Archive | November 2017

Brother Scan-N-Cut 650W and

As mentioned in a previous post, several years ago I purchased a Cameo Silhouette (or Silhouette Cameo…I can never get that right) from and had no idea what to do with it.  It was a deal that was too good to pass up at the time and I figured I’d use it one day.  Actually I forgot about it and it sat in a box for almost two years before it came to me that I could use it to cut out fabric applique pieces for quilts.  Once I had that in my head I tried and tried to work with it but to be honest, the learning curve on the software for that machine was too steep.  I ended up selling it.

On a Facebook page for Machine Embroidery Help I asked the question, “What can I use to cut out fabric applique pieces from a printed pattern, and then turn those images into machine embroidery files to applique to a quilt block?” The responses were numerous but one lady said, “Use a Brother Scan-N-Cut and Brother Simply Applique software”.  The software is designed to be a companion to the cutting machine.  Bingo.  I was on a mission to figure out how that might work.


November 7th, I purchased a Brother Scan-N-Cut 650W from  Today is Cyber Monday – check them out!  They are a major retailer of all-things-sewing here in the southern US.  They are headquartered out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and just recently bought the Creative Sewing Center in nearby San Antonio where I went to a sewing class with Angela Wolf on Nov 17.  I’ll blog that amazing experience in another post.  I called the Allbrands 800 number for sales and purchased the machine and the software over the phone. I purchased a “seminar” model so I saved quite a bit from the regular retail price.  I’ve never been too proud for a floor model.  🙂


The machine arrived in no time and I got everything all set up.  The only thing missing was the Wireless Activation Card which is included with the 650W model but not the 350 in case you are considering a purchase.  Go big.  Anyway, I called Allbrands the next business day and they sent a new Wireless Activation Card to me right away.  The wireless card is key because it’s what connects the machine to the Brother ScanNCut Canvas cloud that allows you to upload scanned image files directly from the machine.  The Canvas cloud allows you to save those files into a format that can be read by the Simply Applique software to turn that file into a machine embroidery file.  The Canvas cloud does a ton of other creative stuff too but I haven’t explored all that yet.  Brother has all this locked down pretty tight so you can’t go around scanning in proprietary images and embroidering them for profit.  “Cloud” means that you don’t have the powerful Canvas software locally on your own computer.  You do all editing online.  Here’s how it works.  I made this graphic to show you how it all works.  At least I think this is how it works.

AutoApplique Process with SNC 650

So…as I attempted to get the Canvas cloud to recognize the machine, I was never prompted to put in the 16-digit PIN on the new wireless card to associate the machine with my account in the cloud.  I ended up having to call Brother USA to see if they could disassociate the previous PIN used in the seminar demo so I would use my own PIN.  They were very nice and sent the trouble ticket up the chain and said they’d call me back.

The very next day, I received an email from the president of, Mr. John Douthat (yeah right, like HE actually sent the email to me LOL) and it contained a survey asking about my satisfaction with my purchase.  I was nearly 3 weeks into this now with no direct connectivity yet to the SNC Canvas so my patience was dwindling.  I responded to the survey and in the comment box I wrote my story.  Well you won’t BELIEVE what happened!  About two hours after I hit “Send” my phone rang and it was a nice lady from  She told me that they were sending me another machine and a return shipping label for the other one.  Wow!  And in my email Inbox was an email from none other than Mr. Douthat himself instructing this lady to send me another machine.  I was cc’d on his email to her.  Now HOW NICE IS THAT??


The new machine arrived this weekend and it connected to the Canvas cloud lickety-split. also tossed in a couple of other accessories like a pen holder (retail $15.99), a roll of high tack fabric support sheets (retail $19.99), and a Brother Scanning Mat (retail $22.99).  I couldn’t be happier!  Honestly, in this day and age, customer service like that is hard to find.  Maybe it’s just Southern Hospitality but I’ll continue to shop from them and sing their praises.  If you are ever considering an online purchase, please think of them first.

Here’s my first go at cutting out some dinosaurs.  They turned out great.  I haven’t had time yet to play with the download part back into Simply Applique and the subsequent stitching onto the blocks in my embroidery machine.  I’ll be tackling that this week.


My goal is to fully automate applique quilts.  I’m loving this adventure!



McCall’s 6844

In keeping with my “Creative Fraud” persona, Sarah Gunn from made an amazing sweater with some yummy oatmeal boucle’ and  I HAD to have it.  Isn’t this precious? Sorry for the screenshot stuff off my phone. 🙂  If you don’t follow her blog but love to sew garments, you should check her out.


So I immediately hopped over to StyleMaker Fabrics to get the exact same fabric.  They still had some (it’s on backorder as of the date of this post) and then I searched and searched for the pattern by looking for $1.99 sales at JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby without any luck.  I decided to buy it full price since I couldn’t find it on sale (impatient with impending cold weather) but come to find out, that stinking pattern is out of print.  So Amazon came through again but I had to pay $12.99.  (sigh)  I wanted view B which is a bit longer without the peplum.  Girls built like me ought not wear anything fluffy added to the backside or hips, ya know?


During all my searching, I came across a couple of blogs that had made the same pattern but had not exactly followed the directions in the pattern.  Detective Houndstooth (who has allowed her blog to expire  – shame on her) made the collar using what she called “the burrito method” and I’ll explain that later.  It’s fabulous!

First I had to do an FBA.  I did some searching and chose this method because the description of the fabric says it’s a “knit” and I didn’t want a dart on knit fabric.  Lo and behold, this boucle’ isn’t a knit at all.  There’s no lengthwise or widthwise stretch to this stuff but this FBA worked just fine.  When I’m altering pattern pieces, I like to use Pellon Red Dot Pattern Tracing Cloth.  I love this stuff because it forms to your body for fitting much better than paper and it’s so easy to see movement of measurements by counting dots.  I added 1″ to the FBA since most commercial patterns are a B and I’m …not.


I had to lay the fabric and pattern pieces out on the pool table to cut it all out.


The beauty of the “burrito method” when attaching a collar, is that there are no exposed seams on the inside neckline when you’re finished.  Style Arc describes it here.  Basically, you create the collar (tortilla) as directed and put it face up on the table.  Then you roll up the body of the garment (burrito stuffing) and place the roll in the center of the tortilla.  Then you pull up the sides of the tortilla around the stuffing to meet each other making sure to capture the top edge of the back neckline (lettuce leaf) as you go and match all markings as you sandwich the lettuce between the edges of the collar, er…tortilla.  Pin like crazy to make sure you don’t capture any of the burrito stuffing in the seam other than that single piece of lettuce.  You with me so far?  I ended up with something like this.  That’s the lower collar on top with the interfacing pinned to the upper collar (on the bottom) with the rest of the garment rolled in between.  The back neckline is right sides together with the upper collar and is located between about 10 and 2 o’clock in this burrito roll.  What you see sticking out of the ends are the bottom edges of the front bodice pieces.


Then sew the normal seam allowance from end-to-end and be sure to backstitch.  The hardest part of all this is the wrangling as you pull the insides out and flip it around.  Ta-da!!  Perfect!  Look at that!! Not a seam in sight!  Factory!


My next deviation from the pattern was to sew the sleeves to the sleeve cap opening vs. a set-in sleeve as directed and then sew a long seam up the side seam and down the arm to the wrist.  Here’s the sleeve sewn to the armseye.


I brought out the big guns with the Janome 900 Cover Stitch.  Totally professional on the inside hem and you can’t even see it on the front.


I’m SOooo happy with how this turned out!  I ended up adding a hook & loop to the waist line so it would stay closed.  The only thing I would do different, and this was a total oversight because I was so thrilled with how the burrito turned out, is that I should have narrowed the lower collar by 1/4″ to 3/8″ so that it would naturally roll under.  I have some miniscule collar flipping going on at the back of my neck but my hair covers it.



It totally fits!  I wore it to work today on our first cold day this year and it was so snuggly.  I don’t think my dog is impressed.  🙂  She’s watching me take pictures thinking, “Would you put me outside already and give me my treat?”