Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Good, the bad and the ugly...
 Monogramming to Your Best Ability
Stunning Example of High Quality Embroidery Work

 Today's blog will focus on the importance of a well made monogram design and hopefully clear up some misconceptions about monogramming.  The items I chose to highlight all have one common denominator...a good clean photograph.  Some are great shots of embroidery well done...and some are just not that great.  Let me show you what happened in each example so you can create beautiful embroidery always. 
 Let me preface this article by saying it is not my intent to hurt feelings, cause dissent or otherwise embarrass.  My intent is to educate.
This first sample I call  'well I want it thick'.  I am sure if you monogram for others you hear this quite frequently as no one wants a thin washed out monogram on their item...who can blame them?  What I repeatedly see happening is that the monogrammer will go into their software and increase the boldness of the font with no regard to stitch quality, see below. 
Several sections of the 'S' on the left hand towel show partial fill stitch and partial satin stitch.  What has happened is that the designer tried to take this font to a level that it wasn't created for.  It is a beautiful font but I am unsure of the source of this particular font, there are a lot of 'fakes' out there on the internet and this may be one of those $1 fonts.  Good quality fonts costs more than one dollar ladies, sorry but they do.
Monogram Wizard Plus has a similar font and it has a threshold minimum and maximum (which is a good thing).  In layman's terms that means if the designer enlarges the font past a certain threshold the font will automatically convert to a 'filled satin stitch'- which is the correct procedure.
One of two things happened with this design.
  1. The font was purchased from a source that didn't correctly digitize it for use on napped fabrics (towels)
  2. The end user decided to bypass their software controls of a maximum satin width of 3/8.
 Here is an example of a soft ware attempting to correct what the designer is wanting.
Notice at the widest point of the 's' the design stitching looks more tightly packed, this is because we are very near the maximum width of a proper satin stitch.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette 
vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 5 

 For those of you who have been following the duel there have been some questions raised about how we created our design, and in my excitement to compare these two products I did leave out some without further ado..

1. The applique design we are using (the bunny) was downloaded from one of the many applique sources available on the web.  You may use any design source, bearing in mind that not all digitizers were created equal (avoid websites that tell you that you HAVE TO USE A FUSIBLE WEB WITH THEIR APPLIQUE DESIGNS) during the machine embroidery process, if you read our applique blog down below you will understand why.

2.  We used a fusible web because we needed to have the cutters "trim the fabric neatly" and a fusible web makes this job easier.  I prefer Steam-a-Seam and Steam-a-Seam lite, I do not care for Heat-n-Bond as it is not designed to embroider thru and I don't care for their 'lite' version as both are stiff and gummy, in my opinion.

3.  What we are actually trying to accomplish is to have the cutters (Brother Scan and Cut and the Cameo) pre-cut our applique pieces before they are put into the machine. This saves trimming around the design while the item is in the hoop and makes things much neater.  

If you followed along so far you know that we converted our pre-made applique design into a cut file and this is what we have so far.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 4

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette 
vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 4

Here are the completed pieces, it took about 20 seconds to cut these

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 3

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette 
vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 3
Cutting Multiple Pieces

These pieces are cut close to the size of the finished applique so there is less waste when cutting multiple pieces.

Here are the pieces attached to the respective mats, the Cameo mat is clear while the Brother Scan and Cut mat is white, this does make it easier to see the grid and line up things for placement.

Here are the respective mats, each with several fabrics.

The brother mat is a bit easier to work with because it is not clear, the fact that it was white allowed me to better see the grid lines and what I was working with, the other feature I loved was the Brother Scan and Cut scanning feature.  Basically this feature allows to put assorted fabrics on the mat and then 'scan' the mat with a touch of a button...this may not sound so very cool but if you look at the screen it allows me to move the bunny shapes anywhere I like on the mat and to cut where needed...very cool.

The screen is an exact replica of the fabric on the mat.

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 2

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette 
vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 2

Part two of the Brother/Cameo duel will showcase the many differences in these machines to help you make an informed decision when purchasing one...because you will want one.

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 1

The Duel of the Cameo Silhouette 
vs. the Brother Scan & Cut Part 1

This duel came about because I purchased a Brother Scan and Cut along with several friends from our local dealer...and then attempted to use the Brother Scan and Cut Canvas (a cloud based software that allows you to import your SVG files and convert them to FCM which is what the Brother reads).

If you own the Brother Scan and Cut and have not played with the software here is a link to the site, you will need a broadband internet connection as you don't download the use it online.

If you own the Silhouette Cameo machine then you most likely have the Studio Software which is similar to the Canvas but in my opinion a tad more powerful. The education dept. at Brother has received many calls from consumers and educators saying they would like for the Canvas software to do a better job of converting SVG graphic to the language the BSC reads.  To be fair it does convert them, they just don't have a special box to input the size you would like the file to be, that means you have to click and drag to the size you want.  For those of you who have used the Studio software you know that you can just input the size you want and it is very exact.

For those of you that read this far and have no idea what I am talking about let me clear it up.  Both of these machines are 'plotters'.  They cut fabric, vinyl, paper and other media with the use of Scale-able Vector Graphic or SVG's.  You may have recently noticed than many of your favorite embroidery websites are offering SVG's to go with their files.  These files allow the users to cut outdoor or indoor vinyl for banners, cars, flags-these files can also be used to make heat transfer vinyl for t-shirts and most importantly (in my opinion) they can be used to cut all of your applique pieces, meaning you don't have to cut your machine embroidered applique pieces anymore!!!!