I Love My Pfaff 1475

by Lisa Call on March 21, 2007

in From The Studio

Image of Pfaff 1475 with custom sewing table

In 1992 I moved from Yorktown Heights, New York (in Westchester County just north of the city) to Williamsburg, Virginia.

I quit my job as a fairly well paid programmer at IBM research and became an unpaid stay at home mom. My husband at the time went from a well paid researcher at IBM research to a not as well paid staff member at NASA. It was an abrupt end to our extravagant DINK (dual income no kids) lifestyle.

The security deposit we got back from the townhome that we were renting in NY, where everything is expensive, was the last of the spare money we would see for a very long time. I had recently started doing quite a bit of quilting so I decided to splurge and buy myself a new computerized sewing machine with my portion of the money.

I spent 6 months shopping around for a machine, very worried I’d buy the wrong thing and regret it forever. I knew this machine would have to last a long time and I wanted to make sure I bought one I really liked. After a lot of test driving I finally purchased a Bernina 1650. A day later I saw a demo of a Pfaff 1475 and fell in love. I returned the Bernina, something I was told no quilter has ever done as Berninas were – and maybe still are – considered to be THE machine to own if you quilt.

I then hunted around for the best deal I could find on the Pfaff. I finally found a place in New Jersey selling these machines for $1800 – half the normal retail of $3600. I suspect the place wasn’t exactly kosher but that was all the money I had.

I’ve been in love with my 1475 ever since.

I have a custom table for my machine, which you can see in the photo at the top, where it sits recessed down into the table so I have a large flat work surface. This makes it much easier to quilt large quilts as the quilt doesn’t hang down off the side the machine and get caught on things. It also keeps the machine in place. These Pfaffs and relatively light weight and like to jump around when going fast.

Someone asked me a few weeks back how I can quilt for hours at a time without fatigue. As you can imagine from the picture below manipulating a large quilt around and through the machine while quilting it can be a challenge. I can usually quilt for 10-14 hours a day and am mostly okay. I have a very nice ergonomic office chair and I try to relax and keep my shoulders down. Doing yoga and some shoulder exercises with weights each morning helps also.

Image of Pfaff 1475 with custom sewing table

Unfortunately my machine is getting old, almost 15 years now, and I get worried about it breaking down. They only made the 1475s for a few years and in my opinion all the Pfaffs made since are junk. So a few years ago I bought a second machine on ebay as a spare just incase. Today I bought a 3rd machine as a spare to the spare.

Maybe I’m obsessed. I’m clearly set in my ways when it comes to the tools I use to make my artwork.


Patty Altier March 22, 2007 at 5:02 am

As you know I also have a 1475 and love it. I had a Pfaff 1229 years ago and out grew it and upgraded to the 1475. People also ask me how I can quilt a king sized quilt. I have a similar set up with the sewing machine recessed in a cabinet my Dad made, surrounded on two sides with tables that are the same height that my Dad also made to give more area for support for the large pieces, and positioned in a corner so the wall keep the quilt from falling off the edges. I worked at a place for a year making custom clothes for people who show Western horses and all they had were Bernina machines. I did not like them so I brough my 1475 to work every day. I sewed 40 to 60 hours a week, every week for a year and never had a problem with my Pfaff. I love my 1475!

tracy March 22, 2007 at 5:24 am

Hi Lisa, The tools are important! I bought a brush that cost $200, and even I thought that was crazy, but it’s my favorite brush and worth every penny.

I have a Bernina machine and feel rather guilty that I have never really used it to it’s full potential (that means I don’t know how to use all the features) but when I do sew, it is so lovely, quite the step up from the JCPenney machine I had previously.

pamdora March 22, 2007 at 6:01 am

I know what you mean about buying several of something you love. too bad sewing machines don’t come in different colors, so you could get one in every color.

Angela Rockett March 22, 2007 at 9:47 am

It’s good to be prepared! :)

cynthia March 22, 2007 at 11:10 am

Good tools are paramount for an artist! I’m shopping for my first brand new kiln and at around $3000 you want to make sure you invest wisely. A good tool should last for a very long long time.

I inherited a Bernina 10 years and when I had it serviced for the first time, the gentleman who ran the shop tried to buy it from me. I didn’t know much about sewing at the time, but thought to myself, if he wants to buy it, it must be worth keeping. I’m sure I don’t use it to it’s full power and purpose.

Marina Broere March 23, 2007 at 5:32 am

I can totally relate – I sew on a bernina 931, a Pfaff 2020 and an Elna 6004 and I’m not even a fiber artist but a painter….

Paula March 23, 2007 at 7:56 am

This post put a smile on my face. I think a book could be made with just artist’s studios and artists obsessions :) I love that you bought a 3rd machine!

emmie March 23, 2007 at 9:10 am

I have a Pfaff1473; slightly older than yours, and I too love mine. As mine started wearing out a few years ago, I also bought another 1473 on eBay for backup. Aren’t we clever!

Lisa Call March 23, 2007 at 9:20 am

Emmie – absolutely – we are totally clever. But I think you need a 3rd. You need to be prepared like Angela says…

Patty – I have the side tables also, to keep the quilt falling off the table also. You are right – it really makes a differenece.

Cynthia – I don’t have a clue what my pfaff can do – I just sew straight lines and it does a really good job doing just that. It has a bunch of fancy embroidery stuff (even a designer that I can design my own) but I’ve never used any of it. So don’t feel bad.

Marina – you have more sewing machines than I do. I need to buy some paint brushes to catch up. Like the $200 Tracy mentioned.

Artist tools – we gotta have the best. You are right Paula – it is kind of funny!

But I love Pam’s idea – I want them all to be different colors! That would be the best. Maybe I’ll paint them.

Diane Clancy March 23, 2007 at 9:54 am

This is my first time visiting Lisa’s site. I was so excited reading about her work that I wrote a post in my own blog (www.dianeclancy.com/blog) inspired by Lisa’s post. I just started my blog.

I wrote this in my entry about Lisa’s blog:
Today I was inspired to write this after visiting Lisa Call’s site showcasing her Comtemporary Quilts. I was very nostalgic for quilting reading her site. Lisa’s blog is very beautiful also.

I bought a Viking sewing machine years ago – I love it but have never used it to its full potential either. It is always tricky to me when I buy new tools and when I make do.
– Diane Clancy

Lisa Call March 23, 2007 at 10:54 am

Thanks Diane. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your art on your new blog. Congrats on starting blogging!

David Castle March 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm

You got a good laugh out of me on your admitting that you bought a back up for your back up 1475!

But it is an interesting thing to think about – especially since development moves so quickly for “hardware” these days. There are so many things (tools, machines, software, paints, varnishes, brushes…) that can suddenly be out-of-production and unavailable – replaced by the next best version. And if you really loved the old version, you might be out of luck.

I have the same worry about some watercolor paints I use (especially a few from Daler-Rowney, which has abruptly stopped producing a color in the past – try finding tubes of discountinued watercolor paint on eBay!). So I’ll admit to hording a bit, too. At least my horded watercolor paints don’t cost me hundreds of dollars!

kat April 1, 2007 at 7:31 am

Hi there,

I LOVE MY 1475 too. I have had it for longer than you and quilt obsessivly.

I am happy to say mine is sewing along beautifully too.

A repairman said “You must quilt a lot, cuz your machine shows a lot of wear.”

Keep up the beautiful work. I love what you do.

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