I confess up front that I’ve been loyal to the Pfaff brand since the nineties when I bought my first Pfaff sewing machine. I’ve never looked back and I might be biased, but here are my thoughts on one of their newest lines. When I picked up sewing again a couple of years ago I bought a new Pfaff sewing machine, the first in the Ambition line. It’s called Pfaff Ambition 155 and is no longer produced, but was replaced by the new Ambition 610. For a Pfaff in the low/mid price range it works fine, but I soon realized that I need a better machine for my sewing and regretted my choice. Since I’ve acquired both an overlock and a coverstitch machine, too, I really don’t need to invest all that much either, so I finally went with another Ambition, this time the top of the line, the Quilt Ambition 630. This one wasn’t yet released when I bought the first one. It’s aimed at quilters, but works great, of course, for garment sewing, too.
It might seem like unnecessary spending and a strange decision to buy a machine this similar to the one I already have, but after testing a lot of machines including other brands I realized that it had everything I was looking for. Initially I was prepared to spend more, but the rest of my budget can now go towards an upgrade of my very basic overlocker if I want to. Win! In addition, the differences between the 155 and the 630 are more significant than between the 610 and the 630, so it definitely feels like a significant upgrade.
For a start, the stitch quality is a lot better. One of my main requirements were the straight stitch quality, and it’s fantastic on my new machine. The first garment I sewed up was a shirt in linen, and all the seams look so good! I know that most newer machines can sew a lovely straight stitch, but I’m still impressed. The automatic thread tension on the 630 helps too and is a great feature on its own. You can always adjust it manually if you want to. Among other neat new to me features are the thread clipper – I got used to that function immediately and love how simple it is.
There are only a few buttons on the machine: Needle up/down, seam fastening start/stop and the thread cutter plus a slider for speed control. The foot pressure can be regulated with a wheel on the left side, very convenient when sewing knits or very thin fabrics. In addition there is a start/stop button above the reverse seam button just above the sewing area. For me, the start/stop button is less useful than the pedal since I feel a lot more in control when I use the pedal, and I would have preferred to have it located further away from the reverse button. I have this button combination on my older machine, too, and occasionally I pushed the wrong button and the machine went off on high speed. Very disturbing, but fortunately no real damage to me happened besides some tedious unpicking. Now I’ve learned and find this a lesser problem, but if you are new to this line you should be aware of it. Katie of What Katie sews mentions this in her review, too, but it seems less important after a while – to me, at least.
The major selling point for me is probably the built in walking foot, called the IDT system. Only Pfaff has this built in solution. A walking foot transports the upper layer of fabric when sewing so the layers don’t shift as much. All brands have a solution for this, but the Pfaff version is best by far in my opinion. It’s a small walking foot that works with most of the feet available, and it can easily be disengaged when necessary. I’ve had this feature for many years on my machines and I simply think it’s genius. When sewing in slippery fabrics, jersey, knits and so on it is SO helpful. It makes no extra noise when sewing and it is very easy to operate.
All the seams (more than 200) are available through an easy to navigate LCD-screen. I appreciate not having to use a stylus with it as I find this an annoying notion that can easily be misplaced (that’s me). The maximum stitch with is 7 mm. So far I’ve tested the buttonholes and a couple of other stitches like the alphabet. The buttonholes are excellent, but the alphabet can be done better on high end machines. I don’t use letters much in my sewing so no need to pay for them then.
The build and appearance of the machine is very nice and sturdy, and it looks and feels a lot better than the 155. The operating area is quite large, and the help lines are easy to navigate after. I appreciate the many light-sources that makes sewing easier, even on dark nights. Most of the moving parts are in metal, not plastic, and the sound of the motor is a very pleasant low hum. I agree with others that it looks great, too. The sleek design and dark grey/white color scheme looks very modern. Since my machine lives in our sitting room this has some significance, but only as a nice bonus of course.
A quilting foot and a free motion foot comes as standard with this machine along with a few more for hemming etc. I don’t quilt much anymore, but the 1/4″ foot is very handy when sewing french seams, top stitching etc. The automated buttonholes are sewn with a dedicated foot which is very easy to use. I sewed 11 buttonholes on the linen shirt, and not one caused any trouble. This was a big relief because on my 155 this function caused a lot of frustration. These feet have a weakness, though, which is that they struggle on uneven surfaces. Beware of waistbands with lumpy seam allowances, for instance. It might be helpful to grade the allowances or hammer them flat before you sew the button hole, or at least release the pressure of the foot.
I’ve only sewn on my new Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 for a short while, but I already know that I will be very happy with it. Based on my prior experience with this brand I think it is a great addition to the mid price segment and excellent for eager garment sewers like myself. It has all the features I want and need, and a few more. In the future I might add a straight seam needle plate, too, but at the moment I don’t think that’s necessary. If you are in the market for a new sewing machine and have the budget I definitely recommend the Pfaff Ambition line, the 630 in particular.
My older model, the 155 is getting a new home at our summer house. I’ve really missed having a machine there, so this is a great solution.