How To Guides

Custom Name Flourish

Tuesday, 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


New Video: Embroidering Multiple Designs on a Pashmina Scarf

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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.


Cutting Wool Felt With Brother’s ScanNCut

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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.


Zipper Insertion Using a Welting Foot

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

This zipper technique works well in craft projects, bags in particular. Check with your particular machine manufacturer and find a foot with a tunnel, such as a welting foot. The tunnel must be approximately ¼” to accommodate the larger zipper teeth and stops. The tunnel may be off to the side or it may be in the center of the foot. You will need to adjust your needle position to accommodate your particular foot’s tunnel.

Welting Foot

Welting Foot with Wide Tunnel

Make sure you purchase a zipper that is 2-3” longer than your opening. This will allow you to stitch the entire length of your zipper opening. To stitch side seams in your project measure your finished length and remove each individual zipper tooth at the bottom of the zipper using a nipper (the tool that you use to remove the shank of a button). That way you can stitch right over the zipper tape and not have to stitch over the zipper teeth themselves. You will need to remove about ½” of zipper teeth to accommodate your seam allowance. See picture at the end of the article.

Prepare the front of the zipper with Wash Away Wonder Tape each side of the zipper tape.

Wash Away Wonder Tape

Use Wash Away Wonder Tape.

Remove the paper backing of the Wonder Tape on the left side and place the zipper face-down on your fabric, aligning the edge of the zipper tape with the right edge of the fabric. Open the zipper completely and place the teeth in the tunnel of your foot. Stitch in place. You may adjust the distance you stitch from the zipper by moving your needle to the right.

Stitch the Zipper into place

Stitch the Zipper into place.

Close the zipper. Remove the paper backing of the Wash Away Wonder Tape on the other side of the zipper. Place the this side of the zipper face-down on the right side of your fabric. Open the zipper completely. Place your zipper teeth in the tunnel of your foot & stitch in place.

Stitch the other side of the zipper into place.

Stitch the other side of the zipper into place.

Close the zipper and make sure the top ends of your zipper match.

Finished!

Finished!

Now you can stitch your side seams and proceed with constructing your project. Notice the bottom ends of the zipper where the zipper teeth have been removed so you can easily stitch side seams in bags, etc. I have not tested this technique out on clothing, but you may wish to do so. Let us know how well it works! Good Luck!

Happy Sewing!
Ann


Foot Tip of the Month: Couching Foot

Friday, November 29th, 2013

If you’re looking to work with really heavy-duty or specialty yarns and cords, you should look into the couching foot. Reva shows you the ins-and-outs of the couching foot in this video:

You can inquire about the couching foot at your local Quality Sewing & Vacuum Center. It is also available to purchase on our website here.


Make Quick and Easy Wool Felt Ornaments

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Sometimes when you’re looking to make a quick hand-made gift, there is not much better than a pretty little kit containing all the coordinating fabrics and threads that you need to create a perfect project. Honestly, kits are far too often something that I “pet” as opposed to dismantle and cut up to create the designated project. I think that’s okay, too; it makes me happy.

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

These Warm Hands Wool Felt Ornaments looked so cute I could hardly wait to tear into them and try out the new Brother ScanNCut. May I say: fabulous!!

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I created these ornaments:

My theory is that if the felt is well stabilized, inside and out, then it will be less spongy and will cut better.  That is why I chose to use the liquid stabilizer “Perfect Sew”. When the fabric that is treated with the liquid drys, it becomes firm and crisp.

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

A spoon is great for spreading

  • First thing I did was to stabilize the felt with Perfect Sew. This is a liquid stabilizer that simply rinses out when no longer needed.
  • I laid the felt pieces out on a cutting board and then poured a puddle of Perfect Sew onto the felt.
  • To smooth out the Perfect Sew and completely coat the felt, I used the back of a spoon to spread the liquid around.  The Liquid is thick like honey.
  • Once this side was coated, I flipped the felt over and repeated the process.
  • My goal was to get the felt fully saturated.
  • As soon as I was satisfied, I hung the felt pieces to dry on a line over my laundry sink. To secure the pieces to the line, I used Wonder Clips – they are good for so much more than just quilting!

Felt on the mat and ready to be cut

  • The felt cut just like butter!

    Once dry and ready, I placed the felt pieces next to each other on the prepared ScanNCut fabric mat.  By this, I mean that the mat had the extra sticky fabric carrier sheet on it and it is ready to go.

  • Now it was necessary to get the pattern for the mitten that I wanted to make into the ScanNCut so it could cut out the pieces for me.  This was done by having the machine scan the pattern.
  • To scan the pattern booklet, I used the optional Scanning Mat. The clear overlay of this specialty mat held the booklet in place nicely.
  • I used the included deep cut blade for cutting the wool.
  • Once the pattern was on the screen to be used, I used the feature on the ScanNCut that scans and displays an image of what the mat, and it’s contents, look like.  This allows the user the ability to actulally see where the different fabrics are located and the shapes can be visually placed in the right spot.

Pick a great decorative stitch

Line up where to stitch with your foot

Stitch away! Find a stitch that you like

  • With the pieces cut, layer the pieces as the instructions state. Use the decorative stitches from your machine to add the embroidered decoration. They are so much fun to sew. You will probably find some that look like the stitches suggested in the pattern. I found that the Perfect Sew also made stitching the decorative stitches ideal! No puckering or shifting.
  • Line up the fabric edge with a reference point on the machine’s foot (the foot I am using is called the “Sewing Stars” foot).
  • To give more of a “hand” look, I chose a stitch that repeats each stitch several times so  that it is heavier. Also, I chose to use a cotton embroidery thread so that it looked more like cotton floss.
  • The felt cut so easy with the ScanNCut

This is a great kit, designed for handwork, that is so easily adjusted to be done on machine.

These little gems make such cute ornaments or gift holders. You will want to make a passel of them.

Happy Sewing,
Reva


Recipe Towels Make a Fun and Festive Gift for Anyone On Your List!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Holiday Recipe Towels from Lunch Box Quilts

With the Holidays quickly approaching, do you anticipate finding yourself in need of a quick and easy gift that is beyond the normal and one of a kind? Make sure to read to the end to see what fun ideas you can make!

Might I suggest a gift that will not soon be forgotten? How about a kitchen towel that is lovingly embroidered with a delicious holiday recipe? It’s even a real recipe!

Holiday Recipe Towels is a multi-format embroidery design collection from Lunch Box Quilts. In this collection you will find 10 different recipe designs that will surely make your mouth water.  Also included are tips to ensure beautiful embroidered results and the instructions to add fabric trims to the towels. The results are spectacular! In addition the the given instructions that come with the designs, here are some of my suggestions:

Mark your towel for the center of the design

Hoop the towel and wash-away stabilizer

  • Mark your towel lengthwise. On the end that you would like the embroidery design to be located, make a horizontal line that is seven inches up from the hem.  The intersection of this horizontal and vertical lines will be the location for the center of the embroidery design
  • Next hoop your towel and a piece of wash-away stabilizer. I like to use Floriani Wet ‘n’ Gone (white), it is stable and washes out nicely, Align the horizontal and vertical lines on your towel with the center marks on your embroidery hoop to make sure that it will stitch straight.  I prefer to hoop both my project and my stabilizer when ever possible.  In my experience, this give me the best results.

Use a water-soluble topping

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

  • Place the hoop onto the machine with the bulk of the extra fabric to the outside of the machine.
  • On the top, use Floriani Water Soluble topping – this will allow the thread to lay nice on the surface of the towel and not be lost in the weave of the towel (clear).  Baste into place with your machines basting stitch.
  • For the lettering, use a 60-weight embroidery thread.  This light-weight thread will produce crisp and  clear embroidered lettering (I like the Floriani Micro threads – they are polyester and come in lots of colors).
  • For the rest of the embroidery use a standard 40-weight embroidery thread.  For items that will be laundered often, I prefer to use a polyester thread (they are color-fast even if bleached). If you were to use a lighter weight thread for the rest of the design, the areas would not fill in nicely.
  • Once the embroidery is complete, rinse out the stabilizer.  If you are having a tough time rinsing out your stabilizer and topping, try adding a bit of water softener.

Trim Fabrics

  • stitch fabric band to towel bottom

    Choose the fabric you want for your towel’s trim.  The main piece is 2″ wide and the accent is 1″ wide that has been folded and pressed in half lengthwise.

  • Stitch the accent piece to the top edge of the main piece and press the accent piece up.
  • Un-stitch the bottom edge of your towel and stitch this edge to the bottom edge of the fabric strip, right side of the strip to the wrong side of the towel.
  • Flip the trim piece to the front and press.  Then top stitch the edges to secure in place.

Fun to make and a great gift too!

In addition to the towels, consider adding tasty tidbits to make your gift even more memorable. If you like (and have the time), create the recipe and give it along with the coordinating towel. Several of the recipes lend themselves very nicely to giving along with the completed towel. What a nice gift that won’t soon be forgotten (although you may have to think twice about giving a Turducken). Here are the two recipes that I made:

Nutcracker Spiced Pecans Recipe
Ingredients:
• 1 egg white
• 1 tbs water
• 5 c pecan halves
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp salt, cloves, nutmeg
Preparations:
Beat egg white with water. Stir in pecans, until moist. In a separate bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, & nutmeg. Add pecans to mixture, stir until well coated (note: I put the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag, then poured the pecans into it, sealed the bag, and mixed).

Spread on a lined cookie sheet & bake for one hour at 225F.

Peppermint Bark
Ingredients:
• 2 lbs white chocolate
• 30 small peppermint candy canes
Preparations:
Smash candy canes into ¼” pieces.

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour (Once it began to set, I used a knife to score lines in the bark so that the piece size and shape could be regulated a bit. I wanted to have longer sticks that I could put into a coffee mug for a complete gift).

Break into pieces.

If time is scarce and you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a recipe, gather the ingredients for the recipe so that it can be easily assembled by its recipient:

Not much time? Gift the ingredients.

Present your gift in a clever container like a whimsical jar or a cute mug.  Not only will your gift be thoughtful and reusable, but it will be tasty too!

Use a cute mug to present your yummy gift

Spiced Nuts, Yum!

Happy Sewing,
Reva


Appliqué Cutting with the Brother ScanNCut

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

George Moore shows you how to use Brother’s ScanNCut scanning & cutting machine to create the perfect applique cut-outs in this very informative video: