Brother Scan N Cut – Adding seam allowances and cutting fabric for piecing tutorial

The Meadow quilt class last week was awesome, but the cutting for the pattern is a bit laborious. There are 80 shapes that have two curves, and 40 pieces that are sort of like a smoother version of the Star Trek logo. There will also be 20 long ovals but I think they will be too big for the machine so I’ll do those by hand (the CM650 model should be able to do them though as it can take mats twice as long). Here’s an example of what I mean:

I cut these pieces on the Scan N Cut, but only after I had already cut out the templates in the class itself. It has made things much easier! Unlike die cutting machines like the Accuquilt Go or the Sizzix Big Shot, you can specify your exact requirements for your project (rather than standard triangles, hexies, etc) and add seam allowances and get as many on one sheet as possible to make the process as economic as you can with unusual shapes. You choose the project and then make the Scan N Cut work for you, rather than trying to make a project up around existing dies and the shapes they produce.

So here’s another semi-tutorial today for those who are new to the machine, like me, which will show you some more things you can do with the machine building on the tutorial in my last post. I’m not sponsored by Brother, I genuinely just like this machine. This machine was borrowed so I could learn more but I have gone out and bought my own since!

Put the template you’re working with on the standard mat and scan to cut data.

I then used region detection – as a guide the top is outline detection, the middle is region detection and the bottom is line detection. I found region detection was best for this application because sometimes the outlines weren’t connecting up to make a full shape.

Then select the darkness detection thingy (technical!)…

Then Ignore Object Size…

Then select a size that makes sense- the number indicates what size drawings/lines/objects are ignored. I went for 3/4″ square.

Save the file. Find it again and open from the pattern screen. Then go into the top left shape menu and click select all. Deselect the shapes you want to keep and keep all of the extra scuzzy bits highlighted. Press the trash can delete option.

Now add the seam allowance to the shape so that it can be pieced rather than appliqued. To do this, go to the size screen (still within shape menu)…

And click the bottom right option which shows a box within a box. This is your seam allowance.

You can check it is 1/4″ by pressing the settings (spanner) button and scrolling through the menu.

You can also make several duplicate shapes whilst in the menu with the seam allowance setting. Click the + option beside ‘number’ to add more shapes.

You can drag out the new shapes to other areas of the mat space on screen. Press OK to go to the initial screen. Press the triangles (object arrangement) option on screen.

You have three options for arrangement on this screen. The top will arrange it in the most space efficient way possible, but will not take the grain of the fabric into account. The middle will arrange on the vertical or horizontal, flipping upside down as needed for best fit and the last option is good for cutting from directional fabric as the shapes are positioned as closely together as possible but without rotation. I chose the middle option!

You can resave over the top of the original scanned file if you wish to access the cleaned up and seam allowance-d shapes regularly. Apply the high tack fabric sheet to your mat. This is where having two mats is handy, or if you have a scanning mat, using that just to import files, as this sheet makes it a lot stickier and therefore you can’t put paper on it anymore.

Load the mat and go to the cut option…

And then once cut, unload the mat and peel off the excess and lift off the cut shapes. When the tacky sheet is fresh, you may need to curve the mat slightly to get better purchase on the shapes. Remember to pick threads from the mat with tweezers and keep the surface well covered for mat longevity.

My next mini-tutorial (when I get round to it) will cover importing designs from the computer. The high end model will do this wirelessly, so I’ll be showing you on the CM100 (basic model) that I bought!

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