Zooming onto the scene today came Sure Cuts Alot version 5. This new version has so many great new features it’s well worth the $24.99 cost to upgrade your software. Of course, if you don’t own SCAL, it is well worth the price in the first place at 75.00 (normally on sale at around 60.00). While I don’t make it a habit to use SCAL to create my SVG files, I do use the software once in awhile especially when I don’t want use Brother Canvas and just want to create my Brother SNC FCM file quickly. Yep, SCAL creates SNC FCM files, but it already did this in version 4.
One of IMHO, the best features of the new upgraded version is a technique called nesting. I first saw this in Silhouette Designer Pro, when a new level was announced with the ability to bring your machine embroidery designs into the software to make your cut files for applique designs. I loved it, but at the time, you had to save files in .studio format only, no ability to export out to SVG, Continue reading →
Just a little bit of news here.. I was hoping to post it this past Wednesday, but just totally didn’t have the time to write a post.
Several things, Debbie Kratovil and Esther Aliu have opened Facebook pages, Debbie’s is located here. Esther’s is here. Esther has also moved her yahoo group to Facebook and that group link is here. If you are following their block of the months, you may want to like the pages so you know when they update. Esther’s botm blocks are now available in her Facebook group, so you might want to join that group in order to keep apprised of the updates also. She has noted that for those of you who don’t like Facebook she will be posting the downloads on her blog also, thus, you can subscribe to her blog if you don’t like Facebook.
Sentimental Stitches is doing a fun year long giveaway of her previous vintage patterns, which she is calling Tuesday’s Treasures. The patterns will be available thru 2016. It is located here.
Last month, I was honored to be asked to do a guest post on the Quilting Focus blog site, and I thought I’d post a note about it, if you are interested in reading what my 5 favorite tools are for quilting, have a look at the post here.
For those of you who use cutting machines, I’ve added an updated tutorial for SVG sizing on my page here. It covers how to size in Silhouette Cameo, Make The Cut, and Sure Cuts Alot. It is a video tutorial, it does show some comparison sizing. It is at the bottom of the page.
It’s always funny to see peoples reactions to upgrades or updates to software. Silhouette Studio Designer Edition v3 has been no different. Based on the various reactions I’ve seen on the net whether it’s been blogs or on youtube, or even in yahoo groups, it’s definitely been a interesting experience to watch people try to play catch up. I’m not making fun of it, I’m just finding it interesting that so few people realized what the upgrade was going to have as new functions in the software. It does make me wonder who beta tested the software prior to it’s release. For quilters, the new upgrade has made things a bit easier, and in some ways more difficult. Several of the coolest new features such as the ability to now open and bring pdf files into the software is great news, but not the process in which it takes to create the cutting file. I would have thought Silhouette could have done a better job of this considering that so many other softwares convert pdf in a much better and easier way. The other is the new Nesting feature, a feature I haven’t done anything with yet, but was watching a video on youtube of how it works and thought WOW, as quilters we are going to love that feature. Essentially, the Nesting feature allows the shapes to move as close together as possible so no waste can occur. Amazing!! With this lesson I will show you how to open a pdf file and get it to the point where you can cut your fabric. Where .svg is concerned, you can follow the lesson for Silhouette 2.9 to work a svg file. Where differences occur, I will note that below in this lesson. The cutting process is different in Silhouette v3. To do this lesson you will need the paid version of the software
The video is 47 minutes long. It can help aid where pictures or the images below may not help, watching can give you a good overview to follow the lesson below also.
Open Silhouette Studio Design Edition v3
It doesn’t matter which button you click here, for the work table, both the “Open” and the “Design” will take you to the same place. It’s just the “Store” and “Library” that will take you to those parts of the software.
Click the Open Icon or go to File, Open in the menu.
Use the Files of Type window to see and choose the pdf.
Choose your pdf file and click ok.
When your pdf has more than 1 page of template shapes, you’ll have the option to choose which page you want to work on. In this case I chose page 2
These images will be different from the video, the sample pdf provided for this lesson will also be different shapes, but the lesson is still the same.
You can choose a different dpi which may help to improve the quality, but I honestly didn’t notice a difference in the video when I chose to use the 600dpi.
The pdf image will then appear on your worktable.
Because this lesson shows different shapes than the pdf sample does, we will be deleting some parts that aren’t shown in the video.
Because this is a pdf image, we are going to have to Trace the shapes. Click the Trace icon.
Click on Select Trace Area
Drag the area of the image till it’s all covered with the selection.
Once you select the entire area, you’ll see a yellowish line start to appear.
Play with your settings on the trace window.
When I did the video sample, I needed it on to fill the lines. However, when I was creating this original lesson, I had it turned off just fine and got a great yellow line.
What your needing here is to see the yellow lines fully cover your black outlines from the image. it doesn’t matter how the key numbers and letters are, it matters what the outside edges are doing.
Move the threshold up and down until your yellow fills the black areas.
What your trying to avoid happening here is double red lines.
Use your zoom tool to help you do that.
Zoom in to get a closeup comparison.
This is still not filled in well enough.
This is better
and finally I am happy.
Check the rest of the shapes, they should be a strong yellow line.
Click on Trace Outer Edge
You’ll see the redness appear.
Select the image
and drag it away
Once it’s out of the way, you can delete the pdf image. You no longer need it.
Click your image again, then right click and choose Release Compound Path.
We do this to separate the shapes.
The little box shapes should show up around each shape.
Click outside of the big selection box, and then click an individual shape.
You should be able to move it around at this point.
In this sample, 4 of these shapes are considered embroidery shapes for hand and machine embroidery. They are not needed to be cut, so you can hilight
and delete them.
Move your shapes around enough to allow the ability to add your seam allowance. If your grid is not showing, you can right click on the tab and tell it to show the grid.
or click the grid icon.
Click the Offset icon. This is in a different place than version 2.9.
Select all the shapes
Check the seam allowance, if the numbers are not 0.250 change them to 0.250.
Click the Corner or Round button depending on your preference, then click Apply.
This is how your worktable should look after applying the Offset.
Separate the inside edge
Move each piece outside to the grayed area.
Once they are all moved to the grey background area, click on New, or the New Drawing Icon.
Select the shapes on the grayed area, right click and choose cut.
Go to the New tab and Paste or Paste In Place.
These will be your freezer paper shapes, you can save them as a FP file for later use.
Once you finish the shapes on the tab with the offset, you can save it as a FC.
We are now ready to go and create the cut lines so you can cut your fabric and or your freezer paper cuts.
Click on the Cut Settings icon.
You’ll notice thick red lines on the shapes, why they appear this way I can’t answer and it is confusing, and even tho they appear like cut lines you still need to setup the settings.
By default the line will usually show up as a No Cut when you open the Cut Settings window.
Select all the shapes
Click on the “Cut Edge” in the Cut Style menu.
Even if this is your freezer paper cut, your still going to choose Cut Edge.
The material type is Fabric for Thin fabrics like Cotton Prints.
If this is your freezer paper cut, you would choose Copy Paper instead or find a paper in the list that is lightweight in it’s nature, I use the copy paper line.
Your knife settings will automatically change depending on the material type. However, it is rare that you will cut fabric on a knife setting of 3. You do not need to change the knife setting on this window, but in the machine itself, you do need to change the knife setting. My setting on my knife is normally at 4, when I cut denim it was on 5.
If your doing freezer paper as a cut, your knife setting will for copy paper will be a 2, while I didn’t notice the 2 when I did freezer paper, I did set my knife on 3 and had a perfect cut without cutting the mat.
If you are marking fabric, freezer paper, or stabilizer, you will change the knife to the sketch pen in the pull down window where it says Ratchet Blade in the image.
A marking cut will also have a “cut style” of cut edge. You can use the No Cut line as well, but it’s because your using the sketch pen that the line doesn’t matter, although no matter what you have to set the line anyway.
Leave all other cut settings alone.
If your machine is not turned on, the “Send To Silhouette” line will be grayed out.
If your machine is turned on, your Send To Silhouette button will be clickable.
Once you click on the Send To Silhouette, another window will appear and you can click Start.
Be sure your mat is laying in the machine tray prior to pressing start.
Using Silhouette Studio 2 9 to Create Cutting Files pt 1
Using Silhouette Studio 2 9 to Create Cutting Files pt 2
The same lesson is below in image form to help guide you step by step.
Supplies you will need: A pdf pattern with quilt template shapes InkscapeSilhouette Studio Designer Edition 2.9 (this is the only pay software you need) Silhouette Cutting Machine I think it goes without saying that this is a Silhouette tutorial, geared towards using a Silhouette Cutting machine such as the Cameo. I’m only guessing that this would work with all models, but I only own a Cameo, so I don’t know for sure that this lesson works for all Silhouette cutters.
You should download and install both Inkscape and Silhouette Studio Designer Editions.
Know which folder your pdf file is in, then open Inkscape.
As the image notes above, Inkscape opens each time with a pretty small window, even tinier than I’ve shown here, you need to always resize it to open at your preferred size. It doesn’t save the size either from each opening. I do not know if their is any setting in preferences that fixes this issue.
I resize from the bottom corner, but you can resize from any corner. Just drag your mouse until it’s the size you want to work with.
Once you are finished resizing, Go to File, Click on Import
Choose your pdf file
A window will appear in which you will need to choose which page of the pdf file you wish to open first.
It doesn’t matter if the pdf file is 2 pages of 20 pages, you are just working with the pages that contain your shapes. If only 3 of the pages are template shapes, then your going to only need to know which page those template shapes are on. You can click thru the pdf file till you find them and work each page separately.
You will be making a svg file for each pdf page.
In this sample image, I chose to work page 2 of the 3 pdf pages.
Click ok, and your shapes will appear on the Inkscape window.
It will open the file already selected.
We’re only going to be in Inkscape (why do I keep wanting to type Netscape :)) for a few moments, even tho I’ve taken plenty of images, each page shouldn’t take you more than just a few minutes to do.
We want to move the selected area into the paper area on your work table. By clicking on a line of the shape, drag it into the worktable.
Once it’s in position
Right click and Choose Ungroup on the menu.
You want to see the dashed lines around each shape, if they aren’t their, try it again.
Click outside of the area, then choose a shape and click on one of the “key” letters and numbers
Once it’s highlighted,
press the delete key on your keyboard.
We are going to delete each one of these in each shape. So go ahead and do that.
When you come to shapes that won’t be cut with fabric, such as the J1 and G1 in this image above. (In this pattern, the eyes are meant to be embroidered, even tho I still give the applique shape pattern for them).
Click and drag the shapes.
Once they are hilighted, press the delete key on your keyboard.
If your going to applique them, then do not delete them, you’ll need them to cut your shapes.
Go to File | Save As
By default, Inkscape will save as a .svg file, name your file and click Save.
Do your other pdf pages in this same manner. Once all your svg files are made from the other pdf pages, Open Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.
No matter what your cut type your creating is, your svg files will remain the same.
With quilting, there are three types of files you can or will be making.
Freezer Paper Cuts
I’m going to show you all three on this page and they are also featured also in the video.
Unless other wise stated, the same process is done for each type of cut until you need to create the placements for your cuts.
Marking Cuts are not actual cuts, but instead you use a pen or marking pencil to mark instead of a knife blade.
Click the open icon.
Use the Files of Type svg line to have svg files show up.
It is possible you may first need to use the “Look In” at top of window to browse to your folder you just saved those svg files in.
Another tip, if you have the file open in explorer
You can drag it to the window. That’s where the SVG Viewer I mentioned in Today’s Cutting Techniques comes in handy. You could also just paste the path from explorer into your open window like below:
Once you click ok, it will open to the folder you want, and you can choose the svg file that way to.
Hilight the svg file you wish to open, and click ok.
Once you do that, your svg file will appear in the work window in a second tab which it will name to the same as your svg file. (look to bottom left of image to see the tab)
The Untitled.studio file will also remain in place. You can close it, but you may need it, I just always keep mine open.
Right click and choose Release Compound Path on the menu.
Right click again and choose Ungroup on the menu.
You may need to “Ungroup” twice. I’ve never had the boxes around show up the first time around, I’ve always had to ungroup twice. When the boxes around the shapes show up then you know you can move to the next step. (and I do realize they are hard to see, but their is no way to have them show up better)
Click outside of the selected area until nothing is selected.
Now click on any shape, it should select that shape by itself.
To select several shapes at the same time, click anywhere, then drag over the shapes trying not to cover fully the shapes you don’t want.
Hilight the two bows and two ribbons on the right side of the window.
The reason we do this is because we are going to move these shapes to that untitled.studio file I mentioned earlier. Remember, we are currently creating a Fabric cut, so we have to think in these terms. We won’t have enough room on the mat once we add the seam allowance for all the shapes, so we need to move some shapes in order to fit them.
After you hilight the files and they are selected, right click and choose “Cut” on the menu. You could choose copy, but, you will just have to come back to that tab to delete them. Cut will do the same thing as copy, but will also delete the files on the current tab.
Click on the Untitled.studio file. If you closed this, just go to the first icon under the word File in the top right corner and click. (It will say “New Drawing” when you hover over it)
Once on your on the new tab, right click and choose Paste or Paste In Front.
The difference with these two lines is that if you had other files on this mat that your pasting to fit into place, you would want to use the Paste In Front, so you could easily move them after pasting. If you just use paste, it’s a bit harder to move them.
Once you choose which paste feature you want to use, the selection will appear on your worktable. If your shapes weren’t on the mat prior to pasting, they will paste in the same spot as they were on the other worktable.
You will then want to move the shapes around, we need to make enough room to add that seam allowance to each of the shapes, so allow at least 2 of the small squares between each of your shapes in other words, a 1/2-inch at the least.
Do the other tab as well if you’d like.
Click on the Offset icon.
Offset is how we are going to add seam allowances in Silhouette 2.9+
Press “Ctrl and the A” keys on your keyboard (Mac Users, we are selecting all shapes).
Click the Offset button
Before you click apply, you’ll want to set your seam allowance which should be 0.250 in the Offset Distance window. If it is currently any other number, change it to 0.250.
Do not click apply yet.
I prefer to “corner” my points and turns, but have a look at each one to see which you would prefer. You will notice a difference on the shapes as you decide which one your going to use.
Once you decide that you can click Apply.
Next, we need to separate the shapes,
Because the fabric is going to cut the outer edge, we need to move the inside shape out of the way. Click the inner shape with your mouse.
When it’s selected, drag it out of the way out into the non-mat area (greyed background area in image, it doesn’t matter which side you move it to)
Move the rest of the shapes into the same grayed background area.
Once you have them all in place, select all of them by dragging over the shapes.
Right click and choose cut
Click on the “New Drawing” icon.
A new work table will appear.
Paste or Paste in Front.
The shapes should show up in that same spot of the grayed area.
Move them onto the mat. You can move these quite close together, as these shapes will become your Freezer Paper Cuts.
Move all the shapes into place on the mat.
At this point, we should save our files so that at the very least, we can tell them apart.
This is currently your freezer paper cut
Go go File, Save As, or
click on the disk icon if it’s already been saved as a file to save your files. Do this with each of the tabs.
With the untitled.studio file it will come up as that name, you can then rename it to what you prefer.
My naming algorithm is named by the pattern I am doing and type of cut. Sometimes I’ll add the pdf page number also.
As an example:
In the image above you can see that I’ve labeled this as
LT05 = Little Treasures May pattern
p2-1 = pdf page 2 part 1
but most important to me is knowing what type of cut it is:
FP = Freezer Paper Cut
when it’s a fabric cut, I name it with FC
if it’s a Marking Cut, I use MC
and I usually make a Layers cut as well (same as marking type of cuts, but the Layer I’m talking about is to create the placement for the layout on your background block) but named with LC in the filenames.
Bring your other original sized pieces over to your Freezer Paper window to try and fit them on the mat. Know that it’s not uncommon that you may need 2 or 3 files of Freezer Paper .studio files to fit all your shapes depending on how many shapes need cutting.
With Freezer Paper Cut files, you can have as many shapes on your worktable mat as you can fit. As close together as you need, although I’m not fond of butting them right up next to each other, I do my best to get them as close as possible.
If your going to cut your freezer paper on the 12×12 mat, there are two things to be aware of.
The first is that if you are using Reynolds Freezer paper or paper that is wide like Reynolds is, you will cut a 12×12 piece of freezer paper to place on your mat.
If you are using C.Jenkins freezer paper, those sheets are 8×11, so you will need to go to your Page Tools.
and change the size of the area on the mat that will fit into
an 8×11 paper size
Once you click on the 8×11 paper size, you will then see that you will need to move some shapes to another tab so that your other shapes will cut. If you were to leave it like this, the cut would cut out like it’s a 12×12 mat but your outer shapes would be cut off because of the difference in the paper size to the mat.
Tips On Freezer Paper Cuts
Your freezer paper will need to have the wax to the mat side and your paper to the top. If you reverse this and place the wax on the top, you will need to “flip” or reverse your shapes as well so that they will iron on the fabric properly.
Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten that we moved from fabric cuts right into freezer paper cuts 🙂
Because a Marking Cut is different from these two cuts, I will do that via a lesson below after we go thru creating Cut lines (yep, we still haven’t done that yet) 🙂 for your freezer paper and your fabric.
The following is for fabric and freezer paper cuts until we get to the Silhouette Cut Settings portion of the lesson. They will have separate images explaining based on the media/medium.
Let’s Get It Cut
Click on the Scissors icon in your software.
It will open the Cut Style window
Select all your shapes.
Click on the Cut Edge line on the menu.
Once you do this, your shapes will turn red.
Like you see here in this image above.
I seem to have cut part of the image off above, but we want to now go to the Silhouette Cut Settings icon (looks like a angled pencil/pen/knife)
When you change to this window, you need to know which file you are working on, whether it’s a fabric or a freezer paper cut.
In this case, it’s a fabric cut in the image above.
For the media, we want to choose Fabric (Thin fabric like cotton prints)
Your going to use the Knife Blade
Leave the other settings alone.
However and even tho I’ll discuss this again later on the cutting pages, you will change your knife setting to 3, 4 or 5. Do not go above 5, if you have to go above 5 for this, your fabric is not prepared well enough, or your fabric and backing are not stable enough on the mat. If you make the choice to go above 5, their is the strong possibility of cutting your mat and getting bad cuts on the fabric.
If you are doing the freezer paper cut, your going to choose “Print Paper” as the medium.
Their is no video for this part of the lesson. The process is the same whether you use version 2.9 or 3.0.
This is not something you are likely to do, the only reason I give it is so that if you wish to try it, you can. I’m going to show a very minimal version of the how to on this
The reason this is hard to implement, is because when your pasting the shapes to a new tab, you can’t move them afterwards, you can’t even more the original files, because if you do, the marking will not be right on the cuts.
Marking Cuts involve the original size and the fabric cut.
It is by far easier to just eyeball the 1/4-inch seam allowance or use a ruler on your fabric to line things up when you iron your freezer paper shapes onto the fabric cut shapes.
This method is for the Silhouette cutting machines only. It is done very different and much easier on the Scan and Cut machines. With the Scan and cut machine, you can scan in your shapes, mark the shapes and cut all in one pass without ever having to worry about a little move of the shape onto the worktable.
For me personally, I just eyeball it when I apply the freezer paper to the fabric. It’s just faster.
However, if you want to give it a look or try it out, here’s the low down on how to do it.
Move your shapes around as if your going to add a seam allowance.
Open your Freezer Paper File
Save it immediately as a fabric Cut filename
Click on your Offset icon.
Select your shapes and Click your offset line.
Check to be sure your 0.250 is set on the Offset Distance line and you are sure about the Corner or Round, then click Apply.
Once the offset is applied, we then need to group the shapes.
Select one shape at a time
Right click and choose Group on the menu.
By grouping it will allow us to move the shapes later into place without having to be sure we have both shapes moving at the same time.
Once we move them and get them the way we plan to cut, you won’t be able to move them again, so it’s important to group until we need to separate them again.
Continue grouping one shape at a time, if you need room to group the larger shapes, you can safely move the shapes you’ve groups already.
Once you are done grouping the shapes all together, move them into position for cutting your fabric. Once you decide on this choice, you won’t be able to move them, so please get them as close as you feel comfortable with. I haven’t gone as close as I normally would in the image above, but the image is only suppose to show you that it is in position to cut.
Click the New Drawing icon.
Select a shape.
Right click and click on Ungroup.
It may be a little hard to see in this image, but we now want to select an inside shape not the outside. Right click and choose Cut.
Go to the next tab you just opened.
Right click and choose Paste or Paste In Front.
The shape will appear in the exact same spot it was in on the other tab.
(I am aware this isn’t the same shape selected in the image above this one, but I had my images out of order and captured the wrong one when I was creating this part of the lesson).
When you go back to the fabric tab, you will see the shape is missing as it should be.
Continue to move the inside shapes on your fabric cut window one by one to the new window and save it as a Marking Cut filename.
Once you are finished you will be ready to cut.
The order of cutting is important here
When you get to the Cut Settings Window, you need to be using your marking cut file first, cut the outside edge line,
and for the “knife” choose the Sketch Pen.
Lay your mat into the cutting tray with your fabric on top, place a sketch pen preferably a washable pen or a white chalk like pencil, something that will glide easily over the fabric. Your pen/pencil choices here are important choices, if you choose something that’s washable, be sure it won’t become permanent when you iron it, since you iron first and then wash later.
Once it’s finished, without removing the mat from the cutting area of the machine, then set the fabric cut in place, and set it to knife. Replace the pencil/pen with your knife set already to the knife cut # you need for the cotton fabric.
Then cut the fabric.
Once finished, you can remove the fabric from the mat and iron your freezer paper shapes onto the fabric.
When I tested this, I used Chalk pencils with no problem.
I offer these lessons to be helpful, although I don’t know everything their is to know about this process, these are processes I have followed and that have worked for me. As I stated previously, what I know about these processes I have learned from others on the web willing to share their experiences. Granted, I have formed my own how to process and I have extensively tested the process in both my Silhouette and my Brother Scan and Cut machines.
If this were a machine embroidery design, you’d do a test stitch out first, it’s the same for any type of cutting, do a test cut first.
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