pfaff 91 and quick run up

A few years ago I was teaching sewing and if attendees wished, they could bring in their own sewing machines – which was useful as some had machines they could not use.  Most times its mainly that the machines were family (mother/grandmother) machines and they ended up having them, or the machine was bought with the intention of learning to sew.   One woman had the most gorgeous Pfaff which was over 60 years old.  She was unable to use it, so she brought it along to find out how to use it.  It really was such an advanced machine, and considering its age, it must have been the rolls royce of its day, it had a wonderful sound, and a load of decorative stitches and still managed to look understated.  Anytime I was setting up the machine to show her anything on it, I was loathed to stop sewing on it!

So when I was browsing machines, this caught my eye.  It was not quite like the other pfaff, much simpler, but the look of it was so simple and I thought the simple finish rather appealing and ‘what the hell’ I bought it!  I was also taken by the year of purchase, 1967 – I have a special interest in machines of this time as its my birth year, and subconsciously I am thinking, look how well this machine looks for its age, look how well it works……..The machine had this cute case, like air hostess luggage, and the attachments and original book and receipt.

When it arrived, the plastic pieces had cracked.  – however, as old plastic can be brittle and its only the front plate and button (in the back of my mind I figure it could ultimately be 3d printed and interm fixed with sugru) so I overlooked these as the mechanics were ‘the thing’.  So off to test – and the feed dogs were half frozen – they moved back and forwards, but not up and down.  (I did get a partial refund from seller when I send a video of the feed in action).  I got it serviced (I did look at the mechanism but did not want to mess about with it myself too much) and now its working well.

Its a good machine and the big appeal here was the free arm, as I like the idea of using this one for a lot of sewing.   I have done a few jobs on it and its good.  I am getting used to it, and the only think I am noticing is the feed, while its perfectly fine, its fractionally less than my other machines.  Its a tiny tiny issue, and its really still me getting a feel for the machine, but if I was to compare it the the Elna, the Elna wins re stitch and feed, but then again if I was to compare it to my own Singer Excell that I have had since 1989 they are on a par (the feed of the Excell can be a bit ‘clampy’ whereas the pfaff is a bit light – and Morgan who serviced the machine said he raised the feed dogs slightly so it must have been lighter again).

I really do like the look of this machine (shallow I know), the extension tray is very handy, and although I prefer a top loading bobbin, this one is not fiddly to change so that’s great.  Interestingly it also has a plate that can be turned upside down for darning (ie it covers the feed-dogs)   It doesn’t have a seam guide but I have put some tape there.

One project I did run up on it was this blouse (its a free download).  I had to go to a ‘thing’ last week and it was a bit formal so I wore my grey wool trousers, a yellow cardigan (reworked a few months ago) and figured what would work well with it – would be a white blouse.  I was under a bit of time pressure (needed it the next day) so I figured I would try fabric shop, charity shop, regular shop in that order.  In the fabric shop there was this white fabric and it was perfect (I even bought extra once I found out it was on sale) and ran this one up.  Its a lovely pattern and useful top and I felt rather smug that sewing this took less time than wandering around shops trying stuff on.  The fabric has great weight, but also has a small percentage of spandex which give some softness.

The yellow cardigan was an upcycle I have been messing about with since December and finished last month and worn loads since.  It is a mans knit which I got and used wear (while all the time trying to figure a more flattering cut).  I recut to a round neck cardi with a tie at the neck, and I half lined it – there was the intention to so some beading or embroidery but I as I still seem to favour plain, I left it for the while.  The ties could have been made a bit longer, and I still have fabric, so am wearing as is for the while.  The ties this length are less fussy so I like them this way.  I attached the bands at the front in a slightly clunky way at the neck – as I changed my approach half way.  Its a little off and I think in only a way I would notice, but as its a first time try out with this pattern I am pleased and the main change I would make in the next is to have the back side seams 1cm in.


17 thoughts on “pfaff 91 and quick run up

  1. Sheila says:

    Pfaff’s are great machines. I have an 1222E which has IDT, a built in walking foot, which is wonderful for handling heavy or difficult fabric. Do you have a link to the blouse pattern that is translatable? Thoroughly enjoy your sewing adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      I used the google translate and managed to work out a size 38 I did have to join/login and translate each page to figure the size I needed – however, if you want I can send you the pdf for the size 12 I have if you want to send me your email via the contact link on top of page? There are no instructions as such – the pattern takes only a few pages of print and I found it quick enough to ‘whip’ up!

      I just looked at the Pfaff 1222E – very very very nice – that hook in walking foot looks amazing, must be great for wool coats – I end up basting mine sometimes if I find them creeping. The pfaffs have a really lovely almost graphic look to them – love the pared down aesthetic


  2. upsew says:

    6 but after reading some vintage sewers posts – I am in the ha’penny place…… (and 2 machines are in the community sewing room for me to teach as the plastic machines there get uncooperative at times…………… but I have a feeling you have quite a few machines yourself!. I keep trying to get anyone I am teaching to sew to get these old machines to start off an older machine if they can locate one

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rude Record says:

      Yes, I have a few more. They all do different things for me. It’s far better and more time efficient to use them for a specific task I find. I would love an industrial machine [had one, kept the table] but space is the issue and really I am not sewing that much. RUDE Boy wanted to buy me one for $50 a Juki [not working] the other day but I said no.

      Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      I think anyone that sews on older machines cannot understand why people overlook their value – I know in the sew room they tend to gravitate towards the newer machines initially as in a way they ‘feel’ better to begin with as they have no weight I suppose. I am very happy with the top and cardi – I was wondering if I would suit the cardi with my grey hair but as its a strong yellow it works well and the cardi seems to match in with so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • upsew says:

        I was getting used to using the husqvarna viking a lot last year, but am now trying to keep it for embroidery only, and truth be told, I think the vintage is generally better for tailoring as it feels more ‘hands on’! (and I am also trying to stretch out the time inbetween getting the viking serviced where as its easier to clean and do basic maintenance on the old machines myself )

        Liked by 2 people

    • upsew says:

      ah, thank you, and I am wondering when someone will go with your wonderful sewing machine museum idea, except I have decided that anyone should be able to try out the machines…..

      Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      absolutely – I know I would happily do a workshop in some of those attachments! especially the tucker – am going to give it another go over the summer! I know these sewing machines also fascinate me for the whole history of women home-workers and how they could start to get an income etc, – yes – there could be so much

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul Brady says:

    While searching online for a user manual I was curious to know if the comments were coming from abroad, possibly the US or GB but having spotted the small print at the end of the page I see Upsew was formerly Rudaí Déanta. Now I know I’m among near neighbours. I looked at a few websites before finding yours and am delighted to know that others have enjoyed the excellence of the Pfaff 91. I inherited mine from my mother who ran a small business from home in the ’50s supplying Woolworth’s with ladies’ straw half-hats made with buckram, millinery wire and decorative straw. I haven’t used the machine for over 20 years as the foot control had broken. I had a new one fitted last week and am enjoying the gentle, smooth action and the overall appreciation of excellent design and craftsmanship. I imagine it was built in the ’40s or earlier – not sure when they first appeared on the market.

    Liked by 2 people

    • upsew says:

      Hi Paul, I can photograph the manual (no scanner at the moment) if you need it. Glad to hear you were able to get the foot controller fixed, those machines were sure meant to last for sure. Its also quite something when you thing of how many women had their own income from a sewing machine….. best of luck with the tuned up pfaff!

      Liked by 1 person

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