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Anyone have experience with a Pfaff 360 sewing machine?
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Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
Anyone have experience with a Pfaff 360 sewing machine? on 06/18/2013 05:06:04 MDT Print View

For my MYOG projects thus far (stuffsacks, tarp, synthetic quilt) I've been fine using a Singer Featherweight all-metal machine my wife got from her grandmother. But as I explore pack construction, I'd like to have the ability to do zigzags and bartacks, which the Singer, as a forward/backward straight-stitcher, doesn't do.

I came across someone selling their old Pfaff 360 for what seems like a reasonable price and was wondering if anyone here has experience with that machine, its reliability, quirks, ease of maintenance/repair, etc. Anything I should specifically be on the lookout for with this machine since it is used (e.g. wear on belts)?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Pfaff 360 sewing machine? on 06/19/2013 22:14:50 MDT Print View

Yes, I've been using a Pfaff 360 to make quilts.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=67875

I got it used from my Aunt Phyllis in 1976; she was a high school Home Ec teacher (sewing, cooking, etc) and this was her personal machine. I had never had it serviced or cleaned until last year. Before making my first quilt I took it to a very high quality sewing machine shop, and he said it was absolutely better to spend $100 to have it cleaned and tuned rather than buying a new machine. He said it's a "great workhorse of a machine". Nothing was broken and he didn't have to replace any parts.

Perhaps before you buy it you can take it to a good shop to have them assess it.

Amy

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Zig zag on 06/19/2013 22:26:00 MDT Print View

I would purchase a zigzag attachment on eBay for your singer.

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
Thanks on 06/20/2013 04:23:04 MDT Print View

Thanks Amy and Jason; your thoughts are helpful in considering my options.
Amy, I appreciate your direct experience with the machine. Good to know it's so solid. Also, your quilt is stunning!
Jason, do you know if a buttonhole attachment works to do regular zigzag stitching as well? I ask because there's one in my local thrift shop and from the illustrations it looks like the buttonhole stitching is zigzag, but I don't know if you can go "off road."
Thanks so much.

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: Thanks on 06/20/2013 07:15:57 MDT Print View

The button hole attachment works by blocking the feed dogs, and moving the fabric itself. It follows the profile of a cam that defines the shape and size of the button hole. It can't be used as a general purpose zig-zager. You could, with some annoyance, use one to make bar tacks, by sewing only one side of the buttonhole. The cams are interchangable, you need to make sure you get ones to do the buttonholes you need to make. (Early, early models don't have interchangable cams, but have screws to set the size, width, and density of the stitching.)

There were standalone zig zag attachments made. They work much the same way, minus the cam part. I've never used one, though. They're much rarer, and more expensive.