Let’s get to know the basics of using BlockBase+ SVG files in Brother CanvasWorks.
SVG (scalable vector graphic) is a unique type of image format. This popular vector file can be imported into many different software applications on the market, including digital cutting machines, embroidery machines, longarm software, and more.
- Follow these instructions for exporting SVG files from BlockBase+ >>
SVG files for use in Brother CanvasWorks should be exported from BlockBase+ with the Resolution option set to 96 dots per inch (dpi).
For this lesson, we are using block 1873 which can be found in the 10 Unequal 9 Patch Small Center > 04 Blocks with Unpieced Bars category in BlockBase+.
- Open Brother CanvasWorks, Log In to your CanvasWorks account, and you will see the Home screen.
- Click the SVG Button in the toolbar on the left side of the screen to open the Import Dialog. SVG files from BlockBase+ are saved to your Documents > My BlockBase Plus > Images folder by default. Locate the SVG file that you want to use and click Open.
- If you are importing an SVG files of templates from BlockBase+ you may see an error message on your screen that reads “Some objects in the file could not be imported. (N11001) The imported SVG was resized automatically to fit within the red dashed line on the art board. (N11002).”
The first message is because the Scale Square is labeled in the BlockBase+ templates export and Brother CanvasWorks cannot read text elements. This means the Scale Square will still appear but it will not have a label.
The second message means that the way the templates were laid out in the SVG file was too large for the CanvasWorks workspace so CanvasWorks has automatically resized the image to fit on the cutting mat.
- The blank white square in the upper-left corner of the Block Template Exports from BlockBase+ will always be the Scale Square. The Scale Square is not included in Block Image Exports. The Scale Square should measure 1.00″. We will use this square to resize all of the templates.
- Select the Scale Square. Click the Edit Tool in the toolbar on the right side of the screen and note the size of the Scale Square. Here it is 0.37″ x 0.37″.
- Use a calculator to divide 1.00″ (the size the scale square should be) by the size the scale square is measuring in Brother CanvasWorks, or 0.37″ in this example. The resulting scale number will be more than 1 if the patch is too small and less than 1 if the patch is too large. Here we have 1/0.37 = 2.703 (rounded up to three decimal places).
- Select all of the patches by typing Ctrl + A (Cmd + A). Then Right click on any of the patches and select Group from the menu that appears. This ensures that we resize all of the patches together.
- Click the Edit Tool in the toolbar on the right and note one of the dimensions of the grouped patches. Here we will use the width of the grouped patches, which is 11.67″.
- Multiply the dimension selected by the scale number we calculated in step 7 above. In this example, that would be 11.67 x 2.703 = 31.54. The resulting number will be the new width dimension for the grouped patches. Make sure that the Maintain Aspect Ratio checkbox is ticked. Then enter this new dimension into the Width field. This will automatically adjust the height dimension as well.
- Right click on a patch and select Ungroup from the menu that appears.
- Click on the Scale Square and make sure that the dimensions in the Width and Height fields both say 1.00″. If they do not, check your math in steps 6-11 and repeat the steps until the Scale Square is truly 1.00″ on all sides. Make sure to only adjust the size when all the templates are grouped together or your block will not be able to be sewn.
- Delete the Scale Square once you have confirmed that it is the correct size. Click on the Scale Square so that only it is selected and then hit your Delete Key on your keyboard.
- Now is the time to save the project so that we can create different mats to cut the different colors of fabric. Click on the File Menu and select Save. Then enter a name for your project and select where you want the project file to be saved.
- Now that the project is saved, you can duplicate, delete, move, and rotate the patches individually from this screen. If you make a mistake you can click the Undo Button. If you make a big error, reload the saved project by going to the File Menu and selecting Open.
- To rotate a patch, Click on it to select it and then use either the Handle at the top of the patch to free rotate or select the Edit Tool in the toolbar on the right side of the screen and type the rotation angle into the Angle Field under Transform for more precision.
- We need to create a separate cutting file for each fabric we will be cutting. To do this first move all of the patches of one color onto your cutting mat. Then delete all of the other patches. You can click and drag to highlight all of the remaining patches at once. Then hit the Delete Key on your keyboard.
- Click on the File Menu and select Save to create a project file for this specific color that you can reopen and edit later. Name the file and select where you would like it to save on your computer. I like to save with the same project name and the color of the fabric from which I will be cutting the patches.
- Close the file.
- Go to the File Menu and click Open to reopen the project file with all of the patches that we created in step 13 and repeat steps 16-18 until you have separate project files for all of the different fabric colors that you plan to cut.
- Once you have all of the colors separated into their own projects you can export them. Note that you can also do this step as you save each colorway. Open each color file individually by opening the File Menu, clicking Open, and navigating to where you saved the project files.
- Once you have a color file open you can export it to your Brother ScanNCut. To Export, click the File Menu and select Export/Transfer FCM File.
- The Export Dialog pop-up will allow you to export the file to your computer or to send it directly to your Brother ScanNCut if you have a model with those capabilities.
- We have an older version so we selected Export FCM File, which creates a .fcm file that can be saved to a USB drive to transfer to the ScanNCut. Give the exported file a name. I like to include the color of the fabric in the name so I know what I am cutting with it, particularly because there is no color information in the fcm files.
- Note: the following steps may vary considerably depending on your machine. These steps are for the Brother ScanNCut CM100, which is an older model. Please follow your machine’s instructions for importing FCM files and running the cutter.
Take your USB drive over to your ScanNCut (or send files via the Internet or USB cable depending on your model).
- Navigate to the FCM files from your project.
On the CM100 this is done via the Touch Screen on the ScanNCut.
Select Pattern on the first screen.
Select Saved Data on the second screen.
Select the Image of the USB on the third screen.
If you put the files into a subfolder on the USB navigate to that subfolder and you will see the files.
- Select the file that you want to cut first. We are selecting the 4 light blue squares. Click the OK button on the next screen.
- You can further edit and rearrange the location of the templates on the Touch Screen, if desired, as well as save the file to your machine for future use. Touch the OK button when you are done.
- On the next screen select Cut.
- Prepare your fabric for use with your Brother ScanNCut.
Different models require different setups for cutting fabric.
Please follow the recommended setup for cutting fabric on your model.
You will need to stabilize the fabric in some way, such as backing the fabric with interfacing or using starch or starch alternative in order to get a clean cut. Please experiment to find a setup that works for you.
Put your fabric on your Brother ScanNCut cutting mat. Use a brayer or seam roller to ensure that the fabric is firmly attached and that there are no wrinkles. Double check that your fabric placement matches with where you placed the templates on the digital cutting mats. For this project we are placing the fabric right side up but there may be instances where you want to put the right side down.
- Load the cutting mat with the fabric into the machine by pressing the Gridded Button on the top of your machine.
- Press the Green Start/Stop button on the top of your machine and let it do the cutting work for you!
- Once the cutting is complete, press the Gridded Button on the top of the machine to unload the mat. Then remove the patches and extra fabric from the mat.
Repeat steps 24-31 with the remaining mats to cut your other fabric colors and to cut more blocks if you want.
- Sit down with a Reference Block image printed from BlockBase+ and enjoy sewing everything together!