Pfaff Frequently Asked Questions

Surfin Ken's Sewing Page

How do I tell the version of my 7570?
From B. Finney of San Diego:

Turn the machine on while holding down the "sew slow" key (the one to the right of the twin needle key). The machine screen will come up with the word "PFAFF" and a small countdown timer will appear in the corner of the screen. Immediately let go of the sew slow key and press the "clear" key. (If you don't press the "clear" key, the machine will enter a keyboard test about 3 seconds after power on.) The version number will come up on the screen. You must read fast, or perhaps repeat the operation to read the whole screen, and you must get on to the clear key as soon as you see the word PFAFF, as they don't give you much time.

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I need to connect my computer to my sewing machine, but they're 50 feet apart. What do I do?
From Fritz Sands, in Pfaffies Digest V1 #173:

All you need can be obtained in a trip to Radio Shack. You need a spool of 4-wire telephone pickup cable (it's 26 gauge, which is really thin) (when you measure the length you'll need, make sure to add in drop length if you are running it up to an attic crawl space or whatever and add in slop for the fact that the cable will not want to lie flat), a male and a female 25-pin D-subminiature connector, and two connector shrouds (to keep the ends looking pretty). The connector ends will come with a bunch of crimp-on ends for the wires - pins for the male connector and - hmm, how to put this, "anti-pins" or metal sleeves for the female connector. (For those who have never done this before, a "male" connector has things sticking out and a "female" connector has sockets going in. Yeah, we engineers are like that - subtle.)

Run your cable. Strip 2 inches or so of the outer insulation on each end (be careful not to nick the wires). Strip about 1/4 inch of insulation off of the end of each wire in the cable. Crimp a pin or anti-pin onto the end of each wire. (You'll use the anti-pins at the computer end, since the computer has a 25-pin male connector sticking out the back, and the pins at the sewing machine end, since the Pfaff cable ends in a 25-pin female connector.).

OK - now you can either trust me or open the Pfaff 25-pin connector. If you look, you'll see that the little circuit board only has solder connections going to pins 2, 3, 7, and 13 of the connector. You want to stick the pins from the telephone cable into the corresponding holes in your Radio Shack connector. If you look on the plastic of the connector, you will see the pin numbers molded in the connector). Now go over to the computer, and do the same pinout (making sure that if you used yellow for pin 2 at the sewing room, you use yellow for pin 2 at the computer end) on the connector there. Slap the connectors together and try it.

If it doesn't work, here are some thoughts for troubleshooting...

  1. Make sure you have the 25-pin serial connector on your computer enabled. My computer has 2 serial connectors on the back - one 25-pin and one 9-pin. I have only one COM port free for serial connectors (the other one drives my modem), so I can choose which physical connector to use with COM2. On my Gateway, this is changed via a setup program I can enter during machine boot. On other computers, you might have to crack the case and change a jumper or a switch inside. Time to read the manual.
  2. Make sure your pinout is right and the pins are inserted in the right holes (and with corresponding colors). Make sure the pins (or sleeves) are fully inserted, so they grip the other connector.

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What if I want to buy a pre-fab cable?
From Marlene Dirkx, in Embroidery Digest V1 #68:

I got it by mailorder from:

Ten Communications
1840 Deercreek Rd.
Monument, CO 80132
(719) 481-4116
The people there are most helpful and the service was great. Order a "Sewing Machine Cord-M/F 7PIN DIN" in what ever length you need.

October 1999 Update: Apparently Ten Communication has stopped manufacturing the cable. You can fabricate your own using the information on Rudolf's tech page.

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What if my PC has a 9-pin serial connector?
When purchasing your extension cable, request a 9-pin female to 25-pin male serial cable for PC. You may already have an adapter laying about from a mouse; many mice come with a 25-pin connector and an adapter to connect to a 9-pin PC port.

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How do I balance the machine?
From Cindy Losekamp in Pfaffies Digest V1 #149:

First of all you need to do a balance check on your machine to see if it is out of balance. To do this:

  1. Turn off your machine.
  2. Press in on the menu button and hold it in while turning on your machine. You will get a screen with a zig zag on it.
  3. Now press the escape button. You will see a test screen, press button #3.
  4. Put on foot 2A and tension of 3. Use a double layer of muslin and sew out the pattern.

I am going to try and use my computer to draw a facsimile of how the stitch should look.

    A                     B                       C
IIIIIIIII                  ____II                 ____
IIIIIIIII                  __ III                 I ___
IIIIIIIII                  __IIII                 III___
IIIIIIIII                  IIII__                 __IIIII
IIIIIIIII                  II___                  __IIII
IIIIIIIII                  I____                  __III

This is very hard to illustrate but I think with a description you will understand.

To begin with the stitch forms by sewing horizontal bars then it begins to sew vertical rows of stitching in all the different needle positions. When it is finished it should look like A. In sample B the vertical rows are going too far past the top of the horizontal bars. In sample C the vertical rows are sewing too far forward.

The A sample is how your sewn sample should look. That means your machine is in perfect balance. The B sample means you need to turn the screw toward your body or if you are looking directly at the hole you put the screwdriver in it would be clockwise. The C sample means you need to turn the screw away from your body or counter clockwise.

When I show people how to do this I ask them to visualize the thickness of a pin. Then I tell them that's how much you turn the screw. Not very much in other words. When you begin to adjust, it is better to do it a little at a time. Each time you make an adjustment you need to sew another sample and check your progress until your sample is turning out like A.

You can do some serious damage to your machine if you adjust the screw too far one way or the other. Sometimes the screw can come out and that is not pleasant to try and repair, not to mention time consuming.

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The fill-stitch pulls the fabric so that when the outline is stiched it creates a gap where there should be stitching. What are some possible solutions?
From Lindee Goodall in Embroidery Digest V1 #118:

You're very observant to notice this push and pull of the stitches on the fabric. It takes most new embroiderers much longer.

If you were to look more closely, you would notice that the stitches pull most along their length, particularly where they reverse direction and then actually push out along their width. For example, a satin stitch block "I" will be taller due to pushing and narrower due to pulling.

As others have commented, the best way to combat this phenomena is with proper hooping and backing techniques. Most of us were not taught to hoop with the backing in the hoop, yet that method (which is more difficult) yields the best results. Another thing to remember (more a problem with samples and scraps when you just want to see what a design looks like) is to have your design running with the grain of the fabric.

Which backing should you use? It depends on how stable your garment is. Backing compensates for lack of fabric stability and is one the "equalizers" in the embroidery process. Some very stable fabrics need no backing at all. Don't base your notion of stability on the weight or thickness of the fabric. Organza is extrememly stable and can be embroidered with no stabilizer whatsoever. Knits, on the other hand, are very stretchy and require a firm backing that won't deteriorate while sewing, such as cutaway (organza is very useful here also). Think about why a tearaway tears away--you are perforating it with the needle. How well can it hold/stabilize once it gets perforated? After sewing on cutaway, use your scissors to trim around the embroidery about 1/4" rounding all corners (so they don't poke).

Do hoop your backing with the garment. Smooth the fabric over the backing then lay on top of the outer hoop. Press the inner hoop evenly into place. Did the hoop go in easily? Then you need to remove your hoop and tighten the screw. The hoop should be a fairly snug fit. This is called pre-tensioning your hoop. Contrary to what many of us have been told, it is not necessary to crank down the screw with a tool. This only serves to strip your screw. Once you have have a snug placement with the hoop, you do not need to adjust your screw as long as you are using this fabric and backing combination.

How tight should your fabric be in the hoop? Most of us have been instructed "drum tight." But think about it. If you stretch your fabric and then force stitches into it, you will be distorting your fabric. I've seen knits with dense stitching that could have been used as a bowl afterwards!!! Your backing should be taut and your fabric should be neutral. In fact, if you properly hoop a knit tshirt, you can drag your finger with a little pressure and cause wrinkles. That's ok. If you should see wrinkles though without the finger test, then you need to re-hoop.

Re-hoop?!?!?!? Why not just tug on it a little and pull the wrinkles out? Try that and then observe the grain of your fabric. Better yet, try it with a striped knit and you'll see why. You can't keep it straight. You may smooth out one wrinkle but you will probably introduce another.

Is tighter hooping better? No, not necessarily. You can get hoop marks (very easy on denim shirts) and you can even distort the weave of the fabric with the hoop which is call hoop burn. If your garment tolerates water, you can often mist out marks with a light pressing after dampening with water that has some white vinegar added.

Wrapping your hoops can cut down on hoop marks and increase holding power. In general, just wrap the straight edges of your hoop because this is where you are loosing the holding power.

Solvy. Use Solvy (or even dry cleaner bags--but not the areas that have ink) as a topping to keep stitches from sinking into the garment on knits (especially sweaters and pique) and on terry cloth and things like corduroy and other piles or naps. You don't even need to hoop it with the garment. I cut large pieces and then just keep repositioning to get the max. use possible. Save your scraps in a zip lock bag to use as a PerfectSew replacement. (Keep your good stuff in a zip lock bag as well!)

Try these and see if your sew-outs improve. You may find you have to mail order cutaways because they are relatively new to sewing stores. You should be able to find organza in fabric stores. (Hancock's has it.) It won't take high heat though. It will drape better and is more translucent which is better for most summer weight knits. It will ravel but that won't show from the front.

Organza's low melt temperature makes it fun to use for "soldering iron cutwork." Instead of cutting the areas with scissors, lay your fabric on a piece of glass and use the soldering iron. Experiment first--it does take practice!

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What kind of scanner should I use with PCD_WIN, color or black and white?
PCD_WIN requires black and white (2-color) BMPs. However, you may have other software that can benefit from a color or gray-scale scanner. Many paint programs can take a color or gray image and "flatten" it down to black and white.

A good (shareware) general-purpose graphics conversion program is Graphics Workshop for Windows from Alchemy Mindworks. This is not a paint program, but rather a utility that provides format conversion, preview, slide show, and thumbnail creation.

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Is there an alternate source for blank Pfaff cards?
From Linda Webb Moyer in pfaffies-digest V1 #1092:

Just received a 256KB SRAM blank card from Memory 4 Less. Enclosed was a Pfaff information sheet. Since I have been saving messages about the blank cards and no one has mentioned that they have received information like this, thought I would post it to the list. (For newbies, this is a blank memory card to store your digitized designs on for use in the 7570 or the CD?.)

Card Specs:
  • 256k Programmable Card
  • 1k = 375 stitches
  • 256K = 96,000 stitches max
  • Number of Screens = Variable*
  • 1 Screen = 5 files max (you may have 1 to 5 files per screen but 5 is max)
  • 1 File = 14,000 stitches max
  • Card Constraints (Due to Pfaff software):

    You may have only a total of 96,000 stitches per card. You may only attain up to a maximum of 5 files per screen. Each file can only have a maximum of 14,000 stitches. Larger designs that exceed 14,000 stitches may be broken up into several files though there is a 5 file constraint per screen but you may create up to a 70,000 stitch pattern design per screen which will be broken up into 5 files. This will leave you with 26,000 stitches for the second screen.

    * With smaller design such as 5,000 stitches per file, you may attain a greater number of screens. With this example you may attain up to 4 screens > 5,000 stitches x 5 files = 25,000 stitches per screen. Maximum stitches per is 96,000 stitches so you will be able to attain 4 screens (3 full screens with the remainder running into the 4th screen). With even smaller designs you may attain more screen, likewise with larger designs you will have less screens.

    ** PC design software will allow you to know how many stitches you have per design so you may monitor how much you can put onto the card.

    Format Instructions: In order to format, insert card into sewing machine (Pfaff 7570), hold the clear key in and turn on sewing machine. It will next prompt you for a number -- Put in a single digit number. (This function is only needed if you need to clear the card.)

  • Memory 4 Less
  • 2622 W. Lincoln Ste 104
  • Anaheim, CA 92801
  • 1-800-821-3354
  • FAX 714-821-3361
  • Email

  • The DPFAFF/256 card was $65.00 plus $11.00 Shipping. Since I live in Alaska, shipping was higher than the normal $7.00. This is a good deal for me. My local dealer wants $155 per blank card.

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    How can I make an inexpensive case for the embroidery unit?
    From Gail Ford:

    Take the styrofoam out of the box and close up the ends with tape and cut the box in half so that you have a top and bottom that each styrofoam piece will fit perfectly into. Then take the two halves and open each of the ends and sides so that you have two flat pieces of cardboard.

    Next cut two pieces of fabric about 3" larger on all four sides than the cardboard pieces. Iron Transweb onto the back of each fabric piece making your fabric pieces big iron-on patches. I used Transweb because it's not as heavy and bulky as Wonder Under and you want less bulk when you start folding the ends of the cardboard back into shape.

    Lay your fabric pieces onto the OUTSIDE of your box pieces. Carefully center them and using a hot iron starting in the center and working toward the sides of the cardboard, iron your fabric pieces onto the cardboard. Move your iron slowly outward to eliminate any bubbles. If you end up with any small air bubbles you can pierce the fabric with a pin and then iron it down. Once that much is done, let it cool a few minutes.

    Turn your cardboard pieces over and turn the fabric edges to the inside of the cardboard ON THE LONG SIDES ONLY. Iron them in place pulling them fairly taut. DON'T iron the end pieces of the box or the section of fabric that overhangs the ends. When this has cooled, following the crease lines in the cardboard begin folding your pieces back to the shape of the box. At this point do a practice run at folding the ends up so that the tabs are inside the end piece and you can see where you need to slit the fabric so that you can wrap it around the end piece and glue it to the inside of the end piece.Put a good tacky glue on the OUTSIDE of the end tabs (the glue goes onto the fabric),fold them in and then fold up the end piece of the box. Use several pieces of masking tape to hold the box in it's shape until the glue dries. The last thing you will do is fold the overhanging end of fabric to the inside of the box and glue it in place so that all the cut edges of box is covered with fabric.

    Once the box is completely dried push in your styrofoam pieces. It will be a real snug fit. I put some glue on the bottoms of the styrofoam before I put them in. Put the cover on the box so that the styrofoam is meeting in the proper places and iron another piece of fabric to the back to form a hinge. My piece was 5"x16".

    I used the same webbing for handles as is used on gym bags. I used 86" of webbing and made a circle and overlapped it about an inch and stitched it together. Then lay it out on a table in the shape of a oval like this........

                    box>>>|         |
                /         |         |          \
               /          |         |           \
     strap>>> |           |         |            |
               \          |         |           /
                          |         |

    Wrap it around like a gym bag making sure your loops are even and glue it in place. For a closure on the front you can use velcro or in my case I used black webbing and a black frog closure.

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    Last updated October 23, 1999 by