With the blocks sewn into sections and the applique added to the quilt top, meeting the What’s Good for the Gal is Good for the Guy quilt challenge is well underway. Yesterday, after getting the applique shapes ready, I navigated through the stitch menu on the machine. Today, I’m going to test drive some of those decorative stitches on the PFAFF Creative 4.5.
Let’s get started! This is going to be fun because there are so many stitches to choose from and so many different designs.
I’m going to look at the standard decorative stitches for applique first. These would include such stitches as zigzag and its variations, blanket and satin stitch.
Before using these stitches, I’ll put one of the open toe decorative feet on the machine. I like to have an open toe foot so I can see where the edge of the applique is and what I’m sewing.
For a review on how to change the feet check out my post the other day on Paper Piecing The Intertwined Block.
The zigzag stitch is a very versatile utility stitch and is often used as an applique stitch. The goal is to cover the raw edge of the applique shape to prevent fraying of the fabric, especially after washing.
The zigzag stitches are found on the home page of the LCD screen. This is stitch #5. The width and length can be adjusted. Below, I have stitched three lines of zigzag with the stitch length staying the same in each but the width varying from wide (6.0) to narrow (2.0).
The satin stitch
This is a very close together zigzag stitch. To get the stitches this close together, the stitch length is nearly 0. The width can be anything depending on the look you want to achieve. I like to have a satin stitch width between 2.5 and 3.0.
Below is a satin stitch with a stitch length of 0.4 and differing widths from 2.0 to 6.0. It is stitch #7.
This stitch uses a lot of thread and, for best results, I put a matching color or the same thread in the bobbin.
As well, when the stitch length is this close together, you can’t push the fabric through the machine. Let it feed along at it’s own speed to get the best results.
The stitches above look like they are pulling on the fabric. When doing decorative stitching, you should have a stabilizer behind the fabric for the stitches to grab into. This just makes for a smooth even stitch.
I did the stitching on a quilt sandwich and should have changed the tension, but I didn’t. For the actual project, I’ll change the tension to get better results.
More about tension next month when I start quilting the quilt…
A double zigzag is created when the stitches are stitched twice. This makes for a nice thick line of stitching that will stand out. This is stitch #8.
Two and three stitch zigzag
These zigzag stitches are also found on the home screen as stitches 9, 10 & 11. This stitch is made up of more than one stitch in each zig and zag. The last one is a double two-stitch zigzag.
Securing the zigzag stitches
The PFAFF Creative 4.5 has a built in feature to tie off at the beginning and end of sewing a seam. This can be achieved in two ways.
The first is to press the button on the front of the sewing machine beside the scissors. This will put a small knot into the stitching to secure the threads.
Use the scissor button to cut the threads for you. The top thread is pulled to the back of the piece. Pretty cool.
The second way to do a tie off is to program it into the machine using the icon on the home screen as shown below.
Once this icon is pressed, a pop-up screen appears and you can choose to have the tie off at the beginning and end of stitching, as well as, the threads cut.
Below all three icons are highlighted with green as they are now activated. When the home screen is back on, the little tie off icon will be in green.
Other zigzag stitches
The Creative 4.5 comes with an amazing array of zigzag stitches. Here are a few more just to give you an idea of the variety.
These are found under decorative stitches, section four, subcategories 1 and 2.
Uneven zigzag stitch
This is one of my favorite stitches. I love how it has an undulating look and a jagged edge look — perfect for finishing off flower petals and leaves. Not so perfect for hexagons.
But, the second one might be better because it has a straight edge to it. I’ll have to check this one out on an actual hexagon to see what it looks like.
These wavy zigzag stitches are really cool, but they’re not so good for applique. The stitch length and width can be altered in these stitches as well.
I love the look of these squares made with the zigzag stitch. The top and bottom line of stitching may possibly work for the applique pieces but the middle one is too far apart.
These were made at the default setting, but they can be changed in both width and length to make them larger or smaller.
Well, I didn’t really get very far with the decorative stitches. In fact, I didn’t even move out of the zigzag zone! There are definitely lots of decorative stitches on the PFAFF Creative 4.5 and, next month, I’ll take a look at a few more before I make a decision on which ones to use to stitch around the applique shapes.