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The PFAFF performance icon and the 2½” square challenge

by Sarah Vanderburgh

This time of year, it can be hard to get your sewing mojo going. When this happens to me, I like to give myself a challenge – a fabric challenge usually – to get me sewing again. I decided to share one such challenge as my posts for this week using the PFAFF performance icon. There are so many features on this machine it’s hard to pick one to focus on, but by giving myself a fabric challenge, I was able to focus on a few features that made my challenge easier.

The PFAFF performance icon is definitely up to my fabric challenge with several features that will help me quickly sew projects using the 2½" squares.

PFAFF performance icon

The 2½” square challenge

I decided to try using up one of the packages of 2½” squares I’ve had for a few years. The fabrics are bright and cheery, and they inspired me to incorporate the Pantone colors of the year into my challenge. Two challenges in one!

First, I sorted the squares by color to see how many different colors and prints I had to incorporate. I put aside the gray ones because I’d already decided to use a gray fabric from my stash as the background. Then I pulled the lightest fabric squares from the stack. Next, I organized what was left and realized I could use them to make nine-patch blocks.

I started by sorting the package of 2½" squares into color groups. PFAFF performance icon sewing machine

Squares arranged by fabric color


I decided my first project would be a nine-patch table runner. If you’re cutting squares from stash, cut 5 squares from 5 different colors.

  • (25) – 2½” squares
  • ½ yd [50cm] of background fabric
  • backing fabric 15″ x 41″
  • batting 15″ x 41″

Cut the background fabric

I used gray as part of my challenge; feel free to change the colors based on the fabrics you have in your stash. Or maybe go for a cheerful yellow instead of the gray!

  • 2 strips – 3½” x 31″
  • 2 strips – 3½” x 12½”
  • (20) 2½” background squares

The nine-patch blocks are set beside each other with a wide border to create a cheery modern runner. PFAFF performance icon sewing machine

Nine-patch table runner

Lay out the nine-patch squares

The table runner will be made with five 6½” unfinished blocks. Lay out the squares to make each block. I put one square of each color in each block and tried not to have the colors touch. Of course, you could make each of the blocks with one color if you prefer. At this point, I took a photo of my squares laid out because the location of the squares was important to me – and just in case the cats decided to jump across the table and rearrange the fabrics!

I put one of each of the five color squares in each nine-patch block. PFAFF performance icon sewing machine

Squares organized into nine patches

Get the PFAFF performance icon ready

The PFAFF performance icon needs to be set up for the chain stitching we’ll do. First, I needed to wind a new bobbin of the thread I used. On this machine the bobbin is wound on the top of the machine on a separate spool pin. When engaged, a bobbin winding popup is displayed on the Multi-Touch screen. The bobbin can also be wound through the needle so you don’t have to unthread the machine during a project to wind a bobbin.

A popup is displayed on the Multi-Touch screen when the bobbin winding lever is pushed and allows for adjusting the speed of the machine. PFAFF performance icon sewing machine

Bobbin winding popup display

I also changed to the straight stitch needle plate and stored the standard plate in the bottom of the accessory tray. Then I was ready to thread the machine and attach the presser foot. Of course, the best part of sewing with a PFAFF machine is the IDT System. I rely on it to feed the fabrics evenly under the needle while I sew.

The IDT System attaches to the back of the presser foot and helps guide the layers of fabric evenly under the needle. PFAFF performance icon sewing machine, IDT system

IDT System engaged

Now my fabrics are ready and so is the PFAFF performance icon. It’ll be fun to sew these squares together! Join me tomorrow!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: The Patchwork Program makes quick work of chain stitching


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