Adding to the Fleet: A Pfaff????

Okay…I did it again.  I bought another machine.  SERIOUSLY….AHH!! Somehow this has to stop.

You might remember I just bought the 15-91 with the wicker in the cabinet…I loved the machine, the cabinet, I didn’t love.  I got the machine working nicely and I’m happy with it.  I told myself the I could buy a cabinet…not another machine.  So I’ve had my eye looking for cabinets…

So here’s the story…
I was in Decorah.  I was picking up groceries.  I didn’t realize it was garage sale weekend.  I had no intention of stopping at sales.  I’m trying to not….but seriously, it’s hard for me not to.  Then on the way to the grocery store I passed by a sale I ALWAYS stop at.  The kids things there are just a little bit above where my grandkids are so I LOVE going to this garage sale.  I’m a regular there.

I stopped.  I found some things and then headed towards the grocery store again.  There was another sale and you know how it goes, you open the flood gates and it floods.  I stopped a the sale.

There were a few things there that I would have bought and sold had we still had the booth but we don’t so I didn’t.  Then I saw a sewing machine cabinet.  It said $10.  Hmm.  It was the cutest cabinet.  $10…well…no.  I shouldn’t.  I shouldn’t even look…I shouldn’t look.  But wait…I said I could look at a cabinet.  It’s only $10.  If I bought the cabinet I could put the 15-91 in it and trash the machine in it.  No this is too much hassle.  I’ll have to ask Karl for help.  I know he’ll help me but I have too much stuff in my life right now.  I don’t need more stuff…even if it’s only $10.

Then the 80 year old lady came up to me and told me this was her machine.  She told me this was the one she sewed on.  She pulled out the chair.  She opened the drawers.  The told me the last she used it, she ran great.

Oh my.  This is not what I needed.  I fell in and asked what kind of machine was inside.  My plan was to tell her that I only collect Singers as I saw the machine was green.  Then she called her son over to pull the cabinet out.  She lovingly opened it up.  It was a Pfaff 230.

She told me her daughter told her, “She wasn’t moving THAT machine again.”  Then she told me it really did work nicely.  Then she said, “It is cute, isn’t it.”

Oh my word.

Then she said, “I can part with it for $7.50 if that would help you.”  Bahahahaha.  Then she said, “My son can load it for you.”

AHHH.  You can guess what I said.  I said YES.

So $7.50 later, I am the owner of a Pfaff 230 in the cutest little cabinet.

Take a look at it….It doesn’t even look like there is a sewing machine in there.  It totally looks like a night stand.


The chair comes out….Isn’t it cute??


See the side of the chair….There are two drawers in it.  How ingenious!!


The cabinet is in pretty good shape.  I can fix this up easily…The chair has a rip.  I can easily cover that.

Now to see if the old girl runs.


This Pfaff is calling my name and gives me a little diversity as the feed dogs can go down and it has multiple stitches.

I went on Youtube and found this video about the machine.  Oh my….

Now after seeing the video, I’m pretty positive I want this girl up and running and in the fleet.  I don’t just want the machine only for the cabinet.

So…I managed to carry the cabinet upstairs…I got it plugged in.  She made a few rough stitches then chug, chug…and out.  It doesn’t work.  I’m so sad.  I’m not mad at the lady who sold it to me.  It could have easily worked the last time she used it.  Besides..the cabinet is worth more than $7.50…and I likely could have tried it out while it was at the sale.

Now I’m to decision time.  What should I do?  Do I take her in and see if she can be fixed.  I kind of got attached to her.  Do I put a different machine in the case as I really to love the case.  Oh my.  I need a little time to tinker and measure and see which machines can fit in which cabinets.

I was so excited…and now I’m a little disappointed.  I hate making decisions.  What would you do??

43 thoughts on “Adding to the Fleet: A Pfaff????

  1. Donna T

    What a wonderful cabinet! I have never seen anything like it! I hope you get the machine up and running!! No one in your family can tinker with it and get it running??? That would save you some money! Maybe you could barter; cookies or dinner!!! I think you got a good deal!

  2. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I would fix or get the Pfaff fixed. It seems to do some things your other machines don’t! Your curated collection of sewing machines will be complete when you have one to pass on to each child and grandchild, right?? Hmmm, I better start a collecting because I have 7 kids and 8 grands, currently and only 2 machines!!

  3. Lisa B

    I need a case like that for my 2nd home. Something small and compact. But I would like a bit newer sewing machine in it. And I do love Pfaff’s, having sewn with one for over 30 years. Glad you are still going to and enjoying garage sales.

  4. Suzy R.

    I am so hopeful that the Pfaff can be fixed but, if not, the cabinet is a jewel. I will be eagerly awaiting an update! Good luck with a fun new project.

  5. Denise

    Keep her like she is in her cabinet you know another one will come around for the other machine they belong together! Ger her serviced! What a find!

  6. Jackie H

    Hopefully it something simple. I think it is worth fixing if it is not too complicated.
    Sometimes the feed dogs get packed with lint or it may just need to be oiled well, let sit and try turning the handwheel.you can down load a manual and there is a Vintage Pfaff sewing machine group on FB would be a great resource. Good luck!

  7. Janet Orr

    Oh goodness! I think I’d have to try and get her running again. I bet she was quite the machine. Can’t wait to see that cabinet after you get it fixed up! I think it would be a great machine/cabinet to have downstairs for quick sewing when you have time. Even in your living room! Good luck!

  8. Maxine Corimski

    I went to FB and inserted FB pfaff 230 Group and this was one of the answers, I hope this helps you, Jo:

    green.willow
    It looks O.K. to me. But since things won’t move, you probably still got thread stuck in it. Try to get it out a different way. Take off stitch and throat plate, tip machine backwards, and flood the hook/ race/shuttle with oil. Put some in the little hole in the machine casting the whole hook is coming out of too. Then start trying to rock your fly wheel back and forth by hand. As long as it moves at all, even the the slightest bit, if you keep doing that long enough, it will probably get slightly looser and eventual if you keep looking at the bottom of the basket that holds the bobbin case and the round hole in it there, you will probably see a thread get dislodged and cross under that hole. If so, try to grab and hold that with tweezers, while you keep rocking the fly wheel back and forth, without breaking off the thread and just teasing it out instead. Expect it to take a while. Like maybe up to an hour even , if you are really unlucky.

    The good thing about those machines is they have really tight clearance and tolerances everyplace metal to metal, and will probably last close to forever (yeah old Pfaff!) but that’s also kind of the bad thing about them too, particular if not used constant and a lot, and kept real oiled and greased. So much moving metal to metal jammed into those things, in such small places, just a lot of places to bind up and freeze up too, when they get old and dry and sticky.

    Thread stuck in your moving joints of the take up lever would make it stop turning and working too even. So, maybe look there also even. If nothing works, then maybe time to put solvent and heat on every metal moving bit of it, run it a whole lot and then re-oil and re-grease the whole thing too. And don’t let it sit a real long time afterwards just unused and by it’s lonesome, without anyone using it for a while. They probably work best, used a lot and often even. And kept really lubricated.

    My old Pfaff 130 and 30 (or even my much newer Pfaff 1475 the same way) could get thread stuck in the same place and in the same way, but lots less tightly jammed into them moving metal parts in them even, so they all could sit for years and probably not jam up, not so much with your kind, as so much more stuff all tightly jammed into it even. So once you get it all moving again, I think best to at least run it, straight and zig zag, even if no fabric or thread in it, like once a month for a few minutes, at least. And don’t ever let it sit for a real long time, unused. Also don’t use in a cold room, as that probably does not help much either. Won’t make any difference for just stuck thread, but for other things getting froze up and stuck, then it probably does.

  9. Joanne M Perry

    Wonderful cabinet. Who would have thought it was a sewing machine and chair. I was stunned. Too bad manufacturers aren’t still producing them…I bet lots of us would like something similar.r
    Hope you can find the fix for the machine itself.

  10. Janelle Merillat

    I have the same cabinet, though mine came with a 130 in it! Congratulations! If you were to invest the time into this baby, you won’t be disappointed! They are workhorses!

    I am a vintage sewing machine collector, and have amassed WAY too many machines, so I understand your reluctance to acquire more than your present herd. However, This one is Beautiful! If you decide to pass on keeping it, put it for auction here on the page for those who can do their own delivery. Too heavy to ship, both for the weight, and the cost.

    ALL of these machines (vintage) CAN be fixed, that is why we collect them! Parts are getting easier now to attain with so many of us having access to the internet, but I doubt yours needs parts, it sounds like it just needs a good cleaning!

    I love your blog! You’re in my prayers!

  11. Fran Ontiveros

    For $7.50, you did not go wrong. The cabinet by itself is worth more. Collecting sewing machines is an addiction. I have 5.

  12. Colette

    Isn’t that an awesome cabinet? They are called Hollywood cabinets. I was at an estate sale one day, there was one and it was $1, but it was upstairs. I took a quick look and was jammed up. I kick myself for not getting it, and the awesome thing about it is they are chain driven.

  13. Ellie

    Love the cabinet! I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d try downloading a manual and give it a good cleaning and oiling. If there is still a problem then perhaps it’s time for a trip to the professional spa but I’d have a try myself first. Whatever you decide, good luck!

  14. Diann Smith

    I LOVE that cabinet. Old machines not so much. I have two Singer featherweights intended for my two grand girls some day but my other seven machines are all new or nearly new. The OLD does not interest me. I love knee lift and thread cutter and all that jazz. Love that cabinet though. Sewing machine junkie for all new improvement things.

  15. Myrna

    In your photo, the knob for buttonholes (according to the video) is turned. Did you adjust it before trying to sew? There are Pfaff 230 service and owner’s manuals online for reference.

  16. Stearns Carol

    The cabinet is super cute! Best thing to do is make something and give it to the lady,, a table runner or whatever. then take the machine for an evaluation. I brought home a work horse Kenmore from the church and it was missing the bobbin case. and some other problems. Took it in and for $80 it is my favorite machine when I go to sew at the church.

  17. Judy In MO

    That cabinet is adorable and I bet the machine can be easily repaired. I agree with other comments that it is probably something simple. I had a Kenmore once that oiling and letting it sit did the trick. Or oiling and heating with a hair dryer, or sitting in the sun. Chances are there is lint around the feed dogs or a thread caught in the bobbin. I used to teach a beginners class in quilting and you wouldn’t believe the amount of lint people were storing under that needle plate.

  18. Beth

    What a great design for the cabinet! I think having met the owner and having her story to go with the machine makes it a bit more special and worth trying to get the machine running again :)

  19. Paula

    Pfaffs are great machines. For the price you paid, it’s worthy tinkering or even taking it in. If the cost for repair is prohibitive you still have a great cabinet for under $10. Go for it!

  20. Becky

    I recently bought a used Pfaff, though not as old as yours. It was the best sewing machine purchase I’ve ever made. It’s definitely a high quality machine.

  21. Candi

    Keep her and if you can’t get her running take her in. She deserves a new lease on life. Just as we do when we get old. We don’t want to be junked.
    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  22. Susan McGirr

    Clean her up and get out any dust bunnies and oil her. If she won’t run take her in. It might only be a loose connection or something. The cabinet was worth the $7.50 so the machine is free at this point. It’s worth it to see what the problem is. She is cute. I like the green color I hope she will run.

  23. Janice Russell

    I had a Pfaff for a long time and it was wonderful. Only traded it because I needed more than just one stretch stitch. Fix it and keep it.. It has a metal body and is a very sturdy, good machine that you will use a lot. The tension was so easy to regulate and it did lots of fancy stitches too

  24. Jeri Niksich

    I absolutely love the cabinet! Can’t wait to see it all spruced up. A friend gave me a Pfaff 360 that was her mothers, my friend never used it but has moved it from Nebraska to several places in Texas. I’m happy she have it to me. I do have it for a day at the spa but they’re having problems getting her to see without breaking the thread. I’m hoping they can fix her but if not I have a CD with instructions on how to repair it. But I’m actually afraid of messing around inside machines. I too am on the hunt for cabinets, but they always seem to have a machine in them as well lol. And people down her seem to think of the machine is older it’s immediately an antique and worth a fortune even if it doesn’t work or even covered in rust. Geez!
    Jeri

  25. Ila Migut

    I would get it fixed! They’re amazing machines. Join the Facebook group, too. A lot of people will be able to give you information. It’s a keeper!

  26. Cindi

    I bought a Singer 301 today with a long bed. This will be my third 301, so you are not alone in collecting machines. I agree with those that have said to try cleaning and oiling before giving up. The machine I bought today had lots of lint hidden beneath the needle plate, and the lint between the feed dogs was one solid piece. Good luck. I’ve had a Pfaff in the past and it was a great machine.

  27. Susie Q

    Take her in and see what it would take to get her to work.

    Seems she is capable of doing some things you would like…

    Then the decision will be what to do next.

  28. Susan

    If you really like the machine, I would try cleaning and oiling it at least. If that didn’t work, I would at least see if I could get an estimate of what it would take to get it running.

  29. Shirley

    I have two newer Pfaffs and absolutely love them. I would have the machine looked at to see what is wrong and how much it would cost. The newer machines are just not made as good as the older ones. Good luck!

  30. Judith Fairchild

    I agree see if you can get her cleaned up and oiled to get her working. If not take her in. The cost of repair is no where near the cost of buying a new Pfaff. My oldest sister and her daughter’s each have one and love them. I went to check the Pfaff out and choked on the price tag. If I could get a good used one reasonably I would take it so fast there heads would spin. Love and prayers for you and your family

  31. Phyllis Rosenwinkel

    Pfaff 230s are fantastic sewing machines and even with the cost of repairs is worth more than you paid. I have three of these machines in my sewing machine collection and gave one to my daughter.

    If this machine has sat unused for several months or years or decades, it needs to be cleaned and oiled before using. I have a copy of the 230 manual and service manual. Oil every metal-to-metal location.

    Please email me if you would like a copy of the manual. I wish I lived closer and could help you with the machine.

    -Phyllis

  32. Paula Solfest

    I love the cabinet. I have seen similar ones and want one too. I love old machines too. I would agree that with a little oil it would be a great place to start. I of course would want to get it working once I got it home. I want a cabinet and thought I would be able to scrap the machine in it to use with a different machine but I know I would be in your shoes trying to decide what to do. Please post an update.

  33. Vivian

    Oh my stars Jo, that cabinet is so unique! It was a steal and a half at $7.50!! I agree with other comments that a fix for the machine may be as simple as a good cleaning and some oil. I really do hope you get her up and running. I learned to sew on an all metal Pfaff in my teen years and ever since getting into quilting have often wished I had that machine again. Good luck with both of them!

  34. Colleen

    That vintage Pfaff is a keeper

    Just a bit of advice about buying a sewing machine cabinet they are NOT ALL interchangeable
    So you buy a Kenmore sewing machine in a cabinet and try to put a Singer sewing machine into that cabinet 9 out of 10 will not fit
    You have to do a bit of measuring and observing the corners of Singer sewing machines are rounded Kenmore are square
    When these vintage sewing machines were manufactured they wanted you to buy the whole thing from them not a cabinet over there and the sewing machine here
    There are some sewing machine cabinets that are more universal than others
    Collecting sewing machines is a very slippery slope once you get started it is so easy to get sucked right in
    But since these vintage sewing machines tend to be very good reliable if you do find you need to reduce the herd you can be sure you are selling or giving a good machine to someone else

  35. Doreen Micallef

    It looks a solid little machine. You have been given lots of tips above in getting your machine in working order. I do all my sewing on industrial large machines I rarely have any problems with them. Always make sure you sew with sharp needles not blunt and same thread in bobbin as the top thread. From time to time get your timing checked out this is making sure the needle in the down position lines up correctly with the bobbin case. I think you made a good choice with your purchases. Even if you have to pay for a service you are on top. thanks Dot

  36. Ruth

    I keep looking back at that chair coming out of the cabinet and I think, “Is there a drawer under that chair seat?”
    It is SO FUN to start cleaning and oiling a sewing machine! Finding dust and lint and thread is a treasure hunt because you know that you are improving the machine with everything you remove. With these older machines there is very little you can “upset” and they certainly won’t sew nicely with thread and dirt in them. My mother used to say, “Put a drop of oil between every piece that moves.” Good Luck!!

  37. Mary Jo B.

    Jo – I don’t know if you noticed, but all these comments say keep the machine.
    Are we all just enablers? Have fun with it!

    Mary Jo

  38. Elizabeth McDonald

    Jo, my main sewing machines were always Pfaff 130’s, with an occasional 230 thrown in. These machines are workhorses, with all metal parts, and when I used them I had them hooked up to power stands with large motors so that the machines were also very fast, like the commercial machines sometimes seen in dry cleaner’s. I once saw a Pfaff that survived a major house fire, and managed to be cleaned up, oiled and began to sew again. I suspect that your 230 is just suffering from lack of use. Why not try oiling it and letting it sit, and then oiling it and letting it sit again, and see what happens? I hope that you are able to get it working; these Pfaff 230’s are really rugged machines and so reliable with regular use. Keep us posted!

  39. Bobbie c

    I have the same machine- gifted by a lady who didn’t sew. I love,love this machine. I jokingly say if I could get a brick under the needle she would see it !!! If you get it running,it’ll never be a regret.

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