Friends, let's face it: when it comes to sewing machines, I'm a playa. In just eighteen months I've been with more sewing machines than some of you will sew on in your entire lives. Is it me or are men just that way?
I've had sexy Italian Necchis, the off-beat, not-easily-forgotten Elna Grasshopper, plain but reliable Kenmore, sensuous Singers 15, 66, and Spartan, the showgirl Genie, a Viking on the skids, a Brother, and a White. There's even been another Pfaff in my life, my smooth-as-silk 139 zigzagger.
I've made progress toward settling down with my 15-91 though I admit I also had a little thing going on, on the side, with my 66 -- now 15-90 -- treadle.
But readers, I've finally found the one. I think.
This Pfaff 30 was being sold on Craigslist for $40 by a real live Broadway actress. The machine belonged to her mother and had been used as a bedside night table for -- I'm guessing -- many decades. Yes, this machine has a table, which I'll be picking up later today and will show you tomorrow.
I picked up the Pfaff around 4 pm, twenty blocks north of where I live, approximately a mile. Michael wasn't available to come with me so I figured I'd just go take a look at the machine and then if I decided to take it, come back for it. But once I was there it was love at first sight and I couldn't leave without her, so I carefully removed the machine from the table (unscrewing the knee pedal -- very excited about the knee pedal) and fortunately the seller had a sturdy cardboard box I could carry it in. I'd guess it weighs about 30 lbs. -- heavier than some, lighter than others.
But the traffic at this hour was horrendous (Ninth Ave. and 42nd St.), total gridlock, and a bus or cab was not to be had. So readers, I walked. After about ten blocks I called Michael and told him to get his coat on and walk up the East side of Ninth Avenue and come help me!
Despite having been in a table, the machine was dusty and had all the tell-tale signs of decades-long neglect: bobbin with old, discolored thread, crusty dust balls under the needle plate, stiff gears.
But it had an intact belt, decent wiring, and it ran, albeit stiffly. After a lot of oiling and some spit and polish, however, it purred.
And it stitches beautifully.
And back to cotton shirting with no tension adjustment needed.
A few great things about the Pfaff 30: it takes standard Class 15 bobbins, it fits Singer tables and Singer straight stitch accessories, it has a 1.3 amp motor (powerful), and it uses standard needles.
The sewing experience is wonderful. It's beautifully engineered, and feels so powerful and precise. Check out the stitch length selector -- much more accurate than a similar vintage Singer.
There's not a whole lot of info online about the Pfaff 30. It sounds like it's nearly identical to the Pfaff 131. The instruction manual actually says 131 on it, so I'm guessing they're close kin. The machine also says Made in Germany (as opposed to West Germany) which suggests that this is a pre-WW II machine.
I'll have to make a movie of the Pfaff in action sometime soon, because it really is something special.
I think this is the one you marry, folks. I think.
Anybody out there have any additional insights?
Do you forgive me for my promiscuous peddle-hopping? I think, since I did sell seven sewing machines this very month, I'm entitled to a few new ones to help fill the hole in my heart, don't you?
Anyway, no more for the rest of the year -- promise.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!