Sunday, February 14, 2016

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

When I first learned to applique (way back in the dark ages), there was a lot about the process I didn't like. There seemed to be a lot of extra steps, making extra work without extra value. I think in another life time I might have been an efficiency engineer. I love the idea of doing my best work with the least amount of effort. Streamlining the process is what has lead me to the technique I call "Hand Applique by Machine" (or, as Craftsy prefers "Machine Finished Hand Applique").

Instead of sewing everything twice (basting), I glue baste, for example. And to avoid the step of removing the freezer paper, I developed Wash Away Applique Sheets.

Another tedious, but vital, step in the process is cutting out the templates. I tried to make it quicker by stapling and cutting multiple layers of templates, and that works just fine. But what if we could just send a little file to a machine and hey, presto! perfect templates? It's just as easy as sending a document to the printer, but this machine spits out applique!
I've considered all sorts of die cutting options. The problem with die cutting machines is that the sizes are set, a die for a rose will only ever make a rose that size. But a file for an electronic cutter can be scaled to any size! Look at all those perfect templates, cut from my WAAS.
I've been playing with my Silhouette Cameo. I'm learning how to use the design tools, which are really pretty simple.

I love that I can make perforated lines for the internal shapes, which will make it very easy to keep the parts of a motif together. There is also a process for writing on the shapes, which will help in organizing the shapes for a large project. I'll be playing with that next.
I'm not completely happy with this project yet. I really don't like my fabric choices, so I'll be reworking it and making it again. But I am thrilled with the possibilities of easily cutting my applique templates, just look at those perfect circles, imagine being able to make them in any size! I wonder, though, is this a gadget that applique quilters could love? Would you be tempted by a pattern that included a file for an electronic die cutter?


  1. I would certainly be interested. I know Brother has a machine that I can send applique designs to from my embroidery software, but I've been busy with other projects and haven't explored what can and can't be done. Maybe you could do a class on this?

  2. I LOVE the electronic cutters! I love my dies but with the cutters the sky is the limit! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

    1. This is good to know. I haven't used the dies, they always seemed rather limited in what I could do with them. I wasn't aware of the electronic cutters until I saw this post by Beth. I may be breaking into my piggy bank (which is already broken).

  3. Absolutely - this is EXACTLY why I bought my Cameo cutting machine! Can't wait to see what you have in mind.

  4. It's great to see you embracing the cutting machines Beth. I've promoted them for over two years now on my blog, but die cutters just seem to win out in the cutting machine wars. I didn't buy a die cut machine for the very reason you didn't either. I don't like that I'd be tied into that one size forever, unless I want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a different size. I love that I can just take a pdf file, open it in Make The Cut, label the shapes, and export to svg, then I open mine in Silhouette's software and cut. I choose to use Make the Cut, because their is no tracing of a pdf file in MTC versus in Silhouette. Silhouette's tracing feature can be finicky and I find it faster to just use MTC and create the .svg file. Plus, the .svg file can be used by others with different brands of cutting machines.

    I hadn't ever given much thought to perforating the freezer paper tho, what a cool idea and I can definitely see incorporating it.

    The other thing I do with my cutter is to print my layouts onto a stabilizer, to then place my shapes on with, thus the stabilizer will wash away after I stitch it to the background.

    I look forward to seeing what more you will be doing with your cutter.

  5. This is also the exact reason I purchased my Artistic electronic cutter! I'm still at the stage of using paper to play with shapes and to learn the software, but anxious to do more. I recently scanned a page from one of my many applique books and had success importing it into my cutter software. So many possibilities!

  6. Anonymous3:29 PM

    its not far enough along yet for me (i dont want to buy the obsolete technogy) Like VHS and BATA tapes years ago. you bought one or the other......then along came DVD and now blue ray. So until its further along

  7. I also have a cameo. I bought it to use for quilting, but have found the software more difficult to learn that I had hoped. I would love any tutorials or patterns offered for using it. Just pulled Lillebets Garden from my UFO pile!!