Category: Silhouette Cameo

Tutorial – Cutting Applique Shapes With Modern Tools and Software

This post contains Affiliate Links.

Today, I’m sharing insights on Modern Tools and Software that can be used for cutting fabrics for applique’, as well as cutting many other items.  I’m also sharing a tutorial to help you take a design created in various software (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery designs or software, etc), or even sketched on paper, to create an SVG file that can be used to cut your shape on an electric cutter. And, there was a release this week of new software from Silhouette, that I want to increase awareness.

If you don’t have any of these tools, I hope you’ll still follow along and share your perspective on what you may like or dislike about applique.  And, if you do have these tools, or other modern tools, I’d also enjoying hearing your perspective on what you may like or dislike on using any of these tools.

TO START, WHEN YOU THINK OF APPLIQUE, WHAT COMES TO YOUR MIND?

Machine Applique ?  Machine Embroidery Applique ? Needle Turn Applique ?All the work required to trace and cut your shape?  Using an AccuQuilt Die?  Using an electronic cutter, like a Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Eclipse, Brother SnC, etc.?  Using software to create your own unique design in EQ7 or other software?  Or do you think of doodling on paper to create your own design and manually transfer that design to cut your shape on fabric?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the evolution of modern tools and their benefits for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts continues to grow.  It just seems that it was a few years ago that die cutting machines (e.g. Sizzix Big Shot, AccuQuilt GO!) were considered revolutionary and, for many, they are still a valued modern tool that help them be creative.

For those uising die cutters, AccuQuilt actually has many wonderful dies to cut applique shapes perfect for this time of year.  And, they make cutting such shapes easy, fast and fun.

 

Sizzix also has many wonderful dies, that are perfect for Fall theme projects.

But what about when you have a shape that isn’t available in a die or the die doesn’t cut the shape in a size that you want?

Maybe you have an applique shape you created using Electric Quilt/EQ7 software, or from machine embroidery digitizing software, and you want to cut that shape in fabric, for your project.  

dog paw

Maybe cutting one shape using manual tracing and cutting techniques would be ok.  But what if you need to cut hundreds?  Who would want to manually cut out dog foot prints to go around borders and sashing when you could cut them out on an electronic cutter that would be a perfect size for your project?

Within EQ7, as well as many other software packages by the Electric Quit Company, you can easily print your applique templates to cut your fabrics.  And, for those using electronic cutters, you can also print your applique templates (or Foundation Piecing Templates) to a PDF.  There are several ways you can then use this PDF, but in just a minute, I’ll share a tutorial to show an easy way.

Within machine embroidery digitizing software packages, you can also print your templates to cut your applique shapes using traditional methods.  Or, you can print to a PDF for use on an electronic cutter.

There are actually a variety of Electronic Cutters on the market, so the steps can vary with each:

And, while Silhouette, Sizzix, Brother,  Janome, Cricut and Pazzles all have their own software package to help you design your own shapes on their machine.  There is also a variety of other software packages that you could use to cut your shapes on these machines.  

Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot are independent software packages that allows you to create your own shape and cut on many of the electronic cutters.

Again, each electronic cutter and each software package that connects with one or more cutters, all have different pros and cons.  And, different steps for how you can create your own design, or take a design from a machine embroidery applique design (or an EQ7 design file) to your cutter.  I’m not going to try to walk you thru all the options, but for those that may want to get an applique template or foundation (paper pieced) templates created in EQ7 (or other software by Electr

For those that have an electronic cutter and may find challenges with cutting shapes created in other software packages (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery digitizing software), here is a tutorial that I’ve found to be easy to use and economical.  It simply relies on your ability to create a PDF (or you may already have one with your purchased machine embroidery design files), as well as use a free program called Inkscape to create an SVG file format that can then be used to cut on various electronic cutting machines.

If you do not have software on your computer, to allow you to create a PDF, here are two free programs that you may want to consider:

note;  You may have Illustrator, or other software packages that support Vector graphics that will allow you to create SVG.  But as these are typically expensive software packages, but if you don’t the free Inkscape program works great!

DID I MENTION A TUTORIAL ?

HOW TO CREATE AN SVG FILE FROM A PDF ?

Step 1

If you do not already have Inkscape installed on your computer, you will need to download and install this FREE progra from: https://inkscape.org/en/

Step 2

 

Within the Inkscape program, click FILE > OPEN and navigate to open the PDF created in V7.

Under the PAGE SETTINGS option, Click the page that contains your appliqué template on the pdf and then click ok

Step 3

Click on the Select and Transform button on the left hand tool bar (arrow button).

And use your mouse to click on the template. Right click and select UNGROUP.  You may have to click the UNGROUP button twice, to ensure all the items are ungrouped as you may have a group within a group.

Step 4

Right-click the vector graphic and click “Ungroup” from the pop-up menu. This splits the image up into its vector components so you can extract the parts you require.

Step 5

pdf import settings for inkscape

For multi-page PDF files, be sure to use the PDF Import Settings to select the page for the shapes that you wish to import to Inkscape.  To clarify, if there are multiple pages, you will need to repeat this step by “Select page” under the Page settings option.

Step 6

ClICK on any item, other than your appliqué shape and delete. Note: You may need to click once and ungroup again, before you can delete the misc items that were on your PDF.  Goal is to get to the point that only your desired appliqué shapes are in view in Inkscape.

Step 7

CLICK FILE SAVE AS type the name of your design, which now has the SVG file extension. Save as to your desktop, or an area you will remember.

Step 8

Your SVG file is now ready to be opened in software for your electronic cutting machine, following steps unique to your software to send it to your machine to cut.

NEW SILHOUETTE DESIGNER EDITION PLUS SOFTWARE

For those that enjoy machine embroidery, Silhouette has released PLUS software this week that will allow you to open up machine embroidery designs and cut your applique shapes on your Silhouette machine:  This new PLUS software will work with the following machine embroidery file formats:

  • PES
  • DST
  • EXP
  • JEF
  • XXX

In addition to being able to open machine embroidery files in this new PLUS version, there is also functionality for creating Rhinestone designs.   Personaly, I’m delighted with this new PLUS software release and plan to not only use it to cut applique shapes for machine embroidery applique (MEA), but to incorporate sketch pens and/or rhinestones into my MEA designs, as well as use  MEA designs to create quilt labels and more.  The possibilities are endless.

While I am not an Affiliate for Silhouette, I honestly think their software is a good value.  This new PLUS version comes has two options to purchase:

  1. Standalone (you do not already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $74.99
  2. Upgrade version (you already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $25.00

 

note:  If you purchase the Upgrade for the new PLUS software, be sure you have the most current version of Silhouette Designer Edition (3.6.39).  If you do not, download and install the free upgrade to the most current version which you can get on their Silhouette-Studio page, by scrolling to the bottom and clicking the button that says download: http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software/silhouette-studio   Once you have the Plus version successfully installed, your software will clearly show “plus” at the top.  You will then simply click FILE > OPEN and change the file type to reflect the file format of the machine embroidery design you want to open. Then, you can use the entire design to print, to change portions to rhinestones, or remote all but the cut line which you can use to cut your fabric with perfect alignment to your machine embroidery design.

I just purchased the Upgrade to PLUS and was able to quickly and easily open up machine embroidery applique files, to cut out the appropriate size applique shapes.  If there is enough interest, I may later record a video tutorial, but the steps are truly very easy.

While I’m a Silhouette owner and excited about the new Designer Edition Plus software, I am disappointed it does not pull in designs created in various Electric Quilt software (E.G. EQ7),.  Earlier insights on the Silhouette website had reported the Designer Edition Plus software would allow users to open up “stitching” files, which made me get very excited about the ability to easily create cut applique shapes created using EQ7 software.  But this week, they changed their website to reflect it would only open a limited selection of machine embroidery design formats.

For now, I’ll continue to rely on using PDFs and Inkscape for my EQ7 designs, to create SVG cut files for my Silhouette, but I do hope that one day there will be an easier way to turn my EQ7 applique shapes into cut files, as well as use my sketch pens for overall EQ7 designs.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if EQ7, or an EQ add on, would support creating SVG files?

To clarify, I’m excited about how the Silhouette Designer Edition Plus helps to integrate machine embroidery designs with the Silhouette ecutters, but I’d like to also be able to easily incorporate designs that are created in one of the most popular quilt design software packages – EQ7, eliminating the need to create PDFs and process them thru Inkscape, before we can cut them in our Silhouette, or other ecutters.  Electronic cutters are great tools, but if the manufacturers of these devices and the respective software companies of standalone software, want to embrace quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts, they need to help streamline the connectivity between our primary designing tools (e.g. EQ7) and the ability to cut on their electronic cutting tools.  So far, the hardware and software companies seem to be falling short of missing this opportunity.

Here are some links to other sources of great information on various electronic cutters and software:

Marian Pena of Seams to be Sew has a great tutorial overview of various electronic cutters and software: http://www.seamstobesew.com/tutorials/cutting-machines/todays-cutting-techniques/

Jin Yong of Under A Cherry Tree has a blog that focuses on electronic cutters and has released many tips, tutorials and inspirational projects, although she is not a machine embroiderer, so will most likely never explore the new Silhouette Designer Edition Plus software:  http://underacherrytree.blogspot.com/

As mentioned earlier, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this broad area of Modern tools and software and applique in general.  Are you excited about the direction these modern tools are going and their ability to help us create?

 You can find the Electric Quilt Company at:

http://www.electricquilt.com
https://www.facebook.com/ElectricQuilt
https://www.youtube.com/user/ElectricQuilt
https://twitter.com/ElectricQuilt/
https://instagram.com/theelectricquiltcompany/

Terial Magic

I have been researching Terial Magic, for sometime, but it wasn’t until I attended a recent #CHASHOW that I was able to get many of my questions answered.   Terry McFeely, the creator,  was giving demonstrations, as well as showing her kits for creating spectacular fabric flowers.  As I had not had any hands on experience with Terial Magic, this event gave me an opportunity to learn, get answers to my prepared list of questions and more.  I came away seeing many possibilities for quilting, sewing, embroidery and crafty enthusiasts when using Terial Magic.

Terial Magic copyWhile I obtained a sample of Terial Magic, for evaluation purposes, my review honestly represents my own opinion.

Terial Magic is a liquid that comes in a spray bottle. It works differently than common starch, or Best Press, and is marketed as a low or no fray spray stabilizer.  You simply spray it on your fabric, wring out the fabric, allow it to dry somewhat (~15-30 minutes), then iron and use as desired.  Once pressed, your fabric picks up a paper like quality, which I found made it very easy to work with.  My goal for evaluation of this product,  was to try Terial Magic on a variety of techniques to see how it compares to other stabilizers commonly used for quilting, sewing, embroidery and crafting with fabric.

TerialMagic8oz_front_72_2__83175.1426179468.451.416

I quickly learned a little bit of Terial Magic goes a long way.  Many fabrics that I previously had great difficulty cutting with various tools were actually quite easy to cut, once stabilized with Terial Magic.

For situations where we work with small pieces of fabric, such as detailed applique, as well as precision piecing of small pieces, Terial Magic made it easier to work with.  I also realized that that possibilities of #CreativeGoodness when working with fabric, actually grow significantly, when your fabric has been stabilized with Terial Magic.  I truly now feel possibilities of what you can create with fabric are endless!  I’ll share some insights with you today on how I’ve used it so far, but I also plan to share more in-depth insights in the near future.  And, needless to say, Terial Magic has now become one of my favorite stabilizers for quilting, sewing and embroidery!

I found cutting fabric on Silhouette Cameo was significantly easier after applying Terial Magic. (SVG and machine embroiderydesign by Marjorie Busby / Blue Feather Designs)

2015-03-29 11.51.24

I used Terial Magic on a variety of machine embroidery projects and experienced great results all around.  For machine embroidery applique’ (MEA) I found that I consistently got better results.

2015-04-14 18.58.51

I was also pleasantly surprised that with some machine embroidery stitch outs I had great success, without using any traditional stabilizers.  I’ll share more on this in the near future, as I want to do more research.  But for now, I want to encourage those that enjoy machine embroidery to try Terial Magic with and without traditional stabilizers on a variety of projects.  I’m seeing great results on many projects without the expense and time of applying traditional stabilizers.

Terial Magic works great for stabilizing fabrics for Craft projects.  I’ll soon share more about these fun and fast 3D fabric flowers:

2015-04-14 20.15.59

After using Terial Magic to stabilize fabric, I was able to get great cuts using acrylic templates that I had previously not had a good experience with. This is another project, I’ll be sharing more insights with you soon, but I wanted to encourage you to try Terial Magic when using acrylic templates.

2015-03-25 10.03.47

I also found fabric stabilized with Terial Magic enabled crisper cuts when cutting with die cutting machines such as AccuQuilt, Sizzix, or eCrafter.  I have found I get less threads caught in my die, as less shreadding of fabric when cutting certain low thread count fabrics with such die cutters.

After having time to try Terial Magic on a variety of projects, I found it to be an excellent all around stabilizer and is now my preferred form of stabilizing for crafty 3D fabric projects, applique’, machine embroidery, miniature quilts, as well as whenever you are working with difficult fabrics.

Here are some insights about Terial Magic, Terry McFeely, the founder of Terial Arts:

The idea for Terial Arts began April 2011 when founder Terry McFeely wanted to make single-ply fabric flowers that could be life size and 3 dimensional without all the fraying typical of any cut fabric. Terial Arts launched Sept. 2012 with this fabric solution product Terial Magic and Terial Arts patterns to make beautiful fabric flowers. Terial Arts is sold at quilt shops and online at terialarts.com.

 


If you are using a MAC, or have problems viewing this embedded video, here is a link to watch it directly in Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L35ZUuG7eVc#t=62

 There are a variety of tutorial and inspirational videos on the Terial Arts website, as well as free tutorials.  Their newsletter also shares projects with #CreativeGoodness, such as this cute floral pin that used a piece of burlap:

2dc66689-2e71-4d3a-bfb8-7d5dbd7ea108

Terial Magic even helps to make burlap manageable.  Here is a link to a free downloadable tutorial for 3D fabric flower pins:  http://terialarts.com/content/Mini_TG_Trends_Snap-clip_instructionsPRINT.pdf

Terry is frequently adding new tutorial videos, as  well as free downloadable patterns.  She has also designed many stunning patterns for 3D wallhangins, 3D flowers and more.  Plus, you can purchase complete project kits that she has designed:

Cala_Kit_Ivory_Side_View_trans__56453.1405429477.451.416 Cala_Kit_Pink_Side_View2__41791.1405429507.451.416 KitHibiscusFrontAngle_900px72ppi__78529.1405785294.451.416 KitPoppyAngle900px72ppi__04071.1405784998.451.416

 

 

Here is a sneak peek of Terry wearing Terial Arts new DIY Fairy Wings.  This pattern will be released this Summer!

 

2e4d8da1-5904-4241-b17e-76763b499807

You can purchase Terial Magic online at Terial Arts, Amazon.com and it is also appearing in many quilt shops and sewing centers.  If you don’t find it in your local stores, do let them know you’d like them to carry it as they may not yet be aware of it.

Terial_Arts_Logo_DIY_Fabric_Flower_Art

You can find Terial Arts at:

http://terialarts.com/terial-magic/
http://terialarts.com/videos/
http://terialarts.com/blog-1/
https://www.facebook.com/TerialArts
https://twitter.com/terialarts
https://www.pinterest.com/terialterry/
https://www.youtube.com/user/terialarts

Another Kid Friendly Craft Project with my Silhouette Cameo

I bought my Silhouette Cameo, several years ago, during a Black Friday Sale.  If you are not aware, SewCalGal researches and shares insights on steals and deals throughout the year, but my favorite is Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales where I’ll share insights on Fingertip Shopping.

Today I’m playing catch up, which includes picking winners on four sponsored giveaways hosted at SewCalGal during the It’s All About Kids blogging event last week.  There were 11 giveaways hosted on the participating blogs in this event, several still have open giveaways, including one sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop at Ivory Spring.

I thought I’d share another kid friendly craft project, perfect for kids of all ages, which I quickly and easily made with  my Silhouette Cameo.

I enjoy using my Cameo to cut fabrics, cardstock, metal, leather, plastic, vinyl and a variety of other materials for quilting, mixed media, machine applique’ embroidery and many other fun crafty projects.  I’m also excited to see the growing popularity of this cutter within the quilting, sewing and embroidery communities, where I now see many designers also releasing their designs with files that we can use to cut fabrics on the Silhouette.  While I will later strive to increase awareness of such designers, today I’m focusing on what is called a “print-n-cut” project.
Basically, the Print-N-Cut technique allows you to take a design file, print it on your printer, place that printout in your silhouette to cut the design you printed and then use that cutout on your quilt, t-shirt, greeting card, etc..  The possibilities are endless.
I’ve found this technique to work well when I print-n-cut using EQ Printables to make quilt labels, or photo silhouettes, applique shapes, etc..

While you can use your own photo or clipart, for this project I used one of thousands of fun designs that you can purchase from the Silhouette online store
Using the Silhouette software I sized the design for my project to get 3 shapes for a single piece of t-shirt transfer material.  I printed the t-shirt transfer and used cut out the shapes with my Silhouette.  Can you imagine how long it would have taken to cut these shapes by hand?  Too long to want to do this project for me!
It was easy to take these shapes and iron the transfer onto t-shirts, but the possibilities are endless.
This sweet design transferred to the t-shirts beautifully, even on the pink t-shirt.
Sweet.  And definitely a fun kid friendly project, or depending on the age, a fun family craft project.

Have you ever used t-shirt transfer paper to embellish a t-shirt or other items? If so, how did your experience go?  Any tips to share?  Do you have a favorite brand of printable t-shirt transfer material?

Seems like these could also make for fun Holiday gifts.  Which reminds me, the last monthly linky party to Make Handmade Gifts For Christmas will be hosted on SewCalGal November 15th to the 25th.  We’re getting down to the wire to be ready to give handmade gifts for the holidays.  Click the tab on my blog labeled “A Handmade Christmas Challenge” for more info, as well as links to the monthly challenges.  Everyone is invited to join and share any type of handmade project that they make for holiday gifts for the 2014 season.  Great way to find and share inspirational handmade gift ideas, as well as ideas for decorating your home for the holidays with handmade items.

 

Your Dream Studio – What Would You Like It To Look Like ? Sponsored Giveaway

Time to be Happy.

 If you are on a MAC or have problems watching this embedded video, click this link to watch it directly in youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

SewCalGal really hopes you are happy and a TBA Sponsor is definitely going to make one lucky follower very happy.  They are giving away an amazing Dream Studio that includes:
 

 Ellisimo Gold II Sewing Machine, from Baby Lock Ovation serger, from Baby Lock
Quilt Mate Plus IV sewing station, from Koala Cabinets
Creative Gallery Wall system, from Koala Cabinets
Sew Comfort XL Chair, from Koala Cabinets
A Collectors bundle of Aurifil Thread that includes EVERY one of their Collections
Silhouette Cameo
Sizzix Big Shot Pro and 10 dies of your choice, from Sizzix
20 bolts of your favorite Hoffman California Fabric.
20 of your favorite books by Martingale
Complete Collection of Omnigrid Rulers
Complete Collection of Notions from Dritz



What an amazing giveaway from a very generous sponsor!  Wish I could find the email that has their contact info, so I could recognize them and thank them for their generosity and support.
 
 
Ooops.  I forgot to mention today is April Fool’s Day.  But if a sponsor would like to sponsor a giveaway on SewCalGal, please    
 
On another note, while SewCalGal is copyright protected, I have created some clipart for you which you can copy and use as you wish.  I hope it brings you a happy smile!
Lastly, this is National Serger Month and you can enter a contest to win a Baby Lock Ovation serger.  This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, but a contest that is open to enter during April.
 
What ever you do today, I hope you are happy.  And, of course, I hope you can find to enjoy and create too!  If you come up with any quack up ideas,    email address copy

quack me ups by sewcalgal copy
 

#CHAShow – CHA Mega Show 2014

CHAlogo
SewCalGal was able to attend the CHA Mega Show in Anaheim, CA, January 10-14th.   This amazing event was packed with professional seminars,an exceptional trade show with over 400 vendors, inspirational make-n-takes, demonstrations,  and buyers and attendees from all over the world.  And, I’m delighted to be able to share insights with you about this show today.
 
First, for those of you not familiar with CHA it is an association of Craft and Hobby Professionals from around the world.  It is an International non-profit organization with members involved in the design, manufacturing, distribution and retail sells of products in the nearly $30 billion U.S. craft and hobby industry.  And while they host many professional events throughout the year, the annual CHA Mega Show in Southern California is one of the largest and most opportunistic for “those in the business” to participate in.  To clarify, CHA is a great organization and SewCalGal highly encourages those in the business to become members, if you are not one already.  
 
Before I share insights on the Mega Show, I want to share that this is such a large show it is impossible to see everything in a day. Plus, there are multiple days of workshops and professional presentations.  And I’m only going to share glimpses of new products that caught my attention at the Trade Show.  While I attended this event to search for new products, I was also highly interested in learning more about ecutters.  In this post I’ll share some insight, but I’ll be writing a separate article about ecutters in the very near future.  
 
Here are highlights of what caught my attention at this show:
june tailor hexie
June Tailor has new tool for cutting Hexies: “You Hexie Thing – Hexie Ruler”  can easily cut perfect hexagons in nine sizes; 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″ and 6″.  And, like their  Shape Cut Ruler, which cuts perfect strips of fabric in various sizes, you can cut multiple layers of fabric using your rotary cutter.
 
There are also free quilt project instructions you can download for this ruler: The Hexie Thing Strip Quilt, The Oh So Hexie Quilt, and other Hexie projects too
 
And June Tailor has a new Diamond Ruler that will also easily cut diamonds in 1″ to 6″ diamonds in 1/4″ increments without measuring.
 
 

CRAFTWELL

ebrush

The new eBrush, by Craftwell, was introduced at CHA and was also honored as one of CHA’s top 20 products at the show, with a 2nd place award.  It is an airbrush compressor that turns markers, by various manufacturers, into spray art. The eBrush will be available in early April for retail purchases.  

While this product is clearly going to be popular with crafters, SewCalGal also anticipates it to quickly become popular with fibre artists and quilters alike.  Think of the fun and creativity this new tool will unleash to allow quilters to use stencils to paint on fabric, to free-form embellish fabrics, or to complete paint your own fabric and create your own unique piece of art!  

I also thoroughly enjoyed the ebrush demonstration by very talented Debi Tullier and artist “Slive”.   And, I thought you might also enjoy this youtube video by Noel Hyman.

This product will be on HSN for $150 late spring, making it a reasonably priced air brush tool that you can use to paint on fabric, paper wood, food or more.

LION BRAND YARN

lion brand exhibit at CHA

Lion Brand Yarn had a spectacular booth that was decorated with the “Seven Wonders of the Yarn World”, all made with beautiful irons.  I hope this exhibit travels to other shows, as it was super cute!

BROTHER SCAN N CUT
brother scan n cut

Brother has recently introduced a new ecutter, called the Scan-N-Cut.  It is the first ecutter that includes a built in 300 dpi scanner.

Like other ecutters, this product is marketed for scrapbooking and other crafts, but unlike other ecutters this product has done the best job SewCalGal has seen to-date to build in functionality that makes this product perfect for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts.   There are many options for how you may want to use this product to create.  

For example you may want to doodle on paper, scan it and cut out part of that design.  You may want to scan and cut a shape on fabric for applique.  You can even cut out quilt block pieces, where you set the size that you want your block to be, and stitch out your blocks.  

There are over 600 built-in Designs, including 100 quilt patterns, plus 5 fonts.  And don’t forget you can scan designs and cut, as well as use various software packages to create designs that you can create SVG files to cut using this device. 

 Like other ecutters it can accomodate 12″x12″ and 12″x24″ cutting mats, as well as rolls of vinyl.  Retail is $499.

 
 
 

SewCalGal also wants to point out that this amazing 3D swirly snowflake creation is designed by the very talented Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero (Kaleidoscope Collections).  Jeanie has been using the Scan-N-Cut to create a variety of designs and sharing insights on her blog, which you may want to follow to also see what she creates with this ecutter, as well as see how she uses it combined with her super fun and creative Kaleidoscope Collections software.

ECLIPS2 BY SIZZIX
Sizzix introduced eclips2, their 2nd and more powerful electronic cutting system.  Their first ecutter was actually introduced 5 years ago!  This version has an enhanced motor, industrial strength gears, reduced noise and other improvements to help get more precise cuts.  It is also accompanied with free eCAL lite software to allow you to create your own designs, plus cut, score, draw and edit unique shapes for unique projects.
sizzix eclips2
SewCalGal liked the preview feature that allows you to place cuts on materials that may have been previously cut, to allow you to place your new cut to be efficient and optimize use of your materials.  There are also two new models of the ECLIPS2, one of which, will incorporate bluetooth technology to allow users to use the ipads or tablets to work with the eclips2. To clarify, both models can be connected to a computer via a USB cable, but the bluetooth model will allow you to easily bypass the USB cable when used with your tablet.   Retail of the basic eclips2, which will introduce this Spring, is $299 and the model that is bluetooth compatible will be introduced at a slightly higher price (~$50-$60 more), early summer.

These ecutters are definitely marketed towards crafters, with less emphasis on quilters.  But they will cut fabric even though they do not come with a blade for cutting fabric (you simply adjust your settings to cut and need to make sure your fabric is starched well and/or stabilized with a good adhesive stabilizer).   They also come with a basic version of the software and the Designer software version can be purchased for a $25-$50 upgrade price (final price has not yet been determined).

The cutting size for both these new models is 12″x12″, 12″x24″, or a roll of vinyl.
 
Also, Sizzix will be releasing a new ESHAPE store this Spring which will offer pre-designed ecut files that can be purchased and downloaded for use on your eclips cutters.
SILHOUETTE

New accessories for the Silhouette ecutters were introduced:  a stencil material,  12″x24″vellum sheets and new adhesive mats that have less tack that make it easier when cutting vellum.

SIMPLICITY EZ QUILTING
There were many wonderful products in the Simplicity booth. SewCalGal was particularly drawn to the SewEZ Jelly Roll ruler, the Joseph’s Coat acrylic templates, and the Inkadinkado products.  The Inkadinkado products just seemed to be fun to be able to stamp and create your own fabrics and I think they would look wonderful with beautiful free-motion quilting.  SewCalGal definitely wants to spend more time playing with these products.
Simplicity EZI Quilting

TOMBOW
tombow at CHA 2014
Tombow had an inspirational booth filled with beautiful art made with their creative markers and other craft products.   

CHAMELON
cameleon pens

Cameleon introduced some very new marking pens that are alcohol based markers that are refillable and the pen nibs allow excellent control for marking, and amazing color range.  These markers and their gorgeous colors look like they’d be great with artists, crafters and mixed media artists. 

While SewCalGal was told, during a demonstration, that these markers are permanent on most materials, SewCalGal has not yet had a chance to test them on fabrics. But I want to heighten awareness of these new pens, as I think they are going to be very popular.  

CHAMELEON SKINZ 

cameleon fabrics

Cameleon Skinz introduced inspirational fabrics and tapes that change color based on temperature.  You can use your hands, ice, etc.to doodle on these materials.  

Fabrics by Cameleon Skinz have been popular for use in children’s hospitals, as they certainly are more inviting for children and they are easy to clean.  But, SewCalGal thinks there are endless possibilities for these products.

Custom fabric orders can be made for different temperature sensitivity, as well as colors.  You can even embed secret messages as well as specifications can be set to allow an initial writer to write a secret message that someone else can then reveal it!  

SewCalGal can certainly think of many projects that would be fun to create with these temperature sensitive materials.  But more awareness needs to be made to help this material cross into the quilting, sewing and even embroidery world.    

 

I hope you enjoyed hearing my insights on the CHA show. With over 400 vendors, it was quite a challenge as to which products I could share insights with you today. 

 

The NBC Today Show also attended the CHA Mega Show.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

SewCalGal also hopes to share more insights on many of these products in the near future and maybe a few sponsored giveaways too!  But, at a minimum I hope you’ll keep you eye out for these products as they appear in your local sewing and craft shops, or favorite online shops.  And, if you don’t see them do let store owners or managers know that you are interested in having them carry these products in their store.  After all, exceptional retail stores do appreciate hearing from customers as to what you’d like to have them offer for sale in their stores.

For more information on CHA:

https://www.craftandhobby.org
https://www.facebook.com/CraftandHobby
https://www.youtube.com/user/CraftandHobby
https://twitter.com/craftandhobby
http://craftandhobby.wordpress.com/

Here is a list of previous posts about the annual #CHAShows:

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales – Steals and Deals for Quilters and More

You may have spotted all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales (steals and deals) that I shared on Fingertip Shopping.  There really are some amazing opportunities for quilters at Craftsy, Fat Quarter Shop, Martingale, C&T Publishing, Dream World Northwest/Sew Steady Tables, Leah Day Designs, Quilt in a Day, Patsy Thompson Designs, Quilt Market Kit, Silhouette, Therm O Web, Smilebox, MightyBright, CafePress, Christa Quilts, Electric Quilt, Craft Sisters, Havel’s Sewing, Pat Wys/Silver Thimble, Annie’s and more!    As SewCalGal launched Fingertip Shopping to be able to share insights on steals and deals with you, I hope you’ll pop over and check out all the amazing deals this weekend.

And, don’t overlook that ALL of the online classes at Craftsy are 50% off this weekend.  You can buy now and watch anytime you want in 2014, 2015, 2016….whenever.  This is a super steal that you won’t want to miss.  Plus they have a great Black Friday sale on fabrics, yarns and other supplies!

craftsy-logo

Chain of Stars Mystery Quilt, with Kimberly Einmo
Craftsy Chain of Stars Mystery Quilt Class with Kimberly Einmo  logo
digitizing machine embroidery designs
Don’t forget ALL of their classes are 50% off this weekend.  Craftsy has classes for:
quilter's bee giving generic event button
This weekend I hope you have time to check out the Quilter’s Bee Giving Charity Fundraiser this weekend.  Still plenty of open online auctions, as well as time to purchase raffle tickets.  Over $4,000 worth of quilty goodness prizes from amazing sponsors.
auction quilters give from the art divider


Auction Item #2 
auction basket #2
This prize bundle includes a fat quarter of Kona Cotton donated by Robert Kaufman Fabrics,  two quilting books by Martingale, notions from Dritz, a craft bag by Yazzi, patterns, etc..  

This prize will be shipped directly to the winner,from SewCalGal and is open to anyone any place in the world, but you will be asked to pay for shipping.  For US Winners this prize will be shipped in a medium Flat Rate Box.
Please follow the rules for submitting bids or your bid may be removed.
Estimated value:  $150+

1. 50.00 Barb
2. $55 rita goshorn
3. $70.00
4. $80.00 Mary
5. $90.00 Mary
6. $95 Carol

 

(Submissions close in 17d 4h 9m)

Link tool by inlinkz.com
To bid on this item, simply click on the “Add your link” button above.  You will need to provide your email address, but it will not be shared with anyone.  In the text box please type in your bid amount $$$ followed by your name or blog name or code name.  You do not need to add a URL.
 
To see a complete list of all of the auction items click here.  All of the auction items will close mid-December, but as this is a charity fundraiser SewCalGal is not disclosing the date for when any given auction item will close.  So, bid now and check back often.  
 
To see a complete list of all of the raffle prizes click here.
 
To learn about the four non-profit charities showcased in this event, click here.

 

auction quilters give from the art divider

 

Black Friday, Cyber Monday Steals and Deals

quilters love sales


Quilters do love sales, so I’m delighted to be able to share insights with you on some excellent Black Friday and Cyber Monday Steals and Deals with you.  I’ll be updating this post throughout these sales, so be sure to check back as more info may be added.

And be sure to scroll down, as this is a huge list of steals and deals you won’t want to miss!

quilt clip art shopping

Fat Quarter Shop
www.fatquartershop.com

FatQuarterShop-Circle-225x225
The Fat Quarter Shop always has a wonderful selection of new fabrics, great bundles patterns and more.  And while they have excellent prices every day of the year, weekly sales, they also have an amazing Cyber Monday sale.  


25% off all pre-cuts for 2 days only!  No code necessary!  Sale ends Saturday December 3rd, 2013 at midnight CST.  Not combinable with any other offer and is not applicable to clubs, programs or the purchase of gift certificates.


 

Leah Day 
Leah Day Logo
http://www.leahday.com/

Leah Day is holding a Black Friday sales  from Thursday, November 28 to Monday, December 2nd and has 50% off all download products.

SewCalGal recommends this opportunity to anyone interested in learning/improving your free-motion quilting skills.  Great opportunity to download Leah’s excellent e:books, Flames to Feathers downloadable video, patterns and more.

 


Dream World Northwest / Sew Steady Tables
www.quiltingtable.com

339342

Get a FREE 11″ Universal Sew Straight Guide & Polish Kit with our NEW! Quilter’s Wish Table purchases for Black Friday/Cyber Monday!


Your Cost $150.00   –    Total Value $181.00

 
 
Sales start on Friday, November 29th and run through midnight Monday, December 2nd where you can get 25%* off your order of $25.00 or more! This includes their entire stock of books and products for quilters, sewers and crafters.



Enter discount code TURKEY2013 where noted in the shopping cart.

Don’t forget to check out their  Gifts section !


Black Friday /Cyber Monday Sales at Craftsy!
www.craftsy.com

All Craftsy classes are on sale $19.99 or less!  Be sure to check out their sale on “supplies” as you’ll find some AMAZING deals too!

Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off now thru 12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings for a limited time only! All their online classes are on sale for $19.99 or less. With classes priced up to 66% off, now is a great time to get the classes you’ve been eyeing all year! Craftsy classes also make a great gift, so do some holiday shopping for the crafter in your life.

Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off now thru 12/2!
Craftsy has brilliant savings on the craft supplies you want! With up to 80% off yarn and 65% off fabric, get the best prices of the year while you can.

Craftsy

Quilt In A Day
http://www.quiltinaday.com/


QIAD has daily doorbusters during their Black Friday Sale and through this coming weekend.  Click here to view all of the deals and steals in their “Black Friday” sale, and also consider signing up to receive daily email alerts, or simply visit their online store every day.

Highlights from this sale are:

Clover WonderClips (50 pk) – 45% off
Batik Fat Quarter Bundles – 50% off
Olfa 18×24″ cutting mat – 50% off
Olfa blades – 50% off
June Tailor Shape Cut Slotted Ruler – 40% off
Olfa Rotary Cutter – 40% off
Quilt Novels 40% off
AccuQuilt dies up to 50% off
and more!

On Saturday, November 30th they have an amazing deal for a fat quarter bundle (12 fat quarters) for $20 of batiks!

Patsy Thompson Designs
http://www.patsythompsondesigns.com/
PTD Store Banner

 
Nearly all our quilting fabrics and notions are discounted by 20% off MSRP every single day, but we’ll be offering some great additional discounts in our Black Friday Through Cyber Monday sale!  Beginning Thanksgiving Day and running through 9 am EST on Tues 12/3/13:
 
*Take an additional 10% off all retail purchases at checkout with discount code TURKEY!
*Earn a $5 gift certificate to our online store for merchandise purchases $50-$99
*Earn a $10 gift certificate to our online store for merchandise purchases $100 +
 
…and if you’re looking for a unique gift, check out some of our quilt-themed coffee mugs or one-of-a kind seam rippers or ruler holders!


mug-2-realBlue-and-Green-Variegated-Ripper-Open

note: SewCalGal higly recommends Patsy’s DVDs and books for free-motion quilting, as well as her own stencil designs.  This is a great sale to stock up on PTD products.

Quilt Market Kit
http://www.quiltkitmarket.com/

quilt kit market
Specials starting on Thursday at midnight and ending at midnight Monday night

Quilters are busy people, especially around the holidays. In an effort to make shopping our great sale as convenient as possible this weekend, we are going to start the sale at midnight, Thursday, November 28th and it will end at midnight, Monday, December 2nd, 2013.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the great deals we will be offering:
Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls – $28.00 (regularly $39.00)
Charm Packs – $8.00 (regularly $9.50)
Mini Charm Packs – $2.50 (regularly $4.00)

 

Fat Quarter Assortments starting at $ 20.00
quilt market
New Doorbuster Deals each day !
 
Make sure you check out the What’s New section and our Sale sections to see more quilting must haves. 

Free Shipping on all orders shipped within the United States (no minimum purchase either).


GO! Daddy has a 35% off purchase and renewals for their Black Friday sale.  Be use to use promo code gd31132bt in your cart when you place your order.

Black Friday Featured offer! 35% off new products from GoDaddy!

Silhouette

Black Friday sale starts on Thursday, Nov 28. Use the code HOLIDAY to take 40% off most Silhouette products (exclude machines and download cards) in the Silhouette Store.



Use the code HOLIDAY at checkout to get the deal.

ADOBE Black Friday Sale
Traditionally, Adobe has an amazing sale every year for Black Friday. Thanks to Connie/Free Motion Quilting on the River for sharing insights with us on the Adobe sale this year:

Adobe has a bundle package on sale for Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC for only $10 a month.  For more info:.  http://scottkelby.com/2013/adobes-letting-everyone-in-on-the-deal-but-only-for-a-few-days/

Groupon also had a deal for Adobe Photoshop 12 for 50% off ($50) for Black Friday. 

TPP_ePatterns

 
Martingale isn’t hosting a Black Friday Sale this year, but they are going all out to support independent quilt and yarn shops that are hosting their own sales and also encouraging shop Small Business Saturday.
 
But, Martingale will have an special “Cyber Week Sale”  with more than 160 eBooks at $6 each and ALL  ePatterns for $1.99!  
 
martingale ebook salemartingale ebook sale 2

Browse Books                          Browse ePatterns

No waiting for the mail, no shipping costs. Simply choose your favorites, download, and commence creating—all in a matter of minutes. (Questions about eProducts? Read this.)
What will you create today? Stock up on the eBooks and ePatterns that inspire you—but hurry! Saleends Sunday, December 8 at midnight.*


Therm O Web has 30% off EVERYTHING in their online store plus free shipping on orders over $25.  Sale is good thru Monday!

Cafe Press has a pre-Black Friday Sale for 55% off ALL T-shirts from 11AM-2PM, 3PM-6PM and 7PM-10P on Wednesday, November 27th only.


SmileBox has 50% off through 12/4. An annual membership is just $23.88 (only $1.99 per month)!


MightyBright
www.mightybright.com

Our Black Friday sale is our biggest discount of the year – 30% off all orders (minimum order $15). Use coupon code BlackFriday13 at checkout. Offer is valid 11/29/13 only.
 

 

Our Cyber Monday sale is our biggest sale of the year – 30% off all orders (no minimum). Use coupon code CyberMonday13 during checkout. Offer valid 12/2/13 only.
Lighted Seam Ripper In Use1SML_in.use.3vusion.silver.45

ChristaQuilts is having  Black Friday Sale that is a huge blowout sale! Save up to 50% on hundreds of premium quality quilting cottons, from Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fasset, Moda, and more! She includes free US shipping on all orders with no minimum purchase. Shop early for best selection.
 
Early Birds may want to check her blog post for more insights on what will be on sale too!



Electric Quilt Cyber Weekend Sale
Save 20% site wide* at www.electricquilt.com! (excludes EQ7)
Offer valid 12/1 – 12/3
Use promo code CYBER20 at checkout.
Not valid with any other offers.

 

Craft Sisters
 $5.00 Instant Download  – Ornament Pattern Sale for two patterns:
Hollie the Snowy Owl and The Extra Gingerman offer good Wednesday, November 27 – Sunday, December 1st 
!cid_D86917EC-59DC-45AE-9523-1B6E8CE338E9@wavecable!cid_24CEDEDB-2531-4C5A-98D3-97ABF45DCDD2@wavecable


Havel’s Sewing
Black Friday Sale at Havel’s Sewing can save you up to 50% off your favorite snips, scissors and rotary cutters.    Sale is currently running and goes thru Monday, December 2nd.

Pat Wys / Silver Thimble Quilt Shop has a 20% off EVERYTHING in her online store.  Just remember to use code My20 at checkout.


Twin Mom Scraps is a great source for those interested in digital clipart, scrapbooking and more.  And, they are having a  50% off (excluding bundles and collabs) to celebrate Black Friday.  Their sale is good between: November 27 – December 3

Word Art World is also a great source for those interested in digital clipart, scrapbooking and more.  For those on Facebook they are having a fun Black Friday Blog Hop where you can download freebies at each stop in the hop this weekend.  And you can find 60% off EVERYTHING on Black Friday.


Annie’s has 20% off all their products including online classes, notions, fabric, supplies and more.  Be sure to enter code EYKBFR at checkout.  Sale goes thru November 29th.


Embroider Shoppe has a Black Friday Sale for 30% off ALL of their embroidery designs.  Sale good thru Sunday.


MyMemories also has a Black Friday Sale with 35% off EVERYTHING. Sale ends November 30th!  And this includes their new release of Version “5” software!!!!


Patrick Lose has a Cyber Monday Sale with select fabrics, digital patterns and machine embroider designs up to 50% off.


Cozy Quilt Shop is celebrating Cyber Monday with a 25% off all Cozy Books,  20% all Cozy Patterns and 15% off all Cozy tools!  


Don’t you just love Black Friday/Cyber Monday steals and deals for quilters ?

black friday cyber monday sale sign

And don’t forget, Saturday November 30th is Shop Small Business Saturday.  Of course, SewCalGal thinks of this as “Shop Quilting Businesses Saturday”.
keep calm and shop small

Be sure to check back as more insights may be added to this page throughout Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  Notices on this page may also be removed if they are not posted “live” on Black Friday and clearly tagged as Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.  To clarify, while Fingertip Shopping shares insights on steals and deals throughout the year, this particular post is meant to be limited to those in the business that are having a black friday/cyber monday sale.

If you have an American Express Card, you may want to register it and shop Small Business Saturday.  If you use your Am. Express card and make a minimum $10 purchase on Sat., Nov 30th they will credit you back $10 for shopping at a registered store.  Click here to register.  Click here to find shops that are registered.  At a minimum, if you don’t find a local shop consider shopping online at

 

Mixed Media – eBosser embossing and Silhouette Adhesive Media Sheets

The eBosser, an Electronic Embosser and Die Cutter, by Craftwell is a versatile machine that not only allows you to cut a variety of media, from most die manufacturers (e.g. AccuQuilt, Sizzix, etc.), it also allows you to emboss media using templates from different manufacturers too!  
ebosser
And the Silhouette Cameo and Designer Software allows you to cut shapes without dies, including all the fonts you want!

 silhouette
As I wanted to send handmade Thank You Cards, the eBosser and the Silhouette work together to compliment each other.  The eBosser provides great texture by embossing the card stock, while the Silhouette Cameo allows you to easily create and cut your own word art. And, you have the option of using Silhouette’s new double sided adhesive media sheets to also embellish your words with glitter, or other embellishment.

While the eBosser comes with one embossing folder, I also used Sizzix and Cuttlebug embossing folders with it.

P1010150

To emboss, you simply put your media inside of the embossing folder, stack your platforms, per the easy to follow embossing instructions and feed it into the electronic eBosser. Smooth as butter!

P1010103

I used my Silhouette to cut the words for my Thank You cards.

P1010111

Embossing can take a basic card like this….

P1010090

to this!

P1010096

or this one that was embossed with the ebosser, but the letter was cut with my Silhouette Cameo using Silhouette’s new double sided adhesive media sheets and sprinkled glitter on top of the letters!

P1010105

I’m definitely having fun embossing and making Thank You cards.


Next time, I’ll share insights on embossing metal and fabric!

For a limited time, eBosser has a special where you can get two embossing mats vs one, found in the typical eBosser package.  That is a $34 value, so if embossing interests you, you may want to check out this special with eBosser.

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Having Fun With a Silhouette Cameo For Easter

SewCalGal has become a big fan of the Silhouette Cameo.  You may have seen a previous review that I shared, after I purchased this product at a Black Friday Sale.
silhouette
I’ve been having fun creating with my Silhouette Cameo, cutting fabric, paper, cardstock, and more recently Silhouette’s new double sided adhesive media sheets.
silhouette adhesive

While this product is not intended for traditional quilting, I do see many ways to use it in mixed media projects.    I certainly had fun using this media to embellish inexpensive plastic Easter Eggs for gift baskets for family and friends.
P1010075b P1010076b

The Silhouette Double Sided Adhesive Paper is a strong permanent adhesive that can be cut using the Silhouette Cameo or Portrait, in an endless amount of shapes.  I was amazed at how well it worked for detailed fonts (e.g. “Wendy”), as well as the details on the chicks feet!

P1010077b
The adhesive is very tacky and does an excellent job holding glitter.  A q-tip is also a helpful tool to wipe off excess glitter that may temporarily stick to other areas of your project.

The Silhouette electronic cutter makes cutting a breeze.  They have oodles of designs available for purchase in their online store and every Tuesday they give one away for free.  You can also use their Designer Software to easily create your own design.

Once you have your shape cut on this double-sided adhesive media you simply remove the yellow top sheet, place the shape on your item (e.g. egg), tacky side down, then remove the white backing paper and you are left with a clear film of tacky media on your project which you can easily add glitter, embossing powder or other decorative items.  Easy, Peasy, and Fun!

I did find that my Famore Micro-fine tweezers, which I purchased at I Have A Notion, worked great to help  remove the paper and backing material from the thin tacky media of the double-sided adhesive sheets. These tweezers can pick up the finest thread and make it so much easier to grab the paper and backing sheets of this media too!

I definitely had fun creating with Silhouette’s double-sided adhesive sheets on my Silhouette Cameo.  I’m looking forward to using this media to create greeting cards, bookmarks, Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and more! While it isn’t a product marketed to quilters, it is so lightweight that I also want to test it to see how well it works with fabric and the ability to wash out.  Hmmm.  Might be really handy for applique’, binding and more.  Stay tuned, as I’ll give you a report as I complete my test plans. In the meantime, I hope you get inspired to create with a Silhouette. I’m certainly having fun with it.   And, the new Silhouette Double-Sided Adhesive Sheets are certainly helping me decorate for Easter.  Super easy and fun!

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Silhouettte Product Review

SewCalGal enjoys using Modern Quilting Tools, including tools that may not have originally been designed with the Quilter in mind, but offer Quilters great value. I’ve had  opportunities for hands on use of the Silhouette products at CHA shows, where I’ve previously written about them.  And, I’ve continued to research them to better understand their value to quilters.  I ended up purchasing a Silhouette Cameo bundle during a Black Friday Sale last year and have absolutely enjoyed this product so much, I can only wonder why I took so long to buy it.  I will share this Modern Quilting Tool may not be a tool appropriate for all quilters, but I’m sharing my insights with you today, to increase awareness of this new tool that quilters may want to use.

While I’ll share insights with you on the Silhouette, as well as a few examples of how I’ve been using it,  ultimately I view this is a great product for quilters.  A few examples of what a Silhouette can help a Quilting, Sewing, or Embroidery Enthusiasts are:

  • cutting applique (text, shapes) for their projects, including machine applique’.
  • using fabric ink pens to create quilt labels, write on quilt blocks, draw images on fabric, etc..
  • applying crystals to your quilts using designs you can purchase or create!
  • creating projects with heat transfer material 
  • designing and cutting your own stencils for free-motion quilting, painting on fabric, etc..
  • cutting lightweight metal for use on your mixed-media projects

And, of course, the possibilities for crafters are endless!  Think of creating vinyl words for decorating your home, or quilt studio?  How about decorating beverage containers for quilt retreats?  And, what fun it would be to use the Silhouette Heat Transfer Material to create a quilty tshirt to wear to a quilt show?

For crafters, don’t overlook the ability of using your Silhouette to send files to your printer, as well as do a print & cut!

There are currently two Silhouette product models:  Cameo and the Portrait.  The basic differences in the two models are:

  • Portrait  can cut up to 8″x8″ fabric, 8″x10′ long for certain materials such as vinyl (Retail $199)
  • Cameo can cut up to 12″x12″ fabric, 12″x10′ ”  ”     ”           ”             ”    ”     ”    (Retail $299)

Here is a good video that shares insights on the differences of these two products.


The Silhouette is an electronic cutting system that is driven from PC software.  The software allows you to use any Font on your computer, resize purchased designs, rotate, merge with other designs, and more.  You simply send your design to your Silhouette machine when you are ready.  There are two versions of software:  Basic software (free) and the Designer Edition).  Highlights of the  differences in these two software applications are:

  • The Studio Software, aka basic software, is free to anyone.  It is easy to use and allows you to use designs that are available from the Silhouette online store, as well as “basic” functionality to create your own design by way of adding text, combining two or more designs, etc..
  •  The Designer version has the ability to do everything the Studio software does, plus create your own designs in the Designer Edition.  It is also an easy to use software application that allows you to take your artwork and turn it into a design that you can use to cut, draw or use to create stencils, and more.  There are also many more tools in the Designer version  (e.g. guides, knife options, shear window, eraser options, rulers, sketch window, eyedropper, pivot point rotation, SVG file compatibility, eyedropper, etc.).  SewCalGal definitely recommends the Designer version for anyone comfortable with a computer and interested in creating their own designs.  But, don’t overlook the Designer edition comes with 51 pre-loaded designs, which pretty much pays for the cost of this inexpensive software!

Silhouette on-line store has thousands of designs that are typically $.99 each and there is a free design every Tuesday.  Your Silhouette also comes with a free $10 download card.  From a perspective of quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts, there are not all that many designs that are appropriate for applique’ projects, but many that are appropriate for painting on fabric, applying crystals on fabric, etc..  And, SewCalGal anticipates more “quilty” related designs will be added to the Silhouette store in the future.  But, again, the Designer software does allow you to easily create your own designs that will work well with quilting.

I had fun creating baby quilts for Operation Homefront.  I found a cute gecko design and I used the Designer software to create a whale.  I found the software very easy to position designs to minimize waste.  It may take a little practice, but the efficiency is far batter than using die cutting machines.  And quite easy to apply to small scrap pieces too!

project 2 baby blankets 1

    In addition to using the Designer Software to create my own whale design, I found it very easy to use to create a detailed butterfly, a jumping rabbit, a cute dinosaur and more!  All very easy to design and cut, far more economically than die cutters.  And, it is actually easy to cut the exact shape and size that you can get on a die cutter too!

    baby quilt 2

    I also enjoyed using the Silhouette to cut applique to embellish baby onesies to go into Baby Gift Baskets, for Operation Homefront.  This example isn’t a great example of minimizing fabric scrap, as I could have easily placed the designs closer together in the software, but I’m sharing this to show how the software does work.  You can see how I wanted to make an extra cut in an uncut area and simply moved my design to the respective grid for that area.  Easy Peasy.

    project 1 baby onesies copy
    For those that digitize for machine embroidery it is really quite easy to scan in your design created in your Silhouette Designer software to create a machine embroidery design.  But it still makes a wonderful applique’ on any project stitching with your domestic sewing machine.  And, of course, the shapes you can create with your Silhouette would also make great stencils for painting on fabric, or marking for free-motion quilting.  So, I hope you can see that the possibilities with Silhouette are endless.

    Silhouette does have their own fabric interfacing, which I’ve not yet had a chance to try.  I have used Steam A Seam and Misty Fuse, with my projects so far,  and have had good luck with both.

    I haven’t had a chance to try many of the products that are available for the Silhouette, but am hearing good feedback.  I definitely want to play with their Fabric Ink Starter kit to write on fabric (e.g. making quilt labels, drawing on quilt blocks, etc.).  And, the possibilities certainly look like fun for using their stencil vinyl with some fabric ink.

    For crafty projects, I’m coming up with all sorts of ideas for Easter (and other ideas) for using their new Double Sided Adhesive.  Of course, their flocked transfer paper would certainly be fun too.

    Have I peaked your interest on what a Silhouette can do for quilting, sewing & embroidery enthusiasts?  Wait till you see what this product can do for Crafters.  If you are not already a crafter, this product will certainly bring the crafter out in you…as well as help you have great fun creating with fabric and more.

    Stay tuned, as I’ll be sharing more insights on using Silhouette soon.  

    You can find more info on Silhouette products here:

    http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/?page=shop
    http://blog.silhouetteamerica.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/SilhouetteAmericaInc
    http://pinterest.com/silhouettepins/
    https://www.facebook.com/silhouetteamerica

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