I have wanted an embroidery machine ever since I became aware that they exist. As a mom, I always wanted to sew my kids names or make them cute things. It was so difficult to fine exactly what I had in mind which always lead me to make things myself. I was given the Brother PE770 as a milestone birthday gift, this was the beginning of a whole new world of creating for me.
I was initially extremely intimidated by the PE770. I was so afraid I was going to break it, and once I got myself past that fear, I was at the bottom end of a huge learning curve. I read the manual, the first sewing machine manual I had ever read, and went to work learning the machine. There was a great deal of trial and error involved but I soon found myself in love with machine embroidery. My new problem was that I was feeling stuck. The PE 770 is a fantastic little machine. It sews out designs beautifully, has the best needle threader I have ever used or seen and is easy to use and easy to move.
The issues I have with the Brother PE770 came to light only after I became more proficient with machine embroidery. The hoop sizes available with this machine are good, but after I had embraced embroidery I found I wanted to be able to stitch bigger designs and found the hoop selection available with this machine limiting. The other issue with hooping is that the Brother PE770 did not offer a basting option, so if you do not have embroidery software that allows you to add basting stitches to your design, whatever you are embroidering needs to be put into the hoop. The basting stitches allow you to float the material you are embroidering over the hoop, the stitches will hold the material in place while the machine embroiders. Basting simply allows for a much easier hooping!
The other very frustrating aspect to the PE770 is the screen. It is so small and it is really very difficult to see what the design is that you are trying to embroider. The machine can also only receive designs via a USB thumb drive, it cannot connect to a computer. If you have any want or need to adjust or change the designs, the PE770 offers very limited adjustments built into the machine. I found that I needed to purchase an embroidery software package to go with this machine.
If you are only doing basic designs, or monogramming this machine is fantastic. If you are hoping to do advanced designs in larger sizes you will find the PE770 a limiting factor to your creativity.
I used the heck out of my PE770 for a few years before I took the plunge and bought my current embroidery machine. For the record, I still have and still use my Brother PE770. It will always have a place in my sewing studio.
To say that I researched the purchase of my new embroidery machine would be a MAJOR understatement. I search and read everything I could get a hold of, over the period of several years. I visited the shops I had access to and tried a few machines as well. In my search I tried the Bernina 830, the Janome 11000, a multi needle Babylock machine, and a Brother, basically all of the high-end branded machines. I will say that I found differences in each machine I tried, I will also say that there is no trial, in any store that will truly get you to know the machine. Sewing on a machine in the dealers store may allow you to have a better feeling about one machine over another, but I have found that it is only with real day to day use that you truly understand the machine and what it can and cannot do. You need to use the machines to get to know them well, and the time I was allowed at the stores I visited was not sufficient.
From my trials I did discover that I did not care for the Bernina at all. I spent a bit of time sewing with that machine. I found it to not be intuitive to me at all. I felt like I had to go through too many steps to get things done.
I enjoyed sewing with the Janome 11000. I was not a huge fan of how the embroidery arm and hoops attached to the machine. It didn't feel natural to me when I used it.
The brother of course already had a head start for me because of my introduction to embroidery with the PE770. To say that I like the brother machines, would be an understatement. I think they are good quality and they sew out the designs very well. The problem I had was that I did not care for the Brother dealer that I had to deal with. When I went in to try the machines, she would only let me use the Bernina. The dealers attitude and her continued redirection of me from the brother, or any machine other than the Bernina really rubbed me the wrong way. I have to honestly say that the only reason I did not look more closely at the Brother machine was the Dealer. I just didn't care for her and could not imagine having her as my resource after spending so much money. It was actually my dislike of this dealer that caused me to look for another shop to get my PE770 serviced. This lead me to a Pfaff dealer.
I had never before used a Pfaff. I really liked the dealership, the owner and other employees were so friendly and helpful. I was introduced to the Pfaff brand there. They loved to answer my questions and had no opinion about what I wanted to try or liked. It was refreshing. Before I actually purchased my first Pfaff, I had an opportunity to borrow a Pfaff from one of my friends. I used the Pfaff Creative 2170 for about 6 months. I used both the sewing and embroidery functions. This was a really solid little machine. I really enjoyed sewing and embroidery with this machine. The stitch quality was very nice. No problems with tension at all. I sewed all sorts of fabrics and thicknesses and had no problems. This machine had a fantastic selection of stitches and was very easy to use. I really enjoyed sewing with it. The embroidery function of the 2170 was great. The stitch quality was great, every design I tried stitched out perfectly. The 2170 I was using had a finicky thread cutter, it would cut the bobbin thread sporadically, but this was not a big deal to me. This was a little foreshadowing to an issue that I would come across again later.
So based on this I started looking at the Pfaff Creative sensation. The same friend also had a Creative Sensation, which I also had the opportunity to sew on. It was such a pleasure to sew on the Creative Sensation. For me the two big embroidery issues I was trying to correct were hoop size and the screen visibility and the ability to connect the computer directly to the machine. In the end I purchased the Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro. The Creative Sensation Pro fixed all of these problems for me. The hoop sizes are good and the stitch quality is great. This machine enables the user to do so many editing function right on the machine and has a very large touch screen. It is very easy to edit and adjust designs right on the machine. I honestly feel you would not need embroidery software unless you were doing advanced editing or digitizing. You can also connect your computer directly to the machine which is a very convenient feature. The lighting on the Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro is fantastic.
On the negative side, the needle threader is not great and I no longer use it at all. This could be a problem for some people, which is why I am mentioning it. Also, the thread cutter works only sporadically. It will cut the top thread almost always, but not the bobbin thread. The machine is on the louder side, and it does vibrate quite a bit. It shakes my table! On that note, the speed of the machine can be adjusted. When I slow the machine speed down, the noise and vibrations are both reduced. If either of these functions are important to you, do not buy the Pfaff. You will be disappointed!
Although I purchased the machine primarily for the embroidery function, it is both a sewing and embroidery machine. I have found that I enjoy using it for both embroidery and sewing and it is very easy to switch back and forth between the two functions. I purchased a few additional accessories that were important to me, I purchased the multi thread holder that attaches to the back of the machine. I also purchased the extension table for the sewing machine when the embroidery arm is removed. I do some quilting (great harp size for quilting) so I like to take the embroidery arm off of the machine when I do quilting. All of my other sewing I do with the embroidery unit still attached. The machine offers an extensive list of programmed stitches and several alphabets. There is also a function which allow you to create your own stitches or stitch combinations. I mentioned quilting briefly above, but I do most of my free motion quilting using this machine and it is a breeze.
I have owned this machine for about two and a half years now and I use it nearly every day. I have had no issues at all with the sewing function of this machine. I have not had any issues with the embroidery function either, but have to say I was very disappointed when the tension screws on my embroidery hoops became striped and useless at the end of last year. I contacted my dealer who was happy to help me fix them. I was actually able to get them fixed for about $14. For the amount of money I spent on this machine, I was disappointed that the hoops would fail within two and a half years. Beyond this issue, I continue to be very pleased with the Creative Sensation Pro.