Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Loading and Cutting the Heat Transfer Vinyl Part 2

Remember I said to load the vinyl face down?  With the matte side facing you?  And some of you are like me and jumped ahead and didn't do it the right way...that's okay..if you have shapes in your design they can still be scrapped off the mat and fused to your garment, if you had words they can't be used because the will be in reverse when pressed.
Here is what it looks like when you have the vinyl with the glitter side looks a mess and it is but you can salvage some of the pieces if you like.

Here is the video of the machine being loaded.  The entire sheet of the glitter vinyl and the 'clear carrier sheet' are removed from the mat.  Then you begin to 'pull away' the excess vinyl, leaving just your design.  Be sure to remove all of the excess so your design will look clean.  Yes I could have edited the video so it would look like the excess pulls away in one fell swoop but it doesn't and you know me...I am all about the real deal.  When picking out the excess pieces it is called 'weeding'...hmm, wonder why...maybe it is because it is like real weeding and it is irritating.  Irritating, but the effect achieved by the glitter is worth it.

Check that your heat transfer vinyl has this clear 'backing' called a carrier sheet, if it doesn't you will need to purchase some carrier tape to help you line up your designs.
Here is the video of how easy it is to remove the excess vinyl.
I want to make sure that you are aware that it won't look as though the vinyl has been cut, you will barely see the cut lines and this may lead you to believe that you need to re-cut..DON'T DO IT.  The machine has cut the vinyl exactly as necessary and you don't want a deep cut because the carrier needs to stay in place so you can place the item on your garment and press it in place.  The sticky clear background is called a 'carrier' and no I don't know why, guess because it carries your design to your garment!

Once the excess is removed heat up your heat press or iron according to manufactures settings for the type of vinyl you are using.  

The clear 'carrier' will stay on during the pressing process, it won't stick to your garment but you will need to use the pressing sheet provided by Siser or use and Applique Pressing Sheet like the one pictured.
Press for the recommended time. 
Carefully lift and remove the carrier and your item is ready.
Now for the good stuff that no one seems to want to tell us are the MACHINE SETTINGS FOR Heat Transfer Vinyl when using the Brother Scan-n-Cut

Use the Aqua Blade set to number 2
Set the Machine Cut Pressure to 1
Set the Cut Speed to 1
Use the Standard Mat
Place Glitter Vinyl Face Down

These setting will work with the heavier heat transfer vinyl that has a clear carrier, I do not yet know what the cut settings are for other types of vinyl because I haven't used any yet but as soon as I know I will post it here on the blog.

Now go have fun with your cutter and quit being intimidated by it, it really is that easy!

Nicci Brazzell
MaEd, M.F.A

Using Heat Transfer Vinyl With Your Brother Scan-N-Cut Part 1

I used heat transfer vinyl to create this apron for the Stitchin' Sisters event our dealership is hosting.
For those of you who know me you know that I am in no way a vinyl or screen print master.  I am a raised textile artist by trade and it is my first love.  I did however recently purchase a  Brother Scan and Cut and I have really enjoyed cutting out fabric and making appliques with this wonderful tool.  What surprised me the fact that I was interested in using vinyl as well (for those times when you don't have the energy or where with all to embroider an item for one time wear).  

The first thing I learned while attempting to order some vinyl was how many different types there are!  There are outdoor vinyls, indoor vinyls, heat transfer vinyls, glittery vinyls, flocked vinyl, printed vinyl, vinyl that has transfer tape adhered to it and vinyl that requires YOU to add the transfer tape (yeah- that was a fun day).

I found that I prefer the type of heat transfer vinyl that has the transfer tape already applied.  It seems this type is a little more expensive but the ease of use is worth it to me. I ordered mine from Siser and it was called 'easy weed' which means it was easy to remove the 'left-over' parts.  I have friends who use vinyl cutters but I am a newbie at this so I just went with it.  

This is what the glitter heat transfer vinyl looks like.
Once the vinyl arrived at my house I was a little surprised to feel how thick it was, IT WAS THICK and I wasn't sure that the cutter blades would cut it.  I want to mention that I myself didn't find the book that came with my cutter to be very handy.  At first this irritated me and then I realized that there are literally hundreds of materials that you can cut with this machine and there just was not a way for them to impart that into one tiny little black and white booklet.

So I did what I always do...jumped right in and messed up some vinyl.  Now some people get stressed when they ruin a project but I don't because I count my failures as learning lessons-hard won and not cheap but learning lessons none-the-less.

The first thing I learned is that if you want to cut heat transfer vinyl you have to reverse the letters...always reverse the letters.

See the pink one?  It's backwards because I forgot to reverse it.
To create the apron we needed to use the machine lettering and designs or use the Cloud Based Software Brother Scan Cut Canvas, you just sign up and you can use the software to create anything you like. What we created could also be created right at the screen on the Brother Scan and Cut machine.

Once the software is open you can see that the screen looks a lot like the mats that came with your machine and you can move things around to create the type of cut files you would like.

This cloud based software is easy to use and even has a PDF that you can open and download if you are into that type of thing...
Once I had all the hearts, words and designs that I wanted to cut I used the download button and a thumb drive to save the design.

Click on the Download Button
A little window will pop up asking you to 'right-click' on the file name that is underlined, just like in the picture.

Once you 'right-click' the computers browser will open and you will need to locate your thumb drive and save the file there.  You can follow the directions on the screen from there but basically the design is now on the USB stick and you can insert it into your machine and load your design to be cut.  It really is that simple.

Now remember I mentioned that if you have lettering you need to reverse it?  Well you need to do that at the machine, basically click on any areas of the design that are lettering and mirror image them.  (The instructions on how to do this are in the manual that came with your machine).

From here on out we are going to do this in a step by step fashion.

Step 1.  Load the mat (just kidding).  Using the standard mat cut a piece of the vinyl a bit larger than the size the design you created.  When placing the vinyl onto the mat place it SHINY side down, trust me...the GLITTER SIDE GOES FACE DOWN.  It doesn't make any sense to me either but the vinyl God's have deemed it so.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Size is Everything

When embroidering size is everything.

I get asked a lot of machine embroidery questions everyday.  I guess it comes with the territory.  I own a successful embroidery business, I have written many articles on the embroidery process for nationally syndicated magazines, taught at international conventions and I love helping new embroidery artists perfect their art.

The question that seems to puzzle most is re-sizing.  The ability to re-size an embroidery design is a glorious thing.  

During the digitizing process the digitizer will place stitches either by hand-punching them or using an auto punch software.  Keep in mind that it is a process and most good quality digitizers 'digitize to size' meaning that they create the design in the size that it will be sewn out.  

  The thing to bear in mind is that some designs re-size very well and others don't.  Eventually you will be able to look at the way a design is created and discern if and by how much it can be re-sized.

Having said that, most designs fall under the 20% rule meaning that they can be re-sized down or up twenty percent without truly affecting the stitch quality.