Exploring utility stitches on the Brother Dreamweaver XE

Last month on QUILTsocial I showed you how to turn a charm square pack into nine patch blocks and snowball blocks. This week, I’m using the Dreamweaver XE from Brother to finish these blocks into a modern baby quilt.

The Dreamweaver XE

I was able to make a total of 42 blocks from my charm pack – 21 nine-patch and 21 snowball. I arranged them on my design wall, alternating the two blocks and sewed them together.

The quilt top

Now we need to quilt it! I’m exploring some of the different stitches that are available on the Dreamweaver XE to decide how the baby quilt will be quilted. The first step is to select “Sewing” from the home screen.

The home screen

The first set of stitches to show up on the screen are the utility stitches. I can use the slider on the left side of the screen to scroll through all of the ones that are available.

Scrolling through the stitches

Stitch 1-35 looks interesting! I’ll select it first.

Stitch 1-35

The screen on the Dreamweaver XE now shows what the stitch will look like and indicates at the top of the screen that we need to attach the “J” presser foot before stitching out our sample.

Attach foot “J”

I showed you last month on QUILTsocial how to easily change the presser foot on the Dreamweaver XE. Now that we’ve changed the foot we can try out this stitch on one of the small quilt sandwiches that I made using batting and 2 layers of fabric. Here’s what Stitch 1-35 “Quilting Stippling” looks like in fabric and thread.

Stitch 1-35 “Quilting Stippling”

Since I’ll be using one (or two) of these stitches to quilt my baby quilt, I’m not only testing out how they look when stitched but also how long it takes to stitch them! I don’t want to be spending hours and hours quilting this small quilt, so I set my iPad up beside the sewing machine and using the timer to see how long it takes to stitch out a 10″ sample. This stitch was 60 seconds. Not too bad!

Now I’ll press the utility stitches – section 2 key to access the second grouping of utility stitches.

Utility stitches – section 2

I’m selecting stitch 2-16 and trying stitching it out on my quilt sandwich.

Stitch 2-16

Depending on the stitch selected, you may or may not be able to change the width and/or length of the stitch. If numbers show up on the screen as shown, then you can use the “+” or :-” buttons to adjust. If no numbers show in this area, then the stitch can’t be adjusted.

Adjusting stitch length and width

It took 35 seconds to stitch a 10″ sample of stitch 2-16, and only 26 seconds to stitch a sample of 2-12. I wonder how fast the Dreamweaver XE can sew the serpentine stitch 2-17.

The serpentine stitch “2-17”

Here are the stitch-outs, and time taken to stitch, for the four different utility stitches. As you can see we’re getting faster and faster and I quite like the way the serpentine stitch looks! I think that may be one that I’ll use for quilting!


Now that I’ve picked a fairly simple utility stitch to use on the baby quilt, tomorrow I’ll check out some of the more complex stitches available on the Dreamweaver XE and pick a second one to use as well. See you then!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Infinite possibilities for quilting with decorative stitches, Dreamweaver XE

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