FAQ / Knowledge Base

Questions we are asked relating to the Pfaff products we sell.

Click to view printable version of more hints and advice!

Extra sewing tips from sewers!


My stitching is looping or bunching underneath the material, what am I doing wrong?

Most of the time when your machine bunches underneath like this it is a problem with the top thread, common faults are

- Top thread not threaded correctly (check you have threaded machine as the manual shows)

- Machine threaded with presser foot down (blocks thread passing through tension discs) always ensure presser foot is raised before threading up.

- more serious causes can be if the tension unit has developed a fault.

Rethreading the top thread will usually solve this problem unless there is a more severe problem if that does not work for you then you may need to have your machine inspected by a Pfaff service engineer.

My machine misses stitches or gives uneven results!

Here are the most common tips to resolve this problem
- It is a good idea to check the most simple things first to rule them out, Always rethread your top thread as it could be threaded the wrong way
- Check your needle is fully installed as high as it can go, the flat shank normally faces away from the bobbin, check your manual if you are unsure
- Change the needle as it could be bent slightly (not easy to see but can cause huge frustration) in fact if your needle is damaged or blunt even slightly you can have all types of problems, you should also make sure you are using the correct needle type and size for the thread/fabric you are working with, Thicker fabric/multiple layers are going to need thicker needles and you should check if you are using the correct needle type (Ballpoint needles for Knits and Sharp needles for Wovens)
- Presser foot pressure can be a problem, if you are still having this problem you may need to adjust the pressure
- Try to use good quality thread (branded) and try using the same thread in the top and bottom if you have had problems where the top and bottom thread are different, also experiment with the thread tension to get it right
- When sewing it is important you let the machine feed the fabric for you, you only need to guide it
- Lastly check that your feed dogs aren’t all clogged, lint can get in and stop them from making contact with your material to feed properly, a light brushing with an old toothbrush should clear this
If the above tips do not resolve your issue it is strongly recommended you contact us to book an inspection/repair of your machine without delay. Click here to book your repair online.

Tension Problems are causing my stitches to loop or pucker

Here are the most common tips to resolve this problem
- Rethread and check that you are threading as the Instruction Book for your machine shows
- Check there is no lint or dirt in or around your tension unit (discs especially) if you find any then clean it out
- Check you are using the correct needle and change for a fresh needle (may be bent)

If looping occurs on the top of your fabric
- lower the top thread tension
- If you have this feature on your machine you may want to try and increase your bobbin tension please consult your manual to see how to do this correctly (some are painted shut and not adjustable)
- Make sure your bobbin is threaded correctly, rethreading this only takes seconds
- Make sure your bobbin is housed correctly

If looping occurs on either sides of your fabric
- Try using the same thread on the top and the bobbin if you are having problems where these are different
- Adjust the length of your stitch as depending on which kind of fabric you are stitching it could be too short or too long
- Check that you are using the correct presser foot for the kind of sewing you are doing (check your manual if you are unsure
- Make sure that you are letting the machine feed the fabric itself and do not stretch the material while you are sewing, guide it only with your hand
- Presser foot pressure can be a problem, if you are still having this problem you may need to adjust the pressure (see manual for help)
- Check you are using the correct needle plate for your project, if you are sewing light fabrics then you may need a straight stitch needle plate to stop the fabric from being pushed through the zig zag hole while sewing (be careful when changing needle plates over to make sure you check the needle position is correct to drop down through the needle plate, if you do not check this you could damage your machine. Remember if you change to a straight stitch needle plate you will have to change back before doing any zig-zag or wide stitches
- Also if you are sewing thin fabric you must consider using a backing (e.g. stabilizer) this will help to avoid puckering

If these tips don’t resolve your issues then it may be more serious, you might need a new tension unit

I cannot find my sensormatic buttonhole foot that was supposed to come with my Pfaff Expression?

If you have just received a new Pfaff expression 2.0, expression 3.0 or Pfaff quilt expression 4.0..! This is a common query as you will know the other accessories are stored in the front accessory tray or are already attached to the machine, the sensormatic buttonhole foot can be found in another nifty little accessory tray at the back of your machine behind the needle plate.

I have installed my Embroidery Unit and it doesn’t seem to work, am I doing something wrong?

The most common reason for this is the red transit clip located on the underside of your embroidery unit must be removed completely before installing the unit to your machine, please check your instruction book for details of this if you have the for my Pfaff Creative 2.0/ Creative Performance or Creative Sensation and many other Pfaff embroidery machines.

I am trying to use my Free Motion/Darning foot however the foot sits too low on the machine against the fabric

This one does catch people out quite a lot, Your presser foot lifter lever has a midpoint setting built in to allow for Free Motion sewing, you should be able to set it half way between up and down as you are lowering the foot lifter as you normally would before you sew. Your manual should include details of this setting under Free Motion Quilting. If you are stuck with this and other attachments, why not visit the video sewing tutorial page.

I am using a twin needle and can not seem to get the correct tensions?

When you are threading the machine for twin needle sewing, make sure one thread passes through the right-hand side tension disk and the other thread through the left hand-side tension disk.

The thread cutter is not working?

Clean any lint from in and around bobbin area also if your machine has this function, make sure automatic thread cutter is enabled in settings menu (see manual if you are unsure).

I an stuck to find which presser foot i need for my old Pfaff?

Pfaff machines need to use the correct type of presser foot, not that it is complex or expensive, it just needs to be the correct type. For instance most Pfaff machines use the regular Pfaff branded feet which can be found here, on the other hand there are some older Pfaff machines like the 1221, 1222 have a very high shank and need special feet which are no no longer made, however we are in the process of trying to obtain a special shank which will allow fitting the regular Pfaff feet to this older range of machines.

What about shank lengths?

Most modern machines have a low short shank length - this is approximately 12mm (1/2inch) from the thumb screw down to the needle plate.

Some older machines and/or selected new models have a long shank length - this is approximately 18mm (3/4inch) from the thumb screw down to the needle plate.

We carry a huge range of Pfaff sewing machine presser feet, you can find the correct foot for your machine by using our Pfaff model number online search tool in our sewing machine parts section.

Remember that substituting a specialist screw-on foot in place of a Pfaff clip-on one is often possible. For an overview of various Pfaff feet, please visit this sewing feet video page.

The fabric will not move?

Are the feed dogs in the raised position, if not you will need to engage them. Depending on your model, make sure free motion is not enabled in the settings menu or that your foot lifter is not in the free motion position.

Which embroidery format do i need for my Pfaff embroidery machine?

Pfaff's embroidery format is VP3 which holds lots of extra information compared to older formats.

Over the years Pfaff have used many different embroidery file formats pcs vip and vp3 are the main types and are mostly used.

Embroidery designs are created by a technique called digitizing. For example a file called gokart.vp3 would be for a Pfaff, because Pfaff uses the file extension vp3. If you are not sure what file extension you can use, see your instruction book or follow our guidelines.

The New Pfaff Creative Vision and Creative Sensation use the .VP3 embroidery design format. As does the Creative 2.0 and Creative 4.0

Another popular format which was used for a spell was .VIP most of the present creative Pfaffs will also work with .VIP depending on their internal software version..!

Popular creative range eg 2170, 2144 and 2140 use the designs with the extension .VP3

For Pfaff models 2124, 2134 use .VP3 file format.

Older machines like the creative 7570, 7562 and 7550 use .pcs format.

Even older models like the 1400 series use .pcs

My machine does not sew.?

Make sure all of your cables are firmly attached and that the foot control is connected. Make the sure bobbin winder is in the sewing position (see manual for details of this).

My needle threader is not working, am I doing something wrong?

Make sure the needle bar is in the raised position and the presser foot is lowered be careful to make sure you do this otherwise you can bend or break the needle threader .

Where can I get hold of a manual for my Pfaff sewing machine?

Instruction books or an operators guide is essential reading for anyone starting to use a new or older sewing machine. Each style and model of Pfaff machine has its own requirements for threading and setting up. Always refer to your sewing machine or overlockers manual, if you have it. Some of the older Pfaff machine manuals can download from our web site.

I need Pfaff software help and where do i update my machine?

If you have Internet access on you computer which the 3D or Pfaff 4D or Pfaff 5D Embroidery Software installed then we highly recommend using Smart Update, click on the Smart Update button in the configure menu with-in the Pfaff software settings.

You can only download updates for your Pfaff Embroidery System if you have registered your software. If you have not, then please use the Register Button in Configure menu within your software. If you have recently sent a printed form, there may be a delay before it is possible to access these updates. More information can be found here. 

Often as new products are developed, the machines require new software updates, for example internal software inside computerised sewing machine can be updated when special hoops are introduced. Follow these links to update these machines.  Creative sensation, Crative Performance, Vision, Creative 4.0, Creative 2.0, Creative 2170/2144 

My automatic needle threader does not work?

The needle threader hook is very tiny and easily bent or damaged.

The needle threader is designed in a way as to not turn towards the needle, if the needle is not at its most upper position. This helps protect the threader hook - Turn hand wheel until needle reaches its highest position.

Needle not aligning with threader hook - Replace needle.

Threader hook is bent - The threading hook can very easily become damaged and if the hook is bent out of shape. Replace with new needle threader hook.

I cannot get the IDT to engage?

Make sure you are using a presser foot with the cut out at the back.