A while back, I promised to write a review of my Pfaff Creative 4.5 sewing & embroidery machine. As so often happens, real life got in the way and I never got around to writing about my machine. But I’m here to correct that sad oversight and tell everyone what I think about this machine, how I use it, and why I would (or wouldn’t) buy it again.
I’m a Shallow, Shallow Person
OK, I’m not really a shallow person, but one of the things that first drew me to the Pfaff Creative 4.5 was the beautiful purple color. I mean, it’s just a beautiful machine! As a lover of almost everything purple, I was naturally drawn to it. Noticing my longing glances, the lady at the sewing machine shop tempted me with a test drive. And while I loved the machine in the shop, I wasn’t too sure about whether or not I’d like it once I got it home. I mean, I was the girl who bought a Janome 8900 and intensely disliked it once I used it in the studio.
I read several reviews of the Creative 4.5, considering the good and bad of each one carefully. After a lot of thought, I decided I didn’t really need a new machine, and that price was much more than I wanted to spend. Instead I bought the Viking Opal 690Q. While that was a great little machine, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Creative 4.5. The thought of the IDT intrigued me. It is, after all, the cornerstone of Pfaff’s sewing technology; their Claim to Fame, if you will. The thought continued to simmer in the back of my mind, until one day in January 2016.
And Then It Happened
That day in January 2016, I went in to the shop because … well, because I like sewing machines! I was considering doing a trade-in on the Opal. While I liked the machine, it was a little too light for me needs, so I wanted to check out the new machines in the Viking Sapphire line. The minute I walked in the door, though, the salesperson said, “Oh good! You stopped by! Look at this great deal we have on the Creative 4.5!” I should have probably walked out right then, but I didn’t. Instead, I allowed myself to be led to the table to gaze at the beauty of the Pfaff Creative 4.5.
For the “bargain basement” price of $3400, I could get the Creative 4.5 and a small embroidery unit. These machines were used at the Houston Quilt Festival the previous Fall, but each one had been checked out and were being sold with a full warranty. I drove home after playing around with a little bit, telling myself that I really didn’t need a new machine.
And then I drove back and bought it, which was a stupid thing to do. See, I already knew that after mid-February I wouldn’t have a job, so buying a machine in January probably wasn’t my best move. Almost as soon as I got the machine in car, I started to experience Buyer’s Remorse.
Creative 4.5 Comes Home
When I got home with the machine, Chris helped me unload it and bring it in to the house. I told him to put it in the middle of the studio floor. He went to his office, and I sat here for a long time staring at that box. I started to feel sick to my stomach, so I went to the living room and watched some tv. A few hours later, I came back to the studio and unboxed the machine, then checked to make sure that all the parts and accessories were there. Then I walked away from it for a week. I’d walk through the studio and ask myself, “What were you THINKING?!?” The Buyer’s Remorse was SO STRONG, I felt physically ill.
Following the Janome fiasco, I wasn’t sure this was the best idea I’d had. Sure it was pretty but was it $3400 pretty? After a week of looking at that machine like it was a snake ready to bite me if I went near it, I decided I better give it a go. I loaded up a bobbin (using the manual, of course; it is so different from the Brother, I used the manual for MONTHS after I bought it) and decided to finish off the binding on a fleece jacket I was working on. I mean, everyone always raved about Pfaff’s IDT; why not try it out?
The Machine Doesn’t Suck
The first time I sat down to actually sew with this machine, all I could think was, “WHY did I buy this thing?!” But one seam in, I knew why I had bought it – it was some sort of Divine Intervention. There are really not enough good things to say about Pfaff’s IDT system. One seam in to the jacket, and I was a goner. Even though I’d heard people talk about the IDT system, and how fabulous it is, and how much it changed their sewing life, I never really thought any of it was true. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes in a machine, and I figured that this was one of those likes. I was wrong. IDT is so much more than a “nice to have” feature.
The even feed of fabric through the machine is ridiculously nice. I wondered why I had never noticed how I felt like I was fighting problem fabric with other machines. Fleece is not exactly the easiest thing in the world to work with, but it’s really not fun attaching a cotton band to fleece. But IDT made that chore so much easier than it had been with the Viking.
Even though I had tried this machine out at the store, I didn’t appreciate it’s capabilities until I had it in my studio sewing my projects. This machine was not meant to replace George, or to become my primary machine, but a year and a half later, I find myself sitting down at the Creative 4.5 far more often than I sit down at the Brother. The pure sewing experience is just so enjoyable. I highly recommend the Creative 4.5.
There are Caveats, Of Course
I’m not the biggest fan of the User Interface on the Creative 4.5. In my mind, it’s not nearly as intuitive as the Brother machines. The first time I sat down at a Brother sewing machine, I was up and sewing within minutes. The Creative 4.5 is not intuitive at all. It took me a while to understand the threading for winding a bobbin, and at first changing to a different stitch made me a little stabby. I thought for the longest time that this machine didn’t have a reverse button, but it does. It’s just not in an easy to see area for me.
And the embroidery module just made me want to hit people and throw things. I didn’t realize that there was a red pin on the bottom of the embroidery unit that had to be removed before I could use it. I actually had to ask for help because the embroidery arm wasn’t working. But after I got that pin out, and figured out how to access the embroidery module (there’s an icon on the touch screen that looks like a frame; touch it and you’ve opened the embroidery module), I realized that the stitching on the embroidery is beautiful. I’m not so crazy about the built in designs on the Creative 4.5, but I do like the way they look when stitched out.
Who Would Benefit From a Machine of This Caliber?
I do believe that this machine would be too much for a new and/or inexperienced sewist. My mother, who has sewn for many many years, has trouble with it. She’s got a Brother machine just like my own that she uses all the time, But the Creative machine she has (it’s a version before mine, but I can’t recall which one right now) is a little more complex than she’s comfortable with at this time. But for those who are technically savvy, and have a decent grasp of basic sewing techniques, this is a great machine. It’s handled everything I’ve used it for, and it never stumbles.
I understand the Latest and Greatest Pfaff, the Icon, will arrive this Fall. That might be a good time to pick up a gently used Creative 4.5 from someone who simply MUST HAVE the best machine. I’d start keeping my eyes open if I were in the market for this machine. 😉