Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh happy day!

I am able to use my VIP Customizer embroidery software on our Windows 7, 64-bit machine and send designs to my Pfaff 7570! Woohoo! Happy dance!

It was a convoluted, ridiculously long process during which I had not one, but TWO blue screens on the computer. But I did it! It is sad (and frustrating) that it was such an ordeal, and crazy that I am so happy about accomplishing it that I will blog about it. But it works and I can continue to use the machine and software I've already invested in and hold off purchasing a standalone embroidery machine. Yes, there could be benefits to having a second machine to do embroidery, and it would be nice at times to have a 5x7 field, but there are drawbacks too. The biggest reason for not buying a second machine is that I don't need more stuff. Plus I don't have the room for it.

So for anyone who comes here in search of a solution, I will tell you what I did (and this will also document it for me in case I have to do it again.)

First, VIP Customizer will not run on a Windows 7 64-bit machine. I know I said I got it to work, but it's because I'm running it in XP mode. See, Microsoft realizes that although most software will run fine in Windows 7, some does not, so they have (thankfully) provided a way to run XP in a virtual mode and let you keep using your (old) software.

  1. Make sure you're running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. You cannot run XP Mode in Home Premium. Sorry.
  2. Go here and follow the directions to download and install XP Mode
  3. Now normally you'd be able to open VIP from your Windows 7 desktop but, there's this little purple thingy in the way. Yes, the dreaded dongle. The dongle is not recognized on 64-bit machines, so I found I have to run VIP from within XP Mode.
  4. Within XP Mode you just have to make sure you "attach" the USB token before you start the program. It's a drop down menu at the top of the XP Mode window. So that's all fine and dandy. I can run VIP and even navigate to the drives living in Windows 7 world where I stored all my embroidery designs. But the designs are no good if I can't get them to the machine.
  5. I can't remember which upgrade it was, 98-XP or XP-Vista, where the cable that came with my Pfaff quit working. Or maybe it was the hardware that excluded serial connectors. Anyway, the solution is the Keyspan USA 19H adapter. It's the only one that works to convert the Pfaff cable to USB. And you probably need another little adapter for the pin-pin connection between the Keyspan and the Pfaff cable.
  6. The next hurdle is drivers. I went here to download the drivers. I downloaded the W7 drivers just fine and W7 recognized the Keyspan cable but it didn't do me any good because the VIP software is running in XP world and it couldn't see the cable. I downloaded the XP drivers and the machine blue-screened. Not good. The cable came with a disc containing a Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program and drivers. However, when I plugged in the cable from within XP Mode and let the device wizards do their thing to search for drivers, it ultimately didn't work. There was a message that there was a problem and the USB cable could not be "attached" like the purple dongle could. So the solution was to download the XP drivers from the site but save them to a folder instead of just choosing run. Then, unplug the cable and from within XP Mode, go to the folder and click it and expand it and run the install.
  7. So now the cable was finally recognized (attached) and I could go embroider, right? No. Wrong COM port. The cable installs on COM3 and it needs to be either COM1 or COM2 for the VIP software. From within the Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program, go to Port Mapping and change it to COM1 or COM2. It said COM2 was already in use but it let me pick that one anyway. All is good now, right? No.
  8. Still couldn't communicate. Back to the Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program to see what I can change. I changed the Endpoints from "Compatible (Interrupt)" to "High Performance (Bulk)" and that worked. I have no idea why, I don't know what the two choices even mean, all I know is that I jumped for joy and let out a whoop when I saw this:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More pajama-sewing

I made more pajamas. Boring? Yes, but a good way to get back into the sewing "groove." However just because they're pajamas doesn't mean that I am sewing any faster or cutting corners.

So here is my lastest creation, using Kwik Sew 2444 (out of print).

The pattern called for stretch lace, so this gave me an excuse to try and find some. The chain stores don't carry it and although I suppose I could have found some on-line, I'm fortunate to live near a discount fabric store, called "Fabrics R Us." It's one of those crowded, mish-mash fabric stores where you never know what you're going to find. Although they did have stretch lace, it was all too wide for this project. However they did had lots of fancy-edged elastic in many colors. I didn't have a swatch of my fabric with me but I think I did pretty good at guessing on the color.

And yes, I did buy more colors of elastic than I actually needed. But I was good and didn't even look at any fabrics - well, I couldn't help noticing the rolls of fake YSL vinyl. Name brand purses are not my thing, and it saddens me when women spend money they shouldn't on them...and counterfit is not a better choice. Ok, off my soapbox.

Here is my review, also posted on

Pattern Description:
Out of print pattern. Two-piece pajamas. Pullover top with crew or v-neck, long or short sleeves. Elastic-waist shorts or long pants with cuffed legs. Generous ease.

Pattern Sizing:
XS-XL. I cut a large on top and an XL for the shorts. This is why I sew...custom-sized pjs!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, looks like the drawing. The top is very boxy - straight sides with no curve at the waist whatsover.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were fine, but I didn't use them for applying the trim. I think the instructions would work fine for lace, but I couldn't find stretch lace that was narrow, in the right color, or that cost less than $4/yard.  I did find picot-edged elastic in a color that worked (BTW, you can find white at Joanns and Hancock Fabrics), but it's a little thicker than lace and only has one "fancy" edge.
I folded the edge of the neck, sleeves, and shorts hem under by 1/4 inch and basted them. Then I basted the picot-edged elastic to the wrong side with the picot showing. I don't know whether I used the right side or wrong side of the elastic - I chose the side I wanted. I basted rather than pinned because I find that pinning distorted things, and I was tired of getting pricked by the pins. I used a narrow zig-zag to top stitch so that it would be stretchy. Then I trimmed the excess fabric on the wrong side so it was even with the edge of the elastic.

The casing for the elastic on the shorts was sewn using the serger. I had never used this technique before and was a little apprehensive, but it worked. First you join your elastic so it's one big circle. Then you fold the waistband over 1", with the 3/4" elastic inside, then fold it back onto the rightside of the shorts/pants so the raw edge of the waistband is even with the fold. Then you serge along this edge, being careful not to catch the elastic. I put the knife down but it probably would be ok to leave it up. There should be about 1/4" of space to work with because the elastic is smaller than the casing. This technique worked great and I never caught the elastic once.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the simple cut of the pattern. The style was exactly what I was looking for.

Fabric Used:
A light weight thermal knit that was cheap...amost too cheap to bother with. The grain, especially towards the edges, was very wonky. Being that it was a thermal knit, I was able to cut a new straight edge and use the lines in the fabric to try to line up the grain. For some reason I didn't swatch this fabric and record any info about it. I don't even know where I bought the fabric but I hope I didn't pay more than a dollar or two a yard for it! I will be sad if these pajamas come out of the wash a total wreck. I did pre-wash the fabric though.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would sew this pattern again.

I don't know why Kwik Sew discontinued this pattern. I was a bit fearful for this project because no one had reviewed this pattern, it was OOP, and I had bad fabric. But the pajamas turned out just fine. Crossing my fingers they stay this way after a few washings.