I’m recently all about a new technology/skill/craft that is creating pre-cut fabric applique pieces with a cutting machine and adding them to a quilt block with an embroidery machine. I’m not sure what that is (lazy?) but you just can’t pick this up and go unless you’re super savvy and have the right equipment and embroidery digitizing software. At least I need to be super savvy. 🙂
About two years ago or so, I bought a Silhouette Cameo3 from Woot.com for $199.00 which apparently was a great deal. Have you heard of Woot.com? Awesome daily deals and shipping is always $5. This company was started by 2 guys from Texas and was bought a couple of years ago by Amazon. I digress, but check them out. Anyhoo… So I bought this thing with the idea that it could make latex logo labels for hubs to use in his custom fishing rod business. It came with a starter pack with a bunch of blades and tools and an extra mat I think.
It arrived, I told hubs what it was, set the box down on the floor in the game room, and that was that. Forgotten. Don’t have a heart attack! My blog is Power Tools with Thread, not “power tools with paper”. Lots of you paper craft and I applaud that. It just isn’t me. Maybe it goes back to a seriously bad paper cut as a kid, I’m not sure, but I have absolutely no desire in my LIFE to paper craft.
So one morning while we were at the coast and the house was quiet (hubs was still asleep) I was surfing YouTube and I came across a video of someone cutting fabric shapes with a cutting machine. I had literally completely forgotten about the box in the game room and was like “Hey! I should get one of those machines because I HATE to trace and cut out applique shapes in fabric and I could use this for the Dinosaur Applique Quilt”. The machine in the video was the Brother Scan-n-Cut so I watched all kinds of videos on that machine.
When we got home I was putting things away and for no reason, glanced at the box on the floor in the game room and it struck me. EUREKA! I have one of those machines! I opened it up and it’s not a Scan-n-Cut, but the Silhouette Cameo 3. Hmm. More YouTube surfing for some OJT on that baby. I finally got the thing working with my phone via Bluetooth, but had a disastrous outcome when I tried to cut the fabric.
Then on another day I was surfing YouTube (again) and I came across a video by Briton Leap featuring Lisa Shaw who’s a rock star in the machine embroidery world. She was showing how to use an embroidery machine to create a placement line for pre-cut applique shapes and then sew a final tack-down stitch for the pieces. Seriously??? I wouldn’t even have to sew them in place? Wait…Let me get this right… If I can get the shapes to cut out with the Silhouette, and use embroidery software to create an applique file, then I wouldn’t have to trace/print, cut, or sew it down the old fashioned way? REALLY?? SIGN ME UP!!
My first thing was to order her recommended Heat & Bond Lite Stretch. She showed in the video how it turns the fabric to almost paper-like so it cuts cleanly in a cutting machine. In my previous attempts I had used Wonder Under on the back of the fabric and I tried it with the paper and without the paper on the back of the fabric and it didn’t work worth a crap either way.
After seeing the video with Lisa Shaw, I didn’t know if my Embrilliance software would work or if I needed a digitizing software like Stitch Artist? I surfed all around the web and I guess I either didn’t ask the right question or whatever but I couldn’t find an answer. Well, when Google fails there’s Facebook! I became a member of a machine embroidery group and explained what I wanted to do and asked for advice. Guess who responded to me? LISA SHAW! In the virtual flesh! (I was tickled!) She said I would need to upgrade my Embrilliance Essentials to Stitch Artist Level 1 and then pointed me to the video in the link below where Sunbonnet Sue was digitized with Stitch Artist for applique.
So that’s it! I need time to play with all this and my initial fiddling with Stitch Artist is going well but I haven’t had time to try cutting fabric yet with the new H&B. But this summer has been so crazy busy and I’m on a new compressed work schedule that keeps me in the office for an extra hour each day but gives me a day off every two week pay period. It’s on those off days I’ll be able to sit and think and play to get this process going. Have you done this? Success? Failure? Words of wisdom?
UPDATE: Summer 2018. I never could get the hang of the Silhouette – too much of a learning curve for this techy girl if you can believe it. So I sold it on Craigslist and bought the Brother ScanNCut 650W. LOVE IT!! I have mastered cutting my applique shapes in fabric and embroidering them down using Simply Applique. Read about it here: https://powertoolswiththread.com/2018/09/23/automated-machine-embroidered-applique-with-brother-scan-n-cut-simply-applique/