The Sewing Place

Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5

Pixie

Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« on: April 05, 2017, 16:05:37 PM »
Very happy with my Pfaff Performance 5 ....until today!

Spent all morning practising buttonholes ready to make 3 on my tailored jacket which took me over a year to make.

Every one has been a disaster....the machine keeps doing one side of the buttonhole or getting stuck grrrrrrrrrr

Anyone else had this problem?....any advice?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 16:36:32 PM by Francesca »
Pfaff Performance 5, Brother Innovis V3, Bernina Overlocker, Janome TXL607, Janome CoverPro 1000CPX, Toyota Oekaki Renaissance, Bernina 830

Morgan

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 17:10:13 PM »
grrrrrrr - YET AGAIN a reply with links etc lost when submitted.  Soooo frustrating, annoying, and time wasting.
Don't have the time (or the will) to find the links again and re-type it all as now I have to go and run a session.
Sorry for the rant Pixie - not your fault, it's the way the process works here.  Hope someone comes along soon to explain what's happening with the long foot losing traction because it's not staying completely level and ways to either fix the issue or consider alternatives.  It's not your machine - it's to do with the different thickness levels.

Ploshkin

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 18:35:05 PM »
Oh Pixie, I had exactly the same problem last year with my Pfaff Ambition.  There was a long, long thread on TSF with so many people trying to help me with my woes.  I just couldn't work out what was causing it to return before time.  Sometimes it would do a perfect buttonhole but only 1/4 inch long!  Mostly it would work ok on a sample piece of fabric but not on the jacket - it was a wool tweed.  I don't know how many I did but I must have unpicked more than 20.

Initially I thought it might be the weight of the jacket dragging and I can drop my machine down into the cabinet so I tried on a completely flat bed with no encumbrances around - still didn't work.

I managed in the end by literally forcing it to continue in the direction it was supposed to be going until it reached the correct length (sometimes it would truncate on the first side, sometimes the second).  I did this by wearing a pair of rubber gloves to get a good grip.  On the first side, which is in reverse, I kept pressure on the fabric, pulling it towards me and watching the lever on the side that makes it change to the next step.  I didn't let up the pressure until it had hit the tab (I presume that yours works the same way).  I did the same on the second side, pushing the fabric away from me and not letting up until it had returned to where it was supposed to be - no way to do buttonholes I know but it did work, I still had to unpick one or two but got them done eventually.  Three buttonholes and I was exhausted.

I love my Pfaff and wouldn't change it for anything but I do so wish there was a manual buttonhole option.  I was talking to the dealer who had sold me the machine & he reckoned that I should have been able to do it manually. I had tried but when the machine is set for a zig zag stitch you don't have the option of changing the needle position.

It just happened that later last year I broke my Pfaff and while it was being repaired a friend lent me a 1970s Dutch machine and then let me keep it.  Hooray, it has a 4 step buttonhole and I have just used it to do buttonholes on a narrow band of a sweatshirt cardigan as I knew the buttonhole foot (if you can call it that) on the Pfaff wouldn't play ball.   
Life's too short for ironing.

Pixie

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2017, 20:24:45 PM »
grrrrrrr - YET AGAIN a reply with links etc lost when submitted.  Soooo frustrating, annoying, and time wasting.
Don't have the time (or the will) to find the links again and re-type it all as now I have to go and run a session.
Sorry for the rant Pixie - not your fault, it's the way the process works here.  Hope someone comes along soon to explain what's happening with the long foot losing traction because it's not staying completely level and ways to either fix the issue or consider alternatives.  It's not your machine - it's to do with the different thickness levels.

Thanks for trying to help Morgan.....so annoying that the system let you down  :devil:
Pfaff Performance 5, Brother Innovis V3, Bernina Overlocker, Janome TXL607, Janome CoverPro 1000CPX, Toyota Oekaki Renaissance, Bernina 830

Pixie

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 20:31:43 PM »
Oh Pixie, I had exactly the same problem last year with my Pfaff Ambition.  There was a long, long thread on TSF with so many people trying to help me with my woes.  I just couldn't work out what was causing it to return before time.  Sometimes it would do a perfect buttonhole but only 1/4 inch long!  Mostly it would work ok on a sample piece of fabric but not on the jacket - it was a wool tweed.  I don't know how many I did but I must have unpicked more than 20.

Initially I thought it might be the weight of the jacket dragging and I can drop my machine down into the cabinet so I tried on a completely flat bed with no encumbrances around - still didn't work.

I managed in the end by literally forcing it to continue in the direction it was supposed to be going until it reached the correct length (sometimes it would truncate on the first side, sometimes the second).  I did this by wearing a pair of rubber gloves to get a good grip.  On the first side, which is in reverse, I kept pressure on the fabric, pulling it towards me and watching the lever on the side that makes it change to the next step.  I didn't let up the pressure until it had hit the tab (I presume that yours works the same way).  I did the same on the second side, pushing the fabric away from me and not letting up until it had returned to where it was supposed to be - no way to do buttonholes I know but it did work, I still had to unpick one or two but got them done eventually.  Three buttonholes and I was exhausted.

I love my Pfaff and wouldn't change it for anything but I do so wish there was a manual buttonhole option.  I was talking to the dealer who had sold me the machine & he reckoned that I should have been able to do it manually. I had tried but when the machine is set for a zig zag stitch you don't have the option of changing the needle position.

It just happened that later last year I broke my Pfaff and while it was being repaired a friend lent me a 1970s Dutch machine and then let me keep it.  Hooray, it has a 4 step buttonhole and I have just used it to do buttonholes on a narrow band of a sweatshirt cardigan as I knew the buttonhole foot (if you can call it that) on the Pfaff wouldn't play ball.

Thanks for your reply....I have had a very frustrating and wasted day trying to sew just 3 buttonholes!! Nice to know its not just me...
After throwing the Pfaff out of the window <not really but felt like it>....I tried my Toyota which I bought to sew through jeans and tough fabrics. I managed to do 2 of the buttonholes...hooray...but the 3rd one went wrong again.
After reading your reply I got out my 40 year old Bernina which has manual buttonholes. It was soooo nice to feel in control again. However although I did the buttonhole it is not as nice as the other two.
Still feeling upset because I was so pleased with my jacket until now.....
Pfaff Performance 5, Brother Innovis V3, Bernina Overlocker, Janome TXL607, Janome CoverPro 1000CPX, Toyota Oekaki Renaissance, Bernina 830

KayK

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2017, 21:10:50 PM »
I'm not overly happy with my Pfaff Performance 5 either!  it seems to do lots of things not terribly well, however i can get it to do a very nice satin stitch,(seriously narrowing the stitch)  and can do buttonholes the very old fashioned way.

I also have a problem when threading the machine (the needle threader no longer works anyway - the little hook has broken).  the thread guide just above the needle has a very sharp edge, and cuts the flipping thread as it goes through the needle eye!

It also had a bad moment as it decided to sew everything in reverse!- so £100 spent on repairs and i still don't like it that much!!
Vintage machine lover, Singer 201K, 99K, 401G, Singer 780 Touch and Sew and rather fussy Pfaff Performance......which I'm still not sure about......now a new member of the family - Brother Innovis 700 embroidery machine, cheap and cheerful and sews like a dream!

Pixie

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 20:51:30 PM »
I'm not overly happy with my Pfaff Performance 5 either!  it seems to do lots of things not terribly well, however i can get it to do a very nice satin stitch,(seriously narrowing the stitch)  and can do buttonholes the very old fashioned way.

I also have a problem when threading the machine (the needle threader no longer works anyway - the little hook has broken).  the thread guide just above the needle has a very sharp edge, and cuts the flipping thread as it goes through the needle eye!

It also had a bad moment as it decided to sew everything in reverse!- so £100 spent on repairs and i still don't like it that much!!


Sorry to hear that you have had problems with your Pfaff KayK....how long have you had it?
I bought mine last summer and so it is not even a year old yet and so I havent had the problems you have... so far!
Until the buttonhole debacle I was very happy with it....I particularly love the IDT system as it so much better than a walking foot plus I have fun using the fancy stitches.
I had done buttonholes successfully with the Pfaff on a shirt dress and so I was disappointed. However Morgon (on here) has kindly explained to me that a lot of machines have problems with buttonholes on jackets because of the different thicknesses by the seam. In fact because I was so frustrated and panicky I did not realise that I could do manual buttonholes on it...and these were successful.
It is an expensive machine and so I hope that you change your mind about it .....but I must admit that I have a secret desire for a Bernina even though this machine is so new and it was meant to be my last ever machine  -<
Pfaff Performance 5, Brother Innovis V3, Bernina Overlocker, Janome TXL607, Janome CoverPro 1000CPX, Toyota Oekaki Renaissance, Bernina 830

Elnnina

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 21:46:05 PM »
I have a Bernina Artista 200, and I was thrilled to learn that it would sew identical buttonholes once the first one had been programmed into the machine.

However I also had some trouble, and put this down to user error and me not understanding exactly what I had to do!  I had the first bead stitching beautifully, but on the second bead it would stop short and finish off the buttonhole, or it would go up too high, i.e. above the start of the first bead, I have never done so many practice buttonholes in my life until I had this machine.

One day I was in a sewing machine and fabric shop on a Saturday, and the owner was actually being one of the Sales Assistants as the Saturday girl had not turned up.  He was rather enjoying the meeting of customers.  Well it was a bit quiet, so I took the opportunity of describing to him what was happening and asking his advice.  Apparently on my machine there is a sensor up in the machine right where the needle is and this sensor responds to the sensors on the side of the Bernina Feet.  The sensor in the machine needs to be kept really clean and free from debris.  I wonder if your machine has a sensor that might be rather clogged up with lint and debris.

So I now keep a little pot of cotton buds by my machine and a mirror – well it is a dentist’s mirror and this is just right for this little exercise.  My Dentist gave me a couple of these mirrors, they are plastic and he uses them when he is going to do treatment away from his surgery.

I believe in the accessory box that came with my machine there is something in there to be used when doing buttonholes and this will level the fabric up especially when you have the edge as a seam.

I will have a look for this and look up this in the instruction manual   tomorrow,  and if I am right in my thinking on this maybe others can make up something similar for their particular brand of machine.

I also have a 40+ year old Elna SU, and at the time I bought this machine there was a little book  published called The Living/Elna Sewing Book.  Their idea of publishing this book was that whilst we would have had a demonstration in the shop, once the machine was home trying to replicate what we had been shown in the shop was not as easy as we thought.  In amongst these little gems of how to do things was making a little Wedge out of felt and this helps when sewing over fabric thickness particularly a seam.  To make a wedge you need a small piece of felt about 31/2” long, folded over three or four times to make a thickness of about 1/8-1/4”.  Straight stitching along the two long edges gives the wedge its final shape thinner at the edges than in the middle.  When beginning  a hem in thick fabrics, place the wedge under the foot behind the needle, with the beginning of a hem in front of the needle.  Lower foot and sew a few stitches. Raise the foot, slide the wedge under the foot and in front of the needle.  Lower the foot and sew.  You will also find this small wedge very useful when sewing corners and edges on thick materials.

I have found this little felt wedge to be really useful over the years.

Tiggy

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2017, 11:35:45 AM »
'I love my Pfaff and wouldn't change it for anything but I do so wish there was a manual buttonhole option.  I was talking to the dealer who had sold me the machine & he reckoned that I should have been able to do it manually'

It does have a manual buttonhole function, because it has a different buttonhole foot, which does not plug in, to access the computery bit.  You can use this to make buttonholes as long as you want.
Pfaff P5,  janome500e ,  Pfaff Hobbylock 2.0
Janome 3800QE

Ploshkin

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2017, 12:37:02 PM »
Unfortunately mine is a lesser beast than the Performance 5.  It is a Pfaff Ambition.  It doesn't rely on a sensor but on the buttonhole foot actually touching a tab that is pulled down to let it know when to return.  That said, its not a cheap machine so I would expect better.  I think I said that I experimented with doing buttonholes manually but couldn't because the needle position cannot be changed when a zig zag stitch is selected.
It sounds as if Pfaff realised the error of their ways and put in a manual option on later models.
Life's too short for ironing.

b15erk

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2017, 12:50:55 PM »
I have an older model Pfaff 1475 cd (30+ years old), and have similar problems.  I tried without the long foot, and that was slightly better. I also have a manual option, but tbh I tend to use my Singer Attachment, with templates.  I have yet to have a bad buttonhole when it's been set up.

I did a blouse for the Stash Challenge, on a very loose weave fabric, and had no problems at all - and beautiful buttonholes.

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Elnnina

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2017, 18:33:12 PM »
A new day and let’s hope my brain is a little clearer this morning.

The   little gadget I was referring to yesterday made by Bernina is called Height Compensating Plates and these are three little white plastic plates which can be used to level up the actual foot especially when sewing over a bulky seam
I went looking for these plates last evening and could not find them, and this puzzled me as I do keep all my feet/attachments together.  Okay it was late last night and I was tired, and do you think I could see them, spent the night puzzling away where could they be, well of course this morning  I have gone straight to them, I have said they are white and they were in the drawer in the Bernina ‘Wardrobe’ i.e. accessory box and that too is white.  Need I say more!!

The length of the  plates  are 6.5mm by 1.5mm by about 2mm thick.  However these three plates are fastened together with a metal rivet, and I cannot see a way of separating them.  They open out fan like.  The manual explains how these  plates are used.

The feed dog can work normally when the foot is level.

If the foot is at an angle, e.g. when sewing over thick to thin or vice versa, the feed dog cannot grip and feed the fabric.
To solve this problem place one, two or three compensating plates as required behind the needle under the presser foot.
To correct the height in front of the foot, place one or more plates to the right of the foot next to the needle.  Sew until the foot is level again and remove the plates.

The buttonhole foot on my Bernina is a long sliding one and I am quoting below the paragraph relating to using these plates with a sliding foot.

Height Compensating Plates for Buttonholes (optional accessory)  Apparently called a Buttonhole Leveller. (this is something different from the three white plastic plates mentioned above)

When sewing a buttonhole using Automatic buttonhole foot 3A on an uneven area (such as over a seam allowance) use the height compensating plates for buttonholes.

Place the plates from the back between fabric and slide foot bottom up to the thick part of the fabric and push to front.
This accessory will create a smooth surface for the foot and help make a perfect buttonhole.

The buttonholes I have done using this particular machine – the Artista 200 have all been vertical buttonholes and I did not have a seam to contend with as I cut the facing and bodice front all in one so everything was flat and smooth with no bumps whatsoever.  Last night when I referred to getting buttonholes stopping where they shouldn’t be stopping there was no seam or ridges involved, so I put my troubles down to the sensor in the machine being covered in debris.

I do hope that this information might help you.

I do not know if the Pfaff has a sensor, but it is worth checking and investigating.  We all know just how much lint and debris finds its way around the bobbin area and flies up around the needle so it is possible that this is what it is doing and if you have a sensor it is not clear.


Go on to the internet and type in Bernina Height Compensating Plates and go to  ‘images’ and within the first few lines of images there are two types, mine is the one that is fanned out.  The one shown in my manual is different – don’t know why, so that is why I have rung Cardiff, I  now know that the plates referred to as a Buttonhole Leveller has to be matched up to specific Bernina Machine.  But do go and look at what they are on the internet, as you never know Pfaff may make something similar or perhaps you can find something to put under your buttonhole foot that will do the same thing.

My apologies I started writing this early this morning, went off to physio, came home to continue with this and also spoke to Bernina Cardiff as I too was puzzled by the two different types of gadgets, i.e. the Height Compensating Plates for when you are sewing over bulky seams and then the plates they call a Buttonhole Leveller – I am still waiting for them to send me an e-mail through.  I am afraid I went off to have a short nap that has turned into a few hours.
   .


b15erk

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2017, 09:16:44 AM »
This was intriguing me Elnina, and I've come across this tutorial.  Is this it?  http://weallsew.com/buttonhole-compensation-plate-from-bernina-a-helpful-accessory/

I'm going to have a look to see if Pfaff does anything similar.....

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


sewmuchmore

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2017, 18:44:36 PM »
I have a Pfaff quilt expression that would only sew 1 side of the button hole perfectly and then stopped short on the second side. Eventually took it for a service and it was the stepping motor that needed replacing (apparently this makes sure the fabric feeds evenly), and its now fine.
It's not easy being this perfekt

Janet

Marniesews

Re: Buttonholes on Pfaff Performance 5
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2017, 20:57:13 PM »
I've got the PP5 too but I don't sew buttonholes that often so I've not had the same experience. However. I can tell you that your machine came with its own version of Elnnina's height compensating plates. It's a pale grey wedge with a slot down the middle and a tiny tiny foe inserting needles. It's similar in style to the well-known humper-jumper.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...