Custom Name Flourish

July 22nd, 2014

By Lana L Jones, Educational Consultant, Quality Sewing

When you were a kid, you probably doodled your name on your notebook to see what you could make. With a few handy free apps, you can create custom name flourishes and easily use your Brother ScanNCut to cut them out of fabric for applique, paper and cardstock for scrapbooking, vinyl for glass etching or clothing…The “doodling” is endless!

1. Inkscape is a free program. Download it at www.inkscape.com

2. Dafont.com has free fonts for personal use. Download the font Antsy Pants and place in Fonts in your computer (check your computer’s “help” on how to do this).

3. At this time, I would also suggest creating a folder named ScanNCut or SNC. This will make it easy to save all of your files, class notes, designs, etc. in one folder.

4. Open Inkscape

5. Select File/New/A4. A4 is the size of paper – 210mm x 297mm or 8.3” x 11.7”

6. Select Create and Edit Text Objects in the tool bar on the left.

Example 1

7. Click the dropdown arrow for font selection at the top left of the page and select the font Antsy Pants. In Font Size click the dropdown arrow and choose 144px. Example 1.

8. Left click in the work area. You will see a flashing cursor. This is where the letters will start. Don’t worry if you did not place it in a good spot, we will be moving the lettering around to fit our needs.

9. Type the name you wish to use. Example 1.

Example 2

10. In order for Inkscape to create the cut lines so the ScanNCut canvas can use them, choose Select and Transform Objects from the tool bar. This will place a surrounding box around the letters.

11. Select Path from the menu bar. Then choose Object to Path. That is it… the software did the work, but you did not see anything happen.

12. While your name is highlighted, right click in the work area and select Copy, then right click again and choose Paste.

Example 3

13. The name may be over to the side of your screen. Left click and drag it and place it under the first entry. Example 2.

14. Select Flip Selected Objects Vertically. Example 3.

15. Select Zoom In or Out, then choose Zoom to Fit Selection in Window, so both names fill the screen.

16. Click Select. This will select the last entry you just flipped.

17. Left click and move the name up so that all the letters touch. Some letters, such as J and Y will overlap. You want as many letters touching as possible. Don’t worry about adjusting it left to right. We will take care of that in a minute.

18. Hold down the Shift Key on your keyboard and select both names.

19. Select Object from the menu bar. Choose Align and Distribute.

20. Select Align Left Edges.

21. While both are highlighted, select Object from the menu bar, then choose Group.

22. Select Zoom In or Out and choose Zoom to Fit Page in Window.

Example 5

Example 4

23. Click Select.

24. Select Rotate 90° Clockwise. Example 4.

25. At this time the letters are separated. We need to connect them so they look like a design instead of disjointed objects. Select Create Rectangles and Squares from the tool box.

26. Left click and drag a long skinny rectangle to connect all the letters together. You may find that you want to drag several so as not to cover up some of the holes. You will also need to decide the width. At the top of the screen you will see several boxes of numbers: W for width and H for height. Use these to easily adjust the rectangle to your liking. In the Example 5, the lines are in red to easily see what was done. I did not want the hole between the A’s covered up, so I made 2 lines.

NOTE: To make it a bit easier, I created a long slender rectangle that I liked, copied and pasted as many as needed. In this example I just needed 2. Then I simply adjusted the height to match the area where it was placed. I used the Alignment tools to align in a straight line, zoomed in and did the final adjustments.

Example 6


27. Select Edit, then choose Select All. Click Object and then Group. This will group our entire design, including the new lines.

28. Right click in the work area and select Copy. Right click again and choose Paste.

29. Select Flip Selected Objects Vertically. Move the new design to the left side of the existing design. Adjust it so that 2 or more areas are touching. Example 6.

30. Repeat Steps 26-27 for the right side. Make sure the new design is equal distance from the center design.

31. Holding down the shift key of your keyboard, select both of the new designs. Select Object from the menu bar. Choose Align and Distribute.

32. Select Align Top Edges. Example 7.

Example 7

33. Select Edit, then choose Select All. Click Object and then Group. This will group our entire design.

34. Select File/Save As. Choose or create a folder to save your new design.

35. In File Name enter the name you choose. Example: LanaFlourish.

36. In Save As Type, click the dropdown arrow and choose Plain SVG (*.svg).

37. Click Save.

38. Go to scanncutcanvas.brother.com. If you have not already done so, create an account; it only takes a few minutes.

Example 8

39. Sign into scanncutcanvas.brother.com. Example 8.

40. Select Import SVG/FCM File.

41. Click Choose File. Locate the file you just saved, left click on it, and click Open. Click OK.

42. You will now see your design on the ScanNCut mat. Even though we grouped it in Inkscape, it is not grouped here. If you want to move the design to the center of the mat, group it first. Select Edit, then Select All. Edit, then Group.

43. Select Edit, then Select All if you did not do this in the previous step. To make the design cutter friendly, select Weld. Welding means the outlines of multiple patterns can be merged together to create a single outline.

Example 9

44. To look at your welding, click the dropdown arrow for View. Click Show Only Cutting Line. You will see exactly where the ScanNCut will cut your project. Example 9.

45. In Project Title give your new design a name.

46. Click Download. The system will take a bit of time depending on the size of your design.

47. In the upper center of the pop-up screen you will see the name you gave to your file followed by a .fcm. This is the file format for the Brother ScanNCut. Right click on the file name and choose Save Link As. Then choose your ScanNCut folder or a usb stick and click Save. Example 10.

48. Click Close when you are finished saving.

49. Copy your saved file to your usb stick if you didn’t already save it there. Place the usb stick in your ScanNCut. Cut a custom name flourish!

Enjoy your creative adventures!!

Lana L Jones

What is a Scant 1/4” Seam Anyway?

June 19th, 2014

Do you want to sew a perfect scant 1/4” seam when you are quilting? Let’s start with this… What is a scant 1/4” seam and why would you want to use it?

Scant 1/4" Seam

Scant 1/4″ Seam

The "turn of the cloth"

The "turn of the cloth"

Why would you even to care to use a scant 1/4”? If the quilt that you are piecing has sharp points or many pieces that require your blocks to be exact, using a scan 1/4” may be just what you will want to do.

Non-technically speaking, a scant 1/4” seam is a seam that is stitched ‘almost’ at 1/4” from the raw edge of the fabric. It is really just a hair, or a thread width towards the raw edge. What you are striving for with a scant 1/4” is not actually the width of the seam allowance, but more so the size of the piece that is left for use in your quilt block.

Take for example a 6 1/2” square of fabric. If you were to stitch an actual & accurate 1/4” seam, when the fabric is pressed open you may end up with an exposed piece of fabric that is less than 6 1/4”. Additionally, when the other edge is stitched your final square would probably be less than 6”. The reason for this is that the “turn of the cloth” actually takes a bit of extra fabric to press up and over to go over the bulk of the stitched seam and go to the other side. As you can imagine, if you are working with an intricate block design or points that need to be precise this can be problematic.

What’s new from PFAFF

Make your life easier with the new Perfect 1/4” Foot with Guide for IDT. What is so special about this foot?

Take a look at this new foot. It has the 1/4” markings and the right guide as does the standard1/4” foot. What is different is that the foot to the right of the needle is a smidge narrower than the standard foot and that the needle hole is slightly oval in shape to allow the needle to be moved a bit to the left and to the right to make sure that a desired seam allowance is achieved.

1/4" Foot on the left; "Perfect" 1/4" Foot on the right.

1/4″ Foot on the left; "Perfect" 1/4″ Foot on the right.

Pfaff "Perfect" 1/4" Foot

Pfaff "Perfect" 1/4″ Foot

Happy Sewing,
Reva

New Video: Embroidering Multiple Designs on a Pashmina Scarf

May 14th, 2014
Carmen & Reva model embroidered pashmina.

Carmen & Reva model embroidered pashmina.

Pashmina scarves are a great accessory. But they can be made to be even greater with embroidery. Watch our new video where Reva guides you through how to place multiple embroidery designs on a pashmina scarf:

For this project, Reva used a couple of very useful products:

Wet ‘n’ Gone Stabilizer

Reva used Floriani Wet ‘n’ Gone Stabilizer so that after she was finished with her embroidery she could simply wash the stabilizer entirely away, leaving no residue or bits of stabilizer stuck in the embroidered designs. We offer several varieties of Wet ‘n’ Gone stabilizer here.

Wet 'n' Gone

Wet 'n' Gone Stabilizer

Rayon Thread

Reva used rayon embroidery thread because of its softness so that the finished embroidery designs would not interfere with the natural draping of the pashmina. We offer several collections of Madeira Rayon thread here.

Rayon Thread

Rayon Embroidery Thread

Have you ever successfully embroidered on Pashmina? We’d love to know about it.

Happy sewing!

Create an Easy Jacket from a Pashmina Scarf

May 12th, 2014

What a quick and easy project to make for yourself or a gift?

Why not give transforming a Pashmina Scarf/Shawl into a cute jacket?

Pashmina scarves come in so many pretty colors and are so soft, you just want to wrap yourself up in them  (A pashmina is a long rectangular scarf/shawl with fringe on both short ends and is typically 27″ x 72″).

A friend of mine shared with me an easy way to turn one of these lovely scarves into a jacket that is great for an evening out or just to compliment your outfit.

At a recent event I whipped one up in a jiffy and it turned out so cute that there were so many requests for the instructions that I just had to get it posted right away.

Are you ready? You are only two seams away from a finished project!

Here are the instructions for this neat project that is oh so quick to make.

  • Along one of the long edges, measure in 9″ from each corner (this will be your sleeve opening).
  • Along the same edge, measure 2.5″ on either side of center (this will be your neck opening).

Once you have your pashmina marked, you are ready to sew your jacket.

  • Bring one fringed edge up to the marked edge, matching the top corner with the sleeve mark that you made.  This will create about a 45° fold line.
  • Align this short edge with the marked long edge, letting the fringe hang off of the edge.
  • Stitch both layers together, close to the edge (approximately 1/4″ seam allowance).  If you do not wish to have any fringe, consider using your serger.
  • Use a matching thread in the needle and in the bobbin.
  • Stop sewing when you reach the closest neck marking.  The remainder of the short edge (which is loose and unstitched) will become a collar.

  • Repeat with the other side
  • You are finished!!

Feeling frisky? Wear your jacket so that you have the fringe on the outside.

When you want your jacket to be more subtle, turn it inside out so that the fringe will be inside the jacket

Can’t decide if you want a jacket or a scarf?  How about sewing a series of button holes along the stitching area of the long edge.  Add some little buttons along the fringe edge and then you can button it up into a jacket or unbutton it for a scarf or shawl.

Want it to be even better?  Add some machine embroidery to make it a truly one of a kind piece.

Have a great time making your jacket!

Reva

P.S.

Make sure to check  back and see my video blog on Embroidering on a Pashmina.

One of Our Own Wins Koala’s National Holiday Sweepstakes!

March 17th, 2014

Congratulations, Genelle!

Congratulations, Genelle!

Over the Holidays, Koala held their nationwide “I’m Dreaming of a Koala Studio” holiday sweepstakes. When they drew the winner last month, it turns out it was someone who filled out the entry form at one of our own stores!

Congratulations to Genelle T., who won Koala’s grand prize of a Koala Storage Tower!

“I have too many used machines. My husband said I can’t get anymore,” laughed Genelle. Now with the Koala Storage Tower she’ll have much more space for those machines!

See the full article on Koala’s own website here: http://mykoalastudio.com/2014/02/koala-makes-it-easy-for-storage-dreams-to-come-true/

Thanks to everyone who entered the sweepstake at our stores, and a big congratulations to Genelle!

Cutting Wool Felt With Brother’s ScanNCut

January 15th, 2014

Cutting Wool Felt with the ScanNCut

We’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about how best to cut felt on Brother’s new cutting machine, the Brother ScanNCut. So Reva made this video where she demonstrates successfully cutting out felt designs that you can watch here:



One key to successfully cut felt is to stabilize the fabric as much as possible. Reva makes use of Perfect Sew Liquid Stabilizer in this video. You can inquire about it at your local Quality Sewing, or it is available on our website here. Perfect Sew is great because it can completely saturate the felt fabric in a way that a spray-on starch stabilizer simply can’t, and it washes away very easily!

And if you need any of the ScanNCut accessories, such as the Deep-Cut Blade or a ScanNCut Cutting Mat used in the video, you can find them all on this ScanNCut Accessories page.

If you have any questions about using your ScanNCut to its fullest potential, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Quality Sewing & Vacuum.

Happy sewing!

Sewing Perfect Circles with Circular Attachments

December 31st, 2013

There isn’t a “Foot of the Month” video for December 2013. Instead, Reva tells you all about the Circular Attachments that let you sew perfect circles!

Inquire about a Circular Attachment for your sewing machine at your local Quality Sewing, or see them on our website here.

A Great Rotary Cutting Safety Tip

December 18th, 2013

I had the joy of spending time in my sewing room watching the Saturday morning sewing shows on KBTC this past week and saw a great tip on Fonds and Porter – Love of Quilting. Don’t you just love starting you Saturday that way?

A "Klutz Glove" keeps you injury free!

The tip that stood out to me was one concerning safety while using a rotary cutter.  When rotary cutting, be safe and use a new sharp blade and wear a “Klutz Glove” to help protect your non-cutting hand from accidental injury.  A fellow sewing enthusiast wrote in to the show to offer the following suggestion for remembering to be safe when cutting with a rotary cutter:

  • After using your rotary cutter,  store it inside your “Klutz Glove” when you are done using it.  This way,  you will have a reminder to use the glove the next time you do some rotary cutting.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times that I have had a “near miss” with my rotary cutter and felt so glad that there are simple tools like this to help keep clutzy me safe!

Reva

Sewing & Quilting Smart Phone App Roundup

December 17th, 2013

Did you know that iPhones only make up about 12% of all “Smart Phones” nowadays? Over 80% of Smart Phones are Android phones now, so I thought I would write a post about some of the quilting and sewing apps that you can download on your Android phones:


Quilting Calculators
Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise have joined forces to bring you this collection of essential quilting calculators. Designed by quilters, all work with both U.S. and metric measurements. You’ll quickly see how much fabric is needed for backing, batting and borders, and how many rectangular pieces can be cut from a larger piece. There are even calculators for square-in-a-square, set-in, and corner triangles.


Stitcher’s Helper: $0.99
Almost a more powerful version of Quilting Calculators, this Stitcher’s Helper app has several advanced features:
- Several calculators for calculating yardage, cost, or many other measurements.
- Project tracking. Mark your project as “In Progress”, “On Hold”, or “Completed”.
- Attach pictures to projects
- Attach project items to projects. These can be either any of the below calculators with your yardage and data saved, or simply a needed item.
- Projects also have space for pattern information and notes.
- Automatically generated shopping list page that can either be added on the fly or marked as “Include on Shopping List” on the project item edit screen. These items are grouped by project for easy organization.


Quilting Color Match:
A very interesting app that lets you take photos of fabric (or anything, really), then create a quilt pattern and apply the fabric photos to the quilt pattern to see what they’d look like on the finished quilt. It doesn’t have the most easy-to-use interface, but it can be great way to see what certain fabric combinations look like together in a finished quilt without having to buy swatches and swap them around. Plus you can save your projects and export them to your phone’s image gallery.


Quilt Shops
Quilt Shops is a free application to find quilt shops across the U.S. from Quilters Club of America and Fons & Porter.
- Use your smart phone or tablet to search for 2,500+ quilt shops (U.S. stores only currently)
- Versions will be available for iPhone, iTouch, iPad and Android phones
- Search for quilt shop by city, state, Zip, or see stores closest to your current location
- Look up individual stores to see location, Web site URL, map directions and dial store phone number
- Feedback form enables users to easily alert us if a store is missing or needs updated information
- Requires internet connection for GPS mapping and distance calculations


Quilt Index to Go:
More of an app for inspiration rather than utilitarian uses, Quilt Index to Go has images of over 50,000 real-world quilts from the whole range of quilting history. With this app you get a quilt a day from the Quilt Index (http://www.quiltindex.org). There is a Browsing page to scroll endlessly through 50,000+ quilt records
Detailed quilt record information is available for each quilt (when documented) such as:
- quilt pattern names
- quilt-maker names
- dates and/or date ranges
- collection
- links to full information on the quiltindex.org collection record


Fabric U
A handy reference to more than 120 different types of fabric used for quilting, crafting, and sewing. Written by Mary Beth Klatt, the app shares her extensive knowledge about needle and thread combos for various sewing projects. Includes links and videos to help users choose appropriate fabrics and how to care for them.


Quilting Guide
An informational reference app that is full of all sorts of information about the art and craft of quilting. If you’re an expert quilter already this might not be as useful as if you were a beginner, but there are probably some good tidbits that you could find in the many different sections:
- A Notion About Notions
- Add Life to your Quilting with Embroidery
- All About Appliqué
- All About Hoffman Fabrics
- All About Quilting
- All About Thread For Quilting
- Best Books for Quilting
- Choosing And Preparing Fabric
- Choosing Fabrics for Quilting
- Choosing Quilt Fabric
- Essential Supplies for Quilting
- How to Choose the Right Batting
- How to Use Stencils for Quilting
- How to Use Templates in Quilting
- Making Sense OF Quilt Patterns
- Patchwork Techniques
- Quilting 101
- Sewing Tips For Beginning Quilters
- So You Want To Make A Quilt
- The Best Quilting Pattern For Your Needs
- What Are Quilts?
- Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns
And more!


• You can look at these and more apps in the Android store by clicking here: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=quilt&c=apps

Do you use any sewing or quilting apps for your smart phone? If so, let us know about them in the comments.

Happy sewing,
Chris

Free Holiday Applique Embroidery Design & Tutorial!

December 11th, 2013

Free embroidery design and artwork by Lana L Jones

Free embroidery design and artwork by Lana L Jones

Have you tried the new Brother ScanNCut? This fantastic cutter is all you need to cut fabric for all of your appliques with your sewing machine or embroidery machine. Simply scan your design and cut out your fabric. Need more than one? Want to maximize the use of your fabric? Do you only have scraps you are working with? Do you need to add ¼” seams to your design? The Brother ScanNCut simply and easily handles all of this. To get you started, I have created this delightful embroidery design for you to use with your new Brother ScanNCut.

1. Download the PDF and embroidery designs here: NOEL-1.zip. All file formats are included.

2. Print the PDF of the artwork.

3. Place the artwork on the teal mat or the new scan-only mat.

4. Turn on your Brother ScanNCut.

5. Load mat.

6. Touch Scan.

7. Touch Scan to Cut Data.

8. Press Start/Stop. “Recognizing…” appears on your screen. This may take a minute or two; be patient.

9. Press Region Detection to select all areas of the design.

10. Press Save

11. Select the destination to save, Machine or USB
NOTE: When you save, you have a choice of Machine Memory or USB. The system will give it a filename. You can jot this name down, but it is always placed at the end of the list of saved files.

11: Save to Destination

11: Save to Destination

12. Touch OK.

13. To start the cut, press Home, then press OK. This will take you to the Home screen.
NOTE: At the end of this article is information about testing your blade depth and using fusible web.

14. Press Pattern.

15. Press Saved Data. Using the up/down arrows, scroll to locate your file. Select by touching the file on the screen. On the next screen verify that you have selected the correct design, especially if you have saved several versions of the same design. Touch OK.

16. For the Noel design place fabric with fusible web onto the standard mat (teal/purple).

17. Using a brayer or the handle of your spatula adhere the fabric to the sticky side of the mat.

18. Press the Load button to load mat.

19. We will not always have a piece of fabric that covers the mat entirely. I am sure you all have scraps of fabric you would love to use. Or, am I the only one who has scraps? :) To ensure the design fits perfectly on the piece you are using we will scan the fabric so it is in the background for placing our design. Touch Scan Background.

20. The screen that pops-up lets you know what you are about to do. Touch Start/Stop. The machine will now scan the entire mat.

21. On the screen you will see your background fabric and your design.

22. Since this design has several sections, touching it will only select a section. To select the entire design, touch Editing.

23. Touch Pattern Selection.

24. Touch to select all patterns.

25. Move the design so it fits onto the fabric. Touch OK. No other changes touch OK, then touch OK once more.

26. You are now ready to cut your fabric. Draw/Cut appears on your screen. Touch Cut. Touch Start/Stop to start the cutting process.

27. When cutting is finished, press OK. Touch Load to unload mat.

28. Using the spatula, remove the perfectly cut piece from your mat.

29. At your embroidery machine, load the design.

30. Stitch out the first color, the placement line.

31. Place your cut design into the stitch area and press in place.
NOTE: I remove the hoop from my machine (but not the fabric from the hoop) so I can see better and use one of my smaller irons to fuse the applique fabric in place.

32. Return hoop to your machine and complete the embroidery.

33. Enjoy!

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder

Floriani Appli-Kay Wonder

Fusible Web
Fusible web is not a problem for the Brother ScanNCut. There are many varieties and each will have their own set of rules. It is important to test, test, and test some more, always keeping a written record of your findings. I have used several and have found some work better if you leave the paper backing on (Floriani AppliKay Wonder and Floriani Press and Bond). Some work well if you remove the paper backing and place the adhesive side down. There is a caution here however, if your iron is not hot enough to firmly adhere the fusible web to the fabric, the adhesive will stick to the board and you will be scrapping off the mess. A press, such as the Elna Press, is perfect for adhering adhesives.

Test your blade depth
HINT: Double over a piece of scrap fabric onto your cutting mat. If you are using fusible web, make sure the sample piece has the fusible web adhered before doing any testing. Using a bit of pressure, drag your teal blade across the fabric to see if your blade is the correct depth. If it cuts both top and bottom layers of fabric, your blade is too deep. Adjust your blade setting to a lower number and try again. If you have a great cut on the top fabric and did not cut the lower fabric, you can place the blade unit into your Brother ScanNCut. However, you are not done testing. You still need to do a test cut to see if the blade is perfect. The pressure you placed on the blade and the pressure the machine places on the blade will be different. Always do a test cut. I like to make the size of the test cut approximately 1” square. Save the best one and tape it to a piece of paper, record the blade depth, pressure, fabric type, with or without fusible web, and any other information that may affect the cutting process.

Stop by your favorite Quality Sewing for a demonstration of the amazing Brother ScanNCut.

Enjoy your sewing adventures!
Lana L Jones
Educational Consultant