Monday, 8 October 2012

Pfaff ambition 1.0 Review

Fantastic lighting!
The other day my sewing machine (mum's old one that was about 25 years old) died and so my husband let me spend on a lovely new one! I am used to sewing on a semi industrial Bernina, so my expectations of a new machine were very high as I set off to find a replacement. There are many different brands on the market these days from Brother to Toyota with a broad range of prices to go with them. The cheapest machines appear to start around the $200 mark and head way up into the $1,000s. My local sewing centre had the range all set out for me to see and try. Initially I was after another Bernina, but I quickly realised that they are the most expensive and exclusive of all the sewing machines with the most basic machine  starting at about $1,100. I wanted to spend under $1,000 so I started thinking seriously about the next best machine brand, Pfaff. The Pfaff Ambition 1.0 is modern and highly functional. In it's price range it is the best of the sewing machines on offer. After some thought, I excitedly bought my machine and began to experiment. My findings are recorded below.

PFAFF ambition 1.0

- IDT (Integrated Dual Feed) System provides even feed of fabric from both the bottom feed dog and a top feeder. It is part of the machine and can be engaged or disengaged at any time. Many of the different presser feet can be used with the IDT System such as the zipper foot and some specialised stitch feet.
- The most spacious sewing area among competitor machines at this price. It has a long free arm and large space between the needle and right side, perfect for large projects such as quilts and dress making.
- Fantastic lighting on the entire sewing area as shown in the picture above. This machine was literally the only one in the sewing centre that had a well light sewing area and wouldn't need an additional light source such as a lamp to sew with!
- 136 different stitches for you to use and play with including general use stitches, quilting stitches, satin stitches, cross stitches, button holes and decorative stitches. It also comes with an alphabet setting.
- 29 needle positions for precision.
- The ability to sequence up to 20 stitches or letters in a pattern.
- Two accessory trays for storing bobbins, feet and other tools
- 6 feet attachments including 0A Standard foot, 1A Fancy foot with IDT, 2A Fancy foot, 3 Blindhem foot with IDT, 4 zipper foot with IDT, 5B one step buttonhole foot.
- Many other standard features that come with most modern sewing machines such as top loading bobbin, hard cover, adjustable thread tension, free motion sewing, high resolution screen, speed control and a needle threader.

Stitch Examples
Below are some examples of the stitch quality of the machine. I haven't given an example of all the possible stitches, but the images give a good representation. Generally the stitches as neat and clean with no puckering of the fabric. The zigzag stitch  shows some side ways puckering, but this is due to the fine cotton fabric (with no facing) and slightly high thread tension. The overlocking stitch is great for someone who doesn't own an overlocker (but very slow!).

Some of the utility stitches
Some quilting and cross stitches
 These satin stitches would look amazing in rayon embroidery thread on a special project. I am very impressed with the selection of decorative stitches on the machine. The possibilities are almost endless as the machine has a mirroring capability, allowing it to mirror decorative stitches side to side and end to end.

Some satin stitches
A selection of the decorative stitches

Alphabet stitches


Overall I am very pleased with my new purchase. I have sewn several different project, ranging from clothing  to baby essentials to toys and mending since swapping machines and have quickly adjusted to the slight differences in operation to the Bernina.
The computerised system is straight forward and easy to use though it definitely pays to read through the instruction booklet while working out how to use different stitches and functions. The machine is very helpful when changing stitches as it provides all the needful information about thread tension, presser foot type, IDT system, and whether reinforcement is needed on the display screen before you begin sewing. This has prevented me from using the wrong foot for some fancy stitches and possibly damaging my machine.
The machine speed settings are great for anyone from a beginner sewer who needs to move slowly to an experienced seamstress who just wants the job done fast.


I have virtually no negative feedback on this machine. So far it has preformed very well for me (having completed several projects utilising different sewing techniques). I have a few minor concerns and I have listed them below.
The presser feet of the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 clip up into the shaft of the foot. This makes for easy swapping of feet for different stitches, as you simply pull down on the foot and it un-clips and press up to clip the new foot in place. This does concern me a little though as the mechanism may not last a long time with constant clipping and un-clipping. Luckily the machine has a 2 year warranty for all parts.

While using the font setting of the machine for writing I have found that you cannot turn off the function without switching the machine off to reset it. I have tried many different ways of cancelling the font after using it, but none of them so far have resulted in another stitch coming up to sew with. This may be some strange glitch in the machine as even the instructions do not show how to cancel the font stitch once it is selected. Maybe it's a user error??

I am very pleased to say that changing to a Pfaff has been a pleasure and I will no longer remain an exclusively Bernina fan. There is much more that can be said for the machine, and I may do so at some later date when I have tried out some of the more advanced functions. For now, be content to know that if you go ahead and purchase a Pfaff Ambition 1.0, I don't think you will be disappointed!


  1. Any news Ruth? I'm about to get one for an $800 price tag.

  2. I would say go for it!! My machine has had a lot of use now and I've never been sorry that I bought it!

  3. I appreciate your thorough and fair comparison provided despite being a long time Bernina fan. I brought my old 25 year old basic Pfaff machine to get serviced but ended up impulsively purchasing a new machine. I have just opened the box but thought I would do some research to see if my $ 750 purchase was worth it. Now after reading your review along with my long time devotion to my first Pfaff ,I am convinced I made the right choice.

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  5. Hello, I have the ambition 1.5, absolutely love it. To switch the font to normal stitching you have to delete or save the sequence. To delete it just tap the little garbage photo and to save tap the heart. With that done you then go back to your stitching tab select a stitch and tap the little garbage bin to erase sequencing and go back to normal stitching.

  6. Thank you for your review, it was interesting, I haven't found anything on the Pfaff Ambition2, this was the only one I could find. I have just bought one and I am waiting for the delivery and previously I had been interested in a Janome TXl 607, and then after spending time in the showroom changed my mind and went for then Ambition2, I presume this is an updated model. I previously had a brand new Singer 35 years ago, and although still running is not very up to date. I have since had a basic toyota, which broke after 18 months and then bought the machine that was leant to me while I was waiting for the toyota to be repaired. I am so looking forward to my Pfaff arrival. Thank you, and happy sewing.

  7. Hi,

    I'm looking for a new sewing machine. I have been to my local sewing center and tried a few sewing machines.
    I'm thinking about buying the Pfaff ambition 1.0.
    I found your review through Google and found it very helpful. Can you tell me what you think of this sewing machine after 2 years of use. Do you still like it?

    Thank in advance for your answer.

    1. I love my machine. I sew at least once a week and I have never had any trouble with it. I don't use the embroidery settings much, but they seem to function really well. Button holes are great. I've never had tension issues or problems with bobbins or the feed dog. I've used it very successfully for quilting and sewing heavy fabrics. It works great for my needs! Hope that helps a bit! :-)

  8. Hi Ruth, When stitching out a sequence how do you get the machine to stop sewing at the end of the sequence? I could not locate a stop button or instructions oh how to do so in the manual. I programmed a sequence to sew Stephanie with a little heart symbol at the end of her name. I could not get it to stop stitching after the little heart. Just below the sequence on the screen there was an option to select the tie off. I selected it and it appeared on the screen after the little heart in the sequence. Unfortunately, it did not stop or tie-off as expected. This was frustrating, there must be something simple I'm missing. Other than this glitch which I am hoping is operator error, the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 is a wonderful sewing machine.

    1. Tammy, I learned how to do this today. You begin sewing your sequence and then just after you start sewing, you press the stitch restart button (the button under the needle up/needle down button). It will then finish your sequence and stop after the first set is complete.

  9. I had same issue with sequence Tammy! was trying to get it to tie off after one name.. If you figured it out by now can you share?

  10. Hi , I have just got this machine new but it is making a buzzing/humming noise and is very distracting, does yours do this. It is going back on Saturday to the shop and I may have to get my money back as I can not concentrate.

    1. My machine definitely doesn't make any strange humming noises. Maybe ask in the store to see if something is wrong?

  11. Thanks for this! I have just purchased one (I'm on a time crunch as my 40+ year old Elna decided to die and I have two weeks to finish my project, so I didn't have much time for research). I'm pleased to see this positive review. I've just used mine a little bit last night, but so far it seems great! It will take me awhile to get used to sewing with a machine with a computer!

  12. Hi, Ruth, Thank you for your thorough review and for your ongoing comments. Do you drop your button into something to make the correct-size buttonhole? Or do you give the buttonholer a measurement to make the correct-size buttonhole? Thank you! Heather

    1. Thanks Heather! The button hole foot has a special place for the button to sit in and it gives the correct measurement to the machine.

  13. Ruth, thank you for the review! Quick question - when you first turn on the sewing machine and start sewing, does the machine make a grinding noise, like it's readjusting? Or almost jammed but then goes on to sew no problems?

    1. Yes it does make a strange sound when you start. 😊

    2. Yes it does make a strange sound when you start. 😊

    3. Thank you! After that initial noise, then it seems to settle and doesn't repeat. Phew.