Saving cut files for the Cameo, Scan ‘N Cut, & more for embroidery designs

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo - Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

Create with fabric cut using Silhouette Cameo – Essentials will save the cut files from your appliqué embroidery designs!

I had mentioned in an early post that there was a simpler solution on the horizon for creating cut files for machine embroidery appliqué designs.  Well it has arrived!  The current version of Essentials software has some pretty nifty features and functions for existing appliqué embroidery designs and I just finished the video showing a quick overview of these functions.

Before I give you that link let me first talk about the purse shown to the left.  I’ve been reading about all these people who were embroidering monograms on straw floppy hats they had gotten at discount stores like DollarTree.  Ours did not have any but they did have these really cool circular placemats in all sorts of bright colors.  I picked up a few thinking I could bring out the Puffy Foam from its stash in my closet and try my hand with a swirly monogram.  Before I forget – this alphabet collection is from Rivermill Embroidery and stitches out LOVELY!

And then I thought about trimming those appliqué pieces in the hoop on a textured rather stiff surface like this straw placemat.  Yeah.  I’ve been doing this long enough to know there was not enough wine in my house to calm my nerves with that project! Even with my favorite Kai Scissors! But I knew Embrilliance was working on creating the cut files so I waited a week or so until I got the test version and HOLY SMOKES!  Embrilliance, Cameo and machine embroidery appliqué designs is a winning combination.  I’m in heaven.

And sure I can rather quickly create the cut file in the Studio software and double checking to make sure that it is the exact size and shape to match the embroidery design – but that’s only part of what makes this triple combination so perfect.  In Essentials, when you combine two designs together and over lap them, the Remove Hidden Stitches (RHS) function kicks in when you save the stitch file.  The software AUTOMATICALLY looks at the overlapped area and removes the stitches from the first design on the bottom during the save process.  And what is even better, is that this process is only done in the stitch file – what you will send to the machine.  Your original working file still has the complete designs.  Yes, if you want to tweak things and change them up, no need to start over – simply open your working file (has the BE extension), make your changes, and resave to the stitch file.

One of the potential lumps in an overlapped appliqué

So that’s all fine and dandy with traditional embroidery designs….but yes… this is also possible with appliqué designs – OR if you mix and match appliqué and traditional embroidery style designs!  In other software programs, and I’ve been doing it for years so its nothing new, you would have to open the combined designs and use the stitch editing function to select and delete those stitches underneath.  Again, not hard to do, just extra steps.  And you have to be careful with appliqué, is that you don’t want to remove the placement and material stitches when you start deleting things – then you get into trouble at the machine.

But what Brian Bailie of Embrilliance has done is developed a way for us to go in and tell the software “hey this is an appliqué design.  It has running stitches that are used to mark where the appliqué fabric goes, hold the appliqué fabric in place so you can trim around it, and then finish it off with a satin or other decorative stitch.  So now that you know that, Mr Essentials Software Program, when I choose to overlap these designs, you need to think of the region enclosed by the appliqué position running stitch as “filled with stitches” not this empty white space.  I want you to remove anything that is underneath just like you would if it was a filled stitch design”  Hey – I talk to my software and computers all the time so this does not seem like an unusual conversation to me 🙂

comparison of puffy foam vs none

Now removing the extra satin stitch from overlapped designs may not be that impressive to you.  So you have a little bit of overlapped satin stitches – eh no big deal!  Well you haven’t stitched with Puffy Foam yet have you!  This hit me when I was trying out colors on placemat number 1…the letter S does not have foam under the letters and looks rather choppy.  I was going for a tropical look so not only did the teal colored finishing stitch give me the pop I was looking for, but placing the puffy foam on top of the appliqué fabric and having the finishing satin go right over it really helped it stand out and make a statement.

And because I was using Essentials software, when I stitched the letter S first, where the designs overlapped, the satin had been removed — so there was no shiny bump in those areas – the satins were gone.

I use the Puffy Foam made by Sulky – it tears away very cleanly without pulling the stitches.  No I have not tried craft foam – I have enough of the original in my stash to host kindergarten arts and crafts day for a month so there is no need for me to try anything else.  Hey, it was on sale and its not like it will go bad!

Seriously, my stash has been in development for years.  I have been challenging myself to use fabric in my stash first so it has been shrinking – not as quickly as I would have liked, but its a work in progress.

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

Saving a Cut File in Essentials from an appliqué position shape

So I saved my cut files just like the video shows – on the Applique Position tab, you choose Save as CutFile and in the Save as dialog choose which format you want to save to.  Now just so you know, a cut file is not a stitch file…and its not really a graphics file.  But I am so happy that the folks at Embrilliance figured out take the stitch file information and translate that in such a way that the cutting machine can create a shape that fits inside the stitched shape!  This is an exclusive feature that is being patented.  On top of that, there was a lot of conversations and working behind the scenes with the folks at Silhouette in order to actually create the Studio file.

And the software will also save an FCM file which is what is used by the Brother Scan ‘N Cut (SNC)  – save this file to a USB stick, put it in your SNC and pull it up to cut right there on the screen!  The other two formats are more universal – SVG and PLT.  If you have a cutting machine that uses or imports either one of these formats this is what you will want to save to!  The SVG format is super popular among those in the scrap booking industry.  No.  Just say No….I have to tell myself No every so often that I do not need to know more about scrap booking….I fear it can be just as addictive as machine embroidery and my stash does not need to go in that direction 🙂

So a lot of work went into making this easy to use function – so glad that we get to benefit from their hard work!  So are you interested in seeing the software in action with this neat feature?  Here is the link to the youtube video:

Check it out.  If you already own Essentials the update will be available (if it hasn’t been posted yet) from their website under the download link.

Yes this software works on either Mac or Windows and if you happen to own both computers, you can install the program on both without extra cost.

If you don’t own Essentials and it looks like something you might be interested in, why not check it out?  I don’t work for the company – I’ve been an independent educator for machine embroidery for well over 17 years.  However, I am an Embrilliance affiliate because I believe that this company offers an excellent product for the price and I am impressed with the innovative thinking that goes behind all the features and functions that are added to the programs.  12 built in fonts that stitch out well at various sizes, monograms or multiline text capabilities, resize designs with stitch recalculation by either pulling on the corners of the design to make the design “that big” or type in an accurate size, merge designs, remove hidden stitches, work with BX fonts so you can type names using fancy alphabets, sorts colors, converts to your favorite thread brand, print templates and color change sheets, split for the basic multi position hoops, switch between metric and inches with a simple button at the top of the screen, add a basting box and more — all this in one program with an easy to use interface.

ANYWAY – I’ll get off my soapbox for now 🙂  Have a great week – happy stitching!  Lisa SewBubbles

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Personalized Tote part 1

I keep getting distracted by “life” — and I know I’m not alone in this!  So I’ve decided to write smaller posts and post them one at a time as I get them done instead of one big long one.  This way, when the Milgard window man rings the doorbell to replace the garage window that was shattered by a Flicker bird a couple weeks ago, I can just hit publish and at least part of the project will be posted 🙂  Maybe this will help me get it completed!

So first off, here is the link for the totebag instructions in case I forget to post that later:  Click here   I found the instructions extremely well written with LOTS of pictures. I was multitasking – making two totes at the same time – and the great step-out pictures really kept me in line! The only part that threw me off was the 1/2″ seam allowance that I just couldn’t get used to.  So there was a bit of “reverse sewing” done when attaching the side panels, but besides that, it all went together rather simply!

Rose Impression design collection

I knew that I was going to embroider the pocket, so I cut this piece over-sized so it could be trimmed down.  Based upon the measurement of the pocket, I knew the design should be about 5×7.

I had the perfect design in mind – one of the Rose Impressions designs from SnowLady.  I had stitched out the large ones on the flap of a messenger bag and knew that her style of digitizing the roses would be a perfect compliment for the fabric I had selected from my stash.  Here is a link to the multisized set: Click here

So I had the project selected, and the design selected – now it was time for me to go into the Embrilliance software and start customizing.

merge_sizeSo the first thing I want to do is select the design and open it into my software.  All of the designs are gorgeous, but I was going for a specific “look”.  I knew I wanted to include a name with the design, so I was looking for a “strong corner” that wasn’t too overwhelming.  I also knew I wanted to stitch this in my PES 5×7 which is actually 130x180mm – YES it is important to clarify what machine/format 5×7 hoop I’m choosing because none of the machine formats are actually 5×7 exact OR even the same size.  So I choose the design (shown with a check mark on my Mac) then click on Import to have this design added to my design page in Embrilliance Essentials.  First thing I do is save my project name so that if I get distracted I don’t have to start over from scratch!

Design pageSo here is my design open in Embrilliance Essentials.  Couple things to point out in case you aren’t familiar.  To quickly switch between metric and inches, use the measurement radio buttons on the left of the menu information bar at the top.

The hoop selected as well as the design size is shown at the bottom of the status bar.  When the design resides OUTSIDE the hoop boundary in the design page, you will see a yellow warning highlight over the design size.

The object pane on the right shows the name of the merged stitch file – click on the arrow to the left to expand the design into its color breaks/objects.  It is now really easy to select and delete parts of a design by color – simply click on the color in the object pane for the stitches you want and they are selected in the design page.  When something is selected, it is shown in color and the rest of the design is grayed out.  I did not want the “impression” of the rose, so I selected the gray redwork style object in the object pane and hit the delete key.

Step 1This color is removed from the Object pane on the right.

Its color is no longer listed in the color properties list below.

The stitches are removed from the design page.

The design size is updated at the bottom of the screen.

I want to make sure that I save my work so that I can come back to it later.  Some people like to ask “how often should you save your work?”  My rule of thumb when customizing designs is to save everytime you complete something you “never want to do again”!  Computer glitches happen – the phone rings, the cat jumps on the keyboard, I get sidetracked and forget what I was doing and start another project!  Hitting CTRL+S or Command+S on the keyboard following every step is an easy habit to get into and has saved my bacon many a time!

In fact, right now, Daisy is on alert — looks like the Milgard window guy has arrived!  So I will continue this project in a bit!


Mug Cuddler with Embroidery

A quick gift to make - under 3 hours including the embroidery

A quick gift to make – under 3 hours including the embroidery

No, i have not forgotten my February messenger bag project, I just needed a break and wanted to start and finish something quickly 🙂  I found this adorable coffee mug wrapper project while I was browsing around Facebook the other day with my cup of coffee.

If you check out their project, they use a fun print fabric with a matching covered button.  I decided to embroider my decorative band and use a funky button that I have in my collection.  Oh I know I am not the only out there with a bunch of onsie twosie buttons that you just couldn’t get rid of!

So first I cut all the fabric per the instructions EXCEPT, I made the band 2.5″ wide instead of only 2 and this was based upon my PERSONAL experience.  I know I will use wash away adhesive stabilizer (Floriani Wet & Gone Tacky is what I used today) and just in case I did forget to prewash this fabric or there is extra pull in the lettering — it’s only a 1/2″ and I feel better knowing I have that cushion.

So first I needed to figure out the height for my lettering.  Based upon the original measurements of 2″ wide -fold that in half and subtract the 1/4″ seam allowance and you get 3/4″ tall is how tall that band is going to be.  So you would want your letters to be LESS than 3/4″ tall and however much smaller they are is how much of a border top and bottom you will have.  I wanted my lettering to be pretty big so I first gave up this whole funky math thing and switched to metric.  I gave it a try, but when you start trying to figure out margins in something that is bigger than 1/8″ but less than 1/4″ — oh that is just not my idea of a good time!

So I got out my hand metric ruler and decided to work with the maximum height (edge to edge) of 18mm.  I’d like a 2mm margin top and bottom so that means my letters need to be 14mm tall.  SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS?

Choose Grid settings from the Properties page in Essentials

Choose Grid settings from the Properties page in Essentials

So now we just need to set up the software with this value and we are good to go.  I opened by Embrilliance Essentials and chose the properties page and clicked on Grid Settings.  This is where you can choose the background color that you would like to use as well what grid distance you would like.

So here is a handy trick to remember, and this is from that geometry class we all LOVED in grammar school and asked “when am I ever going to need to know about the X and Y axis in real life?”.  Wonder how many of you just flashed back to chalkboards and math class?  ANYWAY, the X-Y axis crossed at 0,0 or the direct center.  It went positive in one direction and negative in the other along each of the axises.  So guess what?  The grid for your embroidery hoop works the same exact way! The center of your hoop is (0,0) – zero zero. OH NO she’s bringing math into my embroidery!  First it was the metric system and now it’s the X-Y axis…..and if you were sleeping during grammar school math and have no clue what I’m talking about, google “geometry x and y axis” and you can read all about the Cartesian coordinate system and have Sister Theresa flashbacks like me 🙂

So after that “fun trip down memory lane” what does this mean?  It means that you can now plan your embroidery layout!  The 0,0 is the center of your hoop… of the design page…..the line above is 14mm above the center line.  So you can put whatever you want between these two lines – the center horizontal and the one 14mm above it and it will fit in that fabric strip we are going to embroider.  I know, with all this math and preparation I too almost forgot what we were doing this all for!

Type in your text and Set, choose font, change to metric and type in 14.

Type in your text and Set, choose font, change to metric and type in 14.

So here is my workspace set up and I can click on the lettering tool which puts an ABC in the center of my hoop — not gonna stay there for long.

First I change the ABC to Valerie and click on SET.

Next change the font to what you would like – I selected Comedy.

You have a choice now – you can size the selection on screen by dragging the corner handles so that the stitches fit inside the grid lines.  But of course there is another way that some people might find easier.

Now look at the menu bar of information at the top.  Yes, you will want to change from inches to mm.  For the Height value type in 14 (and if you are on a Mac you need to hit ENTER on your keyboard to set it).

Yes, we could have avoided that whole conversation about the Cartesian coordinate system and grammar schools flashbacks by just skipping to this step.  But you know what?  One day you will find that information useful 🙂

So if this is all you wanted to do – boom you are done!  Save the file and stitch!

butterflyBut I wanted to add some little funky flowers and I didn’t want to digitize them myself.  I knew I had seen something similar recently from a friend’s website –  Bonnie has created these cool butterflies that stitch like a dream even with the tight curls in the run stitches.

Once you start customizing designs, you really start looking at them in a whole new way.  When I saw the butterflies I knew they were gorgeous as a whole, but I also saw the swirls and tiny flowers as future components to my projects.  And this is why I support digitizers who create designs that stitch well and sell them.  When I saw this design and stitched it out, the tiny details were exactly what I could use for a simple project like this.

So, I opened this design in Essentials – do NOT close the other one just yet!  We are going to take one of those green flowers, copy it and paste it into the other design.  Its easy, honest!

So we have the butterfly open in Essentials. We just want ONE of the green flower things and we can see that this is the third color in the design, so they stitch last.

color stopSwitch to the Stitch Simulator and move your cursor along the color bar at the top until you get to the last color.  Do you see you are “sewing” out the design on screen as you move that slider?  That’s kind of cool, no?  I just like doing that, its really cool to watch.  If you just single click on the color bar twice you will get right to the start of the third color – that’s another trick that you might not have known!

Use the right and left blue arrows to the left of the color bar to advance the simulator.  You will see the flower show up on the screen.  You will also see the crosshair move – this is the needle.  You want to move it using the arrows until you finish stitching the flower and move one stitch over to the next.  You only want to move off the flower so double check you don’t get one too many stitches.  The software will do what ever you tell it to, so if you say you want one more stitch, that’s what its going to give you.

Once you get to this point, hit the stop sign to insert a stop and choose a new color.

copyWe need to switch out of the stitch simulator (black arrow) and click on the triangle to expand the objects of the butterfly in the object pane.  If you look at the colors there are now 4 and you can see that object number 3 is that one flower.

Click on that object so that it is highlighted and hit the copy button at the top of the screen.

Switch over to the first file you were working on – its the first tab above the butterfly and when you click on it you will see your text.

Hit Paste and poof you now have a little flower in your design.

Now its easy to copy and paste and move it around.  Just make sure that you stay within that 14mm area with all your little flowers.

Valerie doneI would recommend adding a basting stitch from the Utility menu just to make sure that this piece stays attached to the stabilizer during the stitching process.

I hope that you have found this little project educational and entertaining!  Please feel free to comment and share the link for this post with your friends.  I welcome new ideas and love to learn something new each and every day!

Until next time!


Online Resouces for Projects

I seem to be always looking for simple sewing patterns for embroidery embellishment. Although my sewing skills have greatly improved since my “double breasted jacket” that would only fit IF I were to grow “another pair”, I would rather spend my time embellishing than follow a more complicated sewing pattern.

So while I was preparing for my “Computer Lingo” class at SewExpo this year, I was in search of every free and easy to follow totebag/purse instructions I could find on the internet. Why free? Because I like to save my pennies, but also because this is a great way to find out if someone’s pattern instruction style is something I can wrap my head around and make sense of. I’ve got thin hair and don’t want to lose any more by pulling it out trying to figure out instructions.

For more information on the websites found during my quest, check out the class notes I recently posted on my website from my Computer Lingo class. If you happen to come to the next Buzz Lady’s Trunk Show, you’ll see many of the patterns from the mentioned websites embellished with delightful embroidery designs.

Until next time…Lisa