I know, I know. I've been absent for so long that you'd likely concluded this blog was destined for the Google database purge. I'm still here, still kicking, and still collecting, albeit far less.
Some months ago a series of machines I'd seen but not experienced came into my life. Owners rave about them and I wondered what could be worth all the buzz. After all, computerized machines built in the late '80s/early '90s can only do so much, right?
Enter the Pfaff Creative 1473, a true marvel at its introduction and still a gold standard nearly 30 years later. I found one locally for $60 and was blown away. Friends, you know I've done a fair amount of "sewing my oats" and with a LOT of machines, but trust me when I tell you that this Pfaff model is truly a step above.
Not much to look at, it has a simple, streamlined appearance similar to an '80s appliance: efficient and utilitarian. If it feels familiar, it's because other manufacturers likely took their cues from this very series of machines (there are several in the series with varying levels of features such as decorative stitches) and emulated these models: the pop-up stitch guide, the familiar button controls just above the needle area, the layout of the column control panel, stock memory and mirror stitching, continuous and temporary reverse, foot recommendations, and all the other features you see on today's models. Make no mistake, this slightly homely, boxy number was top-of-the-line and cost well over $2K back in the day, back when that was quite a bit of money. *cough*
I love the pop-out stitch plate, the built-in needle threader THAT ACTUALLY WORKS, the very straightforward LED indicators for all chosen selections, the 177 stitches, the excellent foot controller that modulates the power delivery beautifully, the convertible accessories storage compartment with two levels and insets for all the stock feet included in the original purchase. Even the presser foot lift to the right of the needle area instead of the back of the machine (now a standard on many machines including Janome) is an ergonomic delight and creamy smooth.
I also love that while it looks plasticky, the machine is mostly metal and is not lightweight. Now, I've waxed poetic (*cough*, *cough*) about the smoothness of other machines but when I say this 1473 is smooth, I mean ssssmmmmoooooooooottthhhh. This thing is so beautifully engineered that there is almost no vibration whatsoever. The rigid metal frame and the balanced innards are so well done that the result is a quiet, precise, and low-frequency humming machine that produces the most beautiful stitching of just about any domestic machine I've ever used. This means that what you input into the controls results in a very predictable outcome. There are no strange surprises, no hesitations, no skipping, no re-alignment. This machine is absolutely unperturbed no matter what I tell it to do.
Does it have limitations? Sure, every machine does. I wouldn't sew upholstery with it and I do miss having a knee bar controlling the presser bar height. However, I can't believe it's been until now that I've finally found one of these. How many passed me by in my past ignorance?