It’s not often I can write a blog for the ScanNCut from a place of knowing nothing… but there’s a first time for everything. I’ve never quilted before. However, as a former fashion and textiles student, it’s about time to brush the dust off my sewing machine. Let’s brave the fabric. Now, I will admit, previously fabric has formed some of the most stressful points of using the ScanNCut. However, I’m hoping the Rotary blade will fix that.
Well, straight out of the gate, I made an assumption and we know what that means. So, learn from my mistake, go and enter your activation code into the Pattern Activation on CanvasWorkspace online (rather than Premium Functions). You will then get access to some new fabric designs in either version of CanvasWorkspace. Do this by going to the Pattern Collection tab in the pop-up project windows.
Now, firstly, if you are working in the desktop version of CanvasWorkspace, this is going to boot you to the online CanvasWorkspace. This is inconvenient at best, or plain awkward if you are typing a blog in your internet browser. Yes, I’m writing this as I go, so you get the no-holds-barred view of a first time user.
Now, I should point out, this blade will only work on the SDX model range. You can use the top right purple button to download the entire collection to USB for you to use directly on your SDX machine. Now these collections can take a little while to load onto your machine. If you are quilting in a rush (why?) you are going to find it easier to import the single design you want to create into CanvasWorkspace and go from there instead.
While the preview above shows you a range of quilting designs, the pack also contains:
- a bubble style font
- 3 applique-style designs
- 4 3D projects
- and an image panel which you could create in a few different ways.
I look forward to trying some of these in a future blog or video. For today though, let’s keep it simple.
For today’s project, I’m using a pack of fat quarters which you can get from your local sewing store, Hobbycraft, or even Lidl, Aldi or Home Bargains. My set comes from the latter, and my aim is to create a quilted tote. We’ll see how it goes as you create along with me. Now, this is part 1 and focussed just on the cutting. Hoping to do a little video showing the stitching it together which I’ll add to the end of this post. Don’t forget to bookmark this blog and come back to see it finished.
Planning your design
Start by measuring your fat quarters. These quarters in my pack are roughly 18×22″. I did find myself reverting to inches for this project. Decide how you want to construct your bag and the dimensions to work with. Many of the quilting patterns included with the Rotary Blade, and those pre-installed on your ScanNCut, are square. As such, you are better to focus on bag formats that can use this to its benefit. You also need to allow fabric for line the bag, along with any attachments for closures, pockets and even straps. If you don’t feel confident sewing long straights, you could purchase or use a pre-made strap.
I chose to use the strip fabric for my lining as this was the plainest of my set. To plan the size of the bag, fold this in half; and then turn under the two top edges. Then, measure the height to plan the square to work to. Bear in mid you will want the outer to be slightly taller than the lining anyway. So, as an example, mine came out just under 10¼”. Therefore I’m going to aim for a finished square size of 10.25″. This should leave me with roughly 8″x22″ left over. Use this for either adding to our design panel or for adding features like pockets or for attaching bag hardware.
Preparing fabric for use with the Rotary Blade
Now, if you are using your normal auto blade, or fabric blade, you will need to prep your fabric. Do this either by stiffening it with starch or a product like Terial Magic. Alternatively, use an iron-on backing such as Bondaweb or similar product depending on your location. Now, having tried all of these, I will admit I prefer the Terial Magic. It makes your fabric more paper-like and is so much easier to bond to your mat and cut .
Now, with the Rotary Blade, apparently none of this is required when cutting cotton. This idea is intriguing to me, as I tend to be a more spontaneous crafter. I have to do these things when I feel like it, as my mojo is currently rebelling. I also believe we shouldn’t need the fabric mat but we will see how that goes.
Pre-pressing your fabric is recommended before applying it to your mat. Also, make sure your fabric has cooled before you do so.
Choosing a design
This may seem like it’s a lot of work in the planning stage. However, it will be worth it in the long run. Included with the Rotary Blade, there is a sun inspired design which is DXRBKIT1007. While this isn’t what most would start with as a beginner, the scale of the pieces appealed to me as well as the theme.
Next, use the preview to plan out which colour represents which of your fabrics. Some designs will require this step more than others. In this case, our feature panel requires 5 fabrics, well one of our 5 has already been set aside as a lining, so we’ll have to change that up a bit. I sketched out the pattern roughly, so I could plan colours.
So once, you have a plan to work to, next step is getting the design into Canvas, sizing and prepping it for cutting.
Using the design
You can download individual pieces to cut at the original design scale if this suits your design setup. If you need to rescale though, you may prefer to download the zip setup. The files are downloaded as FCN files within the ZIP file. This means they are locked which may be something to consider if you want to use the files for other purposes. Subsequently, here’s our first issue: you cannot scale the design to a size other than that in which it is created.
Scaling: you cannot scale the design directly. Instead, you will need to draw the pieces, scan in and then scale from there. This is a pretty basic work around and is far from perfect. Just remember to change your seam allowance accordingly prior to scaling: down for enlargement and up for shrinking.
Rotary Blade Method
- Add the design pieces you need for your first fabric. You can use Number to add additional copies if required.
- Use the Seam Allowance function to add the seam allowance of your preference. The more open the weave the larger your seam allowance needs to be.
- Use rotation if needed for any distortion to your pattern.
- Don’t forget to flip them if you are reversing your design or cutting from the reverse of the fabric.
- Set the Pattern Interval to 5. Next, use the material saving functions to rotate your shapes to best fit your mat.
- Place your fabric face down onto your mat and smooth out.
- Firstly, you want to draw your seam and alignment markings using a fabric pen, erasable pen or other washable pen.
- Secondly, load the Rotary Blade in and select cut. The settings I left as default for my first cut, and as there worked great I left them there.
- Work through each colour according to your plan. As you get more confident you will be able to pattern orientate and match as needed. Be kind to yourself though if its your first project.
By the end of this process, you should have all the pieces cut. Now, we would recommend hand basting until you get used to how the design goes together.
So, here’s the video on my final bag process and results. I love it and it’s got me back into sewing in a big way. Watch this space for more bag and quilting ideas to come.