Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Know when to stop or not

A few days ago I decided to work on a quick and easy project - a neonate quilt.  I'd seen a picture of a pieced quilt using an orange peel/petal design.   

My version was to piece the background and then applique the petal shapes on top.  

Piecing the 3" squares went well, I was happy with the applique shape I'd designed using the Silhouette software.  

 Next step - quick and easy to cut the pieces out on the Silhouette Cameo ...

 ...  a little while later I had nicely cut and fused shapes that only needed the paper removed before ironing to the top.   

In the hours between there were a few mishaps.

first problem - my original Silhouette mat had lost much of its stick as I discovered after carefully adhereing (or so I thought) the fused fabric (minus the backing paper).  

While the Silhouette did a brilliant job of munging most of the shapes, I did manage to retrieve a small number of shapes to use.

Now it would have been sensible to watch the cutting and stop it sooner!  

next problem - when I ordered the Silhouette I also received 2 cutting mats (not Silhouette brand) that can be used with any brand of cutting machine.  The cover sheet for the Silhouette mat is shiny on one side and matt on the other with both sides sort of plasticised so they easily peel off the sticky mat.  What I learnt with the other mat is that one side of its cover sheet is paper - as I peeled it away from the mat it managed to flip back onto the sticky mat and did not peel off! 

Perhaps this was a sign to stop, but no, I continued and used the second cutting mat.  Carefully putting on the fused fabric.  Now new mats are super sticky and the fusible pretty much became one with the sticky surface.  

I managed to retrieve a few fused shapes.  Mostly the fusible stayed with the mat and not the fabric.


At this point I almost gave up, instead decided a bit of research might be helpful - like watching youtube videos on cleaning mats and working with fusibles.

The recommended method of using painters tape to remove stray items from the mat and to restore the 'stickyness' works well with the Silhouette mat.  Just didn't work with the paper and fusible infused cutting mats.  

So they got a wash with warm soapy water and a high-tech scraper - an old credit card.  
After this I was off.


Successful cutting of a 12" x 12" piece of fused fabric.


Cutting smaller pieces of fabric is easy - the grid in the Silhouette software matches the grid on the mat making it obvious which shapes to remove or deselect in the software.  

From the videos I'd learnt to keep the fusible backing paper on and have the fabric sticking to the mat.  Also to select the thicker fabric (canvas) cutting option.  


What this meant was that the shapes lift out perfectly and they didn't roll the paper did.  It did mean a bit of time pulling off the paper from each shape.  

While not relevant to this project the same applies to stabilising fabric with freezer paper,  when cutting put the fabric against the sticky mat with the freezer paper on top. 

Presumably using freezer paper and the fusible paper will blunt the 'fabric' blades faster - not a big problem when you get a way better cut.

Meanwhile the quilt is progressing ...


Charlotte Scott said...

So is it worth it in the long run?

Helen said...

For this project yes, the trick is to remember what I learnt!