November Knits Sunde Sweater: DIY Merino Mohair Striped Sweater

November Knits Sunde Sweater


Before sweater weather disappears for the year, here’s a sweater I finished recently. This is the Sunde Sweater by November Knits, and I am very pleased with how this has turned out. It’s very soft, cosy, warm and I love the classic colour combo. Whilst understanding some aspects of the pattern took me some time, I got there and I am very proud of myself for finishing. BTW this is another top down sweater.

November Knits Sunde Sweater
November Knits Sunde Sweater

Yarn details:

The beige stripes are knitted using a strand of Sunday by Sandnes in light beige (3021) held together with a strand of Drops kid silk also in light beige.

The navy stripes are knitted using a strand of Sunday by Sandnes in dark blue (6581) held together with a strand of Sandnes Tynn silk mohair in marine (5581).

In case anyone is wondering, there wasn’t much difference in the two types of silk mohair IMO.

All yarns were purchased from UK seller Knitt.

November Knits Sunde Sweater
November Knits Sunde Sweater

Notes on the Pattern

  • My sweater is knit in a size XL. I only knit 50 cm for the length of the body rather than 54 cm and about 32 cm for the sleeves instead of 43cm! I initially knit the sleeves at 36 cm but after blocking the sleeves grew and I didn’t like them, so I removed 4 cm of length and re knit the ribbing.
  • I really like the way the neckline was knit, folded in half and knit together with a length of elastic sewn in before knitting the folded edges together, so the elastic is concealed and the collar keeps its shape and feels sturdy.
  • First time doing German short rows and they weren’t so bad. This sweater took me about 3 months to complete.
  • The worst part of this sweater was the Italian bind off of the hem. It was hellish due to the yarn tail tangling. I almost gave up but in the end patience and doing it slowly and I got there. Next time if I was knitting this pattern using these yarns I wouldn’t use such a long tail.

So that’s my sweater. I love it! I don’t have another knitting project on the go at the moment but I’m thinking what my next project might be for later this year.

Until soon!

November Knits Sunde Sweater

My Favourite Things Cardigan No. 7 with OOP Vogue 8836: DIY Hand Knitted Cardigan and Wide leg Wool Trousers

Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

Hey Everyone,

Today I am sharing my latest completed knitted project, together with a remake of a pattern I last made about 18 months ago. Let’s start with the cardigan first, shall we?

Cardigan No. 7

The pattern I used was Cardigan No. 7 by My Favourite Things (a Danish pattern company). This is my first time working with this pattern company and whilst there were a few challenges, now I through it, I am absolutely in love with the finished garment. This is a raglan sleeved cardigan which is worked top down on circular needles in stocking stitch, with ribbing at the edges. The fit is described as “classic, snug and designed to reach the hip bones. The sleeves are slightly cropped and full, adding a feminine touch”. More on the sleeves in a moment. I would say this pattern is suitable for an experienced beginner.

Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

I used a strand of Drops Air (alpaca, polyamide, wool) in shade 29/ old pink , held together with a strand of Drops Kid Silk (mohair. silk) in shade 12/ beige. I have worked with the Drops Air before and both yarns were easy to knit. The addition of the silk mohair takes the finished garment up a notch: it feels very soft, snuggly and silky. Feels wonderfully warm yet light to wear. My buttons are olive wood buttons I picked up on eBay.

Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

Cardigan fitting notes:

  • I knitted the size XL and it’s pretty much a perfect fit. I was worried it wouldn’t fasten over the tummy/ high hip area, but after blocking it was fine. I am just wearing it unbuttoned in these photographs. This pattern goes up to a size XXL (48.75 inches finished cardigan circumference).
  • The main issue I had with the pattern was that I just couldn’t understand the instructions to reduce the number of stitches once you had finished knitting the body, before starting the ribbing. I had to do lots of maths to work out how to do this evenly for my size: the given instructions, to me, just didn’t seem to work. Anyway, I got there in the end.
  • I knit the sleeves one inch shorter than the pattern and I thought they were the perfect length. Then I blocked the garment (full wet blocking), after which the sleeves had grown by about 1.5 inches. I didn’t like how they looked. So I chopped the ribbing off, ripped back the yarn so the sleeve was 1.5 inches shorter, picked the stitches back up and re-knit the ribbing. Much better. But if I make this again in this yarn I need to watch the sleeve length.
  • The thing I was dreading the most about this garment was the button bands. Well, they turned out to be much easier than I thought. As did the buttonholes. And the collar was easy after the button bands. BUT! What I realised is that the number of stitches you are told to pick up and knit along the front edges of the cardigan are a guide. For my size I was instructed to pick up 87 stitches along the front edges. I only picked up 77 stitches. Also, rather than the instructed “pick up 4 stitches for every 5 stitches”, I picked up 3 stitches for every 4 stitches. I think that is a more common formula for picking up and knitting button bands.
  • The above changes to the number of stitches I picked up along the front bands also meant I had to re-space my buttonholes. Rather than knitting 12 stitches between each buttonhole, I only knitted 10 stitches.
  • All ribbed edges were bound off using an Italian bind off, and I made sure to tighten the edges as I went to ensure my edges lay flat.
Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

I love the finished cardigan. Whilst I was making it I wasn’t sure, but I am very proud of myself for finishing it. I could see me making it again in a different colour. I also love that it is not too oversized.

Next, a quick mention of the trousers, which I also love. The pattern is one I have made before. See my first pair here. Something was off with that first pair, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I decided it was the width of the legs. So for this pair I removed a lot of width (I have also gone back and taken some width out of that first pair). I am so much happier with this pair! They are made from a superfine wool twill, purchased from Fabworks and still in stock. I pre-washed the fabric and they sewed and pressed well (use a press cloth though). Very comfortable to wear.

Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

I did bind the inner waistband using some bias binding, and added a nice deep (interfaced) facing to finish the trouser hems.

Vogue 8836 trousers – bias bound waistband detail
Vogue 8836 trousers – hem facing

Vogue 8836 Fitting Notes

(Check my first pair for previous fitting notes).

  • Removed a total of 6 inches width from leg openings below the knee. I basically took 1.5 inches from all the inner/ outer seams front and back.
  • I deepened the pockets by 3 inches. I should have added a pocket extension, but forgot so had to take a smaller seam allowance from the waist down to the bottom of the pockets. I need to correct this on any future pairs.

Overall: very happy with the trousers. They have already had a couple of outings. Lightweight but still warm. Slouchy bit still a little bit tailored.

See you soon with more winter clothing!

Cardigan No. 7 worn with Vogue 8836 trousers

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans and Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt

Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt

Hey All,

I made another pair of Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans in a bleached cotton denim from Cloth House. It’s the same denim that I used to make my denim jacket from. On this version I did a 0.5 inch full inner thigh/ knock knee adjustment using the Minott method as shared by Debbie over on Stitches and Seams. I think on the whole it has been successful; this pair seems to be hanging straighter than my previous pair and they feel more comfortable. This view is view A, the tapered leg; my previous versions have been view B, the straight leg, so for a real comparison I will have to make the same adjustment to that view if and when I make them again.

Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt
Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt
Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt

The top is the Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt. Don’t get confused purchasing this pattern and accidentally buy the Anker Tee because they are not the same pattern; ask me how I know, lol. This is the size XL which is my usual size in Petite Knit patterns. I will say that after taking these photographs, I went back and added a single line of shirring elastic around the neck to stabilise the neckline and stop it from stretching out. It’s an easy and enjoyable knit (knitted in the round) and I love the textured yoke.

Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt
Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt

The yarn is Drops Belle in shade 02 (off white), purchased from Wool Warehouse. This yarn is 14% linen, 33% viscose and 53% cotton, so is an exact match composition wise for the suggested Sandnes Garn Line. I will say that there were some sections of the yarn which were of dubious quality (i.e. very knotty and/ or fragile). But for the price of this yarn (£1.80/ 50 grams) I can’t really complain, and as a novice knitter it was fine for me. But if I make this again I think I would like to try the Sandnes Garn stuff out. From memory I think I used about 8 balls of yarn and shortened the length of the body by about 2 inches. This little sweater has proved to be a useful addition to my wardrobe. The neutral colour means it can be worn with lots, dressed up or down, and is good for our British summer (maybe not when we are having a heat wave though :-)).

Fitting Notes for Dawn Jeans

  • This pair is view A (tapered leg), in a size 20
  • I added 5/8ths inch to the side seams for fit insurance
  • I cut these at the regular crop inseam length
  • I lowered the back crotch by 0.5 inches
  • I did a 5/8ths inch full abdomen adjustment
  • I did a 0.5 inch full inner thigh/ knock knee adjustment (Minott method)
  • I increased the rise by 0.75 inches
  • I split the waistband into 4 sections with side seams and changed the direction of the grainline. The original waistband as drafted is a single straight one piece waistband cut parallel to the selvedge. My new 4 piece waistband is cut so the side seams are parallel to the selvedge. For next time I might tighten the waistband a smidge
  • I made the back yoke have a right angle corner to stop it dipping down – check out wzrdreams Instagram highlight on how to do this. I highly recommend!
  • I shortened the leg by 1 inch
  • I ended up taking 0.5 inches for the inner and outer leg seams down to about the knee
  • I removed a total of 1.25 inches of width from the inner and outer leg seams at the ankle

Two great pieces added to my wardrobe which have already been worn lots.

Until soon!

Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans worn with Petite Knit Anker’s Summer Shirt

PetiteKnit North Sea Set and Hipster Hat: DIY Knitted Hats and Scarf

PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn

Hey Everyone,

I am sharing a couple of recently completed knitted items today. First up is a hat and scarf set that I knit for myself using PetiteKnit’s North Sea Set pattern. The hat comes in one size and is knitted, along with the scarf, using Drops Nord yarn, which is a 45% alpaca, 30% polyamide and 25% wool fingering weight yarn. The scarf took 8 balls of wool (2 per colour) in the shades (I think!) 01, 03, 05 and 12. The hat took two balls of wool in shade 05.

PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn
PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn

Both hat and scarf are knit on 3mm needles, with the hat using two strands of wool held together. The scarf is knit using a single strand of yarn. The scarf took just over 2 months for me to knit! It is essentially a long tube knit on circular needles, and then the ends sewn together. The end scarf is double layered and the wool is soft and warm. I am very pleased with both items. Yes, the scarf is nothing more than seemingly endless stocking stitch, but I didn’t mind the repetitiveness of it: I personally found it very therapeutic and enjoyed the mindless knitting whilst watching TV.

PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn
PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn

Next up I made a hat for Philip. This is the PetiteKnit Hipster Hat. Cos he is such a hipster, LOL. Again, this was knit using Drops Nord yarn in the shade 15. This is the woman’s size as apparently Philip has a small head. It is knit using two strands of wool held together on 3.5 mm needles in 2 x 2 rib. And yes, he is wearing the coat I made for him a few years back.

PetiteKnit Hipster Hat knit in Drops Nord Yarn
PetiteKnit Hipster Hat knit in Drops Nord Yarn

I will say that yes, the actual knitting of these items was not hard. But I definitely learned plenty of new skills knitting these projects. The Italian tubular cast on to cast on stitches for the hats took me a while to master; the kitchener stitch used to seam the ends of the scarf together, knitting jogless stripes when changing yarn colour on the scarf and the shaping of the hats whilst juggling the magic loop technique were all valuable things I learned, which I am sure will stand me in good stead for future projects. These projects have kept me going in these uncertain times in which we are living. And I enjoyed making them.

PetiteKnit Hipster Hat knit in Drops Nord Yarn

See you soon!

PetiteKnit North Sea Set knit in Drops Nord Yarn

Petite knit novice sweater: diy hand knit alpaca blend top down sweater

Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)

I hope it is not too late to wish all my Readers Happy New Year! And my first finished project of the new year is actually a knitted garment! This is the Novice Sweater by Petite Knit, my second garment knitted using this brand of patterns (see here for first), and I am very happy with how this one turned out.

Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)
Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)

Like my first sweater, this one is also knit seamlessly on circular needles, top down, which means you start at the neck and knit down to the bottom. Unlike the first sweater though, this one does not have raglan increases, but instead has a round yoke which is shaped by knitting increases evenly across the yoke. I really like the fit! It’s very comfortable. I think this sweater, whilst being relaxed in fit, looks more refined because the yarn is less chunky than my first sweater (it is knit using a single strand of yarn, not two strands like the first sweater), and it is knit on smaller needles.

Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)

The yarn is Drops Air (65% alpaca, 28% polyamide and 7% wool) in the colour way Beige. I purchased my wool from Lindehobby last year. I think this company ships in from the EU so be aware there may be delays getting items brought into the UK thanks to Brexit. The wool is as light as air, very soft and not at all itchy. I will say that after I blocked this sweater, the twisted rib (knitting in to the back of the rib stitches to get a more defined rib) has relaxed; don’t know if that is to be expected with all yarns after blocking, or if it is just this one. It won’t stop me wearing this piece, but something I might need to factor in when knitting my next Drops Air piece (because there will be more!)

Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)

This is a size XL. I find that the Petite Knit patterns are sized well for me. I did knit the body 4 cm shorter and the sleeves 2 cm shorter than instructed. But that is the beauty of top down knitting: you get to try the garment on whilst knitting, and decide if you want to adjust the fit somewhat.

This time last year I had never knitted anything on circular needles (I started about 8 months ago). I find it amazing I have now completed my second sweater. This sweater took me about 5 weeks of knitting to complete. I already have plans for my next few projects! At the moment, not being able to get out to wear my sewing makes as I would like too, means focusing on slower knitted projects seems the way forward.

Bye for now!

Petite Knit Novice sweater, knitted in Drops Air Beige (mix)

Wool and the gang needed me cardigan: DIY pink mohair cardigan

Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan in bubblegum pink mohair

Hi Everyone,

In my previous post I mentioned that the sweater I shared was actually my second knit in the last 12 months. Today I am sharing my first ever knitted garment, which was knitted on straight needles. This is the Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan, which I purchased as a birthday gift to myself for my birthday last year. It comes as a kit with everything included, including the mohair wool, the pattern, and a needle to sew the seams up at the end. The shade of wool is bubblegum pink. I didn’t buy the maplewood needles as I prefer to knit on metal needles.

Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan in bubblegum pink mohair
Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan in bubblegum pink mohair

The idea of this kit for a beginner knitter is a great idea. And if nothing else it gave me confidence that I could actually knit something other than a hat. But overall, I have to be honest, and say that I did not enjoy the experience of knitting this cardigan up in the same way that I did when I knit my subsequent sweater on circular needles. Here are some thoughts:

  • This is a size 4 (UK size 18 – 20) and it comes up large. It feels too big in the shoulders and the sleeve length (despite reducing them by an inch) is very long and wide. In fact, I have actually run some shirring elastic around the sleeve openings to keep them on my wrist.
  • I don’t like the finished look of the mohair knit (single strand) on the large 8mm needles. In future if I knit mohair garment I would select a pattern which uses a smaller needle size.
  • I hated the seaming process. This is what drove me to learn to knit on circular needles. I think it looks messy and I didn’t enjoy it.
  • The wool was not that easy to work with and did knot up occasionally. I don’t know if all mohair is like that but it was frustrating at times. I also realise now that mohair is very hard to frog!
  • Not the patterns fault, but I don’t like the fact there is no ribbing around the front/ neck edges. The pattern is designed that way and I realised that I didn’t like it after I finished knitting the garment.
  • I didn’t block this cardigan: maybe I should? If I thought I could frog this easily and re-knit it I would!
  • Overall the instructions are ok, but I didn’t like how you were told to just tie new wool on. There was no mention of blocking work and new names had been assigned to stitches that have existed for donkeys years!
Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan in bubblegum pink mohair

So at the minute I am trying to decide what to do with this cardigan. I have worn it once. If I could easily frog the wool I would, and re-knit it. But don’t know if I can face that. For know it languishes in my wardrobe, feeling unloved.

Until soon!

Wool and the Gang Needed Me Cardigan in bubblegum pink mohair

Petite knit louisiana sweater: diy grey alpaca wool sweater

PetiteKnit Louisana sweater in borstet alpakka

Hey Everyone,

Today I am excited to share my very first sweater knitted on circular needles. This is the Louisiana sweater, designed by Danish knitting designer, Mette, of PetiteKnit. Actually, prior to knitting this sweater, I did knit a cardigan on straight needles, and I will share that cardigan with you all in a few days, but I really didn’t enjoy the process of knitting that cardigan, or the end result, whereas I am so proud of this sweater. I thought I would share the positive project first 🙂

PetiteKnit Louisana sweater in borstet alpakka

This sweater was knit using the wool which is recommended by the pattern: Borstet Alpakka by Sandnes Yarns, which is a Norwegian company. I purchased my wool online from SKD yarns. This wool is not cheap, but as a novice I was too scared/ unknowledgeable to consider substituting the wool for a cheaper alternative. It doesn’t matter anyway, because I love the end result. It is so light and soft but warm and was a dream to work with. I also got some Addi metal circular needles from the same place and I really enjoyed knitting with them.

PetiteKnit Louisana sweater in borstet alpakka
PetiteKnit Louisana sweater in borstet alpakka

The sweater is knit from the top down whilst holding two strands of yarn together, throughout. You start with the collar, then knit the shoulders and tops of the sleeves, before putting the sleeves on waste yarn whilst you finish the rest of the body. You finally go back and pick up the sleeve stitches and knit the sleeves. The collar is actually folded over to give a double thickness and knit together (although you can sew it together at the end if you prefer). I am so super proud of myself for teaching myself how to do all this! The internet is a wonderful resource. And there are lots of videos on the PetiteKnit website, although they are in Danish. If there is one video I can recommend, it is this one, which was so clear on how to pick up the underarm stitches and knit the sleeves. That was the part I found most intimidating. I actually finished knitting the body of the sweater in about 4 weeks, but then put off knitting the sleeves for a further 6 weeks because I was too scared. Once I got started on them though, I got through them in a few days.

Overall, I am complete convert to seamless knitting in the round. I recommend this pattern to any beginners, although I would say you are going to have to be prepared to educate yourself somewhat. The pattern is in English, but I think is a translation, so there was one part at the beginning which I found a little confusing (to do with moving markers), but with help from Instagram I was able to figure it out. I even blocked this sweater properly, although after taking these photos I did go back and use some steam from my iron and my tailors ham to reshape the collar a little and get it to sit closer to my neck.

Pattern Notes

  • I knit a straight size XL. I think the sizing is good for me. It is designed to be quite short. I bought the recommended amount of wool and would not have had any wool to lengthen the body of the sweater even if I had wanted too.
  • I did shorten the sleeves by 1 inch. I possibly could have made them more like 1.5 inches shorter, but it’s fine.

With all that is happening in the world right now, and with the darker night drawing in, it’s nice to have a slower hobby that I can do in front of the fire and TV on a cold night. I have already purchased my wool for another project: I am going to try a cardigan on circular needles next.

I will be back soon to share my first knitted garment project with you.

Until then!

PetiteKnit Louisana sweater in borstet alpakka

A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing: Winner of the Giveaway

Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway. Sorry, but I had to exclude the last two entries because they came in after the 8 am GMT cut off. Nonetheless, and without further ado, the winner (as selected using a random number generator) is:

Floating Light Makes.

Congratulations! Please get in touch via the contact email address under my “About” section at the top of this blog with your full name and address for shipping if you are in the USA, or your email address if you are outside of the USA to receive an electronic copy. If the prize is not claimed by 12am GMT on 11th December 2019 then I will redraw the prize.

Thanks and happy sewing everyone.

Book Review and Giveaway: A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing

A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

Hi Readers,

Sarah Gunn (from Goodbye Valentino fame) and Julie Starr have authored a second, sewing related book. The first was, of course, The Tunic Bible (see here for details) and I was completely honoured when they asked if they could use some of my images of items I have sewn in their new book, A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing.

A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

This is not a book of sewing patterns (although one pattern is included; more on that in a moment). This is a book which will educate and inspire you to sew items to create a classic wardrobe. The book covers 5 garments (skirts, tops, dresses, pants and outerwear), with an additional chapter on menswear pajamas and wraps (30 garments in total). Each chapter covers different classic styles of that particular garment (e.g. outwear covers jeans-style jackets, blazers, trench coats and french jackets) and gives you some history, characteristics, sewing tips and fabric suggestions, as well as suggestions on how to style the garment and fashion icons who wore the garment well. It’s a fascinating and enjoyable read and completely encapsulates Sarah’s and Julie’s own style.

A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with whimsical illustrations by illustrator Beth Briggs and it’s refreshing to see a variety of body shapes and skin tones represented, and that also includes the the garment gallery which features lots of familiar faces from the sewing blogging community.

A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr

As mentioned the book also includes a full size pull out pattern for a Modern Classic Pencil Skirt which comes in sizes 2 – 22. All in all, this is a fabulous book which any stylish sewist needs in their library!

I have one copy of A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing to giveaway. This giveaway is open to anyone, worldwide, although if you live outside the USA you will receive a digital copy of the book. The giveaway is going to close at 8am GMT Monday 9th December 2019 to allow entries from other time zones. Sorry for the short window but that is why I have extended the time frame slightly. Just leave a comment down below and make sure you have used a email that I can contact you through to receive your prize.

There is also a blog tour featuring the following blogging superstars! Go visit their blogs or find them on Instagram to find out more on their thoughts and to enter the giveaway more times.

Blog Tour

December 2 Lori VanMaanen
Instagram @girlsinthegarden

December 3 Andrea Birkan
Instagram @andreabirkan

December 4 Anita Morris
Instagram @anitabydesign

December 5 Karen Helm
Instagram @fiftydresses

December 6 Alex Florea
Instagram @sewrendipity

December 7 Cennetta Burwell
Instagram @mahoganystylist

December 7 Lucy van Doorn
Instagram @myloveaffairwithsewing

December 8 Manju Nittala
Instagram @sewmanju

December 8 Dorcas Ross
Instagram @lonestarcouture

Good luck!

This giveaway has now closed.

Sewing Machine Review: Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 and How I Went About Selecting/ Upgrading My Sewing Machine

Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630

Hey Everyone,

There is so much that I want to say in this blog post…it’s going to be a long read and perhaps with some controversy thrown in! But here is a completely unbiased review of the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 with some comparisons between it and my previous machine, the Janome Memory Craft 4900 QC, and a Bernina 435. My wonderful husband bought me the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 as an early birthday present a couple of months ago, and I wanted to wait until I had really got to grips with the machine before writing a review. Ready? Let’s go!

About my Janome Memory Craft 4900 QC

Janome Memory Craft 4900 QC

Right from the outset I want to say that I loved my Janome machine. It was purchased in around 2010/ 2011 so I used it for approximately 8 years or so, and everything that you can see on this blog up until a couple of months ago was made using the Janome. For a starter machine it had some pretty advanced features (for it’s time) and I would not hesitate to recommend Janome to anyone. So why did I want to change the machine?

  1. After 8 years of heavy duty sewing, and almost continuous (read daily!) use, it was showing signs of wear. I was told by my repair guy that the nylon cam was showing signs of wear and it would probably need replacing in a couple of years. It’s not the cost of the nylon cam that would make that an expensive repair, but the labour costs to do the job.
  2. Much as I loved the Janome, the thing that I disliked the most about it was it’s capacity to sew very heavy/ thick fabrics and also the quality of it’s buttonholes.

I have not gotten rid of the Janome, by the way. It’s still in my sewing room and I think I will keep it, at least for now, as a back up machine. So that should tell you that I don’t hate it at all.

Why not a Bernina?

So, in my opinion, Bernina is considered the rolls royce of the sewing world. It has a reputation built on years of solid use by sewists world wide and is loved by many, and rightly so. Before selecting the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 I test drove a Bernina 435. Here are my honest reasons why I didn’t buy the Bernina:

  1. No automatic buttonhole sizing. I estimate I sew somewhere in the region of 100 buttonholes a year. The Bernina 435 did not offer automatic buttonhole sizing. I would have had to input button measurements in to the machine each time. For me, having been used to the Janome, this was a major deal breaker.
  2. I couldn’t see any difference in the quality of buttonholes made by the Bernina and the Pfaff. When I was test driving machines I took samples of fabrics of varying weights with me to try them out. I took a heavy boiled wool, a denim, a silk and a cotton. Neither machine was able to make a buttonhole on the boiled wool. But there did not seem to be any difference in buttonhole quality between the Bernina and the Pfaff on the samples I took. In fact, I ran a poll on Instagram to see which buttonholes people preferred, and the voting was overwhelmingly in favour of the Pfaff buttonholes (see images below).
  3. Price. Leading on from points one and two above, I concluded I couldn’t justify spending the extra money on the Bernina, which was out of my budget anyway. If I had been super impressed with the Bernina buttonhole function I would have spent the extra cash. But I honestly couldn’t justify spending the extra money.
  4. Cost of additional accessories for the Bernina 435. Coming from the Janome machine as I did, which had some great features on it and came with a variety of feet, I would have had to spend probably a couple of hundred pounds on top of the already more expensive Bernina price to get a Bernina machine with equivalent features. For example, I am one of those people who perpetually had a walking foot attached to the Janome machine. A walking foot was not included with the Bernina machine. Neither was an invisible zipper foot, a darning foot, or a button sewing foot etc. Bernina accessories are a lot more expensive in general, so it’s something to bear in mind if you are in the market to buy a new machine.
Buttonholes made on denim fabric using the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 (red) and a Bernina 435 (cream) (fronts of buttonholes)
Buttonholes made on silk fabric using the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 (red) and a Bernina 435 (cream)

About the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630

Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630

Quite honestly, it took me a few weeks to get the Janome out of my system and get used to the Pfaff. It’s hard when you operate a piece of machinery almost on auto-pilot for years, and then you have to learn a new system! But who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Lol.

Here’s what I love about the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630:

  • Touch screen makes finding stitches and customising your sewing easy. The menus are easy to navigate and follow.
  • A bigger sewing bed space of almost 8 inches in width, compared to approximately 6.5 inches on the Janome. Makes manoeuvring bulky projects easier.
  • More storage for accessories: storage compartments in the front and back of the machine bed.
  • Threading the machine is easier than threading the Janome. Honestly, all my sewing life I have lowered the needle down into the bobbin area to bring the bobbin loop up and it doesn’t always seem to work. With the Pfaff you don’t do that. You simply thread the bobbin thread into the needle plate thread guide (which, by the way has an in-built thread cutter) and that’s it! Mind. Blown. And I have not had a mis-threaded machine with the Pfaff yet.
  • You can wind the bobbin directly from the needle. So no need to re-thread the machine completely to fill a bobbin mid sewing project.
  • The Pfaff has the in-built IDT system which means no need for a separate walking foot. As mentioned above I had my walking foot permanently attached to the Janome, and it would have to be frequently tightened and cleaned. With the IDT system there is no need for a walking foot, and it is so easy to disengage the system, should you want too (and you do need to for some operations/ feet).
  • No oil machine. Easier to maintain.
  • Thread snips: life. changing. Such a great feature to cut threads at the press of a button.
  • Multi-purpose tool included (see images below) which is genuinely great as a hump jumper when sewing over thick seams, but can also be used to hold the needle when changing needles and to create thread shanks when sewing on buttons.
  • Thread cutting tool at bobbin winder.
  • Options to save personal stitches, sequences and mirroring stitches.
  • Continuous back stitch option. Can’t think when I would need to use this, but it’s there if I want it. Lol.
Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 touch screen
Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 seam gauges and bobbin thread guide with in built thread cutter
Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 in-built IDT system
Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 bobbin winder and thread cutter
Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 multi-purpose tool

Here’s what I don’t love about the Quilt Ambition 630:

  • I don’t like the imperial seam allowance marker positions. They feel like they are set too far back from the needle position. So I have now marked my preferred seam allowance positions using washi tape.
  • Can’t sew buttonholes back to back. This was something I did infrequently on the Janome, but it was there just in case I wanted too. When making buttonholes on the Janome, the needle would return to the starting position so you could sew a second buttohole directly on top of the first, should you want too. With the Pfaff, the needle stops at the far end of the buttonhole and I can’t see that you can repeat a second buttonhole on top of the first.

Overall conclusions on the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630

Just look back over the blog posts (and my Instagram account) that I have published in the last couple of months to see some of the fabrics I have already sewn using the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630. They include denim, leather, wool, satin, sweatshirt fabric, viscose crepe and tencel. My new machine has handled everything with ease. I have made buttonholes on denim and lightweight fabric with no issues. I have topstitched leather and installed zippers. I have had no regrets about upgrading my machine. Again, I will say that there was nothing wrong with the Janome machine, and I am very privileged to be able to afford a lovely new machine. Upgrading has just made the sewing experience more pleasurable for me.

Any questions or comments please leave them down below. All the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and I can completely appreciate you may not agree with me. Be kind though 🙂

Until soon!