Saying goodbye to something you still love

I recently sold my vintage 1970’s Pfaff 1222 sewing machine. Some of you are gasping in horror right now. Is she crazy, you muse? That is a classic machine. Yes, it is. I found her in a pawn shop in 1988. She had a cracked cam stack and needed repair. The fine tech at Montavilla Sewing Center in Portland, Oregon fixed her up good as new and she became one of the most fabulous tools I’ve ever used. Such a lovely, straight-forward sewing machine. Clean, simple, even industrial lines. The system to store all the parts inside the case by using a reversible tray beneath the free arm was a creative marvel. The clicky, snappy accessories compartments in the case top-Yum! Ahhhh, happy to just think about it. So, why did I sell the machine? Because I wasn’t using it and I hadn’t for some time. A few years back I was in the middle of a big sewing project and it broke. I ran it into the shop and was quoted $300 to get it fixed. I needed another machine right then so I asked the salesperson to recommend a new one that would be of equal quality. Enter the Pfaff 2029. I bought the floor model on the spot and left the 1222 with the tech for repairs. He called a week later with the good news that he was able to do the repairs for $99. I retrieved my machine and set her in the corner. While 1222 was in the shop, 2029 and I had bonded. It wasn’t a deep and sudden bond, but one met more out of frenzy and desperation. You see, I had to finish 12 little red metallic spandex cowgirl outfits for my daughter’s jazz dance group and was already on deadline.

2029 and I got down and dirty and learned each other. This was my first computerized sewing machine and it wasn’t an easy adjustment for me. As we sewed on together I did learn that it outperformed the 1222 in one major way: it could sew through many layers of denim without skipping. It was actually stronger than my old machine. Until I started my sewing school in 2008, the older machine just sat around. In the school she was happily used again by new students and had a special friend in Jacqueline (pictured here) for over three years. After I regrouped the studio into its latest incarnation, I again had no real use for the 1222. And it weighs a ton. So it sat in the cupboard. When I started clearing out my excess possessions, I decided it was time for the machine to be used and loved the way it deserved to be. You see, the Pfaff 1222 loves to sew. I just know it. We made so many beautiful things together. I met a lovely woman while selling a different machine on Craigslist and I introduced her to the 1222. It was love at first sew and she swept off the machine and reported a week later that she was halfway through a new quilt she was making for her husband. This makes my heart happy. I still feel a little pang of something I can’t describe when I think about not owning that machine, but I know the new pairing is fresh and right. Goodbye, old friend.

By |2017-12-02T19:29:28-08:00October 4th, 2016|Sewing, Stories, Tools of the trade|2 Comments


  1. Emily Moss March 2, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Would you please tell me if your Pfaff 2029 can be programmed for needle up and down? I am seriously considering buying a used model and would love to hear more about ihow you like or dislike this machine. Also wondering if it works well for quilting and fmq? Hope to hear more.

  2. Helen Bartley March 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Emily. I traded in that Pfaff about 4 years ago. I always just tapped the pedal and made the needle go down. I can’t remember if you can program the needle to go down automatically. You could look up the manual and breeze through it to find out. I do very little quilting, but I did play around with free motion for a while and it worked okay. I would have needed a lot more practice to make it awesome. It was a good, solid machine and I really liked it much better than my Performance 5.0 and wish that I had not traded it in. Take your projects to a good dealer’s shop and play around with the machines. They are all changing now. Many made by one another and it’s become confusing to differentiate. I’m going to go play with Berninas soon. Let me know if you want to tag along. xo, Helen

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