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PFAFF performance icon and its animal kingdom of decorative stitches

by Sarah Vanderburgh

It’s time to put some of the many features to work on the PFAFF performance icon. In yesterday’s post, I made a list of features to convince you to take this big machine with you on sew days. Today I’m making a rainbow pincushion. Why? Because I feel lucky to be using this machine 🙂

Not just a regular pincushion, I took advantage of the happy strips of fabric to showcase several of the fun animal stitches available on this machine that I’ve never used before! To start, let’s gather some fabrics.

PFAFF performance icon


  • 6 – 1½″ x 6″ strips of fabric – rainbow colors would be nice but not required
  • thread that contrasts well with all fabrics chosen
  • stabilizer – I used INSPIRA Fast and Easy Tear-A-Way Light
  • fill for the pincushion – I used crushed walnut shells – you could include something else to give it weight (I’ll be making something more and a weighted pincushion will work best with it!)

Fabric strips for pincushion

Sew the pincushion body

There’s not much to do to put together the body of the pincushion; using the IDT system will ensure the fabrics are fed evenly under the needle. The large Multi-touch screen gives information in the upper left corner about which presser foot to use with arrows to push to open even more information. The middle of the screen is reserved for showing what the current stitch will look like on your project. On the right is the pop-out stitch menu.

Sew the long edges of the fabric strips together to make the pincushion body. Press all of the seams in the same direction. The pincushion body should measure 6½” x 6“.

Sewing mode on Multi-touch screen

Decorate with animal stitches

This step might take a while because you have to choose which stitches to use! I chose to go through the animals in menu 6.2 and noticed there were several that I hadn’t seen before. I can scroll through the stitches using the on-screen menu or I can select the main menu in the top right of the screen. In the main menu, you can see each group of stitches all at once, select a stitch and then press LOAD at the bottom of the screen to bring the stitch into sewing mode.

I definitely had to use the monkey! Select a stitch, use the information on the Multi-touch screen to attach the correct presser foot. All of these decorative stitches suggest using a stabilizer; I cut one piece of the INSPIRA Fast and Easy Tear-A-Way Light to use.

Stitch 6.2.15

I turned the speed of the machine down to about 40% – there’s a speed control lever on the right side of the PFAFF performance icon – and use the Start/stop button to let the machine do the work. I line up the fabric over each seam because that’s where I want the stitches. You could choose to place the stitches in the strips themselves.

Keep selecting a different stitch until each seam or space is decorated.

Animal stitches on pincushion body

With all of the stitching done, it’s time to carefully tear away the INSPIRA Fast and Easy Tear-A-Way Light stabilizer; some will be left in the stitches but the rest between the rows will tear away.

The features on the PFAFF performance icon make it fun and easy to create. Come back tomorrow to finish the pincushion!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Your big PFAFF perfomance icon? Don’t leave home without it!


1 comment

veronica April 22, 2020 - 12:36 pm

How does the Pfaff Icon perform for free motion quilting.


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