I want to start by saying that we are an agent for Pfaff Sewing Machines, but that this is not going to be a ‘fluff piece’ I want to write an honest review of these two machines.
Why Passport? Pfaff have designed both of these machines to be easy to move around – taking them to a class for example, so passport means having the ‘license to venture out in the world and discover new ways and new places to sew’ (straight from the brochure!).
The difference between the Passport 2.0 and 3.0 is quite simple, the 2.0 has a black facia, the 3.0 is white. In addition to all of the features of the 2.0, the 3.0 has 30 extra decorative stitches and thread snips (i.e. you press the button and both threads are pulled under the fabric and cut off – great if you are working on a large project as you can just pull the fabric away from the machine).
The main features of both machines are:
- IDT (more of this later!)
- 70 stitches (2.0) / 100 stitches (3.0)
- Start/stop button – you don’t have to use your foot pedal
- Speed slider – you can set your top sewing speed (we find new sewers like to start slow and build the speed up over a few weeks)
- One-step buttonhole
- Needle threader
- Adjustable foot pressure
- Feed Dog drop – for free-motion quilting
- Needle up/down – you can set your machine to stop with the needle down
- Immediate tie-off – set the machine to stitch in the same place three times instead of having to reverse stitch to catch your threads, this gives you a really neat tie-off
- LED lights – bright light that does not get hot
- Thread snips (3.0) – draws both threads under your sewing and snips them off
It is worth saying that both machines are not heavy (6.3kgs or so) and come with a hard case with a slot for your foot pedal and power lead – a really nice touch and not one we have seen much elsewhere.
What is IDT? IDT stands for (Integrated Dual Feed), in normal language it is a permanent walking foot, which can be engaged and disengaged in a couple of seconds. Having this gives you controlled, no-slip sewing because the fabric is fed evenly from both top and bottom. Brilliant for patchwork and for dressmaking (really neat seams!). You can also use IDT with a number of feet (e.g. the standard zip foot). It is one of the main reasons we wanted to be an agent for Pfaff in the first place.
Enough of the background – how does the Passport feel in use. Overall, really good, the Passport is a computerised machine so stitch lengths and widths can be easily adjusted, and replicated exactly time and again. We have used the Passport for patchwork, free-motion quiting, sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics, denim skirts, dressmaking with cotton, viscose, linen and silk (and others) and apart from making sure we are using the right needle and adjusting the foot pressure when needed, the Passport has handled them all with ease.
The IDT is not a gimmick, it is really useful, helping you to sew great, flat seams and an even feed – no matter how slippery the fabric! Threading up is easy with the built in needle threader and the fact you don’t have to pull up the bottom thread – just thread up top and bottom and away you go. The immediate tie-off gives a really tidy finish to your sewing, no more hitting the reverse button to catch your thread.
What can be an issue? Not much to be honest, we run classes just about every day and we have 4 Passport machines in use all the time. it is our workhorse and gets used by people of all abilities. What we have noticed is that the Passport is a top loading machine and, as with all top loading machines, the bobbin case can jump out of alignment, but this is easily fixed when you know what to do. Also (and this is not an issue with the machine as such) because of the IDT feature you cannot use feet from other machines, you have to use feet designed for an IDT machine. This could be a pain if you have built up a collection of feet from a previous machine but once you have used feet like the standard zip foot and the invisible zip foot on a Passport, I don’t think you will want to go back!
Overall, I think the Passport is a great machine for someone who is getting serious about sewing, it has enough features to keep you happy for years of dressmaking, patchwork or crafting.
Enjoy More Sewing!
Features on the Pfaff Passport Sewing Machine include; IDT, a built in walking foot for flat seams and a perfect finish, speed control, set the overall sewing speed for optimal control; build quality, a quiet motor, computerised stitch selection and quality engineering for great results every time; a hard case as standard.