Taking The Quilt Expression 4.2 For A Test Drive

So today we are finally taking the Quilt Expression 4.2 for a test drive. I have been teasing you about this test drive for the last couple of days and today is the day. But hey, it’s good to be prepared and learn about the machine which we did yesterday. Getting ready for the test drive is better than just jumping in with both feet and not knowing. It’ll make for a much smoother ride.

I’m very excited about this test drive as I’ve been impressed with what the machine has had to offer in the way of features and now we’re going to see some of them in action.

And we’re off….

First things first, turn on the machine. The display screen should default to stitch #1 which is a straight stitch. To see what number a stitch is look on the inside of the top cover where the thread holders are.

Wow, there are a lot of stitches to choose from – 251 to be exact. To begin I’ll check out some of the utility stitches then move to the quilting and decorative stitches.

List of stitches

As you can see in the photo above the display screen shows a 1 in the top left hand corner which means it set for stitch #1 which is a straight stitch. It also shows the stitch length to be 2.5.

How is the length or width of a stitch changed?

To change the stitch length use the buttons to the right of the display screen. The top negative and positive sign correlate with the stitch width and the ones below these correlate with the stitch length. Use the negative sign to decrease the length or width, the positive to increase it.

buttons to change stitch width and length

1/4 inch Seam Allowance

Seeing how I do mostly quilting rather than any other type of sewing I’m going to start my test drive with a 1/4 inch seam. Seam accuracy of a 1/4 inch is of the utmost importance in quilting to ensure that everything fits together well. If each seam is off by just the teeniest amount it will eventually add up to an inch or more depending on the size of the quilt and the number of blocks. This then puts all the math out of whack.

I’ll dig into my accessory box on the front of the machine and find the 1/4 inch foot. Having a 1/4 inch foot makes it so much easier to piece accurately and precisely. If you don’t have a 1/4 inch foot with your machine then there are ways to get around it. Check out my blog post on Quilts by Jen about what to do if I don’t have a quarter inch foot. Thankfully this machine comes with a 1/4 inch foot.

¼″ foot

The 1/4 inch foot has the cut out for the IDT system which is fabulous for piecing as then the seams are sure to be even and regular.

I did an experiment and sewed a line of stitching with no IDT engaged and with the IDT engaged. Both were good and unless you knew which one was which you would be hard pressed to guess.

Which seam was sewn with the IDT?

Which seam was sewn with the IDT engaged?

And the answer is, the top one, but I can tell only because I know which was which.

An accurate 1/4 inch seam

I found that lining up my fabric with the right hand edge of the foot when sewing the seam was not quite a 1/4 inch in width. Some would call this a scant 1/4 inch .

I used my really handy measuring guide to measure the seam allowance with. You can see here that it’s not quite a 1/4 inch. Just a thread or two off.

Not quite a ¼″

I prefer to use a full 1/4 inch seam when sewing so I had to come up with a way to do this using the  1/4 inch  foot. My solution was to move the needle to the left one click. To move the needle the buttons to change the width are used. Because the quarter inch foot only has a single hole it can only move two clicks in either direction.

Moving one click to the left solved my problem and I was able to sew an accurate 1/4 inch seam.

An accurate ¼″ seam

All in all I am very pleased with how the machine performs with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Now onto a different foot and different stitch.

The Zigzag Stitch

Another commonly used stitch amongst quilters and seamstresses is the zigzag stitch. The zigzag stitch requires a foot that will allow the needle to move from side to side. For this stitch I will change the foot and put on the 0A foot. This foot has a plastic front allowing easy viewing of where you are stitching.

Foot for zigzag stitch

How to change the feet

To change a foot is very easy. Disengage the IDT if it is engaged. Push down on the back of the foot with your thumbs and it will pop off the stem. Place the new foot under the stem in line with the two bars on the inside of the top of the foot. Press the foot down button and click the stem in place. Re-engage the IDT.

How to Change Feet on Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 Sewing Machine – YouTube

Jen from Quilts by Jen (http://www.quiltsbyjen.ca) shows you how to remove and install presser feet on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 sewing machine. For mor…

How to move the presser foot up and down

This is as easy as pressing the buttons to the left hand side of the display screen. As well the foot control can be pressed once to lower the presser foot.

Presser foot up & down

Now back to the zigzag stitch as I was kind of sidetracked for a few minutes but with important info. To switch the machine to the zigzag stitch touch the 5 button. To find out which foot to use press the ‘i’ for information button as seen in the bottom right hand corner on the picture below.

Stitch #5

This zigzag stitch can be as wide as 9.0mm and as narrow as 0mm. The stitch length can be changed as well bringing the stitches closer together depending on the look you are after.

Here are a few samples of different widths and a length of 3.0 for this zigzag stitch.

Varying widths of zigzag

I played with a few more of the buttons in the utility stitch section and came up with the blind hem stitch and variations of it as well as variations of the zigzag stitch. I have to say the machine stitches very nicely and the fabric feeds under the foot very smoothly.

A few more utility stitches

After finishing up with the zigzag stitch I figured I would test out some of the 251 stitches available to me to use. I only have a fraction of these decorative stitches on my 2 machines put together so was completely in awe of them all on this machine.

Now I don’t usually use decorative stitches but I suspect if I had all of these I might find a use for a few of them because some of them are really cool. And boy do some of them take a lot of thread.

Decorative stitches

Well the Quilt Expression 4.2 has certainly performed well on this test drive and I am looking forward to putting it through it’s paces tomorrow when I do some quilting with straight stitch and free motion.

Until then, Happy Quilting

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Debbie DeCamp October 1, 2017 - 5:16 pm
What price range woud you expect to find on this machine? I am in the market for a quilting machine, but before I start looking I am doing some research on line (I won't be purchasing on-line), just reading reviews and researching features prior to the Houston International Quilt Show. I cannot find anyplace on the internet where it shows any price ranges for a Pfaff Quilting machine. I would appreciate any insight from you. Thank you
Carla A. Canonico October 5, 2017 - 11:52 am
Hi Debbie, the price of any sewing machine depends on a few things, price will vary slightly from place to place. You're doing the right thing, researching the machine you want, its price range (at local quilt stores especially). But if there's one tip I like to share above all else, is 'where' you buy the sewing machine is very important in terms of the service you're going to get. Make sure you're comfortable with the shop's policies and attitude about servicing your sewing machine in the future. I hope this helps, and thank you for your inquiry.
Joyce Stock September 7, 2016 - 3:08 pm
what stitch do you use to make a satin applique ? and why do you need change the IDT every time you change a foot?
Nannett April 14, 2017 - 1:56 am
Some feet don't have the opening in the back to allow the IDT to be engaged. A foot without an opening in the back is usually a good indicator that the IDT system (walking feed) can't be used.
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