Using the Pfaff Creative Designer

Using the Creative Designer on the Pfaff
© 1994-2005 by Glynda Black. All Rights Reserved.

Pfaff Creative Designer

Here are some tips for designing on the Creative Designer charts or for the 9mm grid on any version of PCD:

VERY IMPORTANT:

When connecting the CD or the computer to the sewing machine or disconnecting them, always turn the machine OFF. You can blow a board if you don’t. You CAN sew with the computer or CD attached to the machine, though.

POSITIONING THE CD:

It is sometimes difficult to position the CD comfortably on the sewing table so that you can work on it. The cable is very short, but your Pfaff dealer can order you an extension for the CD if you find you absolutely have to have one. When you are programming stitches, you want to look directly down into the magnifier so that you can see exactly where the cross is positioned.

SOME BASICS ABOUT THE CD CHART ITSELF:

First, the chart has a grid on it that gives coordinates in two directions. The width or breadth of the charts for the 1473/75 and 7550/70 machines (from bottom to top) is 54 points wide and is represented by the B coordinates. This represents approximately 3/8″ of sewing width, or 9mm. That is a very small area, so keep that in mind at all times. The chart is 198 points long, 33mm, or about 1 5/16″ long. The length of the chart is known as the L coordinate. (The 1471 chart is 36 points wide. Most of the instructions for the programming of the charts for the 1471 will be the same as those for the other Pfaffs, however, you will be working at all times with a 6mm width, about ¼” wide sewing swath. 1471 owners can use the charts for the other machines and just not go over line B36 widthwise.)

Each point on the grid on the charts or on the screen represents .167 mm. Each square represents two points. Three squares (six points) represent 1mm. Draw yourself a box that is 3/8″X1 5/16″ and look at it. That’s approximately the size your final design will be. I’m trying to drill into you the idea that the chart, while it looks pretty big, actually makes a very small design. So keep that in mind. Don’t put too many details into it. Try to fill the whole chart so that you get the maximum impact for your effort. If you think a design would look nice as a 9mm stitching, xerox it at smaller and smaller sizes until you get it approximately 3/8″ X1 5/16″. I think you will see that it gets muddy very soon with too many design elements in it. So eliminate elements that are unnecessary to the impact of the whole.

The coordinates for width and length are usually listed as two digits, or even three in the case of the length. (On the 1471, 1473 and 1475 the machine screen only showed the coordinates, and the screen used to pop up “B00L00,” and that’s why the coordinates are sometimes referred to as the Booloos. On the 7500 series, of course, that’s different. You don’t see just the numbers, but an actual representation of the design on the screen.)

The sewing foot 2A has markings related to the lines on the CD chart. Look at foot 2A; you’ll notice that there are some red marks on it. The left vertical red mark and the right vertical red mark define the 9mm width of the stitch. So the left one is at the bottom of your chart (B00) and the right one is at the top (B54). The vertical marks on the 2A foot represent from left to right-B00, B18, B27, B36, and B54. (The horizontal marks help you line up the needle at the sides of the foot where you may have other designs to match.) BTW, the #8 foot is also marked this way. You should use your 2A foot for all 9mm and below embroidery.

Whether you are working on the paper charts for the Creative Designer or the 9mm screen in PCD, the machine will stitch from the left of the grid (screen) to the right. In other words, stitching forward on the machine is represented on the screen or on the charts as going from left to right. If you want to see what the design will look like coming out from under the foot, turn the chart 90 degrees so that the right side of the chart is in front of you. (Or you could tilt your head and look at the computer screen sideways. Don’t turn your monitor over, though. )

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION & TIPS:

Most of the 9mm designs that are already on the machine start and end at B27, so if you would like to combine your design with others in the machine, have your design start and end on B27 so that they will connect without a jog. If you want the repeats of your own design to stitch smoothly when connecting one repeat to another, you should begin and end your design on the same B (width) line on the chart.

Since the machine can’t take a stitch forward or backward that is over 6mm long, it is wise to keep in mind that 36 points (18 squares) straight forward or straight back is 6mm and is as far as the machine can sew without taking a stitch. (This applies only to 9mm wide patterns, not any of the wider ones or the frame embroideries.) The machine will insert stitch points for you if you program stitches which are too long. Keep in mind that diagonal measurements across a square are longer than straight vertical or horizontal measurements across the square, so don’t be surprised if your diagonal lines seem to get too long over a seemingly shorter distance than the straight vertical or horizontal stitches do.

The total length of the 9mm grid sewn out is 33mm, or approximately 1 5/16″. If your design is too long to be programmed on one chart, you can program the second half on another chart and combine them in an M-Memory or even in a Maxi screen on the PCD software. Just be sure that you have the two parts of the design starting and ending on the same line so that they combine smoothly.

Try to program your design so that the pattern is stitched from the left of the grid to the right. Any design which runs in the reverse direction means that the machine will have to sew in reverse, and forward stitching is always more accurate than reverse stitching.

Try to have the design fill the whole grid widthwise unless you purposely want a smaller design. The 9mm width is only about 3/8″ wide, so the larger you make your design, the more likely it will be recognizable. I find that designs which look almost crammed in the space of the grid look better than those which do not fill the grid.

When you draw your design on the paper charts, use a pencil, for you may need to erase as you go along. Place stitch points on the charts or in PCD exactly where you want them entered. If you try to place them on grid lines, they will be easier to line up with the magnifier on the CD.

When you are drawing, try to have the design simultaneously go forward and side to side as much as possible. Designs which start on the left and wander around the grid and then go in reverse back to the start are the most likely not to stitch well and need balancing. If you can work the design so that it is completed widthwise as it goes forward, you will have a better stitching design.

If you do not have the computer software to save your designs, it helps to number the stitch points on the paper chart when you are satisfied with the design. Sometime later, you may have removed the pattern from your machine and you may want to program your design back into your machine. It is easy to forget the stitching route you used if it isn’t numbered.

When you are programming your own designs, try not to have stitch points closer than 4-7 squares apart. If you go shorter than that, you make the machine labor to stitch a tiny design, and you will spend more time sewing than you’d like. Naturally if you are rounding a curve, you may need to place some stitches a little closer together to get a nice curve, but don’t overdo it. Less is generally better on 9mm designs. If you are drawing a design to be embroidered with a satin stitch and you are drawing in zig-zags for that, don’t place a point closer than two squares from the last point. Closer than that generally bogs the machine down. A stitch point in satin stitching placed every two squares actually measures about .628mm apart, but it will register on the screen as .5. (The machine screen rounds off the measurements.)

When you select a design to try to put on a programming chart or into PCD, please remember that the width of a design which completely fills the width of the grid will sew out at 3/8″, so don’t try to put too many details into the design. Although you can draw more on the chart, they won’t necessarily help the sewn design. Too many stitch points makes a design muddy. Draw yourself a box that is 3/8″X1 5/16″ and look at it. That’s approximately the size your final design will be. I’m trying to drill into you the idea that the chart, while it looks pretty big, actually makes a very small design. So keep that in mind. Don’t put too many details into it. You really should strive for just a suggestion of your subject, not a faithful copy of it. Simplify, simplify, simplify! Try to fill the whole chart so that you get the maximum impact for your effort.

Don’t be afraid to test your design as you are designing it. The more you test a design, the more likely you’ll be able to see mistakes before you have a great many of them to correct.