On Saturday 14 October, I had the privilege to be invited to the Blessington Retailers Convention. For those of you who don’t know, Blessington is the parent company and distributor for some of the most well known sewing companies in Australia, including Singer, Husqvana, Pfaff, Handi Quilter and AccuQuilt.
I was invited to take part in two classes held during the day, offering me the rare opportunity to play with some of latest toys on the market, including the soon to be released Pfaff Creative Icon.
And my gods, what a machine it is!!
I have to admit, I was incredibly intimidated when I sat down in front of the Icon. At home I have two sewing machines, an entry-level, mechanical Husqvana Viking and a vintage Singer 201P. While neither have the whistle or bell, they are solid, well mannered work horses. As I sat infront of the so shiny icon, slowly running my hands over its completely computerised body, I knew I would be venturing into untried territory.
As the class commenced, we were introduced to the basics of the beast. We were shown how to navigate the menus, how to customise the screen (which, by the way, is the biggest screen on board any machine currently in the market), change stitch info (length, width, needle position etc.), switch between imperial and metric and, most importantly, how to access the on board video tutorials.
That’s right, there are on board video tutorials, not just for the basics either. Yes, you can be shown how to thread your bobbin from the needle (thats right, no more unthreading the machine to wind the bobbin!) but also videos for more indepth sewing techniques, such as pleating fabric. What’s more, when you’re using the tutorial, it will actually select all of the necessary settings for you! That includes things like stitch, stitch length, needle down etc.. This blew my mind!
It has the standard list of features that you would expect from a machine of this calibre:
- Touch screen
- Computerized Interface
- Top and Bobbin Thread Sensors
- Thread Snips
- Innovative and Exclusive Stitches
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Needle Up/Down
But the Icon takes all of this to the next level. There are over 800 stitches already programmed in, which is more than you will ever need! A good chunk of these stitches are exclusive to Pfaff. Speaking of stitches, the next thing blew my mind!
This allows you to edit stitches that are already programmed. You can remove aspects or add new stuff in, and it was crazy fun to play with. I wish I had been allowed to stitch something out that I had created, but alas, we were on a schedule.
We DID get to stitch out a few of the more fancy techniques available on the Icon, including the Radiant, Triple Ribbon, Floating, Lace and Off-The-Edge techniques. Each were quite fun, and as a person who has never dabbled in anything more fancy than the zig zag stitch on my machine at home, I thoroughly enjoyed how easy it was to navigate and use all of these techniques.
As you can see from the radiant stitch, one issue I did come up against was that it was really difficult to turn the fabric while the machine was stitching. The Icon has super fancy, enhanced fabric feed skills, so I am assuming that it would have to be calibrated and I was using it fresh out of the box, but I was still shocked that it was as firm as it was. I made a right mess of the triple ribbon stitching. I found it to be quite confusing, but I got there in the end. It is such an ingenious technique and it looks quite effective when done properly (aka by someone other than me).
The last this we got to play with, before we ran out of time, was the Bi-Level Guide Foot.
This foot is used for the floating stitches and for Off-The-Edge stitching techniques. It does exactly what the name says, it allows you to keep things straight when sewing on multiple levels of fabric. A little bit niche as far as sewing feet go, but still rather rad.
It was at this point that we, unfortunately, ran out of time. I would have loved to have explored the embroidery side and see everything that this behemoth has to offer, but it was not to be.
Upon reflection, I am still blown away by what this machine can do. I can’t really envision a future where I would need to have something so fancy, with so many options, but my gods I want one.
Thank you, Blessington, for allowing me this amazing opportunity.