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Getting ready to free-motion quilt with the PFAFF performance icon

by Sarah Vanderburgh

Free-motion quilting has become a popular way to finish quilts. Many quilters have machines capable of making this technique easier. The PFAFF performance icon is one of those machines. I have come to enjoy free-motion quilting because of this machine! Which is something I never thought I would feel, but I’ve had a lot of time to spend with this machine and I am a changed quilter!

PFAFF performance icon

The performance icon actually has an icon for free-motion quilting at the bottom of the Multi-Touch Screen all the time. When you touch it, a menu of options comes up for you to select which type of free-motion quilting foot you want to attach to the machine.

There is no need to drop the feed dogs as this will happen automatically when you touch the free-motion icon. Sewing with no feed dogs is where the ‘free’ in free-motion comes from; usually the feed dogs work to move or feed the fabric evenly under the needle as you sew. With the feed dogs lowered, they no longer do this and it is up to you, the quilter, to move the fabric.

There are different types of machines that do free-motion quilting, including long arms where the needle can be moved over the fabric. The performance icon is a domestic sewing machine so the needle stays in place and the quilt moves under the needle. The large harp space makes it easy to do this and the LED lighting helps to see what you’re doing too.

When the menu is open there’s also a presser foot function that opens to adjust the height of the foot above the fabric.

Free-motion menu on Multi-Touch Screen

As the different menu options suggest, there are different presser feet for each option; the two feet I practice with the most are the Open Toe Free-Motion foot and the Embroidery/Sensormatic Free-Motion foot. The second foot (presser foot 6A) comes with the machine.

To see the variety of presser feet options, check out the PFAFF accessory page.

Open Toe Free-motion Foot and Embroidery/Sensormatic Free-motion foot

Get ready for free-motion quilting by cleaning the bobbin casing. It’s easy to remove the needle plate using the small screwdriver included with the machine. I remove the needle and presser foot, the bobbin case lid and then remove the needle plate.

Remember the straight stitch needle plate is also included with this machine and is stored and easily accessible in the bottom of the accessory tray. I did use the straight stitch plate this week with the Embroidery/Sensormatic free-motion foot and noticed it helped improve with the consistent length of my stitches.

Needle plate removed for cleaning.

Next, I take out the bobbin and carefully remove the top section that secures the bobbin in place as it does have a small cutting blade. Then I remove the bobbin case and begin to collect the built-up fuzz using the small brush.

PFAFF performance icon bobbin, bobbin case, thread cutter, cover and brush

It might seem pretty basic, but setting up the PFAFF performance icon for success will really help you in troubleshooting as you go forward with free-motion quilting. Ruling out having a machine in good working order is a good place to start your practice.

I also recommend taking a glance at the PFAFF performance icon User’s guide. Free-motion quilting features are located in section 5 under sewing.

Now the PFAFF performance icon is ready to help you explore free-motion quilting. Tomorrow I’ll start practicing!

PFAFF performance icon

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: Practicing free-motion quilting with the PFAFF performance icon


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