We had an opportunity to review the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 sewing machine on a recent visit to Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics. One of the first things to catch your eye is the color.

This machine is a sleek molded white plastic with a shocking splash of hot pink accenting a control panel on the front.

The sheer appearance of this state of the art sewing machine and quilter, from its smooth construction to its colorful face panel, is an eye catching addition to any sewing room.

At A Glance

This machine is a sleek molded white plastic with a shocking splash of hot pink accenting a control panel on the front.

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 - an eye catching machine

Pfaff Quilt Expression an eye catching machine

The sheer appearance of this state of the art sewing machine and quilter, from its smooth construction to its colorful face panel, is an eye catching addition to any sewing room.


The contemporary German craftsmanship of the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 is equipped with two lights to illuminate your sewing project. One is above the needle; the other above the workspace.

Having two lights is a major plus

Having two lights is a major plus

It also features an illuminated LCD screen that not only shows users the exact size of selected stitches before they begin sewing, but also gives clear step-by-step information on how to achieve that particular stitch.

Illuminated LCD screen

Illuminated LCD screen

The LCD screen can also be used to program up to 40 stitches as well as to perform multiple steps in sequence, so that it will do precisely what you want it to do and when you want to do it.

The Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 comes with:

  • A built in carrying handle that disappears when it is not in use
  • A large space to the right of the needle, which makes it possible for the user to work with some of the largest of sewing projects and oversized embroidery hoops
  • Automatic tension adjustment on both the bobbin and the upper thread
  • Automatic thread knotting on both ends of seams
  • Two different free motion modes and an external feed dog drop make darning and freeform quilting a breeze

    Built in carrying handle

    Built in carrying handle

With the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0, home sewers have access to:

  • More than 200 stitch options, including overlock and overcast stitches
  • Elastic stitches
  • Honeycomb, bridging and crosshem stitches
  • 11 different buttonhole choices
  • Eyelet and bartack stitches
  • More than 100 quilting, needlecraft and decorative stitches

The mirror image option makes it possible to for the home sewer to create even more stitch possibilities by programming the machine to flip and rotate stitches.

It is also capable of rendering the alphabet in either upper or lower case.

When working on this machine, the home sewer has the freedom of using up to 37 different needle positions.

It can be set to stop with the needle in either the up or down position and has an extra wide stitch plate to avoid needle breakage.

When the needle is set to stop in the down position, the automatic presser foot lift raises the presser foot to make pivoting easier.

The automatic presser foot lift is also activated when threads are cut at the end of a seam with the automatic thread snipping option.

When not using the automatic presser foot, the user has two options for raising and lowering the presser foot… the traditional presser foot lever located on the back of the needle housing, and a knee lift conveniently located on front of the machine.

With this feature, home sewers have the ability to raise the presser foot without having to take their hands away from their work.

Working on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0

Threading the Quilt Expression 4.0 is a breeze with its integrated needle threader and top loaded bobbin winder.

The built in sensor that lets you know when the bobbin thread is getting low is a great add on.

With this in place, the possibility of the bobbin thread running out of in the middle of a long seam or while executing an intricate design pattern is almost non-existent.

Extra large stitch plate

Extra large stitch plate

Even when the bobbin does require rewinding, it is not necessary to re-thread the entire machine because it is possible to safely re-wind the bobbin without even un-threading the needle.

Illusion of hand stitched quilting

Illusion of hand stitched quilting

The 37 needle positions and extra large stitch plate make it easy to execute the many available stitches without worrying about breaking needles.

In addition, the oversized stitch plate is etched with a seam allowance gage, making it possible to get a precisely measured seam each and every time.

The built in stitch restart feature makes it easy to resume a sewing job when it is necessary to stop sewing to change thread whenever sewing is stopped before a sequence is finished.

The Pfaff QE 4.0 is capable of rendering overlock, overcast and hemming stitches in addition to an array of decorative, embroidery, quilting and functional straight, blind hem and buttonhole stitches.

For this review, we chose to concentrate on the monogram and quilting functions. For the quilting task, we selected a stitch that mimicked hand stitching.

By loading monofilament in the upper thread position and color thread in the bobbin, the illusion of hand stitched quilting was excellent.

The stitches were so precise and dainty that even the most experienced of hand quilters would have had difficulty identifying them as stitches made on a machine rather than the old fashioned way.

When monogramming, the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 is easy to program.

End result looks like a seasoned professional

End result looks like a seasoned professional

After choosing our fabric and backing it with stabilizer, all you have to do is select the thread colors, the font, the letters, the desired size of the letters, and go.The machine does all of the work for you.

If you are not absolutely certain about the settings, the machine will help you through the process with recommended setting suggestions that are displayed on the LCD screen.

The end result is sharp, crisp and looks every bit like it was the work of a seasoned professional.

Finally, off means off. When the power switch is in the off position, the Pfaff QE 4.0 is totally inoperable.

When some electronic machines are turned ‘off,’ it is still possible to raise and/or lower the presser foot or turn the balance wheel. Not so with this machine.

When the machine is turned off, the needle and presser foot automatically go to the down or resting position and remain there until the power is turned back on.


  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers


Accessories that come with the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 include ten different snap on presser feet with Pfaff IDT Integrated Dual feed technology: standard stitch, fancy stitch, blind hem, rolled hem, zipper, two buttonhole feet – one sensormatic and one manual, free motion embroidery, and quilting.

Accessories also include vinyl cover to protect it from dust and dirt when not in use, a user’s manual, a lint brush and an accessory catalog, detailing all of the other optional accessories available to enhance the sewing experience on the Quilt Expression 4.0.


After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean loopers and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

All in all, the Quilt Expression 4.0 is an ideal choice if you are in the market for a machine that literally does it all.

The fact that the Pfaff QE 4.0 actually has two lights is a major plus. These two bright lights not only eliminate shadows, and make nighttime sewing as comfortable as sewing in daylight.

They make it possible for users to sew as long as they want to with less chance of being plagued by the annoying eye strain that comes with spending many hours hovering over a sewing machine.

The automatic needle threading feature is a huge timesaver – especially when working with intricate embroidery designs that use multiple thread colors.

We were particularly impressed with the fact that this machine knots the thread for you at the beginning and end of each seam, and then automatically cuts the thread for you when you are done.

The extra large work space is great for working with large projects, especially when quilting.

With this machine, you can do just about everything. It is practically impossible for the typical home sewer to use all of the stitch options that are available on this machine.

The ability to taper stitches not only enhances the options available with this machine, it gives a whole new dimension to decorative sewing.

With this feature, alone, the home sewer’s options are multiplied almost infinitely.

The many different presser feet that come with the machine can be mind boggling, but they are extremely useful when performing different sewing functions.

They simply snap on and off with ease and are easily interchangeable when working on an intricate project that may call for different feet to achieve a desired result.

The knee lift presser foot is a great feature, especially when working with an intricate project that requires lots of pivoting and turning to get a desired effect.

Knee lift presser foot is a great feature

Knee lift presser foot is a great feature

With the built in stitch options and step-by-step LCD programming features, embroidering and monogramming with the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 is as easy as it could possibly be. We liked the drop in bobbin and clear bobbin cover.

Even without the built in signal that automatically tells the user when the bobbin is running low, the clear bobbin cover makes it easy to see exactly how much thread is on the bobbin with the naked eye.

The low bobbin signal and the ability to re-wind the bobbin without having un-thread the entire machine are features that every sewing machine should have from now on.

Although we have reviewed other machines with the IDT dual feed feature, this one seems to work even better than, feeding several layers of fabric through smoother and more evenly.

To sum it all up, the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 is definitely a machine that is ideal for the home sewer who does everything – quilt, overcast, overlock, embroider and quilt.

However, with all the stitch options and bells and whistles, this machine is capable of doing so much that it could easily intimidate a new sewer or someone who is unaccustomed to doing more than basic clothing construction.

Even the home sewer with decades of experience could possibly be put off by a machine that is capable of doing this much.

The Pfaff QE 4.0 is a good choice for the person who is ready to stretch their skills to match their imaginations or for someone who wants to go that extra mile to add a personal touch by embellishing the clothes and home accessory items that they make.

In short, this machine is excellent for the intermediate and advanced home quilter or embroiderer, but could turn out to be far too much machine for the new or ‘average’ home sewer.

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Stitch quality
Ease of use
  • Lighted graphic display screen
  • Automatic tension adjustment
  • Stitch width safety-does not allow zigzag stitching while single stitch needle plate is in use
  • Not recommended for beginners
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (101 Votes)

31 Responses

  1. Monika Tocknell

    I have had the Pfaff 7570 and was heart broken when the mother board died. Since I have a commercial embroidery machine, I did not need the embroidery function and decided on the Quilt Expression 4.0 for my sewing needs. What a fabulous machine. I am so pleased!

  2. MB Anstett

    I purchased a new Quilt Expression 4.0 on e-bay. BUYERS BEWARE. THE AUTHORIZED PFAFF SERVICE CENTER will not recognize your purchase as an authorized sale and will not warranty any work. The Sensormatic and Free Motion features did not work on my mchine from the day I purchased it. I’m dissappointed in the machine but angry at the Pfaff Service Center for not standing behind work they did on my machine.

    • Amy

      This is the same for most brands of sewing machine. The website will reccommend authorised dealers only. Many people don’t know this though. Places like ebay or some shop stores and other websites are not authorised and so this voids your warranty.

  3. Vernelle

    Hello, MB –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    Unfortunately, you just learned the main reason for purchasing machines from sources other than authorized dealers. Many sewing machine manufacturers, especially those that produce upscale sewing machines and sergers, stipulate that they will not service any machine acquired from a source other than an authorized dealer.

    They do this for several reasons. Some of the primary reasons are that machines not sold through authorized sources might or might not have been:
    1) shipped properly;
    2) stored at excessively high or low temperatures which damage sensitive components;
    3) serviced or maintained according to factory specifications;
    4) exposed to moisture;
    5) damaged and repackaged;
    6) used improperly.

    There are other reasons for upscale sewing machine manufacturers to take this position as well. You might want ask the manager of your local Pfaff Service Center or visit the Pfaff website for complete details.

    I suggest you take your Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 to a different sewing machine repair provider, one that is not an authorized Pfaff Service Center. I know this is not the news you expected to receive. However, while not authorized by Pfaff, you might discover that they will be able to do a good job and keep your machine up and running for many years to come.

    Happy stitching.

  4. Karen

    Am I the only one who thinks the fact that the machine comes to a full stop when it detects a low bobbin is a HORRIBLE idea?! This machine should excel at free-motion quilting (FMQ) given that the name “quilt” is in the title of the machine. Instead, the machine stops and my hands are still moving and that creates a LARGE stitch in my quilt. This means I have to rip out every single time and then tie a knot and bury it in the quilt. Additionally, there’s still 10 yards of thread left on the bobbin!! Better to have the bobbin run out if I’m going to have to rip stitches out of the quilt and tie a knot. Better yet, have the machine beep but keep going so I could finish my FMQ cleanly. Also I can’t believe that you have to make a manual adjustment for pivot height no matter the thickness of what I’m FMQ’ing. Very disappointing in a “quilting” machine.

    • Karen Eddings

      Yes my QE4.0 does stop sewing when it says the bobbin is low. I just take my foot off the foot control and then start sewing again. It will keep sewing until the bobbin is empty – and more!

  5. Vernelle

    Hello, Karen –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. I agree that the issue of the bobbin stopping when you still have ‘ten yards’ of thread is an issue that you should not have to contend with.

    I suggest you consult your local Pfaff dealer to determine if this feature could be adjusted somehow. You might also want to raise the question about manual pivoting as well.

    When I reviewed this machine, I didn’t sew until the bobbin thread ran down and the little pivoting I did worked fine during the review. I didn’t attempt any freehand quilting, but from all indications, the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 appeared to be able to perform all of the functions claimed by the manufacturer.

    Happy Stitching.

    • Karen

      Thanks for your comment, Vernelle. I did talk to the dealer and there’s no way to override the low bobbin machine stop. However, this is not just Pfaff. A friend with a Bernina says it does the same thing.

      As to the pivot height, it’s a setting on the machine that needs to be changed in order to free motion quilt properly. I just believe the machine shouldn’t need an adjustment like that to quilt since it’s supposed to be a quilting machine. If I didn’t free motion quilt, this would be the perfect machine but since I do, I’m looking at upgrading to a Performance 5.0.

      • Karen

        I have since upgraded to a Performance 5.0 and I love it! If you love to Free Motion Quilt, the 5.0 is a MUCH better machine. There’s a button for FMQ that automatically lowers the feed dogs and there is no need to adjust the pivot height because the machine’s normal settings work great. It’s still annoying that there are 10 yards of thread on the bobbin when the sensor goes off but I have learned (in one of my Pfaff Yahoo groups) how to load just a bit of thread onto the sensor portion of the bobbin first so now it stops with only about 12 inches of bobbin thread left. Also, I have learned that if you turn off the needle down setting, when the machine comes to a “low bobbin” stop, the needle will be up so I don’t take a giant stitch if I am FMQ’ing.

      • Marilyn myers

        Where did you learn this technique of loading just a small amt.,of thread on the sensor?
        Wasting a lot of bobbin thread is something that annoys me also.

      • Renee Sullaway

        one way around this is to use pre-wound bobbins. the ones I use are from superior (l style) – they are very thin cardboard, so the reader can’t tell when the bobbin thread is low. the caveat is that you need to pay attention – i have stitched many miles without bobbin thread over the years!

  6. Wanda Seale

    I recently purchased the Pfaff 4.0 used from the dealer. I do a lot of free motion artistic type quilting with various thread weights. Since the first day of bringing it home, the machine has had a problem. It is now at the shop for the third time. Thread and needle breaking are the two most frequent problems. I have a Pfaff 2056 and have loved the machine but wanted the larger throat opening. I’m very disappointed in the machine for my needs.

  7. Mary Anderson

    Not too thrilled with my Pfaff 4.0. I have difficulty with thread breaking when quilting, sewing metallic thread even using metallic needles, and any specialty stitch pattern. I also don’t like the zipper foot. I do like it for piecing.

  8. Marilyn myers

    Love my phaff 4.0 expressions machine. I’ve been quilting for six years and have owned the phaff 4.0 for 3.5 years.

  9. Valerie

    I have had a few problems with automatic needle threader, and thread cutter. Disappointed with machine. I have arthritis in my hands and these two options are very important to me. Has been repeatedly looked at and still not 100%. I have a pfaff 2048 and the automatic needle threader works perfectly ever time. I have been in touch with Pfaff Australia who have put me in touch with a Pfaff dealer/technician they highly recommend. We will see how we go. Have found your website very helpful. Thank you

  10. Jean Parker

    The ” clear jam in the bobbin case” comes on. I take it apart and clear the jam, put it back together and the threads won’t connect. It’s the little metal piece under the plate that catches and won’t release Anyone else having that problem. I’ll need to take it in to the dealer.

    • Marilyn Wheatley

      Hi – I’m also having this problem. The machine now jams every time I use it. I have taken the little piece out and it seems to work OK, but it must be there for a reason, and I’m concerned in case I’m doing any damage without it. Did you manage to rectify the problem?

  11. Phyllis Sage

    I bought this to new replace a used Janome 1650 that was nothing but trouble from the day I bought it after my old Elna finally wore out after 35 years. I needed a wide throat to do quilting but I also do various other sewing, including hemming an occasional pair of jeans. I should have known I was in trouble within the first month when I went to hem a standard pair of jeans and it wouldn’t go through all the layers even with me helping it feed. I ended up putting it through my old Featherweight and pushing the needle through the material manually. Have it in for repair for the 3rd time in under 2 years. It does fine if you don’t hit a pin, run anything other than cotton, batting or knits through it or don’t expect much. However, for what I paid it should do much more without having to go to the shop for a $100 adjustment. If I had just started sewing yesterday it would be one thing but I have been sewing for over 50 years.

    • Valerie Pickford

      Hi Phyllis,
      I have had my Pfaff 4.0 since 2010 and have been disappointed. I have been getting help from a Pfaff dealer/technician but again automatic needle not working. Yep hitting a pin upsets it, whereas other machines I have used over the years seem to “soldier on”. My other pfaff 2048 is one of them. I have been doing some free motion quilting and I have to say that the machine handles this well. Good Luck

  12. Barbara Carol Light Nessle

    Where can I find instructions for making (filled, not just outline) monograms with my Quilt Expression 4.0?

  13. Pat Dutt

    Purchased my Pfaff QE 4.0 in 2011. I am very frustrated with it’s inability to do free motion quilting. Cannot get the tensions correct so the bottom thread is always very evident on the top of the quilt. During regular straight stitch sewing on the quilt I get the message about a thread jam under the plate. There is no jam but even after checking it still says thread jam. Today I tried again, rethreading the machine a number of times, cleaning the bobbin area, new needle, etc. it still won’t sew. It was just serviced and the Pfaff dealer was satisfied with the quilt stitch on very light weight fabric and batting. I will try one more time to get it to work and if I have no luck I will consider buying a different machine. Not a Pfaff.

    • Louise

      Sounds alot like the one I have. I have a Brother that I really like. I had bought the QE 4.0 for the long arm for machine quilting but found that it was wrecking my quilts. No happy with it at all.

  14. Zo Alitiana

    Very usefull comments guys. I was doubting between a Juki F600 and a Pfaff, ambition or expression. I tend to Pfaff, i thought this is THE MACHINE. But hier a read more negatives points over de pfaff than positives one. Hmm may be the Juki wound’t such a bad choice.
    Can you please give some advices Vernelle. Still have to make a choice.

  15. Margaret Duffy

    Where to start! I bought the Quilt Expression 4.0 18 months ago, and for about 1 year, all was OK. But then I repeatedly got ‘messages’ saying the ‘sensormatic buttonhole foot was on – please change’. It wasn’t. Then it would be, ‘set up for FMQ’ – it wasn’t. Then a ‘jam’ – no jam. A broken needle threader from the very beginning. The thread cutter now only cuts the top thread. Oh, so many more -altogether, a list of 12 faults or more. The dealer has had the machine for the last 11 weeks, saying there was nothing wrong, although he reluctantly replaced the needle threader. I still can’t get it to work though. But within 5 minutes of my trying the machine again, I was getting the same messages, and the machine simply won’t work sometimes. I did 4 short 9″ seams and the ‘buttonhole foot’ message came up 3 times. I asked for a new replacement model, but I had had it ‘too long’. They’ve offered me an ex-demonstration model but I’m not sure I want it. What would anyone advise?!!

  16. Norma

    I bought a used Pfaff Expression 4.0 a few days ago. The selling woman told me that it was not good at Free Motion Quilting, but that didn’t bother me, I have a longarm.
    I tried it at her house, it was perfect for sewing decorative stitches, loved the features and bought it. She showed me the extra foot she had to buy for Free Motion Quilting, a darning foot.
    On coming home I read the users manual. The foot she has been using for FMQ is only for use on the Expression 2.0 and 3.0! The 4.0 uses foot #6A a small little thing, but I tried it just now and it is lovely! So easy to guide the fabric around. I have heard that many dealers have given the wrong information in regards to FMQ with the 4.0.

  17. Ardis

    Purchased the Expressions 4.0 in 2013 and is the worst machine ever. My problem is the bobbin winder fails to work most of the time. It has been in the sewing machine repair shop X 3. I did not purchase any extended warranty, so I must pay each time. Cost me a lot of money for little satisfaction and major frustration. No more Pfaff!

  18. Simona

    Can anyone please share the link where I can find more information about oiling this maschine?

  19. Chery

    I bought the QE 4.2 almost 2 years ago and HATE it! It’s been to the shop 5 times for timing issues. It is the worst FMQ machine. The top thread is constantly breaking. I can’t seem to ever get the tension adjusted right. I get the jam messages. It won’t cut the threads at times and won’t thread the needle at times. I’m getting it serviced again and then selling the darn thing and getting a Janome!

  20. Glenna Hibberd

    I have had my pfaff 4.0 for 5 years and it is now giving me major problems with any stitch other than straight or zig zag. When I sent it for repair it took the technician 10 weeks to repair due to Pfaff service NOT returning his emails asking for help. I believe him as I have dealt with him for a long time. He finally got it fixed ,no thanks to head office, but now 2 months later it’s acting up again! Needless to say I am considering a different brand of machine!

  21. Louise

    I bought the QE 4.0 in April 2014. I have had lots of problems with it. The needle threader has never worked right. I bought it from an authorized dealer.the tension seems to go in and out on it all the time. I spend a lot of time ripping seams out with it. I am almost ready to put it to the electronic recycle bin except that the machine wasn’t cheap.


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