5.29.2014

she's crafty (and she's just my type)

pfaff 1171 oona oonaballoona

there's a new girl on my drafting desk, ricky's been eyeing her since sunday.  (oh yes! ricky is back, though that's another story.)  i'm not jealous, in fact i may even be considering switching to the other team for this dame.

she is a pfaff 1171, and all of kalkatroona is in love with her.  even ellie has graciously welcomed her (especially since i treated that formerly mean girl to elna specific serger needles).  the desk is a bit crowded, four square feet of sewing space and all, so that's to be sussed out... 

pfaff 1171 oona oonaballoona

found her last sunday on craigslist, listed just as a pfaff (which is apparently pronounced with a long A, like faaahf, not like the A in cat, you can even put a little plosive of a p in there, but who's counting*), and from the picture i could tell she was an 1171.  during my rabbit hole of machine research, this was one of the gems!  a trip to bedstuy and a hundy later, she was mine.  a fabulous seven foot tall drink of water informed me she was moving to west africa and selling most of her (super chic, completely fabulous) stuff.  oh and i found a few feet in the case, she mentioned, offhand.  YEAH YOU DID. YOU FOUND ALL OF THE FEET!!!  Leggy Laday even had the original bottle of oil and needle packet (which i'm keeping for posterity).  the machine had been in her closet for five years-- she was the second owner, and never touched her after sewing up a children's dress (surely, that killed her sewing career right there.  Must Always Sew First Garment For OneSelf, Especially When One Is As Fabulous As Leggy Laday).

*EDIT: i'll admit it,i'm countingladies and gentleman, and i quote from le anon comment: "She is a beaut! But you've been had on with the pronunciation. Before this catches on and everybody starts saying Faaaaaf and making a donkey of themselves, let me tell you as a German: it's a short a and a clear P. Say "Pfuff". Easy. You're welcome." here's a li'l mp3 too.

pfaff 1171 oona oonaballoona

she ran nicely at first go, but the presser foot came down as if on a hydraulic system... sort of a slow release that reminded me of a battlestar galactica viper coming in for a landing.  cool! i thought.  this must have something to do with the IDT system!  a quick post on the pattern review boards revealed that no, it was not, so i got to opening and cleaning.   i suppose five years of sitting idle will yield seized oil, even on the manual's boasted sintered metal.

wouldja like to see what this little gal looks like with her clothes off?  naughty.  i always knew y'all were pervs.


nope, you're not supposed to remove the covers and such, that's for the mechanic, but tinkering is in my DNA.  big daddy has been (among many other things) a mechanic, in fact he taught me how an internal combustion engine worked from A to Z for my fifth grade class presentation (i got an A: hand drawn schematics, verbal with no notes, yo) so yeah.  i found the users and service manual online and i was ALL IN.

i went for the needle bar area first.  it's always scary to self tinker, there is the very real possibility that you'll end up doing more harm than good, but after giving the equivalent of a tartar buildup cleaning, removing the yellow, seized oil, the presser foot release moved beautifully.  this seemed a good thing to me, so i was off to the races. diluted denautred alcohol on the plastic housing (really, i should have taken a before and after, she had dirt splotches the size of denmark) and tri flow oil on metal innards. the service manual instructs the mechanic to oil the entire machine (the user, only a dot in the bobbin casing), so i went for it.  and also:  tri flow is AWESOME.


LEAVE ASIDE THE FACT THAT I UNSCREWED THE ONE SCREW YOU SHOULD NEVER UNSCREW.  JUST LEAVE IT ASIDE.  just realized i still had the caps lock on-- but you know what?  LEAVE IT IN CAPS.  NEVER TOUCH THE SCREW TO THE RIGHT OF THE BOBBIN WINDER. it has a washer underneath, which will produced a most unsettling, clinking, falling sound at 12:45AM when you go a bit too far, leaving you in a state of shock and slight denial.  at that bewitching hour of the morning, the top cover, which was proving to be resistant,  had to come off. as ginger would say, not gonna lie... the top cover is a real bitch to work off that first time. she was coy, needed coaxing.  now she's been topless three or four times since then, with ease.

but that first go at second base is a doozy.
  

by gently tilting her head over heels, i was able to produce the washer.  i think i said ohthankyou out loud to the general vicinity (which at that point was my kitchen counter, my toolbox, and the cat).  the service manual does instruct you to loosen or tighten that screw to adjust the bobbin winder tension, but people.  TEENY, TINY, INFINITESIMAL ADJUSTING THERE.  (and one does not need to remove that screw in order to remove the top.   that's what got me to scarytown in the first place.)

still, i'm even glad i dropped the damn washer, it made me get inside the hood and discover a couple of thread snarls.  all in all, about fifteen hours of work on a vintage machine (that was already running nicely) and now.  and NOW.  I HAZ BUTTONHOLES.

and many other things, obviously, but the first trial was adding buttonholes to my new burdastyle bella jeans.  she runs beautifully.   and even better with a cocktail, naturally.

pfaff 1171 oona oonaballoona

speaking of cocktails!  let's discuss her name (my point will become clear momentarily).  she is definitely a she, i knew it when i saw her.  the surname tiptronic puts 90s rap firmly into my head.  i immediately exclaimed over the little ball used to change the needle.  ricky likes her.  lucille ball... nicknamed tipsy for tiptronic...theme song, the beastie boys' tune "she's crafty," specific lines: "i think her name is lucy but they all call her loose"...her bare top reveals the number 8499 "i think i thought i seen her on eighth and forty deuce" (so close!) and also, she likes to work with a cocktail.  naturally.

long and winding road, yes.  not sure the destination to nameville is right, but that's what i'm working with.

parting shot: she came with all original accessories, right down to the li'l bottle of unopened oil and the needle packet (which i'm keeping for posterity).  so!  any 1171 lovers out there?  I AM IN LOVE WITH THE IDT SYSTEM! any tips?  do tell!

104 comments:

  1. Welcome to the Pfaff club! I love the IDT and the powere of the motor. You can sew through 6 layers of heavy denim like butter. And I see you discovered the wonderful buttonholes they can make.

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  2. Congrats on the Pfaff! I found a 360 at the Goodwill last year and now I'm such a fan of these beauties. I think they make the loveliest straight stitches. Have fun with your 1171.

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  3. Those buttonholes are to.die.for! What a dream of a find!

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  4. I LOVE MY PFAFF!!!!!!!!!! So glad you crossed over to my side of the street. I have a 1222se that I inherited from my husband's grandmother (said inheritance the reason I sewed that first dress for myself, and yes, a big BOO on starting with kids' clothes). IDT is the best of all bests. I've sewn through 6 layers of upholstery fabric with my baby - gotta love the brawny ones. There's a yahoo group for old Pfaff lovers - great place to get advice on parts, DIY service, etc. Search for Old Pfaff Pforum.

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    1. searched and requested an invite, thankya poldapop!!

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  5. Wowza! A new lady in your life!!! I'm so glad to see you so happy and even happier to see that you're already taking her top off! NOT GONNA LIE, I'm STOKED! ;)

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    1. not gonna lie, ginger, i totally heard your voice in my head when she wrote that. :-)

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  6. Congrats! I have to chime in: I LOVE MY PFAFF! I have a 30 year old creative 1473 (the first computerized model, but she still looks a lot like yours!) inherited from a friend´s aunt. She is perfect. She purrrrs! And she likes her oil - a drop in the bobbin case whenever I change the thread. And her name is Polly. Polly Pfaff. She is a bit like a stern home ec teacher ;-) Maybe I can loosen her up with a cocktail, too!

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    1. i love your description! try a cosmo ;)

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  7. Wow, I can see you are in the first flushes of true love - the lust phase!
    After a month or so this will mature into a deeper more meaningful relationship for life!! Happy sewing Oona x

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  8. Hey Oona... no tips; but I am so glad you got a new machine - and one you were able to clean and service yourself. Nothing like knowing your girls (and guys) intimately. I wish you hundreds and hundreds of easy and beautiful buttonholes in your future.

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  9. Squeee! Welcome almost named faaaahf {did not know that} to the table and the land of Kalkatroona! Oh, the secrets you'll be privy to.

    The buttonholes look fabulous! You've not just opened up a sewing machine, you've opened up Pandora's box!

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  10. Ohhhhh, she's so lovely!!! And she definitely deserves a cocktail or two. I waaaaaaaant one! :)

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  11. I don't own a pfaff but just wanted to say Congrats on your new machine. She is a beaute.

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  12. Welcome to the Pfaff club! I've had my little lady for close to 15 years and she's still going strong.

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  13. Oh, the joy of Pfaff and the IDT system :) My 9th grade sewing teacher once told me that "once a pfaff, always a pfaff" and she was right. My grandmother have always used a pfaff machine, and both my mother and I learned to sew on her Pfaff Creative (from the 80's). I /have/ tried other brands, but you really do get used to the IDT. It just sew the best straight stitch, and that is the most important feature in a machine, IMHO.

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    1. honestly i can't believe more people aren't clamoring for the IDT. it's wonderfuL!

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  14. oooh, she's pretty! I have a Pfaff that's been used hard for about 15 years and she's still going strong. I LOVE her to pieces!! You know what they say, once you've had a Pfaff you never go back!

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  15. Congrats on new machine. She is a great looking lady!!! Impressed with your mechanical skills, you go girl. Never owned a Pfaff; have only heard good things about them.

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  16. Congratulations on your new lady! I am so excited for you and your Pfaff. I LOVE mine, that walking foot is fantabulous. And I love it even more because Pfaffs can travel the world on dual voltage (which 99% of other machines can not. So if you ever fancy a jaunt to Australia, you should now that your new lady can enjoy cocktails on the plane with you.

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    1. you're one of the reasons i went on a pfaff hunt! and now you have me jonesing cocktails on a plane. the height of class.

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  17. You are BRAVE lol that's all i want to say!

    oh! and congrats on the new girl!

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  18. ooooh she's a beauty. Also my OCD cannot stop staring at that picture of all the feet in their specific shaped slots.... oooooooh pretty... and so oooorganised....

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    1. gotta love that organization, for real.

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  19. This is a beaut of a machine. I quite like all her right angles! I am also quite the tinkerer (cleaning out my friend's borrowed serger was rapturous) & I am ways removing one screw too many. Ask me about the time I changed a burner on my stove, ended up dismantling the entire thing and ended up with 3 mystery screws left over. I haven't set my house on fire yet!

    So happy you have a machine again! And those buttonholes look gorgeous.

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    1. it really is rapturous, that's the best description. So. Freaking. PLEASING.

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    2. ooo mystery screws. the bane of any tinkerer's hammerings...

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  20. Oh, that is quite a find. I'm a bit speechless.

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  21. beautiful machine! one of these days i'm due for an upgrade... those buttonholes are gorgeous!

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  22. Name her Daphne. To heck with German a's!

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    1. hahaa! or i could get all madeline kahn and lauuuugh with my pfaaaaaffffff

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  23. Congrats on your new partner in crime.

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  24. I always thought it was pronounced... ff- awe -ff. Anyway...NICE find!

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    1. you might be right. we need ourselves a german translator!

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  25. Love her shape!! I was going to mention that she is so "unbelievably" clean like she has been scrubbed until I read about the alcohol. She is gorgeous. Congrats!

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  26. I am both very happy for you and extremely envious that you have a new machine and she is SO GORGEOUS AND HAS ALL THE FEET.

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  27. I'm from club Bernina but I have to admit, pretty jealous of the built in walking foot!! You even prompted me to do an online search for Pfaffs in my area, you make her sound THAT good. So excited for you, she looks fantastic!

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  28. I'm not going to lie, I have my Bernina and I love it. Recently, I've read that the Pfaff comes with the IDT. Ditto, I'm jealous of the IDT! The Bernina that comes with the built in walking foot cost 4k! Seriously! I'm so tempted to save for another machine...Oh yea, I want Sonja's juki too. I might be a sewing machine collector in addition to bring a fabric hoarder! She looks amazing!

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    1. oh, sonja's juki is a freaking dream machine.

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  29. So glad you found a machine you love! :-) And the buttonholes she makes are gorgeous! :-)

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  30. I guess if you didn't marry a Janome girl, I can live with you marrying into that Pfaaf family since they were my second choice. However, I'm so thrilled for you that you have a wonderful new machine with some new to you features! Here's to a long and pleasurable relationship!!!

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  31. Lol, the comparison to the viper (in which case I'd call her starbuck or Kara - she likes a drink or too, don't think we ever actually saw her topless though ;o)

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    1. hmmmm.... that might require some BSG research.... or maybe she's a baller!

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  32. She looks beautiful from the inside out!!! What a classy lady you got!!! Congratulations!!!

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  33. so stinkin happy for you. and laughing out loud as i read this.

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  34. She's smart and beautiful. And I'm very impressed with your mechanical skills.

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  35. Yay to a faaahf and the winding road to her name couldn't be better!!!!

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  36. Ooh lovely! I have a Pfaff, the IDT system is fantastic.

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  37. I've come to the conclusion that getting a new sewing machine might just be one of the most exciting things ever!!! Congratulations on her, whatever you decide to call her in the end :)

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    1. i think you're right. i've been jumping up and down at random times, in random places, just thinking about her.

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  38. Woohoo! She's a beauty! I learned to sew on my grandma's pfaff 360 which I now have. She always told me that they are the best! I'm currently saving up for a newer computerized model as I am so spoiled by the fancy schmancy newfangled gizmos. The 360 is a mechanical workhorse and sews like a dream it would be nice to have a mix of the two, which is what I think you have in your new girl.

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  39. She is a beaut! But you've been had on with the pronunciation. Before this catches on and everybody starts saying Faaaaaf and making a donkey of themselves, let me tell you as a German: it's a short a and a clear P. Say "Pfuff". Easy. You're welcome.

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    1. AH! there is our german translator!! editing this post, post haste!

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  40. Congratulations, she looks a beauty! And if her surname is tiptronic... sounds like Mantronix, so I guess she could be related to Kurtis? (Who is it? Well he's a roller rusher rhythm rocker record in time, disassemble disillusion and determined to blind... )

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  41. what a gem - I really need a machine with some oomph to get through thick layers, my Brothers (male machines obvs) just don't cut it!

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  42. Congrats! I have a Hobbymatic 955 of about the same vintage and it absolutely PLOWS through fabric with the IDT. When I took it for a tuneup not long after I bought her on eBay (poor gal desperately needed some TLC) the tech cheerfully told me she runs like a lawn mower and to never, ever, ever give her up! Tri Flow *is* the bomb, too! Enjoy, and cheers!

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  43. Woo-hoo a new lady in your life. You will love your new Pfaff, here's to happy sewing and perfect buttonholes.

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  44. Oooh a Pfaaaaaf is pfaaaabulous! And a tiptronic! With ALL THE FEET! I have all the love.

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  45. I love my Pfaff, IDT is the shit, I can't live without it!

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  46. What a sexy little beast you've scored there!

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  47. I had this very machine and sewed it into the ground! It was a great machine- I just wore it out. Enjoy and I bet you'll become a Pfaff fan like me.

    BTW - just saw you in Nurse Jackie - what a treat!

    Karen

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    1. haha! thanks karen! they sure did put me in pretty scrubs, we had a ball in costumes :)

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  48. You will love her. I had a Pfaff 1222 that I finally wore out, but it did take me thirty years to do it, enjoy your new baby.

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  49. Congrats on the new addition! I am curious as to what happened to Ricky....

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  50. I wasn't into the ELEVENSEVENTYONES before, but then the top came off......

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  51. I just wondered the other day how your machine search was going! So happy you LOVE her!! I can't wait to see what the two of you come up with next!

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  52. I miss my Pfaff! I used my 7570 for close to 25 years before it's brain died. I loved the IDT. Yes, if it is not used it will do the slow drop. Easy fix that I see you got right away. Yeah, that little screw to the right, lol. I don't think those are the proper bobbins though. The machine can be super finicky with the wrong bobbin. I was told to never use generic "drop in bobbins" but to use the exact bobbin for that machine. The slightest size difference can make it snaggy. I wish you the very best smooth sewing!

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    1. and by that I mean front load bobbins... erk

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    2. The PFAFF 1171 and 7570 are excellent machines. If you still have your PFAFF 7570 - I am able to get the circuit board rebuilt. I am a career PFAFF technician with over 30 years of experience on the PFAFF machines.

      accusew@wi.rr.com is my email. I have LOTS of support information for the PFAFF 7570

      The slow drop is a grease that is hardening up & turning like glue inside of the presser bar -and other areas of the machine.

      Thank You,
      Greg Christman,
      Accurate Sewing Center, Inc.
      about us: http://www.accusew.com
      Phone: (262) 782-2225

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    3. hi greg! thank you for that info! i think the site is having issues, but if anyone's in the wisconsin area... well then, i'm jealous of you :)

      karen, what do your bobbins look like? i have two kinds- one flat on both sides, and one with a little circular indentation...

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  53. Even if I didn't sew, the title would have made me read this post. I think I'll listen to some Beastie Boys this afternoon!

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  54. Kalkatroona is in love with her and so are we...great-looking baby!

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  55. Congratulations!!!! I'm sure the two of you will be happy together!

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  56. Oh daaaaaayum, those inside shots. Pretty sure everyone around me thinks I'm looking at porn from the noises & faces I'm pulling. Which I kinda am, let's be honest.

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  57. oh you got a pfaff! i recently ungraded to the ambition 1.5 after comparing to the bernina with equivalent features (was £300 cheaper than the bernina) and i love love love it! and IDT? amazeballs!

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  58. i want to see this little lady in real life!! is she as good looking in person as in her photos? i can't be sure until i meet her!

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  59. I have had this machine for 25+ years(or so)..and I love it. Can't imagine another machine in my life....I sewed all my kids clothes, and am a quilter..Million miles sewed on this 1171.

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  60. Wow! What a find, Lucy is a gem indeed. Cool beastie name aside, I am going to have to check out a 1171. Sounds amazing!!

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  61. I don't feel like reading all the comments to see if anyone's mentioned it before... but my limited and quickly dying knowledge of German tells me that pronunciation is wrong. When there's two consonants after the vocal, it's not pronounced long, we were always told. It'd be... I'm bad at this... pronounced like "are", only not long? :P

    Fantastic find! And so lucky to have all the feet! I need more feet. Feet are very, very, veeerrry helpful.
    And a little, slightly embarrasssed heh to tinkering. I took Ema apart, too, and unscrewed the screw you should never unscrew. So now I have to watch out whenever I wind my bobbins. I don't particularly mind. The washer or nut or whatever it was remained in the machine for a while, but now it's out for good.

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  62. Oh gorgeous! What a find!! Big big congrats!!!! :D

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  63. :D I have two very similar Pfaff machines here ... first a Dualmatic from the early eighties , then I could buy a ´stretch&jeans 6091´ from the early ´90 from an old lady .
    Couldn´t resist , cause the dualmatic is so fabulous <3
    After 15 years of sewing wit very different types of machines, I don´t want anything else anymore but Pfaff .
    GREAT FIND !!
    Have fun with it and get as addicted as me ...

    Like your style too ;)
    x Moira

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    1. thank you moira! and now i want a dualmatic...

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  64. Hey Oona! Thanks for that post and your recent twitter advice! I actually made a four hour roadtrip to creepy german suburbia where I found and fell in love with your Pfaff's brown-burgundy little sister! She purrs like a smug, fat kitten even when handling a gazillion folds of twill!
    I am only sad I didn't manage to break her in during Oonapallooza! :(

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    1. i am SO GLAD to hear it! i'm still loving my purple 'n white version, going to post an update soon... and there's always time to sew in technicolor :)

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  65. My Mom had a Pfaff, my sister worked for Pfaff and when my SEARS died I purchased the Tiptronic from a Pfaff dealer. He ran a line of zig-zack stiches to show that it worked. Brought is home and after a few stiches it would not run.. to make a long story short, it supposedly needs a new circuit board. Another Pfaff dealer told me it can't be repaired. Any sugestions?

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    1. actually yes! if you scroll up in these comments, you'll see a shout out from Greg, a pfaff technician of 30+ years.

      i've also come across technicians who will replace the circuit board:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJURHtVU074
      http://www.kennsplace.com/pfaff_1171/pfaff_1171.html

      that's the gamble with these beautiful old machines, how long will the parts last & exist...but the payoff is sooo nice. hope you get yours running!

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  66. Hi. Great writing. I had the same problem with my machine. I have the very similar Tiptronic 1071. The foot came down in slow motion and after a few weeks the reverse button became very slow moving to. I opened up the machine and cleaned and lubed eveything I could without dismantelling anything. I did however turn the small black screw that is situated just behind the preassure foot in a slot in the metallic base. The machine new sews only three or four stitches before something jams and makes a mess of the thread in the bobbin house. Is this because I changed something when I turned the black screw perhaps. What is it and how shoud I adjust it?

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    1. thanks johan!

      to be honest i'm an amateur tinkerer, but i've been using this service manual to assist in my hammerings: http://www.opweb.de/en/model.php?id=172

      have you tried turning that screw back to it's "original" setting? that'd be my first guess. the slow motion problem stopped for me once i cleaned out the old oil, so i didn't mess with any screws in that area. you might check your bobbin tension & upper tension as well (the manual has a great bit on that!).

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  67. The original setting for that screw would probably be ideal. Only thing is that I thought it was the screw to release the plate (don't know the name for it but it's the shiny metallic plate that the preassure fott rests on) so I just turned it around a coupple of times. Was it 3, 4, or only 1.5 revolutions?? I don't know :) I'll check the manual you linked to. Maybe there's something about the screw in there that can help. Thank you though!

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  68. Oh Yeah! I should have figured. The screw is a eccentric adjusting screw for centering the plate so that the needle goes down in the center of the hole in the plate when sewing. Great manual and many thanks for the link. Now I'm going to go and finish "back rest shooting bag" in camouflage. Filling it up with some plastic pellets, it's going to be rad! I woulden't hate sewing if the machine worked flawlessly. I think I would actually like it. But there's always so much hassle. Maybe you learn over the years hehe.

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    1. yes, i turned several screws near the bobbin winder before knowing what they did (hint: don't turn that screw by the bobbin winder. like, ever). i think you'd adore your 1171 if she was tuned up right-- i swear, i kiss mine every day. a shame that there aren't more mechanics around that know about these vintage machines! good luck with your pellets, i have the same sort of challenge later on this weekend with some rice bags ;)

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  69. I hint for making "rice bags". In my case this bag will get wet some times and rice will rot and get ucky so I found some "Airsoft pellets" that I used as filling. They are good size and comes in different pellet weight so you can choose if you want a lighter or heavier bag. "Plastic granule media" would work great as well and you can buy that in bulk for next to nothing. Good luck.

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  70. Thank you for the service manual link. I have a 1471 on which the screw (plastic) in the handwheel broke. I was winding a spool at the time when the hand/drive wheel and it's contents flew off. I have a new metal replacement but the thread of the screw is still in the metal arm. I removed the screws but couldn't remove the top and didn't want to force it. I will have another go as I need to take the belt off.
    It's been sitting there for over 2 years now!

    Thanks again

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!