Every machine I’ve ever owned had stitches on it that I’d never used. The challenge this month was to try using some of those mystery stitches on something, anything.
For both exercises, I cut some strips of coordinating fabric, applied fusible interfacing, and stitched them together to make “new” fabric. The interfacing was added to provide stability for the decorative stitching. I then added decorative stitching along some of the seams.
Pfaff Performance 5.0
On the Pfaff, I quickly learned that you need to use the correct presser foot – you need the one with the wide groove behind the needle. The groove allows the stitching to travel under the foot more easily. I did have some trouble with the Pfaff getting stuck, building a huge dense thread nest under the fabric. I sometimes wonder if that wider 9mm stitch width (and its corresponding slot in the needle plate) causes more problems than its worth. I’ve often had fabric get sucked into this slot at the leading edge of the fabric.
I also tried using the alphabet stitches. It worked pretty well, but the machine didn’t go forwards and backwards perfectly and you see the results here:
This could have been the result of too many seams on the back side of my “fabric”. I think it otherwise looked quite nice.
Brother Dream Machine
On the Brother, I used some decorative stitches that were wider than 7 mm. The machine thus pushes the fabric side-to-side. I think this feature has existed on Brother machines for a long time, at least since my Brother Pacesetter ULT2001 (soon to be going to a new home). The Dream Machine is *quiet* and if you’re using a narrower decorative stitch that doesn’t require side-to-side motion, it is ridiculously *fast*.
I also tried the alphabet stitching on the Dream Machine and it turned out just fine.
I’m happy to report that both machines have their pros and cons. On both machines, I found it difficult to keep the fabric going in a straight line. I think this is because there was always a bulky seam on one side or another. The Dream Machine is quiet and fast, but you have fewer sizing options on the decorative stitches. Usually it was just L (large) or S (small). And the stitch sizes shown on the screen do not match what you would actually see on the fabric.
On the Pfaff, the decorative stitches can be resized incrementally in width and length independently. And the stitching is shown on the screen at its actual size. I really like this feature.
The Pfaff did struggle more with the decorative stitching and I would prefer to use them over flat fabric with no seams underneath, or at least seams that are less bulky.
Overall I enjoyed making some cute Sugarloaf Pouches from U-Handbag with my “new” striped and decorated fabric. The “baby” sized pouch is perfect for holding flash drives and other small items. They’ll make great gifts.
Now let’s see what others have done with their rarely used stitches!