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Machine stitch a crazy patch potholder

by Sarah Vanderburgh

The PFAFF Performance 5.2 is the perfect machine for creating projects that combine precise piecing and decorative stitches. Yesterday’s post featured the built-in patchwork program that makes piecing lots of similar sized seams quick and precise. In this post, we’ll make a crazy patch potholder to use as a sampler to try out all the crazy patch stitches included on the PFAFF Performance 5.2.

top shot crazy stitch potholder Performance 5.2 Northcott fabric

Crazy patch potholder

PFAFF performance 5.2 headshot

PFAFF Performance 5.2

There will be several close up photos of the Color Touch Screen in this post. The screen is right at eye level when you’re at the machine and easy to use.

Northcott Fabric scraps

Bin of Northcott Fabric scraps

Making potholders is a great way to use up scraps. Using scraps from one project ensures they’ll look good together in this project too! I’m using leftover Northcott fabrics from my Wish Upon a Star for Spring quilt project.

You’ll want to use mostly strip or string pieces to make the potholder. The finished size is 10″ square so I picked out pieces that were between 1½ to 3″ wide and started with the shorter pieces, saving the longer ones for the outside piecing.


approximately ¼ yard of scrap strings or strips from 1½ to 3″ wide and 2 – 11″ long

10½ x 10½” piece of batting

10½ x 10½” backing fabric

2½” x 45” binding fabric (could piece from your scrap strips)

thread that contrasts with fabric to showcase crazy patch stitches

Straight stitch plate quilting foot PFAFF Performance 5.2

Straight stitch needle plate and ¼” quilting foot

I set the machine up with the straight stitch needle plate and the quilting foot to sew the strips together.

Numbered pic of strips of fabric to start crazy patch potholder Northcott fabrics

Order to add pieces to center

Start building a crazy patch from the center out. I cut an angle into the center green piece to add some visual variety to the layout. I added pieces in the order numbered in the photo above, making sure that the fabric being added covered the full edge of the piece beneath.

Trimmed patch crazy patch potholder

First round trimmed.

Next I trimmed the patch square and decided to add another angle.

Excess seam to trim crazy patch potholder

Trim excess seam allowance.

Be sure to trim away excess seam allowance as you go. In this photo I trimmed away the blue fabric beneath before pressing the seam of the purple fabric. For this project I simply pressed the seam to the piece I added each time.

No pins sewing PFAFF Performance 5.2

Sewing without pins.

At this point I just want to mention how I was sewing this patch together using some of the features of the PFAFF Performance 5.2. As you can see from the photo I was chain piecing as I made this block (I can never sew just one thing at a time!)

I used the knee lift to raise the presser foot so I could keep my hands on the patch and keep my two layers lined up as I laid them out under the needle. I don’t pin when using PFAFF machines because the IDT system keeps my fabrics feeding together evenly under the needle.

One more piecing tip here: put the piece you’re adding to the patch on the bottom. It’s not so much to make sure the fabrics feed evenly as to watch your seams as you sew to keep them laying flat.

Finished crazy patch potholder top

Completed crazy patch top

Continue adding pieces around the center until you reach the desired size, in this case it’s 10½” square.

Now it’s time to layer the potholder top with batting. For me that means I need to make a piece of batting big enough by sewing together scraps. Guess what?

There’s a presser foot for that!

Bridging stitch Performance 5.2 PFAFF

Bridging stitch

According to the manual, this is a bridging stitch and can be used as a decorative stitch, as well as for joining quilt batting.

Batting foot

Presser foot 1A

I lined up the edges of the two pieces of batting under the long red line in the center of presser foot 1A. Easy peasy!

Layer the crazy patch potholder top with the batting, trimming batting to the same size. I didn’t pin mine together because the patch is small enough to manoveur without shifiting the layers. Plus the patch really sticks well to the batting;)

Now it’s time to try out all the crazy patch stitches!

Quilt stitches Performance 5.2

Quilt stitches category

There are seven categories of stitches – inside the second category is where we’ll find the crazy patch stitches.

First screen crazy stitches Performance 5.2

First screen of crazy patch stitches

There are 21 built in crazy patch stitches in the Performance 5.2. Press the down arrow to view the second screen.

Second screen crazy stitches Performance 5.2

Second screen of crazy patch stitches

Reading the screen Performance 5.2

Reading the screen.

There’s so much information right in front of you on the Color Touch Screen. These three things are what I look at after selecting a stitch:

I look at which presser foot to use with the stitch – all of the crazy patch stitches use foot 2A.

The use of a stabilizer is also recommended. In this case I’m considering the batting as stabilizer – some of the stitches will not stitch out as nicely because of the thickness of the batting. You could use stabilizer instead of batting on this step, then add the batting after you’re done stitching.

I also look at the stitch starting position – it’s indicated by the green plus sign. I use this to think about where I want to position the stitch on my potholder seams – in most cases I want the stitch to go over the seam, not beside it.

Presser foot 2A Performance 5.2

Presser foot 2A

I changed to a light blue thread and started to stitch out some of the crazy patch stitches. I lowered the machine’s stitching speed by pressing the button and then I used the Start/Stop button to sew. This lets me keep both of my hands gently guiding the fabric as many of the stitches include the needle moving back and forth on the fabric. A tap on the foot pedal stops the machine.

Changed stitch width Performance 5.2

Changed stitch width

It’s possible to customize the built in stitches on the Performance 5.2. In this case I made the stitch skinnier to change the scale of the design. It’s fun to change the stitches to fit a space!

Density changed stitches Performance 5.2

Density of stitch changed.

For this stitch I changed the density so the stitches could be seen in a small space. The machine will let you know when you hit the limit of changing the size in either direction – it will make a beep!

Changed both width and length of stitches Performance 5.2

Both width and length of stitch changed.

For this stitch I changed both the width and length. Now I want to keep it to use again later – and I can! Touch the menu at the top of the right sidebar which will open a screen with numbered boxes. Select a box and your stitch will be saved in it.

Personal menu stitches Performance 5.2

Personal menu

When you want to use the stitch again you’ll find it in the 7th category in the stitches menu. From there you touch the files and . . .

Personal menu Performance 5.2

Stitch in personal menu

… there’s your stitch! I plan to use this one when doing machine embroidery.

Okay, back to the potholder. We’re close to done! Keep selecting, customizing and stitching until all the seams are covered.

Seams done crazy patch potholder Performance 5.2 stitches

All seams covered

Trim the batting the same size as the potholder top – this should be close to 10½ ” square.

Layer the backing fabric, right side down, under the batting. I didn’t pin the layers together, but you can.

Prepare your binding strip; it should measure at least 45″ in length. I used a leftover binding strip cut 2½ ” wide.

Quilting foot for binding Performance 5.2

Attaching binding with quilting foot.

I switched back to the quilting foot to sew the binding on – the red guide lines make it easy to stop at the right spot at the corners. When the front red line is at the edge of the potholder I know that I’m at the ¼” seam mark.

I sew using the Needle down button and no pins – the IDT systemis my partner in getting the layers fed evenly through the machine. At the corner I touch the Needle button again to lift it then use the Presser foot “up” button to remove the potholder and turn the corner.

Sewing on the binding Performance 5.2

Sewing on the binding.

This photo really shows how much space there is between the needle and the side of the PFAFF Performance 5.2. It also shows the binding being sewn to the front of the potholder by machine. I could have done the traditional method of sewing the binding to the front then the back, but I thought it would be fun to add a few more seams of crazy patch stitches!

Potholder done crazy patch potholder Performance 5.2 crazy patch stitches

Crazy patch stitches potholder

The crazy patch potholder is complete! The PFAFF Performance 5.2 is an easy machine to operate and full of creative opportunities. The precise piecing and decorative stitches make using this machine fun from the beginning of a project to the end.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2:  Make quick work of piecing with PFAFF’s Patchwork Program

Go to part 4: Create a modern Log Cabin cushion cover using scraps


1 comment

Sarah C February 21, 2017 - 3:01 pm

Thank you for the pot holder tutorial I love making these with my scraps


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