Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pfafftanstick!

It's wonderful to get to work on a sewing machine that you didn't have to buy or wonder about selling it. Last week I finally got the chance to help a friend out who had a sewing machine she just couldn't get to work. After agreeing to "take a look" several weeks went by before we finally connected and by then we were both in a rush. She just handed me the machine and said maybe she just had the wrong sized bobbin in it and I had a glimmer of hope that it might not be much of a problem after all. Imagine my surprise when I got home and took the cover off to find a Pfaff:

Pfaff Elastic 6091
It looked in decent shape so I plugged it in but didn't want to move anything until I looked at the bobbin. In order to get to the bobbin, I needed to remove the front storage container but I couldn't get it open! Try as I might I just couldn't figure it out so after I walked away and came back it looked a bit easier and I just flipped up the lid and slid it out. Sometimes the easiest things can be most perplexing. I took a look at the problem bobbin and sure enough bobbin case had a style 66 bobbin in it instead of a special Pfaff. In looking at my own Pfaff 1222 I could see they were the same and fit the same so it was just a matter of the right bobbin. The case goes in in such a way that the little arm, or protrusion, points right instead of up as most sewing machines are made. Problem solved so I started it up and made some very nice stitches. It sounded very "mechanical" with a bit of a whine about it but I put it away until I had more time.

When I took another try at the Pfaff 6091 it still sounded funny so I took the top off and looked inside, oiling moving points and greasing the metal gears. I turned the hand wheel a few times and once it got stuck but moved forward again. That didn't seem right so I looked at the wheel closely and what did I find? A presser foot! There it was, stuck in a small cavity next to the wheel. I fished it out and tried the machine again: perfect pitch.

Here's what had happened (beyond someone dropping a foot down into an open top sewing machine). The Pfaff is known for its IDT, Independent Dual Transport, or it's own built-in walking foot. I wrote about it earlier, comparing it to a walking foot attachment. I don't change the feet on mine or disengage it so I wasn't sure what I was looking at but here was the set-up when I got the sewing machine:
The IDT is the black bar on the left in the photo above with the regular foot on the foot attachment. It made fine stitches but wasn't using the best feature of the machine.  I couldn't attach it and sew with the IDT. Then I found the foot lost, or hiding, inside the sewing machine and compared it to the foot currently on the machine:

Left: regular foot; right: IDT foot
You can see the regular foot is closed in the back so I couldn't attach the IDT but the IDT foot has an opening, just waiting for the IDT to be engaged. I put it on and it worked as they are supposed to, feeding the top fabric at the same rate and the bottom fabric. Success!
IDT attached to the correct open back foot
The stitches were a nice quality but there were no choices for stitch width except for a regular zigzag, somewhat of a downfall for me but it still produced all of the stitches you would want for normal sewing and did them well. On the stitch length dial, if you went past the buttonhole setting, you could find a section labeled "stretch" if you wanted to engage those stitches, nearly doubling the number of stitches.

Now I can return this fine sewing machine to it's user, it was really her sisters, knowing it will work for her with a selection of 4 Pfaff bobbins, a cleaning plus oil and grease where needed. And I got to play with a Pfaff, free of charge (or guilt).

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