Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 Review

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 Review
Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 Review
Author
Users
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease Of Use
  • Maintenance
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
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
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.

Introduction

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.

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.

Pros

  • Lighted graphic display screen
  • Automatic tension adjustment
  • Stitch width safety-does not allow zigzag stitching while single stitch needle plate is in use
  • Bobbin thread sensor signals user when bobbin thread is low

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners

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.

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.

Features

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.

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.

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

Extra large stitch plate

Extra large stitch plate

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.

Illusion of hand stitched quilting

Illusion of hand stitched quilting

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.

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.

End result looks like a seasoned professional

End result looks like a seasoned professional

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.

Fabrics

  • 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

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.

Maintenance







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
Lubricate
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.

12 Comments

  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  6. 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. 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. 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.

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