Q.2: Pfaff File Formats and the 1630


Q 2.  How can I convert a Pfaff PCD file or a Pfaff PCQ file into a Bernina® Designer (ISD) file?

    How can I read Pfaff files into Designer?


Answer Outline:


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Different Pfaff file formats

First, you need to know a bit about Pfaff file formats (or "Pfaff Pfile Pformats" as I think of them).

There are a number of different formats of Pfaff files.  They are:

  • PC-Designer for DOS
    • version 1 = text
    • version 2 = text
    • version 3 = binary
  • PC-Designer for Windows
    • version 1 = binary
    • version 2 = binary
    • version 3 = binary
  • 7550 files

    PCQ files = "Maxi-stitch" files
    PCD files = 9mm files

To add a bit to the confusion, the file extensions don't tell you much about the different versions & formats.


Bernina® Designer version 2.0 can read in these Pfaff file formats without any conversion necessary:

 - PC only -- no MAC versions
 - version 0 binary PCS and PCQ files

To read in other Pfaff files, you'll need to do some conversion (see below).


How do I know what Pfaff file format I'm dealing with?

There's a handy utility that can identify some of the formats & versions.  It's called STCHPRNT.EXE and it's by Kenneth  Haley.  It's a little DOS program; you give it the name of the Pfaff file & it tells you what it can about the file.  Ex:  what version of the software (version 2), number of stitches, whether it's binary or text, etc.  You used to be able to get it from Kenneth Haley at, but it seems to be no longer available.  (The old URL was:  http://web.nmsu.edu/~khaley/Stitch.html  but it's no longer working.)


Previewing Pfaff Designs

There are a few utility programs out there (freeware & shareware) that let you view the Pfaff stitches.  That way, you can see if they're worth bringing into Designer.  They are:

Avvio (a.k.a "Rossy's Utility")

(From iquilt@earthling.net)
If you're using Pfaff stitches, download Rossy's Utility.  It's a freeware program.  You can view the Pfaff stitches here to determine whether you  think it's worth converting and cleaning up in Stitch designer.  This utility also allows you to "walk through" the stitch order so that you can see the stitch order.

Use this utility to preview PFAFF stitches.  I unzip the Pfaff stitches into one directory.  Then, I can use this utility to "scroll" through the stitches and decide which ones I really want to convert.  I think that 90% of the stitches you download are really junk.  10% are real gems. You have to figure out which are which...the utility makes it faster.

You can get Rossy's Utility (a.k.a "Avvio") from  http://www.simplecom.net/derosia/.  (Sometimes this site is unreachable.  Just try again later.) Click on "Sewing Files" (check the left part of the frame).  Scroll way down til you see the AVVIO stuff. Download the two parts-AVVIO and Runtime.  Follow the instructions on the web page to install.  (Note:  download the "95" files if you're running NT or Windows 95.  Download the "31" files if you're running Windows 3.1.)

You'll need to be sure to change the language as appropriate.  This utility was written in Italian & so that's the default language of the user interface.  If you'd like to change the language (to English, for example), click on the button below the hammer icon.  Then choose the radio button beneath the flag that is appropriate for you.  (For English, click on the button below the UK & US flags.)  [Kudos to the authors of this software for adding support for multiple languages! - ashley]


StitchView is a shareware program available from Roger Smith Software.

(The website is no longer to be found. You can see what it was by using the Wayback machine and using this URL: http://jadebox.hypermart.net/stitchvw.html )

Here's how Roger Smith Software describes Stichview::  

    "StitchView for Windows displays, prints, and converts Pffaf PC-Designer stitch design files. It loads design files (.PCD and  PCQ) in both the "classic" text format and the "new" binary formats (including the PC-Designer for Windows format). It does not (yet) support the new 7570 format.

    StitchView displays the design using several formats - full, normal, or actual size. StitchView displays the size of the design and the number of stitch points.

    StitchView prints designs in several formats including (for 9mm designs) a programming sheet format. The printed programming sheets may be trimmed or folded to fit into the Creative Designer.

    StitchView converts designs between the text and binary formats.

    StitchView imports designs from text files such as logs of online conferences. StitchView recognizes the format commonly used to exchange designs on Prodigy. StitchView also saves designs in this format. "

    StitchView is free, but you must keep the copyright notice:
    Copyright 1994-1995 by Roger Smith and Margueritta Brigance
    You can download the StitchView utility by clicking here. (It is a self-extracting zip file.)

    Note that this is an old (16-bit) program. To run it on Vista, Windows 7, or a more modern system you may need to try these approaches:


How can I convert a file into a format that Designer can read?

Note:  I haven't worked on this in a while.  If you'd like to figure some of this out, I'd really appreciate you sending me what you learned!  Mostly it seems that the key is to make sure that you figure out a way to get the file into one of the PCD/PCQ formats that the Designer software can read.  (See above for more info.)  And you do *that* by using some combination of the software mentioned above.




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