This fall seems busier than usual and honestly, I find it really hard to focus on getting a project completed from start to finish. I chose an accent pillow cover as my project in hopes that it would give you a quick win – something useful that could be finished in time to enjoy this season. In yesterday’s post, I used the Patchwork Program on the PFAFF performance icon to get the center patch sewn in no time. Today we’ll add a decorative stitch before assembling the accent pillow cover top. Today’s piecing will focus on different presser feet for the performance icon that help with accuracy.
I knew when I made the outer Churn Dash border on the accent pillow white that I wanted to feature a decorative stitch on it. The PFAFF performance icon has so many built-in stitches that it just makes sense to use them to add a special touch to a project. You can browse the stitch chart for the performance icon to pick a stitch, but I like to choose by looking at them on the multi-touch screen. I like how you can touch on the half triangle in the bottom left corner of the menu screen and drag to make the window larger; this really helps to see the items on the screen.
I ended up selecting stitch 5.4.1 and then closed the window so I could view how the stitch would look sewn on the multi-touch screen. I chose to edit the stitch – selecting Stitch Edit on the bottom of the screen – and mirrored it vertically. You can see this selection is highlighted in green in the photo below. I didn’t have to mirror this stitch because I could just flip my fabric over, but I chose to so I could show you how this option really expands the potential of the built-in stitches.
Switch Needle Plates
The wide decorative switch requires changing to the regular stitch plate – a popup will appear on the multi-touch screen indicating this and prevents you from sewing with the wrong plate on and damaging the machine. It’s easy to switch plates because the second plate is included and is stored in the bottom of the accessory tray. With no screws and a simple lift with the included mini screwdriver, one plate lifts and the second can then be popped into place.
The multi-touch screen also shows an icon indicating which presser foot to use for the selected stitch. The wide built-in stitches on the PFAFF performance icon require the Maxi Stitch Foot – presser foot 8. While changing the presser foot, I also changed to a black thread to make the stitches really contrast with the white fabric.
The screen also indicates to use a stabilizer beneath the fabric. I used a small strip of INSPIRA Fast and Easy Tear-A-Way Light beneath the two white strips of fabric I stitched on.
With the stabilizer under the fabric I lined the red guide mark on the bottom of the presser foot approximately ¼” away from the edge of the short end of one white fabric strip. Then I pressed the Start/Stop button to let the machine control the stitching – this is my preference for stitches that move across the fabric, so my pedal speed doesn’t interrupt the stitch. I simply focus on guiding the fabric and keeping it straight as it goes under the needle.
When the stitch finished on one strip, I pressed the Stitch Restart button to begin the stitch on the next fabric strip at the same spot. With both strips finished, I turn them over and gently pull to remove the excess stabilizer from the back of the strips; some will stay on close to the stitches.
Now I’ll change the needle plates again to piece the next units needed for the accent pillow cover top.
Make Half Square Triangles
The Half Square Triangle is a common unit in quilting. The accent pillow requires four, which we’ll make using sets of 3″ squares.
To make the Half Square Triangle units, draw one diagonal line on the wrong side of each of the 3″ white squares; this will be your cutting line.
Match up one 3″ black square with a white square, right sides together, and sew ¼” away from each side of your drawn line.
I use the ¼” Quilting Foot for IDT System included with the PFAFF performance icon to help accurately sew these units. Having an accurate and consistent seam allowance throughout all of the piecing on a project helps the pieces go together and gives you a finished project with straight seams.
Cut on the drawn line and press the seams to the black fabric.
Trim each unit to 2½” square, for a total of 4 – 2½” Half Square Triangles.
Piece with the Perfect ¼” Foot.
Next, it’s time to lay out all of the units and assemble the accent pillow cover top. You can see in the photo below that one black and one white 1½” x 8½” strip goes on each short side of the center patch with the white beside the center. I put the stitched white strips on the right and on the bottom of the pillow cover top. The longer white and black strips are paired on the top and bottom of the center patch with the white beside the center patch. Next, layout the Half Square Triangles with the white half of each oriented towards the center patch.
To accurately piece the units together, I turned to one of my new favorite presser feet – the ¼ Inch Right Guide Foot for IDT System. It helps keep the fabric edges lined up and, combined with the IDT System, feeds the fabric smoothly and evenly to keep a consistent ¼” seam.
Sew the four sets of white and black strips together; press the seams to the black fabric.
To the end of each of the longer sets, sew one Half Square Triangle keeping the orientation with the white half toward the strips. Refer to the photo above. Press the seams to the Half Square Triangles.
Sew one short set of strips to the left and right sides of the center patch, again keeping the white beside the center patch. Press the seams to the center patch.
Sew the Half Square Triangle strip sets to the top and bottom of the center unit with the white strip beside the center patch. Press the seams towards the center patch.
The accent pillow cover top is now fully assembled. It should measure 12½” x 18 ½”. The many presser feet of the PFAFF performance icon helped with sewing the seams accurately and keeping our project on track. Tomorrow we quilt!