back. No need to open your parts drawer every time. Hope this helps someone. I love my Pfaff – hated the Baby Lock!

  249. Margaret says:

    I have a Quilt Expression 4 in the UK which I bought at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. It hasn’t worked out that well as the dealer is not local.
    The fabric eating problem was solved by using a straight stitch plate.
    The thread cutter works intermittently, despite being changed and cleaned out regulaly.
    I am having major problems free motion quilting, as the machine just shreds the thread whenever it goes over a bulky seam.
    Is there a UK user who has any advice as I think that the US model of machine may differ from the UK.

    Surely Pfaff should be taking notice of us all??

  250. Narelle says:

    I can sympathise with all of you. I too bought a quilt Expression 4.0 back in January 2010. I had numerous problems with free stitching stippling and thread breaking mostly, in the end i took it back to the dealer for the 3rd time and asked to trade it in. I lost $1000 on that one. I continued to make enquiries about this machine because basically i loved the idt and lots of the other features and missed the ease of sewing with this machine. In early september i attended a quilting retreat near Kingaroy Qld Australia. A wonderful lady there and a pfaff sewing machine technician helped me tremendously. They altered tensions and feet pressure all in the built in computer on the machine. they also told me that these machines had a problem with some spring anda cutter blade rusting. Once replaced with new ones there were no other issues. I have since purchased another of the same machine from this quilting retreat owner and i am over the moon pleased. The problem that so many of you have mentioned with the machine eating your material when beginning to sew is apparently solved with the other needle place which has a small hole just under the needle. there is no other area that the material can get caught in if you use this plate. I absolutely love my machine but sympathise with you all. You need to find a technician who believes your issues and knows how to rectify them. I am not happy with loosing money on the first machine but love my pfaff and the people who believed me and helped me sort out the issues..

  251. Phil says:

    I was considering buying this machine but after reading of some of the difficulties that many have experienced, i possibly need to see what other machines are available before parting with my money.

    What are the alternatives to the Quilt Expression 4 which fall within a similar price bracket?

  252. Debbe says:

    But again, I say you’re passing up on a great machine. I too bought in Dec 2008. I had some problems but if you have read this blog you’ll see I have fixed all of the problems that other had by simple things. I won’t be trading in my baby. I love all the bells and whistles. this is a great machine. I love mine!!!!!

  253. Phil says:

    Debbie,,,, When FMQ’ing does it behave itself or is it prone to missing the odd stitch?

  254. Debbe says:

    Phil, Out of the 1 1/2 hrs of fmq I probably had 2-3 times that it jammed. But I found a 1/2″ piece of thread under the bobbin.Which could of gotten there after cutting a thread.But That’s almost normal for any machine.Missing the odd stitch no is my answer. I really really love this machine. Like I said if the machine jams up in any way rethread always and she goes on her merrily way every time.I have the washer in the bobbin and I use a thread stand which is in the back.With the thread looped once around the moveable thread holder and the go about normally threading.If any lint gets around that cutter that causes problems almost every time.So that’s the 1st thing I check.With all the bells and whistles you get done quilting so fast. I hope your question was answered.I would go to your dealer with fabric in tow and sit and use all the features and take your time.My dealer let me and I sew for more than an hour before I decided.I feel I got a great machine. Or mine was built on a wednesday.They say anything built on that day is the best.Just having a little fun here.Let us know what you decide. I’ll tell ya when I use my 7570 I’m always trying to use all the features that the QE has and that’s when you know how nice this machine is.

  255. Robyn says:

    mmmmm……..Well I have just had a fascinating read.
    I have gone from feeling great to OMG, what have I done !!!!! and back to great again because b4 finding this blog I recently (2 days ago), put a deposit down on an QE4.

    I am an average sewer and won’t be giving this machine too much of a flogging and will be getting several free lessons with the purchase so I am sticking to my guns and paying off the layby.

    all your comments have been VERY helpful

  256. RayKat says:

    My first blog comment… Run Robyn, Run!!! – regular sewing isn’t much fun on this machine either.

    I bought my 4.0 in July and now at the end of October, my 4.0 has been back in the shop and back. NO PROBLEMS FOUND. The sales rep even saw the problems… Verbally, the problem had to be the operator (me or the sales rep (RIGHT!)).
    At first I thought the problem was me getting used to more technical machine.

    Ditto Sally, Emily and on and on.
    -Free Motion sewing is nuts (bought the extra foot – based on recommendation since I wanted to free motion). I have to back my tension down to 2.5 or 3.0. I use Gutermann polyesther thread (not Mettler that the shop sells, so the repairman
    questioned that. I go from poor tension to sporadic loops into the throat plate, causing jams. Skips stitches.

    -Straight stitching with either the A0 foot or the 1/4″ (foot with guide). Occasionally pulls the fabric in. Will skip to the right and start looping on the bottom again. Sometimes it immediately jams, although not always.

    The thread cutter is hit and miss, although I view this as a small problem – unless this is what is causing the jams. I’ve lived without a cutter for my sewing life of 37 years, so I can live without it until I am too feeble to sew anymore (hopefully another 20-40 years).

    I’ve gotten Errors and jams since I started using it. It usually repeats and I have to take the throat plate off and re-thread the entire machine to stop the problem. Until it does it again.

    This is way too much of my time wasted (ripping out, rethreading and taking the machine apart – BIG issue with me. I am going to demand my $$ back and get something else or stick with my 16 year old Viking or a friends30 year old Pfaff that I have here on permanent loan. While both have small issues – I get more accomplished with them than I do with the 4.0!

  257. RayKat says:

    Oh, and when I take it back to the store this morning, it will have quilt block attached with the loops on the bottom, so they can SEE what it is doing and my settings. Operator problems? I don’t think so.

    They can keep the darned block, I can make another.

  258. Roberta says:

    I am confused…. did you decide to sell the Pfaff and buy the Bernina 820? If so, do you find the Bernina “IDT” as good at the Pfaff’s? Do you have the same problem with the machine eating the fabric with the 820 as with the Pfaff? If not, how did you eliminate this problem with the 820? I own the 820 and unless I have a starter scrap in the beginning of each seam the machines eats the fabric.

  259. RayKat says:

    Hi again…
    It looks like the best I will be able to do with this dealer is get a new machine (if Pfaff agrees). Otherwise they can repair the ugly screen, fix the cutter because they couldn’t find anything else wrong with it.

    Why a 3 month old machine would need repair and parts replaced is beyond me.

  260. Nola says:

    I too have had off and on difficulties with the QE4.0 with regards to free motion quilting, spending way too much time trying to adjust things but couldn’t really figure out what would help. Regular sewing and using the built in stitches has been great. I saw a post on another website just today that said:
    In the Setting Menu:
    choose sensormatic – and of course choose appropriate foot
    remove auto foot lift
    lower feed dogs (although I like having them up)
    change pivot height to -1,-2,or -3 depending on fabric

    Wow, what a difference these simple changes made for me…my stitching was even and looked great. I’m also using a topstitch needle (size depending on thread) And I didn’t have to adjust tension like I was having to before. I also change the length to 0.

    I ended my day much happier than when I started!

  261. Nancy says:

    I puchased my QE4 in Nov. 2010 after sewing on a Pfaff Jeans&Satin for 15 plus years. I have had nothing but trouble with the fmq feature and intermittant problems with the thread cutter. The tread shreds and or snaps, and oh so many needles breaking, despite tension adjustments and various size needles being used. I have spent more time rethreading and cleaning out the bobbin case than I have piecing and quilting. For almost a year I had felt this was user error and lack of familiarity with a new machine. I also don’t really like the noise it makes but can adjust to it.

    I have it back for repair to the dealer….again….another 3 weeks delay.
    A local non Pfaff repairman told me he was aware of a Pfaff notice regarding an issue with the thread uptake speciifically when in fmq mode and that it should be replaced. This was referenced here in another entry form Aug 21.
    When questioned the dealer did say they had been notified of an issue but it isn’t happening in all machines.
    I am so disappointed the dealer said nothing about it and provided no notice when we spend thousands on these machines.
    This blog has been very helpful with potential solutions. I will hold out some hope that I will be one of those happy QE4 owners in the future. But at the moment, I am still regretting my purchase.

  262. Nancy says:

    Sorry, I purchased my machine in Nov. 2009 not just this year- see post above!

  263. Melanie says:

    I first came across this site just after purchasing 4.0 and I must say, I thought I had made a colossal mistake. I hadn’t even taken delivery of the machine yet! Sure enough, fabric got “eaten” and stitching a straight 1/4″ seam was impossible without veering off. I was very upset and angry at myself for not doing my research before spending so much hard earned money. I owned a Pfaff I loved for years didn’t even consider there would be problems with a new machine. Thankfully, due to an excellent dealer (Surrey BC Canada) and my sending several emails right to the top at Pfaff, I was sent the single hole plate which solved all these problems. I still have to use a starter scrap, something I never had to do with my older Pfaff, however I notice videos of Bernina and Babylock users doing the same thing. Is it as good as the German made Pfaffs? No. If I was in the market for a machine today would I buy it? I certainly would shop around more rather than relying on my experience with my older Pfaff. However I have grown to like the machine so who knows, may have ended up with it anyhow!

  264. Nancy says:

    My machine was returned after the thread uptake mechanism was replaced. While I haven’t had to much time to play, I have done some practice FMQ

  265. Nancy says:

    (OPPPPs not sure what happened there!) Anyway, I have done some practice FMQ and it has worked beautifully- no thread shred, no broken needles or skipped stitches……so far.
    I am told the dealer did adjust the thread cutter blades, and adjusted the timing as well. I really believe the biggest issue was the thread uptake mechanism.
    Also, be sure to have the presser foot in the up position before threading the needle. I believe I read that in this blog some ways back and it seems to ‘open’ channels for the thread to seat properly.
    I hope to positive comments after working with it a bit more !

  266. Ann-Marie says:

    Does anyone know if Pfaff QE4 is “particular” about thread? I have freemotioned with Robinson Anton thread, Robinson Embroidery thread and another new thinner thread which I don´t know the brand of, it has no name on it.
    The bobbinthread shows as small dots on the right side. I have tried to adjust the upper tension (I don´t dare to change the bobbin tension) to no avail. I get dots from all three threads.
    I also tried the threads on my old Pfaff 7530 and dots again. Then I tried free motion with the embroidery thread on my Designer 2 and it looks fine!
    I bought the Pfaff QE4 for free motion work and it worked OK on a quilt earlier this fall.
    The seller thought the thread could be waxed and stick in the metal bricks in the threading, but theese threads don´t feel like the handquilting thread I have, that is much stiffer.
    Does anyone have advice for free motion quilting?

  267. Jeanette says:

    I have a EX4.0 for a year and I have nothing but phrase for it. Have never had any problems and I use it almost everday and all day long. No complaints from me. I had a Phaff 1475 and decided to upgrade after 25 years.

  268. Mary says:

    I have had an Ex4.0 for 4 months, I had purchased it before I read these reviews. Occasionally I have problems with the tension but after rethreading it is fine. I plugged it into a power serge outlet ( as recommended by a previous post) and have not had problem since. Works like a dream and they are computers that sew. Persevere with this machine and all the features will pay off. I have just finished my fourth quilt in as many months and have my enthusiasm back for sewing.

  269. Beth Berger says:

    I have read all the comments here, and am considering buying the Ex3.0. I have a Juki TL98Q which I absolutely love. I mostly do garment sewing. I’ve intended to do FMQ on the Juki but haven’t gotten around to it yet, as I’ve had so much fun garment sewing! However, I do need a machine for excellent (translate “the best”) buttonholes to replace a machine I can no longer use. I do lots of buttonholes on garment sewing, and tailoring. I also would like some utility stitches to sew knits, as well as machine applique stitches. Have all the “bugs” been worked out sufficiently for the 3.0 for what I want to do? I’m also considering the Aurora 450, which also has the 9mm stitch width, and seemed to do very nice buttonholes. It looked like to Ex3.0 had more adjustments to the buttonholes. Any opinions?

  270. Nancy says:

    Ann Marie, yes, the QE 4.0 is particular about threads!!
    The dealer I purchased from suggested I use only highest quality threads, a low lint, long staple thread. I have had most success with threads like Superior, YLI, Aurifil or something along that line.
    I have not been very successful with monofilament threads with FMQ but I will keep practicing. I encounter most tension issues when I use the nylon or monofilament threads on top and regular thread in the bobbin, even after I tryadjusting the tension. Any suggestions for FMQ with monofilaments?
    If you have not had your machine professionally cleaned and tension adjusted lately maybe that would help?

  271. sewkatiedid says:

    I traded in my Pfaff 2.0 after a year and a half of nightmare quilting. I have another friend that has it too and hates it. The 2.0 had no pressure release on the foot so quilting was dreadful and pushed the quilt. Such a disappointment after spending so much time on piecing.

  272. Stephanie says:

    Beth, do go and test drive the Bernina 450. They have a quite alot of beautiful buttonholes that are very precise. All the Aurora series machines make beautiful buttonholes, and after stitching out many with both I’m happy to say that the Bernina ones were exceptionally neat and stitched out without any problems, every time. I used to have a Pfaff QE4 but sold it after having some repairs to damaged internal parts and early production run parts replaced. When it came back to me sewing better than it ever had when I had it new, the buttonholes were better than they’d been before but still are not as precise as the Bernina buttonholes. The difference was very noticeable. Bernina does excellent satin stitching and the keyhole style buttholes have far neater, more consistent stitches than my Pfaff ever did, it always left little gaps that were uneven from one stitch to the next between them- when using the correct needle, stabilisers and expensive ELS cotton threads and poly also.
    Go test drive and stitch out on the same fabric with the same thread, stabiliser and needle type on both machines and make your decision.
    I will also say the Berninas freemotion quilt without a single hiccup, I run my machine at full speed for hours each day, and never get poor stitches or jams in the bobbin area. It powers through the thickest seam intersections in patchwork with multiple points – I quilt intricate designs all over the patchwork not just on one layer of top, one layer of backing fabric and battting in the middle. The Pfaff Qe4 I had would simply stop and give me “Main Motor overload” message consistently each time I tried to quilt with it and jammed, and skipped stitches as standard behaviours in quilting. For comparison, I had a Pfaff 2027 earlier on before the QE4 that would sew through just about anything too, although the machine was far smaller and I disliked the position of the presser foot lift lever inside the harp. It was caught continually on bulky quiilts and would lift up when rearranging the quilt in the harp. So if you are going to do alot of quilting I would seriously run the machines you are interested in through extensive testing before you buy to avoid disappointment and loss of money. I do think you will be impressed with the Bernina 450 though.

  273. Beth Berger says:

    Thank you for your reply. I did test out the Bernina 440QE, as that was available at a local dealers, and it did stitch beautifully. I ended up buying a Janome 6600P, because it also did very nice and consistent buttonholes, had the larger harp area, and was much less money. (I have the Juki TL98Q for free motion quilting, as I have read quite a few comments that FMQ is easier on machines that are not top-loading bobbins). I stayed away from the Pfaff QEs based on all the comments. Beth

  274. Kathleen in WA says:

    I have tried without success to find a price for the Aurora QE 440 you write about with such enthusiasm. Will you share what you paid for yours?

  275. Narelle says:

    Hi, Just thought i would check in after my comments were posted back in september. I do absolutely love this pfaff 4.0. I wish pfaff or the sales people would sit up and take notice of everyone. we are all not useless as some of them like to insinuate. please everyone find a good machine technician who will listen to you. i know youshould not have to do this, but if it werent for this lovely lady in kingaroy listening to me and offering me a machine to try out i would never have gone back to pfaff. it really is a good machine and it is a shame that this many people have been having problems. i was told it was the cotton i was using, my tension, my sewing style my everything……. this machine i own now, does not jam, break thread, miss stitches, knot under the thread plate etc etc. i knew that it was not my fault and am so angry with the sales rep…. but i can now use any thread,/ material in fact anything on my machine. i have even done some art quilting with not one problem….

  276. Debbe says:

    I have just been doing a technic called thread painting. I just did a big tree. My 4.0 did wonderful. I used Madeira thread and I place it horizontal with thread cap.Put it in free motion and I put an open toe foot and I did fast to medium speed and did great.I must have one of the best machines when I read all these complaints. It’s a shame that this machine can be great for some and a lemon for others.Because it is a wonderful machine.

  277. Ingrid says:

    I have had my QE 4.0 for 2 years, I was not satify with the FMQ, so I sold it and now I have a Janome Horizon.

  278. Stephanie says:

    I paid $2800 as an ex demo machine show special for mine at the time when the machines were costing $3, 500AU- the machine but not any embroidery software or module etc. But prices have dropped since then and the recommended retail I believe is in the order of $3199, this is in AU dollars and prices will be different in other countries.
    I would recommend you try the machines out and if you like it don’t let price dictate which one you end up buying- save up, layby on special, finance it or whatever it takes to buy the machine you really love. I have never regretted paying out good money for high quality, whether it be sewing machines, kitchen appliances or whatever when the function is exceptional.

  279. Marglow says:

    Hi everyone, I thought I could offer some help as I too was hating my machine (Pfaff Creative 2.0). I was able to overcome these issues by using the single hole stitch plate, using Aurifil threads (which I did from the beginning, but seems that I got a lot of that advice) and changing the pivot height to -1, -2, or -3 depending on what your working on. Thread tension should be adjusted to 2-3 (on applique I had to adjust it to 1.6 at times) for FMQ. Also, the thread uptake leaver should be replaced- its a known issue. One last thing… Make sure you select the correct FMQ mode- for me its sensormatic free motion. The spring motion quilting (I’m told) only works with a particular foot. I hope this helps. It helped me keep from throwing my machine straight through the window!

  280. Bertha says:

    I’ve had my QE4.0 for two years now. I’ve had a love hate relation with it. I to have had a very hard time with it eating fabric and sewing crooked using the 1/4″ foot. I actually put the machine in storage last summer.
    Started using it again this winter, same problem. This is how I solved my problem. I put foot A on and moved my needle to sew a 1/4″ seam, has been sewing prefect on my quarter square triangles. I have not tried FMQ yet. Hope I don’t have anymore problems or I will get rid of it.

  281. Colette says:

    Thank you one and all for your years worth of comments on this machine. I can not tell you just how invaluable this information is while I am considering replacing my HV 400.

    We do not have a infinite set of monetary income, therefore, major purchases like this are not taken lightly. I am JUST starting my home quilting business, and feel that perhaps, while still a workhorse, I should “listen” to my churning, grinding, way-over-due-for-retirement HV and perhaps only keep it around for emergency situations.

    Meanwhile, I recently test drove a HV Ruby Embroidery machine last week. What a smooth, quiet, well lit, large workspace machine. However, very expensive. In fact, it would take my WHOLE tax refund, plus. I don’t know about any of you, but I just can’t justify that kind of coin right now.

    Even with a lower price then that of the Ruby, this QE4 should not be having this many issues. You would think that sinking two months worth of salary into a machine would not need these many modifications to make it work properly!? What’s wrong with this picture? If I were to even utter to my mother that I was considering spending $1,500 on a sewing machine, I can only imagine her words about it all…and then to have all these quirks and whatnot seems really pretty stupid to me.

    My HV, while quirky in her little world too, was only $400 at the time many, many years ago. She has not given me nearly the amount of headaches all of you have had to deal with on this QE4. I think I’ll stay with HV…they are still made in Sweden, and not China. Thank you again one and all for the wonderful advice/heads-up/warnings!

  282. Sue says:

    Wow, I’m so glad I came to this site, but still can’t make up my mind if I want to trade in my QE2034 for the 4. Although I’m happy with my 2034. I was mainly taken with the 10 inch space between machine and needle or the 4.

    The idea of fighting with ‘tension’ and ‘fabric eating’ sends shivers down my spine.

    I’ll keep checking in. 😉

    BTW my website is being updated.

  283. Susan Betuik says:

    Bought QE4 a month ago and back to the dealer twice already. Free motion problems, skipping stitches and cornering tension goes wacky. For $2,500 (C) it is not what i expected!Thanks for the suggestion about the jams-it works but for the rest i am very dissapointed

  284. Kim says:

    Thank you all for your comments on QE4. I have been wanting to upgrade from my Viking 6570 and would love to toss the walking foot for IDT. Went to local dealer yesterday and he was trying to pursuade me to buy a used QE4 for $1500. Said the person who traded it in barely used it and wanted to upgrade to an embroidery unit. Told him I needed to think about it (that’s a lot of money!!!) and started doing research, came across this blog and am much more educated than I was yesterday and think I will pass on the used model or a new model and look for an older 7570.

    Thank you all!!!!!

  285. Jeanell says:

    I have a 2134 that I love. I know now that I do not need to upgrade. Thanks for the info.

  286. Linda Andersen says:

    I had a Pfaff 7530 for several years and loved it until it started to have computer problems. It would slow down and stop occasionally. Apparently it can’t be fixed. I tested a Viking Saphire and was concerned that it didn’t have the IDT design of my old Pfaff, but when I was testing the Pfaff 4.0 it jammed so badly that the store owner couldn’t get it to work. It kept saying that the motor was overloaded or something like that.
    I bought a Bernina 440QE. It isn’t perfect either. I must use a single hole needle plate or it “eats” fabric. The walking foot is a huge cumbersome thing. I didn’t need all those bells and whistles. I will NEVER use the BSR.
    I just want my 7530 to work again.

  287. Kay says:

    I was happy to find this blog, but alas, too late. I purchased my QE4 in December and have been having all the problems listed above – unthreading, reported thread jams when there are none, fabric not feeding evenly through with the quarter inch foot. My machine was back to the shop on the first day I owned it, and has been back 3 times since. Today, I am taking it in again with hopes of replacing it, though after reading all these posts, it sounds like all the QE4s have the same issues. I am sorry I bought it – my previous machine is a Bernina 180 (old!!!) and I much prefer that machine. I would not ever buy a Pfaff again, and wish I could get my money back on this one. It is way to expensive for all the problems it has. Quilters – this is not the machine for you.

  288. Jeanette says:

    Kay, I cannot agree with you more… I bought my QE4 over a year ago… it’s been nothing but heartache and the dealer was very offensive at my suggestion that I had a “lemon”… As it turns out (from all the negative comments I’ve read on both this site & others) is that at least 95% of the QE4’s are lemons! I ended up buying a Bernina 630… okay, so it doesn’t have the wide harp (which is what I really wanted) and funds do not permit the Bernina 820… but I am very very happy with my Bernina 630 and it is a wonderful machine. The difference when I FMQ on Bernie compared to the Pfaff is just amazing… it’s so much better. I will have to try and work out the need for extra space under the harp… I did see somewhere where the quilter turned their machine at an angle so that they could feed the quilt underneath more easily… I too will never buy a Pfaff again… very disappointed…

  289. veronique says:

    Hi All

    i have been reading everynone comment has i’m ready to depart with some serious cash for my firs computerised machine(have lots of machines but not computerised)
    so it’s just a quick thank you for now to every one taking the time to tell us all whats what
    happy sewing to everyone x

  290. Tracy says:

    Hi All

    I have followed all your comments for quite some time now and thought it was time to share the experience I have had so far as a QE4 owner.
    I too have experieced all the problems over the past 2 years since I first bought it that you have collectively listed.

    The dealer couldn’t have been nicer when purchasing the machine but that very definately changed once I plucked up the courage to say that I was not happy with the persistant problems the machine was giving me and challenged his opionion that it was all my fault.
    I would say though that some (absolutely not all!) were user error and there is definately a learning curve with the computerised machines that you have to work through.

    I had what can only be described as a nightmare ‘journey’ with the dealer which I then gave up on and went straight to the regional rep for Pfaff called Shelia. As with the dealer I listed meticulously the issues I had and even offered the solution in one instance based on the comments from groups like this. It was completely ignored by the dealer but Shelia, listened to me and actually acknowledge there were problems and then did something about them. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to make some progress. I could have hugged her on the spot!!!!

    In summary I would make the following points:-

    1. The User Manual: quite frankly this is appalling considering how hi tech this machine is and how much it costs. It should be far more comprehensive and in some places it is inaccurate.

    2. ‘Road Testing the Machine’: do as much research as possible (for any machine) prior to going to the shop. You can then ensure that you incorporate what you have learnt from other users in your questions to the dealer. Write a list of the queries that you have and the techniques you want to cover. Take samples of the fabrics and batting you would typically use. Keep going back until you feel you have covered what you needed to.

    3. Lessons: I can’t recommend enough that you take some lessons on how to use the machine. Ask the dealer if they provide these. They are better than free thread when you are negotiating your deal. Even though you may be an experience sewer/quilter, please don’t underestimate the learning curve that goes with any new machine. Let the tutor take you through the basics ie threading, cleaning etc. This machine can be very particular about how it is used so knowing the basics is an absolute must. I promise you that this will be worth it.

    4. Thread Jams: I had this message constantly when I first started learning how to use the machine and it drove me crazy. I have to say though that this was user error. After some guidance (not the dealer himself but a knowledgeable and nice lady at the shop) this stopped. She took me through step by step how to thread the machine properly and what typically happens if you don’t do it accurately enough. I have to say that I didn’t get this error message once I had threading mastered. During any project I check that the machine is still threaded correctly from time to time just to avoid any problems. Even though the message says thread jam it doesn’t necessarily mean there is any thread there or it could mean there is the tiniest bit or a build up of lint.

    5. Cleaning: Make sure that you clean the machine regularly, especially if using linty thread. If you get into the habit of doing this I promise it will save you a lot of heartache!

    6. Thread Cutter: I too was thrilled at having this feature but then was disappointed at its inconsistency. When I spoke to Sheila she sat down with me and demonstrated and explained how to take this apart and clean the area then put the blade back. If any thread/lint has built up in this area it can trigger the Thread Jam message and/or make the cutter not work consistently. This is not in the manual. Ask you dealer to show you how to do this and make it a part of your cleaning routine.

    7. Quarter Inch Foot: I bought this foot with the plastic guard. Like many of you I had problems because of the part of the foot that seems to be missing on the left and right and therefore doesn’t fully contact with the feed dogs because it tapers in. Again Sheila to the rescue! She gave me a new foot (also with a guard) that did have more metal on the left and it contacts with the feed dogs. This has made a big difference. The fabric doesn’t seem to swerve off at the end like it did before particularly when piecing. (Hope this makes sense!!)

    8. Birds Nests on the back of my work: Ok this is where my research on the net and my hearfelt thanks to you all comes in! The thread jumping off the take up leaver was a MAJOR problem for me but at the time I didn’t know that this was the reason why I rarely used this machine and wished I had never set eyes on it. Shelia had the fix applied to my machine (the little black plastic bit) and I cannot describe the difference it has made. ***MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS DONE*** Do not take no for an answer. My machine used to make the most god awful clanking noise in the bobbin area and just wouldn’t sew properly – haven’t had that once since the fix.

    9. Free Motion Quilting: Right… I must stress that I am a complete beginner at this and had never even tried it before buying the machine but knew it was something I definately wanted to learn. Before the little black plastic thingy was applied on the take up lever the machine behaved erratically at best which I thought was my inexperience. However, this has definately improved since the fix. Stick with this and practice practice practice……….

    10. Thread: Just like most of you have already discovered, the QE4 can be a little particular about the thread you use and this has been my experience aswell. My conclusion is….don’t fight it. The time you will waste with thread shreading, snapping, having to rethread all the time, frustration etc etc is just not worth what you think you are saving in £’s. Try out different brands and find what works for you.

    OK – I think that is probably enough from me (apologies for the lengthy post).

    I would like to thank all of you for your posts and the advice not to give up when the dealer blames you!! Without posting your experiences I would never have known about the take up lever problem/solution.

    I would also say that I have used the machine more in the last couple of months since my support from Sheila than I had in 2 years. Once you get the fix applied and work through the learning curve this machine is fine.

    Good luck and thanks again.


  291. Jenn says:

    hey Tracy, your lengthy comment was a great help! I do have a question about the Quarter Inch Foot : (She gave me a new foot (also with a guard) that did have more metal on the left and it contacts with the feed dogs. This has made a big difference), can you tell us the name or model of the foot she replaced your plastic one for. I have/use the quarter inch plastic one and would like to try the one you mentioned so that it doesn’t swerve the fabric on me. Also, the interesting comment about the bird nests on the back on the fabric, I also have this happen. Where do they attach the the little black plastic bit to the thread take up leaver, is it attached to the lever itself? I have that problem so I’m interested in getting that attached to my machine. Thanks again for all the great comments.

  292. Tracy says:

    Hi Jenn

    Thanks for your reply. I have checked the foot and there isn’t any markings or code on it. I have also looked at lots of different websites including the Pfaff site but cannot find the foot that I now have. I will contact Sheila and find out for you if you like.
    From lots of the comments already posted it seems that the black plastic fix to the take up lever to prevent the thread jumping off it is a well known fix by Pfaff. It is actually attached to the take up lever and the thread goes between the 2. As soon as I mentioned it to Sheila she knew what I was talking about.

    Hope this helps.


  293. Jenn says:

    Thanks for the fast reply Tracy! At the very top of this post Emily has a pic of the two different quarter inch feet, is the one on the right the foot you are referring to that fixed the problem? I was wondering about the ‘guard’ you mentioned. I can’t picture what that is. I’ll have to check with my Pfaff dealer here in UT to see if they still have one available. Thanks so much for checking with Sheila to find out, that would be a great help if my dealer doesn’t have one. I’ll also check with my dealer about the take up lever fix, those pesting bird nests drive me crazy on the back of my quilt blocks!
    take care, Jenn

  294. Kim says:

    I read with interest the postings on the Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.0. I purchased mine in late 2008 and never had a good day sewing with it. I thought it was my fault – I took classes on the machine, rethreaded it, replaced thread, replaced bobbins, replaced needles, cleaned, etc. I would sew a bit and then get a “needle jump”, a horrible sound from the bobbin case and then jammed up thread at the back of my work. My first dealer went out of business, and I could no get any warranty repair done on the machine. I went to the Pfaff dealer 80 miles away. He explained to me that he could no longer get any parts from Pfaff for the machine in a timely fashion – he had no support from the company. Pfaff’s warranty is not worth the paper it is printed on.

    I am happy for those who have had no problems – if the machine works it appears it would great fun. But spare a thought for those who are still struggling with a Pfaff quality control issue that they are in denial about. And, by the way, I am no longer in that category. I traded in the doorstop Pfaff for a new machine (different manufacturer). If someone in NM offers you a 2 year-old Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.0 for a good price……RUN!

  295. Kaye says:

    I just purchased the Pfaff QE4.0 and so far I am not having much success with free motion quilting that I have been doing on a inexpensive brother and an old Janome for over a year and the only problem was the throat was not large enough to push a bigger quilt through…….so I thought I would bite the bullet and go for a real big girl machine……so far I am sorry …..after reading all the comments I plan today to go to the shop where I purchased the machine and hopefully have them fix my problems……thread breaking and noisy bobbin case…….wish me luck……..I have 15 quilts to quilt.

  296. Sharon says:

    Read several of the comments on the QE4. Is aeveryone still having issues? I was just a the dealer today and they said the company has solved these at the factory. I am wondering if I would be better off with the Expresssion 3.0. anyone know antying about this one

  297. Maia says:

    I’m happy for those if you enjoying your QE 4.0s and feel sincerely sorry for those of you with nightmare/rip-off machines. This blog saved me from the latter. I now have a Babylock Quest Plus with built-in dual feed which us identical to IDT or nearly so, a Bernina 440 QE, and Pfaff 7510 & Select 3.0. I’m just a multiple machine gal! I have started to try FMQ, so I’m no judge there, but everything else I do with these machines is working perfectly. Pfaff makes a machine caller the Smarter C1100 Pro, which is very similar to my Quest Plus, but with even more features, and the QP has been replaced by the Baby Lock Serenade. These all have 9″ harps. So consider these if you are thinking about a QE 4.0. I think Pfaff took a really bad turn with this model, I hope they get back on track.

  298. Carol says:

    I too have the QE 4.0 and am having difficulty with needles breaking when machine quilting. Does anyone have any helpful hints??? What type of needles do you use? I love this machine for piecing, but the machine quilting is making me crazy!

  299. corina says:

    I have had similar problems with my QE4.0. However, since getting the new take up lever and the new thread guide I have been able to do some lovely free motion quilting with no problems. It is very important though to adjust the pivot height for various thicknesses of the quilt sandwich. With warm and natural cotton batting and average weight cotton fabrics I have the pivot height set to -3, unless I have a lot of really bulky seams, then I set it at -2. I also lower my top tension quite a bit (sometimes as low 3 instead of the usual 5.2). This machine is definitely a lot finickier when it comes to free motion quilting, but with trial and error I have found the right combination of thread tension and pivot heights and find it is working well now.

  300. Glenda says:

    Bought the QE4.0 even after reading this blog many times. I have always had Pfaff machines but did seriously look at the Bernina 440 before I decided.

    Absolutely love everything about this machine, have fmq two quilts and pieced one and a half without a single problem. I replaced a Pfaff 2058 with the QE4.0 and much prefer the QE4 – it has a different feel, but I love it.

    My advice to anyone considering purchasing any machine is to sit at a dealership and use the machine on your own and, if possible only buy from someone who is helpful and approachable. i would also recommend buying the single hole needle plate that makes life a lot easier when piecing or general straight sewing.

    I know the QE4.0 had problems when it was first released and that was very unfortunate because now, with the fixes, I think it is fantastic and has more to offer than the Bernina 440.

  301. Debbe says:

    Glenda, I am glad someone else loves their QE4.0. I haven’t any problems with my machine either. I too love my machine. I have done thread painting with no problems.I love it when I am piecing a quilt.When a friend of mine come over and we sew at the kitchen table I use my trusty 7570 and that’s when I realize how much I love all those bells and whistles.

  302. Pamela says:

    Have read most the the earlier postings and certainly all the current ones. I have had big problems with my QE4.0. I had my first machine for just 6 months when the noise (banging and thumping) from the needle plate area became too much. After some negotiation with my dealer they ageed to replace the machine. I have had the replacement for just one month now. Not done much free motion sewing as yet but the little I did cost me 5 sewing machine needles before I had to go and have a coffee. Thought it must be me and really until I have had a little more practice I will have to hold my tongue! It has given me some comfort to read that others are experienceing problems with the machine and like some of the earlier posters I sometimes wish I had never see the machine.
    The main reason I am writing this post is because I want to know if anyone has tried to use the tapering function, and if they have, I would love to know if they can offer any tips. The machine seems to sew an extra stitch before it does the second taper. This is very annoying when you have calculated where you wish to make the turn.
    Does anyone know where one can find tutorials on the various functions of the machine? I have tried all sorts of combinations on google and am getting absolutely nowhere. I did find this blog though. Am grateful for that.

  303. Debbe says:

    I have read many times just this past week too about FMS and the number one problems is AFTER you take the feed dogs down. I have also read that you should keep them up and it doesn’t mess with the tension.I just seen this on one of my quilt shows that sewers have a tendencies to tug a bit on that causes the needles to bend and break. Listen to music that you have heard before he said listen to jazz there are no lyrics to sing. Loosen up your shoulders make sure you’re in the right position at your machine.I have had my QE4.0 since 12/08 and I love still love her.I just thought I’d post this since I have come across this in last few days.Everyone is trying to address the unrest of a lot sewers on the FMS disasters.Happy Sewing Y’all !!!!

  304. Kathy says:

    I recently bought this machine. I don’t quilt – not FM anyway so I wasn’t too concerned about all the problems with that. Right now I make mostly home decor items. I bought the QE4 to upgrade the one I bought about 7 years ago.

    For starters, one assumes that if you are buying an upgraded machine several years later that it would have at least the same piercing power as the old one. WRONG! So the window treatments that I make, sometimes using microsuede that frequently end up with several layers, including cording – not an option on the QE4. Today I was making a window treatment out of fairly lightweight cotton fabrics and had to haul out my old Pfaff to finish the job. I had to tug and push it through it was like the IDT was not engaged – it was.

    The other thing is the cutter moves back to center position before it cuts. So if you move your needle over to say topstitch – you end up with this huge sideways stitch you have to pick out.

    So – I don’t know who this machine is good for. Perhaps someone who just sews garments out of fairly thin material and never moves their needle out of center position might like this machine.

    Yes, it has beautiful deco stitches but I bought the thing to sew a straight seam above all else. I paid extra for features like a cutter that at this price should work properly in any needle position. I loved the way my old Pfaff sewed and just wanted a few extra features. Call the QE4 anything you want – but it sure is not in the same league at all as my old Pfaff

    I hate this machine and I would NOT recommend it to anyone.

  305. Niki says:

    My mom previously owned a pfaff and loved it but wore it out!!! My mom is on her second QE4 the first one was overheating and making a clanking noise so pfaff replaced it. Pfaff is not what it used to be!!! She is 85 y and having trouble programming, she is doing a butterfly quilt and wants to program the body, she puts it in hits save and it doesn’t show. Anybody have a step by step on how to program and save. The manual is extremely lacking.

  306. Debbe says:

    I have just come across a bit of information about FMS.Don’t drop the feed dogs and put the stitch length to “0”. That way the feed dogs don’t mess with the tension.I haven’t tried it yet I just thought I’d post it before I forgot to. I’m sure y’all know how that is?

  307. Adrienne says:

    Hi…I purchased a 4.0 and still have the ‘under 5 hour’ return available to me.
    After reading all these blogs, I’m very nervous about keeping the machine.
    I’m a quilter but not a fancy one. I piece and free-motion, enjoying
    heavier threads for the quilting.

    I did notice big changes in tension when I changed threads. Aurifil
    seems to be the only one that doesn’t pucker the stitches on ‘default’ for ex. on the regular zig zag. Also, the lights aren’t so bright as I thought. There are indeed shadows.

    My dealer has the machine because of the puckering and says it is perfect. So I can’t sew on it now as I’m out of town. But I’m nervous after reading all these blogs that are so negative.

    What’s the latest thoughts on the 4.0. I don’t know where mine was made and can’t look right now as explained. And I sure hope it isn’t a 2008 model but rather a 2011 model.

    Can you advise me? Thanks…

  308. Lance says:

    If you’ve purchased this machine and you are having trouble…you absolutely need to bring it to your dealer. Part of the benefit you pay for is that you have a dealer that should stand up for you and add value to your purchase.

    I love my QE4. Definitely sew on it before your purchase. Also, you should be able to get owners classes from your dealer to learn about all of the functions.

    I feel a little sad about this blog because I just love this machine sew 🙂 much.

    (I sew mostly clothing and costumes and sew with a lot of heavy duty fabrics.)

  309. j says:

    Is there a part number for the 1/4″ foot for the Pfaff 2134? I have the QE4 and you are soooo right about the 1/4 foot that goes with it.

  310. anne says:

    I have a Pfaff QE 4.0 and basically like it; however… I need to adjust the bobbin tension and don’t know how to do it; HELP! Also, the needle threader just stopped working; not sure why; any suggestions?

  311. Debbe says:

    Anne the probable reason the threader don’t work is there is a tiny hook and it’s either bent or like what happened to mine. It broke off.It’s easy to do because it’s a very small hook if you don’t hit the eye of the needle it can break or bend.To adjust the tension on this machine,You have to use the tool button and then when in there use the arrow keys to go to tensions and adjust it to your liking.My machine is purring just like a kitten. I love this machine and never have regretted buying it.Hope I helped you ….Debbe

  312. Grandma S says:

    j, there are actually two re-engineered 1/4″ feet. One has the side guide and the other doesn’t. The one with the right guide that I use for piecing is 820924-096 and the one without the guide is 820926-096. There’s also a stitch in the ditch foot that they increased the left side a bit as well, and it is 820925-096. I would recommend the straight stitch plate as well if you don’t have one already.

    My machine is just over two years old, and I don’t have any complaints about it except I really hate the Auto Foot Lift. I want to control when the machine foot lifts, and have to remember to turn it off each time I turn the machine on. I do a lot of sewing, and sew all kinds of stuff from quilts to home dec to kids clothes and costumes and lots of clothing from sheer fabrics to knits to layers of denim, and the only time it hiccups is when I’ve tried to hem jeans at the side and inseam thicknesses. It is definitely my go to machine that sits ready to use all of the time.

  313. Steve in NY says:

    Bird nest thread jams:

    The black plastic on the take-up lever referred to above can be seen by lifting the top cover and looking down on the top of the take-up lever. With the lever in the top position you will see the black plastic on the left of the lever. The lever is made of round, presumably hardened steel. The plastic will come from below in the back and extend up over about half the width the lever by flattening out at it’s end. Presumably the thread slides under and around the plastic in the threading process but looping thread cannot escape back up and over.

    Today I was at the local Pfaff dealer and every new machine had this part. There was one used QE 4 ($1900) without the part. I think I can guess why that machine was traded in.

    My machine has the part and still suffers from the bird’s nest problem occasionally. When the crunching starts under the needle plate stop immediately and rethread everything, top and bottom. It’s just easier than troubleshooting.

    Being the mechanical and inquisitive person I am I noticed during the last thread jam that the thread had come out of the last thread guide on the needle mount. It took a while but I came up with something to put on there to keep the thread from jumping out. I got a broccoli rubber band and cut about a 1/4 inch of it and pushed a pin through the middle. I then, with some difficulty, slipped it on the protruding left side of the thread guide. It prevents the thread from jumping out.

    So far, so good. I’m hoping.

  314. Mary says:

    I found that even with the new part the thread still jumps out occassionally. I found that when I finish a seam I make sure the needle is in the most upright position. It seems to work.

  315. Joyce says:

    I bought a QE 4.0 about a month ago and, so far, really love it. I’ve done some free motion quilting and the auto thread cutter doesn’t always cut the bobbin thread but that’s my only complaint in that mode. I love the extra large throat. The machine is easy to use; don’t need to pick up the manual every time I want to do something else. The stitches are beautiful. Admittedly I haven’t tried every feature yet but, as of now, it’s exceeding my expectations.

  316. Rae Ann Brown says:

    I just got a Creative 2170 and would like to make an applique. I would like to make a template on paper. Does anyone know how to just run the outline of a design?.

  317. AnnieK says:


    I´m a quilter and in April this year I bought my QE4.0. And has been back and forth from the dealer so many times. Really frustrating.

    Some of the things that are wrong:

    The knife does not work and it causes problems in the bobbin.
    At FMQ it skip the stitches, loops in the wire. Other times the thread too tight.
    The engine overheats.
    The needle threader does not work.
    It can not sew over multiple layers, for example. by patchwork.
    It has some weird sounds.

    My dealer is about and be tired of me. He tries every time and solve the problem of different needles, etc. But it just does not help.

    My machine is made in China:(

    Today I FMQ but the thread broke all the time, I’m about and give up. On Monday I intend again to drive to the dealer and this time I will demand my money back or have a completely different machine. Possibly. a JANOME 6600, anyone who knows about it is a good machine or can recommend a completely different.

    / Annie

  318. Margaret says:

    My 2134 has been sent away to Vancouver as my local dealer could not fix the problem. When sewing it would keep telling me to raise my fee dogs even though everything was set correctly. It seemed that when I raised the presser foot lever to change directions the alert that the feed dogs were down would show up and the machine would not sew!
    I have had it about 4 years and serviced annually — anyone else had this problem.
    I have been loaned the Classic Style Quilt machine which is basic. I miss the needle down option.

  319. Annie says:

    I’m so pleased to have found this informative thread. It helped me when I felt that I just wanted to give up on my QE4, particularly with fffFMQ! I had the numerous issues mentioned by many people and have taken copious notes as I’ve trawled through the above. The good news (so far) is that it seems to have worked (I won’t be 100% satisfied until I’ve trialled it for longer). Today I’ve FMQ’d all morning with only one broken thread (over a rather bulky seam).
    This one thread has helped me more than anything else.
    Many many thanks.

  320. Sally says:

    Hello again!
    I posted on this thread nearly 3 years ago when I first got my Pfaff.
    Unfortunately, for me the problems were never resolved and it got to the stage where I never used the QE 4. A complete waste of money and of nearly 3 years of “sewing life”, as I barely used a machine in all that time – hand sewing/quilting/piecing was easier and far less frustrating!!!

    At the beginning of the year I was discussing this with my husband, who sensibly commented that “life is short” and that although the waste of money is sad, the loss of 3 years happy sewing is worse!! Consequently we decided a new machine for me would be a good idea.

    I bought a Bernina 550 QE last weekend and haven’t looked back!!! I’ve done so much sewing and quilting on it in the last week and it’s a beauty – perfect stitches every time, no non-existent thread jams, no motor overload, it sews a wonderful straight seam and doesn’t gobble up the fabric when piecing.

    It seems to me that the problem here is that the Pfaff machines are inconsistent in their quality, some being fine and some being real lemons. In retrospect, I should have really pushed to have the machine replaced with a new one, but I was so upset and frustrated with the whole experience that instead I just gave up on it. My advice to anyone having problems would be to print out this blog and REALLY push for a new machine …………… or buy a Bernina! 🙂

  321. corina says:

    I got the new take up lever installed on my QE 4.0. There ae no more birds nests as long as I remember to adjust the pivot height to the proper level (usually -2 or -3). I was still having trouble with threads breaking out of the blue though. Discovered the thread was cutting a groove into the plastic. I filed the area down and had less thread trouble, but still the occasional breakage. Last week I discovered the thread had worn the plastic down right behind the little thread guide above the needle, to the point of metal showing. I smoothed the rough metal out with the extra fine polishing nail file and no longer have any trouble. Will keep you posted if that changes!

  322. CB says:

    My problem with the Pfaff QE4 id the stitch length. ever since Xmas the default stitch length of 2.5 has been giving me 17-18 stitches per inch instead of what should be 10-12…drives me nuts. I have changed it to 3.0 for paper piecing (which I would usually use 2.0) and I use 3.5 for regular piecing…this is ridiculous (but I’m stuck with NO warranty as I bought it ever so slightly used from a private seller)…I’ve always loved my Pfaff 7550, but it is getting old. I should never have bought this QE4 with a box that says made in Switzerland and the machine says made in CHINA!!!

  323. CB says:

    Oh, I forgot to say, I have cleaned the machine everywhere, even took the top off (being careful to not get anywhere near the computer parts, of course) and even put a straw on my vacuum cleaner to get under the bobbin case…there are no jams or pieces of lint clogging anything.

  324. Mark says:

    I wish that I had found this discussion prior to buying my QE 4 a few months ago. Even though it was a new machine, mine had the typical problems — bad stitching, tension, needle threader, etc. I really wanted to love the machine. However, the problems and headaches it gave me left me with no choice except to give up on it.

    Recently I bought a Bernina 550 QE. I could not be happier. The build quality is so much better than the QE 4. From the first time I used it, the 550 QE was such a different and calming experience. Everything about this machine is perfect. I expect to stay with the Bernina brand for the rest of my life.

  325. Debbe says:

    I haven’t posted here since last year. I thought I’d let y’all know I still have my QE 4.0. Just had it in for a yearly and she’s a great machine. Love all the bells and whistles. I don’t have any of these problems and I too bought in December of 2008. I guess mine was not affected with all the problems as what I read here. If mine had any of these problems I too won’t buy another Pfaff. Hope these problems stop for y’all soon.Just a short up date post.

  326. Judy says:

    I am more confused than ever….I saw a demo of the QU 4.0 at the sew & craft expo in Victoria this past weekend. The machine features were awesome, and after seeing the demo, I was more convinced than ever that the Pfaff

  327. Judy says:

    I am more confused than ever….I saw a demo of the QU 4.0 at the sew & craft expo in Victoria this past weekend. The machine features were awesome, and after seeing the demo, I was more convinced than ever that this is the machine for me. Then I found this blog this morning . . .

    I have a Babylock Ellageo 2 which has proven to be a workhorse, and I love it. It does everything I need it to do with one exception — I can only quilt a single bed size quilt as the space to the right of the needle will not accommodate anything larger.

    I had heard about the Pfaff IDT feature and always thought that if I got another machine for quilting, I’d go for the IDT. After seeing the demo, I came away thrilled with all the features, and the sample stitches were awesome. Immediately started looking for a used QE 4.0 — then I found this blog and I feel so deflated after reading about all the problems with this machine. Would I be making a huge mistake, especially with a used machine, as there would be no warranty??

    Is there anyone who has the Babylock quilting model and if so what do you like and not like about Babylock??

    I’d appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks,

  328. Tammy says:

    I bought a Pfaff QE4 in March 2009 named her Big Bertha. I’m delighted to report that I no longer own this machine. In December 2011, I traded it in on a Pfaff Creative 2 embroidery/sewing machine.

    I gave up on my QE4 because the needle threader got stuck between the needle bar and the bottom of the harp. The needle threader broke and the sewing machine made a mess of what I was sewing. I traded it off because I had all the fun I could stand with it and I wanted a machine with the embroidery module.

    My only regret is that I did not trade her in sooner. I have owned four Pfaff sewing machines a Select 4, 7510, QE4 and now the Creative 2. Three out of four were awesome wonderful machines, only my QE4 was temperamental. My Pfaff Creative 2 was made in Sweden whereas Big Bertha was manufactured in China. Not only does it do beautiful embroidery, it also fmq and sews like a champ.

    My Pfaff QE4 made the best button holes, bartacks and fancy decorative stitches. The large harp, duel lights, auto pivot are wonderful features. I love never having to lift the presser foot manually. Even though my QE4 was lemon and I got tired of making lemonade, I still recommend this sewing machine.

    1. Laurie says:

      I have the Creative 2.0 embroider/sewing machine and love it. I am considering the QE 4, so I don’t wear out the embroidery machine with quilting. I thought it was the same machine without the embroidery?

  329. Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  330. Susan says:

    I bought a QE4 nearly three years ago and I’m so disappointed with it. I had had my old Janome for 25 years and I hate to think how many hundreds of thousands of kilometers it has done with barely a hiccup. I decided to upgrade as I was doing more and more free form quilting and wanted a wider throat and the needle up/ needle down facility. I can free form quilt with it but with severe limitations. I cannot have vastly different coloured threads top and bottom because the bobbin thread always shows through to the top. This has a huge impact on my work as I frequently range from very light to very dark fabrics on the top and usually have a dark fabric for the backing. In the first two years I took it back to the dealer 6 times for repairs but it still isn’t right. To try and fix the tension problem he has given me two bobbins cases set at different tensions for normal sewing (piecing) and free form quilting so changing from one to the other is no longer a quick easy process. I can’t do long straight lines of quilting as it always bunches up the top layer because it doesn’t pull the layers through evenly. My thread cutters have never been any use, they don’t leave long enough trails for the beginning of the next piece so the stitching just comes undone. I hate the way you lose all your settings for free form quilting every time you switch the machine off. They can’t be saved like decorative stitches apparently can be. So the end result is I spent $3000AUD for a machine that will allow me to do free form quilting as long as I am prepared to use the same coloured thread top and bottom all the time. And I have to be prepared to do major alterations when switching from one function to another. I would like to sell it but would feel guilty passing the problems on to someone else. The Australian importer just referred me straight back to the shop, they weren’t at all interested in my problems. Since buying it two different sales people have admitted all my issues were known problems but, of course, they don’t mention them during the sales pitch. Hope this helps save someone from a terrible mistake.

  331. Joanne says:

    I bought my Pfaff expression 4.0 in June 2009. It was my birthday present.
    I HATE the machine. I have a Pfaff 1421 and 7550 both of which I LOVE. They both still work great, I just wanted to upgrade and had started quilting so thought the 4.0 would be a good idea. I have had nothing but problems. Jamming, bad feeding at beginning when chain piecing (I just can’t do it on this machine), terrible tension problems. The dealer I purchased the machine from has tried to repair at least twice. I discussed these problems with the guys selling the machines at a major quilt show (they should never asked how I liked my machine), so they suggested I return to Phaff SVP service center. I had to pay $219. to get the machine worked on. Quess what.. It still doesn’t work. I can sew straight seams, but NOTHING else without tension problems. I was trying to applique and the tension is so bad it is unreal. I have tried all the “standard” troubleshooting suggestions without any change. I would never recommend this machine to anyone and would try to sell it, but don’t think anyone would buy it. This machine is such a disapointment. I have so much money invested in it. (Extra bobbins, feet and even the fab-u-motion). I have never written into a blogg before, but am just so upset I felt I needed to talk to someone who would understand. I honestly can not think of one thing I like on it anymore. How you can go from loving a machine brand to such disappointment is so unreal. I am now waiting for the dealer I bought from to call me back to see if he can help. Wish me luck, I feel I am going to need it.

  332. Joanne says:

    I have tried to post, but can’t seem to get my wording to go thru so will try again. I am blogging about how much I HATE my pfaff quilt expression 4.0. I have had nothing but trouble from this machine. I have returned this machine to the SVP service center, paid for repairs, and still have to same tension problems. I can sew a straight seam, but NO other stitches. I can”t zig zag, or applique let alone do any of the fancy decorative stitches. I bought this machine in June of 2010 as my birthday present. LUCKY ME . I have two other OLDER pfaff machines a 1421, bought in l984, and a 7550 bought in l996. Both still work great and I love them. I just don’t know what has happened with this machine. I Just talked to my dealer, and have to take it in AGAIN tomorrow. Wish me luck, because I know I will need it.

  333. Jeanette says:

    Joanne I feel your pain… I wanted the 4.0 Expression for the wider harp (for ease of quilting)… oh how wrong I was! It sewed okay (bit noisy) but the FMQ’ing was pathetic… thread breakages (tried all types of thread)… “birds nests”…jamming… the dealer told me I need to use Rasant thread only (excuse me! just the one brand of thread? I don’t think so). I always thought that Pfaff was one of the TOL machines… they had (HAD…as in past tense now!) a good reputation so I thought I was being looked after… I shed many tears and got absolutely no help from the dealer… in the end it’s now sitting in the back cupboard gathering dust… I turned to Bernina and I’ve never looked back… as soon as I opened the box it oozed quality… I only paid a few hundred more for it than the Pfaff. I don’t have the wider harp, but I can FMQ (with all types of thread brands by the way) with ease. As far as I’m concerned Pfaff is a product I will never touch again and never recommend either. I’m happy for those who have the product and it works for them… but I obviously got a lemon (and there must be quite a few Pfaff lemon trees out there, because there are a lot of people in the same boat as me) and would never recommend Pfaff to anyone. Sorry to rant, good to get it off ones chest 🙂

    1. Bob Snodgrass says:


      take your 4.0 to an old experienced dealer who knows how to adjust the needle to hook clearance and timing. Here’s how you check this yourself. Remove the needle plate and bobbin case. install a brand new 705H 12/80 needle. Make sure it is all the way up in the needle clamp. have the needle in straight stitch center position. lower the needle down by hand wheel and as it is starting back up stop with the metal rotary hook point directly behind the needle. Just the point! Now get a small probe or tooth pick and push back on the needle at the hook point. There should be almost no deflection of the needle. The clearance should be no more than a thin piece of paper. if you have a noticeable amount of needle deflection have a dealer adjust it. Try a straight stitch needle plate for best results.
      The machines are coming from the factory with too much clearance and the thread is damaged or skips in FMQ. Then get a “spring” free motion foot. Pfaff has the Q foot. The sensormatic foot is a problem unless the foot clearance is set perfect in the Tools icon.

  334. marlene S says:

    I was glad to read all the comments on this machine. I presently own a Pfaff2134, after trading in my 7570 2 yrs agoi.. I have not had major problems with it but I don’t think I will ever bother learning the embroidery unit , and not sure why I bought another one with an embroidery and computer unit. I also am missing the smart card now too. I had see a review a some sewing machines in a recent quilt magazine and the Pfaff 4.0 was included . My local quilt store is selling it it for 2,000, as a special When I asked about a trade it, she said that I would be trading down. I guess because it doesnt have the embroider component? I have been trying to find out what year all these machines were first made but short of calling a shop that refurbishes and sells < I couldnt find any info. After reading about the problems with the 4.0 I think I will stick with what I have for now. I was glad to find this blog. Thanks

  335. Debbe says:

    Not all QE 4.0 are bad. I have one that has been wonderful. I too bought mine in Dec 2008. So it too was in the same era of all those who’s having problems. But I haven’t. So there are good ones out there. I love my machine.I use what ever threads but I do use Gutermann threads mostly. So I hope there are more out there that have good machines like mine. I love my machine. One of the greatest buy for me!

    1. Linda says:

      Debbe can you please look under your machine and see where it was made? It should be written there. Some of the first machines Swiss made did work very well.
      I bought mine in 2009. It was made in China but it was the worse machine I had ever owned in 30 years of sewing.

      1. Debbe says:

        Linda I just looked and you’re right mine was made in Sweden. I guess I got a good machine. Because I can’t find one fault on this machine.I bought mine in December of 2008.I got it because my 7570 was in for a new mother board. My dealer was unsure he was going to get one. Because it takes so long for parts to fix older machines. My friend just had her machine in for the same thing and it took her 3 months. So my husband talked me into a new machine and I tested for almost 2 hours this machine it never messed up and my dealers wife made me do all kinds of tests of free motion sewing fast changing threads and doing some stitches. Sewing with different feet. So I guess she was testing it too. So I feel lucky now that I know this. I never looked at where it was made till I seen this message to me.WOW !

        1. Linda says:

          I asked you this question because I knew a woman that had bought a QE4 only a month before me and her machine was perfect. It was made in Sweden. Mine was made in China and it worked badly.
          To be honest I think they have made improvements now. Surely for those that have one of these bad machines it is a nightmare. The only thing I can suggest is to insist with their dealer for another machine.

  336. Patrecia Ross says:

    My PFAFF Quilt Expression 4.0 is a TERRIBLE MISTAKE.
    It won’t stay threaded. Took it back to the dealer FIVE TIMES.
    She insists that it works just perfectly. The Pfaff company
    told me that they are NOT responsible. It really isn’t the dealer’s
    fault (Ft. Gratiot, MI) that the machine has serious flaws……
    flipping seams backwards is AWFUL too. The thread just HOPS OFF
    of the takeup lever 3 times out of every 10 starts. I am stuck and
    OUT almost TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. I have 6 other machines,
    2 smaller Pfaffs, one Viking, two Janomes, one Kenmore. They ALL WORK
    just fine. my phone no. is 989-635-2901 in case anyone knows how to help me.

    1. Bob Snodgrass says:

      There is an upgraded take up lever kit that Pfaff will provide the dealer at no charge. It has a no jump back lip built in. Does your Take up lever have a small black projection on the left side? If yes then make sure when threading that your thread passes over the projection and it’s “locked” in. This upgrade is about 2 years old. How old is your machine?

      1. jeanh says:

        Thanks for posting this. I checked and I do have this.

  337. Joyce says:

    Looking for a new machine. But all of this has really scared me. I guess my 7550 is looking better:-) Maybe a Bernina? Even though I will have to drive an hour for classes.

  338. Stephanie says:

    Hi Everyone,

    First off I would like to say thank you so much for your constant comments on here. I am a complete beginner and I am looking at the PFAFF Quilt Expression 4.0 and the Viking Sapphire 875Q. I currently live in the Middle East and the store that sells them has classes they offer to help train you to use the machine. Unfortunately I am still unsure which machine I want. The store keeps telling me that it depends on the person opinion on the PFAFF and both machines are great. Any advice would be really helpful.

    Thank you in advance!

  339. fkawau says:

    This is the accurate Carolina Patchworks · My thoughts on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 after one month diary for anyone who wants to seek out out about this subject. You mention so much its almost exhausting to argue with you (not that I real would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new twist on a issue thats been transcribed active for eld. Overnice whatsis, but extraordinary!

  340. Joanne says:

    Well it is now June and I thought I would check the post and see if there was any new posts. My pfaff expression 4.0 has been back in the shop again, and it is still not working to my liking. It has almost all the same problems, but of course the dealer can’t seem to find the same problems. After reading some of the new posts, I checked where my machine was made. Quess what? CHINA.
    I am just going to give up the battle and take the loss. The machine is taking all the enjoyment out of my quilting. I am putting it on the shelf (a very expensive nic nac) and pullling out my 7550 and 1471. The l471 goes to classes with me as it is smaller.

    1. Linda says:

      Please don’t give up!
      If it’s still in warranty ask to change it for another machine.

      If your dealer insists that your machine is perfect and has nothing wrong with it then I would ask them to take in your Expression 4 so you could get another machine of another brand adding only a little more money.
      They can’t value your Expression 4 at a low price if it is a perfect machine don’t you think?
      I would try this!!!

  341. Jose Nette says:

    Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very great article.

  342. Madelyn says:

    I’m reading your review because I’m in the market for a new machine and someone on a blog suggested another Pfaff. I just had my Pfaff Tiptronic 2020 in the shop (second time in as many months) for a similar feed problem! I purchased this machine new in 1999 and have NEVER taken it in for service. Shame on me! lol Well, it suddenly started pushing the fabric off to the left as I sewed a 1/4″ seam. The service man said the feed dogs needed to be leveled, which he did and it’s sewing like a dream again…well, at least THAT part. I now have tension issues that I didn’t have before “service”.

    The buttonholer has NEVER made a proper buttonhole. It starts on the right side then makes the top tack, then down the left side…well beyond where the left side began! GRRRR! So, the “service man” adjusted that also. It makes a BETTER buttonhole, but still does not meet at the beginning. I guess the machine is tired after beating it half to death for so many years. I know I’M tired of messing with it.

    I hope you’ve found a way to deal with this issue. Pfaff is now owned by Singer Co…made in China! Considering how much we pay for these “wonderful” machines, I think I want American Made from now on!

  343. Couldn?t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will ahead this article to him. Pretty confident he will possess a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  344. Ada says:

    Thank goodness I stumbled upon your blog. I had a Pfaff 1475 and loved it. I was looking for another machine for quilting and the Pfaff 4.0 looked really good, until I read all the questions and comments on your site. Now I’ll just keep my trusty Juki 98Q for it’s great straight stitch for piecing and free motion quilting and use my Janome or Brother for fancy stitching. Again, many thanks for opening my eyes.

  345. Debbe says:

    Well as you see at the bottom of this list I posted back in May of this year . There has been little activity and so this will be my last post. I bought my QE 4.0 in Dec 08. It was made in Sweden and it does beautiful quilting FMQ and regular sewing. I have mine in a Horn cabinet and I quilt a lot of big quilts and even art quilts too. I love this machine. My warning is look at where the machine was made if it says China run away. Don’t spend your hard earned money on crap made there. Before you buy it test sew on all kinds of fabric and try all stitches. I did and my dealer helped me think of a lot of them and furnished them too. I spend more than 2 hours playing with my machine before I bought and you should too. If you don’t have that kind of time don’t buy it till you do. Or you’ll be another misfortunate ones that find this site. I too had some issues all with cover on bobbin broke my threader broke. All replaced. But I wish good luck and many HAPPY SEWING DAY with your QE 4.0. Good Bye and God Bless you all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Bob Snodgrass says:


      FYI. The latest China built Quilt Expression 4.0 is superior to the Swedish built machines. ie: Better feed system & take up lever Mechanism. Improved operating system. Better under trimmer & thread jam sensor. Better needle threader. The current machines are 4th generation designs and they are constantly improving them. I stayed away from the first generation expressions and creatives as a dealer.
      Please note that China builds Janome, Viking, Elna, babylock, Brother, Juki and most of the parts for Bernina top models. Bernina is very crafty at hiding country of origin on it’s products.

  346. Iris Bingham says:

    I am so frustrated, after reading all these comments, I too bought my 4.0 thinking I could quilt better with the wider mouth… I have over come the eating the fabric at the beginning by using a little scrap of fabric and beginning on it and then on to my sewing, a solution but annoying! My other pfaff never had this problem. I had the skipping stitch problem but after two dealer adjustments it seems better. My big complaint is when I try to quilt the stitching is really really uneven, tinny tight stitches to long stitches. Looks terrible! I really regret my purchase but its too late now! Iris

    1. Bob Snodgrass says:


      Are your stitch irregularities in regular sewing or free motion? Did your dealer help you out?


  347. Marty says:

    Excellent posts!

    My sister is a quilter and got to use the Pfaff 4.0 for a week at a retreat. She loved it but it did have a couple of the issues brought up here.

    I’m interested in getting a quilting machine for my wife for Christmas. What would you recommend? Based on some of the comments I’ve read, should I be looking at older machines too?


    1. Linda says:

      I find the Juki F600 a fantastic machine. The harp space isn’t as large as the one on the Expression 4 but it sews alot better. Doesn’t chew thin fabrics at the start of sewing and it goes over thick seams like the ones on jeans with ease.
      Some have found the Pfaff Ambition machines good for quilting but I personally have not tried one.

  348. quiltchick says:

    I have had issues with my QE4.0. When I quilted on a practice piece it would be fine. Then when I went to my quilt it would be skipped stitches and broken threads. I would go from the QE4.0 to my 2040 and it would be the same thing. Then I realized there was a difference between my practice pieces and my quilt projects. It was that I was using quilt basting spray or fusible batting on my projects but not on my practice pieces because they were small pieces. When I stopped using these products all the skipped stitches and broken threads disappeared on my 2040. There was also improvement on my QE4.0 but I still have tension problems and some thread shedding. I do find I have better results with the spring free-motion than with the sensormatic free-motion. Hope this helps some of you.

  349. Julie Beard says:

    I recently purchased Pfaff 4.0 and yes my machine is made in China. Boy!!!!!! I wish I’d seen this site before I purchased my machine I would have brought the Janome instead. I have had trouble with using small pieces of fabric resulting in the fabric getting caught in the feed dogs and also had thread caught around the bobbin casing. Recently, I too was told to use one brand of thread “Rasant and Mettler satin finish” as it has some lubricating properties?????? The dealer suggested if I used superior thread in my machine once I’d finished the project my machine would need servicing as the cotton thread would soak up all the oil in the machine. I wrote to superior and they suggest I change dealer!!!!! I have used YLI on top and in the bobbin succesfully but I like cotton 100% and want to use cotton 100% all the time not polycotton wrapped. I have watched a video from superior threads where their Pfaff 4.0’s machine use their threads successfully. Now I’m wondering where their machines are made. As my machine is only a couple of months old I am now wondering whether I should be asking my dealer for a trade up or considering buying that Janome and pass off my machine to someone else. Any ideas would be welcome. Thanks Julie

    1. Linda says:

      Julie I would say, change your machine as soon as possible!
      Not all Expression machines have this problem but very many do.
      You didn’t write which Janome machine you would like to get because there are some new Janomes that like chewing thin fabrics too.
      The Pfaff performance is a great machine with a better feeding system and you could buy in the future an embroidery unit for it if you like embroidering.
      I have read many good reviews from quilters about the Pfaff ambition 1.5 but I have not tried it personally. The Juki F series are excellent machines never chew thin fabrics and sew over very thick seams with ease but they do have a smaller harp than the Pfaff machines.

      1. Julie Beard says:

        Thank you for responding to my email Linda. I am very concerned at the moment with regards to my machine. I am an Australian Pensioner on disability and I used some of my superannuation to purchase this machine and a lot of other gadets to help me setup my quilting life so that I can make beautiful quillts. My machine dealer knows I wanted this machine to last to the end of my life and that I would not have any other money to purchase other. I have spoken to Pfaff USA and they are telling me I can use any threads in my machine now. They also totally disregarded the issue about the China made machines. I have just asked some other questions and will wait to see what their comments are before I talk too my dealer again. I will keep in touch to let you know what’s going on. Thanks again Julie Beard

        1. Linda says:

          Not all machines made in China have problems. I have a Pfaff Creative Vision 5.5 made in China and it embroiders beautifully.
          It’s true you should be able to use any type of thread without problems. (Don’t know why your dealer said you couldn’t). There is a little learning curve to set the right tensions on the machine, it all depends on the thickness of the fabric you are sewing on.
          A single hole needle plate could help alot in stopping thin fabrics getting caught into the feed dogs.
          Just a thought Julie when you place the bobbin in and pull the thread through the guide do you hear a slight click? It’s important it does that little click sound because this means the thread is well inside the tension spring. Also when you are threading the top thread always remember to have the foot of the machine up because if it is down the thread does not go well into the tension discs and it makes nests under the feed dogs.
          Can’t you take a sample of your threads and fabrics to your machine dealer and ask them to test your machine together with you?
          If the machine sews badly they might be willing to change it for a new machine.
          Best wiishes

          1. Julie Beard says:

            Dear Linda, Thank you so much for that very useful information. I should tell you that I have only been sewing/quilting for three years. Therefore my knowledge regarding threads, tension, needles and sewing machine is even smaller when compared with anyones. So any information is gratefully recieved. Now that latest letter from Pfaff has suggested I talk with corporate affairs, regarding why my seller is suggesting only using Rasant and Mettler threads.

    2. Bob Snodgrass says:


      I hope you kept your 4.0. It is the most updated and perfected version regardless of where it’s made. All the top machines are of Chinese origin these days including Janome. Any thread will work in your machine. Not sure what your dealer is worried about??? Quality thread just gives better results. Cotton thread does lint up a machine more so just clean the bobbin case and feed dog area more often.
      Happy sewing

  350. Julie Beard says:

    Sorry I pressed send before I should have signed off. So thank you once for replying to my enquires. Regards Julie Beard.

  351. Linda says:

    Julie, it is important that your machine does well the work it has to do. If it doesn’t your dealer has to do something.
    It is true that some sewing threads are of better quality than others but that a machine can use only one type of thread is not acceptable.
    I found my Expression 4 was very picky on threads and I did not like this. It is surely not a dealers fault if the machine is picky but the way the machine was constructed by Pfaff.
    I had exactly the same problem as you with 2 Pfaff machines, an Expression 4 and a Creative vision 5.0. Both had the same problems with nests under the feed dogs and snapping of threads. I gave them back to my dealer. I refused to keep machines that work in this way. I have now the Creative Vision 5.5 and the Juki F600 and they both sew perfectly with the same threads that gave problems in the older machines.
    Please don’t keep a machine that is not working well Julie as you will not enjoy using it and it will upset you everytime you use it.
    Good luck!

  352. Louise says:

    I too have the QE4 and I love it. Yes, I can relate to the ‘eating’ of fabric at the beginning and I too switched 1/4″ foot however, what I did realize that if the bobbin thread didn’t come back up, that is when I noticed the problem. Now I just be sure it is up and notice this issue being gone!! So when I cut off, I just swipe the fabric under the foot and it bring the thread up if it is still down. Huge difference.

  353. Deeganma says:

    Hi I have a QE4 for the past 6 months and it has been working well…until today. When I sew maybe 20 or 35 stitches it simply crashes and switches itself off, and then back on. Has this happened to anyone else. All suggestions greatfully received.

    1. Bob Snodgrass says:

      My guess is you have one of two problems. 1. bad power cord socket connection to the internal power supply. 2. overheating component in the power supply itself. How long does the machine shut down before turning itself back on?

  354. Bob Snodgrass says:

    I am a Pfaff Dealer. The stitching and thread jam problems can be corrected. Early models of this machine have a different internal feed dog mechanism and thread jam sensor. Experienced dealers can improve the feeding on old models and adjust the sensor to eliminate false jam errors. In the case of a false thread jam error simply hit the scissor (under trimmer) button again. The thread jam error is reading a undertrimmer that has not returned to it’s far left position. New models have an improved sensor, feed carriage and operating software that has solved these problems. Contact your authorized dealer to have your machine problems fixed. Bring up the bobbin thread to help eliminate the tangle at the start of a seam right on the edge.
    The Friendly Swede

  355. I purchased the Pfaff QE 4.0 in August and I HATE IT! I had a Pfaff for 26 years (I think 7520) and loved it. It finally died and I had to replace it, very unhappy with that to begin with because I use my machine every day and I loved my old machine. I am struggling with using clear filament thread for free motion quilting, any suggestions?

    1. Jeanette says:

      Count your losses and get rid of it Toni… I have a very sour taste in my mouth with Pfaff. Here in Australia my dealer was not helpful at all… was told I had to PAY for the fix (in the end they reduced the cost slightly) but as it’s Pfaff’s fault (in making faulty goods to start with) then they should cover the cost! I tried to contact Pfaff (in Australia) but got no response at all. Even after the “fix” I still have trouble FMQ (please note that I have no trouble FMQ on either my old Husqvarna or my new Bernina). The Pfaff sews nicely but it just wont FMQ… and it’s supposed to be a “quilt” friendly machine!? They should take the QE off…it’s false advertising

      1. Beth says:

        Ok, second time typing this. 🙁 Since my last post, I zeroed in on either the Janome 8900 or the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 875. I test drove both and honestly, if money were no object, I’d have bought the janome. Hands down this is a fantastic machine!! But, price is a factor so I chose my second choice and the was the 875. I’ve had it home for 2 weeks now and this week is the first week I’ve really had time to use it. I am not good at FMQ yet, I’m a beginner and since I’m just learning and do not have the “dance” down yet, I think that could count for something. On my Brother Innovis, FMQ was alwas either a bird’s nest on the back or the stitches were all over the place. On the 875, no nesting AND despite my lack of ability, the stitches stay more even. That’s huge! The sales lady at the store where I tested these machines showed me FMQ and she’s good at it and this machine can do this like a dream. If you have 3k to shell out for a machine than get the Janome, if not and can manage the 875, it will not disappoint you. It’s a bit louder, a bit shakier but it’s a workhorse that has some fantastic features….
        I though for sure I’d end up with a Pfaff of some sort…now after reading this and seeing for myself, I’m very happy with the 875…great machine!!!

  356. Beth says:

    I am sooooooo thankful for these reviews. I had my heart set on the 4.0 for it’s versatility BUT now after reading all this…I’m going to pass on this. I think I want a Pfaff but will go with the Expression 150 or the Ambition 1.5. Either that or I’ll get a Huskqvarna Sapphire 875. I’ve also looked at the Brother Dreamweaver 3000 but it’s a bit more pricey than the others I’m looking at.

    Thanks for saving me the headaches. Too bad though :(, I really liked this machine. Perhaps I should get a long-arm instead?

    1. nancy says:

      I love my Pfaff 4.0 which I purchased just before Christmas 2012. I also have a Janome Horizon purchased February 2012. The Janome is much more tempermental than my Pfaff. As for fabric eating, I find that if the correct needle is not used, it makes a huge difference. Perhaps I’m just lucky with my Pfaff, but I find myself preferring it over my Janome and even at times my Bernina (yes, I have a new Artista as well – a sewing machine addiction).

  357. michele says:

    I just bought a Pfaff Expression 4.0 and was really happy until it starting giving me an error message to clean the threads under the bobbin case. I’ve done it three times, even tried changing bobbins and it still won’t get out of that message. Anyone had this problem? Solution?

  358. jeanh says:

    Just want to give a positive review for those of you who are still shopping. I bought the QE 4.0 in March of this year and it is very good. I’ve had a learning curve because it does somethings differently such as feet go up and down without the little handle in the back. Didn’t take long to get used to that. Every function is set either with a button or a menu and remembering that is taking sometime. But my brain is almost 70 years old and is a little slower now. But eating fabric and nesting thread will happen in any machine if the zigzag plate is used and the thread is not held or a leader patch is not used. So those two problems can probably be fixed. As with any of my machines, I’m careful about the plate, foot, and needle matching. One of the features on the QE that I like is a setting to let you know if you stitch is too wide for the single hole plate. No accidently breaking a needle because you forgot to change plates. I hope those of you who are still shopping will consider the QE if you had already decided you liked your test run and if you haven’t tested it yet, then go ahead and give it a run.

  359. jeanh says:

    Also want to thank Bob for his comments. I especially checked the black protector on the takeup lever. I do have it and I wondered what it was and why it was there. Sewing and sewing machine have sure changed a lot in the computer age. We expect our machines to do so much more now and it does make sewing fun and a pleasure. When I first started sewing, I never thought about keeping the needle changed or using different sizes. lol.

  360. Donna says:

    Wow, never thought I would have to blog! I have read all of the posts and it has been very informative.
    In the 90’s I was a pfaff home representative and adored the machines. I still currently own an 1035, 1471 and 2 years ago a QE4.0
    My 1471 still sews well enough for hidden seams but not for appliqué. This is why I bought the QE4.0 for all of the wonder features I had on the 1471 plus the added cutter and foot control of pressure foot.
    BUT this machine loves to go for service! My dealer/ service is a 1.5 hour drive each way.

    The first time was the needle threader was jammed up inside and wouldn’t budge. This locked the needle bar from functioning. They pulled apart says was a part that was loose and they fixed it. This took 2 weeks

    Second time thread cutter stopped working, was replaced with a longer blade and a new “eye” this took a month as the parts were on back order

    Third the needle threader jammed down, locking the head from any movement
    They didnt know what was causing it so it was sent to a technician They repaired says was a broken part and replaced parts. I had to argue with the rep as she wanted to charge we for the repair as the machine was 1year 1month
    But I explained to her they didn’t fix the problem the first time. This took 4 weeks

    Fourth time is a repeat of the last time, it now has been at the dealer for a month. We are still waiting for parts to be shipped from Texas as they didn’t have the parts on hand in Canada

    We had purchased a select 150 this past Christmas for our adult daughter. At that point Pfaff was still topmost on my list.
    This machine, the timing went out after 1 hour of sewing. I was very angry when we went to pick it up after 2 weeks in the shop. The Reps says ” I don’t know what you did to it to knock the timing out”

    So here I am,trying to compete my sewing projects again with my Older machines

    My issue is I want to replace this defective lemon. I do not know if it is a China made machine or not.
    I love what potential this model and Pfaff has, but I have lost all confident in this machine and my representation.
    At the store I get two attitudes from my reps. One implies that I am the problem with the machine( I guess if I stop using it, it won’t breakdown)
    The other one gives me great lip service that it will be repaired proper this time good as new!
    So they basically good cop bad cop me.
    I want to talk with a higher up in Pfaff but they hide behind the dealers, no 800 numbers or email, just “contact your dealer”

    1. Linda says:

      I’m sorry to say but these problems are not new to me.
      It’s not your fault but something in some machines. Not all of them but many.
      I have now bought a Pfaff Creative Performance and it’s just another world. It sews lovely and embroiders perfectly. They surely did something in this machine to make it better.
      There is now also a new Performance 5.0. This should be nearly the same as the Pfaff Creative Performance but it doesn’t have the embroidery part of it. So if you can spend a little more give in your QE4 and ask to do an upgrade to one of these 2 machines. You will see the difference right from the start.
      If not insist on having another machine or your money back.

  361. Sherri says:

    I have Pfaff creative 7570 embroidery machine and a 32 year old Kenmore made by White. No machine likes to sew through many layers of fabric. I have to be careful to help the machine not to work to hard. Some reason for your problems:
    1. Use the right size needles
    2. Change needles often they recommend every new quilt or large project
    I worked with heave fabric with both machines this past 4 weeks. I was recovering 8 chairs I used a total of 4 needles there was 2 row of pipping I sewing through 4-6 layers. That gave the needles a real work load.
    3. Fabric being eaten that’s what my Kenmore did the key fix to this is starting with a scrap of fabric that you keep attached to the thread. Then start with your project, if your quilting keep feeding the pieces one after the other. Making sure to end with the scrap. This helps the threads get started and out of the way and it some how works better when I do this. Also I saw a piece that attaches to the 18×24 tables and the 24×24 table. It makes the 1/4 inch seam allowance from the front to the back of you machine. It’s on my wish list.
    4. I never sew through the top, batting, backing, and 4 layers of binding. My sister/quilt teacher is my second mom, with a 15 year different in our ages. Debbie taught me how finish a quilt the best way she has had a lot of classes on quilting. Start be leaving extra batting and backing fabric past the front of your quilt top, next do all the top stitching, now sew the binding to the top side only. The fabric you pick needs to be folded in half and sewn on the top side only by machine. Do this with the raw edge. Fold the fold side to the back and hand stitch with a blind stitch. This make take you a while but the quilt is much prettier this way. Both of our Grandma’s were quilters with large families.
    5. Try buying the 1/4 inch seam allowance foot. This my most used foot. The fabric buts up next to a piece that doesn’t allow the fabric to go past it on the right. I don’t use the foot you showed for quilting.

    Sorry, that’s all I have to help you but some of the problems you are having just sound like it is the machine. Good luck

  362. Rod says:

    I have an Expression 4.0 that I bought a couple of months ago and love it. I researched for a long time before I bought it and found the comments on this blog surprising. There must have been thousands and thousands of these machines sold (and lately the 4.2 which has only a couple of minor changes) and yet the blog comments here are the only negative ones I have come across. On quilting forums, other blogs, review sites etc., nothing but praise.

    I’m not suggesting the people who have commented didn’t have the problems they mention, but so many problems are the users fault no matter what brand of machine. Things as simple as not threading with the presser up.

    I feel sorry for all the folk that have come here, read the comments and as a result not bought the Expression and consequently missed out on a fabulous machine.

    For those still considering buy an Expression watch the following video:

    (As the guy on the video says, the 4.2 and 4.0 are virtually identical: the 4.2 has a stop/start button and LED lighting – the 2 lights in the 4.0 can be replaced with LED-style globes for brighter light).

    Disclaimer: I am simply an owner of an Expression 4.0. I have no connection with Pfaff, dealers etc.

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