FREE Quilting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

A pretty quilted thread catcher is a happiness catcher

A pretty quilted thread catcher is a happiness catcher

by Sarah Vanderburgh

A gift for me! This week I’ve been getting to know the PFAFF performance icon and its features. In yesterday’s post, I explored the Stitch Creator program and made a few stitch samples. Today I’ll use those stitch samples along with some leftover strips of fabric to make a quilted thread catcher. Of course, there will be a few more decorative stitches too!

The quilted thread catcher is made using more of the leftover strips used for the strippy pincushion. PFAFF performance icon

Quilted thread catcher and coordinating pincushion


  • 6 strips of one fabric:
    • (4) 2½” x 6″
    • (2) 1½” x 6″
  • (2) 1½” x 6″ strips of a contrasting light fabric
  • (2) 1½” x 6″ strips of a contrasting dark fabric

Note: Remember this is a scrap project so use what you have! All the strips could be different colors – I did matching sets so the two sides of the thread catcher will match.

  • (2) 6″ x 7″ pieces of lining fabric
  • (2) 6” x 7” pieces of batting
  • (2) 6” x 7” piece of backing fabric
I cut fabric strips in pairs to have both sides of the thread catcher match. PFAFF performance icon

Fabric strips for quilted panels

Add Stitched Phrases

I used the stitch samples I made in yesterday’s post using the performance icon’s Stitch Creator for this project. But you can stitch out any combination of words, phrases or stitches you like.

I used the stitch samples I made using the Stitch Creator program as part of this project. PFAFF performance icon

Stitch Creator samples

On the light strips of fabric, I used a stitch I had previously saved in the performance icon files. I decided it was worth it to change to black thread to stitch on the light fabric.

There’s space to save stitches you create on the PFAFF performance icon.

Saved stitches menu

Sew Strips into Panels

To make the first panel, sew the strips together starting with the 1½” wide strip, then alternating with the light and dark contrasting strips, ending with the 2½” strip. Press the seams away from the stitched strips. Repeat to sew the second panel.

Layer each panel with batting and backing to add some quilting.

Thread catcher fabric panels on the bed of the PFAFF performance icon

Press seams away from stitched strips.

Quilt with Decorative Stitches

This could also read, quilt as desired! But seriously, the combination of built-in stitches you could use to quilt the panels is close to limitless. Several stitches will use the same presser foot and you could just choose stitches based on the foot. It’s easy to change the presser foot though, and the performance icon comes with 11 of them, so why not play!

I quilted the two panels for the thread catcher using a variety of the built-in decorative stitches on the PFAFF creative icon.

Two outer panels quilted with decorative stitches.

Sew the Panels Together

Trim any excess batting and backing from the two panels; make sure your panels are the same size. Sew the panels together from one top corner, down the side across the bottom and stop at the top of the opposite side.

The front red guide mark on the ¼ Inch Quilting Foot for IDT System indicates the needle is in position to sew a ¼” seam – when it’s at the edge of the fabric it’s time to turn the corner.

The front red guide mark on the ¼ Inch Quilting Foot for IDT System indicates the needle is in position to sew a ¼ inch seam. PFAFF performance icon

Red guide mark on presser foot.

Make the Lining

I quilted the outside of the thread catcher so it’s quite thick and sturdy. I could just use these panels as the thread catcher, but I would have exposed seams on the inside – not a big deal, but it’s easy to add a liner.

Cut two 6″ x 7″ pieces of coordinating fabric. Sew them together on two sides and across the bottom, leaving an opening of 2″ in the center of the bottom edge.

Box the Corners

This step gives the bottom of the thread catcher more of a base to rest on. You will do this to the quilted panel unit and the lining separately.

To box the corners of the bottom of the quilted thread catcher panels, I cut away 1½” squares from each corner. Then I pull the two pieces of fabric open; the inner cut corner of each side of the seam becomes the outside points of the new corner edge. I sew a seam here to create one side of the bottom. Repeat on the other side. (This is easier to do than it is to readjust try it!)

Remember to cut off the same size squares on the lining too.

To box the corners of the bottom of the thread catcher I cut away 1½" squares from each corner. PFAFF performance icon

Cut off material to box corner.

Finish the Thread Catcher

To sew the lining and outer panels together, put the lining right side out into the boxed panels right side in. I pin to align the seam allowances on the two parts and then once in between each pin. Carefully sew around the top edge to join them together – I removed the accessory tray from the performance icon to give me a bit more wiggle room. I know this part is a bit tricky, but there’s a reason why the thread catcher is so tall and skinny – I’ll show you in a minute! I have to let you know there was no struggle with getting all those layers of material under the needle – the fussiness came from the small diameter of the thread catcher opening. I was impressed with no jumping or skipped stitching as I completed this step.

Remove the accessory tray to give yourself more room to sew the two parts of the thread catcher together. PFAFF performance icon

Remove accessory tray to sew liner and outer panels together.

Pull the quilted panel through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Use a gadget or pencil to push the corners of the quilted panels out; when you’re happy with the corners, push the lining into the thread catcher to make sure it lays against the sides smoothly. Then pull the lining back out and finger press the seam opening flat; with a narrow seam sew the opening closed and push the lining back in.

Finger press around the top edge to flatten it. You could do a topstitch here, but it’s not required.

Now you see how tall this thread catcher is and the reason for it – can you see it peeking out from behind the performance icon?

A quilted thread catcher, pincushion and pair of scissors shown with the PFAFF performance icon

Quilted thread catcher behind the performance icon.

The bed of the performance icon is so high, so I wanted a tall thread catcher that I could see through its throat space.

I’m pretty delighted to have made a few useful items for my sewing space with my scraps. The stitch features on the performance icon let me have fun and learn something new at the same time.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Make it personal with PFAFF Stitch Creator Program


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.