Skip Navigation Website Accessibility

What makes our Patterns formatted for personal cutting machines?

(also referred to as Scan and Cut ready)

Click HERE to download this article in a convenient pdf file

Have you ever noticed, many of my patterns have a little brown rectangular box on the cover, that reads “pattern formatted for personal cutting machines”?

Does that mean anything to you? Do you even notice that brown rectangle?

Well, after reading this little diddy, you’ll know what it means, how it can save you time and arthritic pain and it might just have you looking for it on every applique pattern you like.

Up until today, I hadn’t really shouted about this pattern feature, but I was talking with a shop owner who had commented on how awesome it is that I’ve included the “scan and cut” feature in my patterns. I realized I haven’t done a very good job of telling everyone about it. . . . . so . . . .

Welcome to your crash course in “scan and cut 101”.

Applique by definition means; To decorate (a larger piece of fabric) with pieces of fabric to form pictures or patterns.

When we use an applique pattern, we will most certainly follow these steps, to some degree:

  • Trace all shapes onto fusible web. Which often includes holding your fusible web together on top of a template sheet and holding up to a window or using a light box, so we can easily see the lines on the template sheet, to trace them. If I have lots of shapes to trace, it gives my triceps (the backside of our upper arms that get flappy as we get older) a good workout. I’ve since invested in a lightbox . . . . . my triceps show it.
  • Second, we then cut apart the shapes, and fuse them to the fusible web, then cut them out on the lines using really really good scissors.
  • These steps, by the way, are my preferred method as I’m generally working with a sketch, rather than a clean and neat template sheet that you receive in my patterns.

In the past few years, thanks to modern technology, there’s a gadget that looks like a desktop printer, but it will actually do all the cutting of your applique shapes for you?!! I mean, rather than using the ancient method of scissors operated by, get this, your hands! Oh, the ancient tools we were forced to use. Bah! Who knew???

Well, I knew about these gadgets which is why I added a special “scan and cut” feature to my patterns (from 2014 going forward) and put that little brown rectangle box on the cover to show everyone this Patch Abilities pattern is even more user friendly. It works with YOUR personal scan and cut cutter.

Here’s how it works and what makes it so dang gnarly and cool.

  • First, you nab a handy dandy scan and cut home and hobby cutting machine. There are many brands on the market with lots of cool features. I myself happen to have a Zing cutter. However, I was chatting with shop owner Jeanie from Richland Center Sewing, in Richland, TX. She was telling how slick my pattern works with their Brother ScanNCut machines. She had downloaded my pattern and ran it thru her ScanNCut and had her shop sample all cut out in no time, ready to stitch. This image is the machine she uses and sells in her shop. Super handy if you ask me. It’s the scanner and the cutter all in one machine! And I see it even auto detects the thickness of your fabric – that’s a huge plus as it’s like a crap shoot to figure out how deep to set the blade on my machine. Sorry Zing. As a matter of fact, I am so impressed with this machine I’m including a product info sheet here AND Jeanie’s contact info, in case you wanna treat yourself to never cutting out applique shapes by hand again. Woo Hoo! (they’ll ship it to you, by the way!)

·       Phone: (817) 590-4447

Tell them Julie at Patch Abilities sent you! 

  • Next, you take the template sheets from your Patch Abilities pattern labeled “Non reversed” and scan them into the machine. Using the built-in scanner or scanner connected to your computer. These sheets in my patterns DO NOT contain any labels or markings on the page (other than the “Non reversed”). Any extra writing on the template page is picked up by the scanner and must be removed using the software, before you begin cutting. So, I keep these pages super clean. The watermark on the sheets do not show up in the scan, by the way. Yay. **Hint: 1 more way I make these sheets super-user-friendly is, I lump all the shapes using the same fabric together, so you don’t have to move shapes around and group them together according to their fabric. For example, the items circled are all out the same red fabric. 
  • Once the sheets are in your software, you prep your fabric, fusible web and follow the directions for your machine to cut all the applique shapes. Then you’re ready to slap ‘em on your background fabric.

It sounds so slick and easy, doesn’t it. In reality, it is. Sure, the first few times you use it, there’s kinks to work out, but the more you use it the quicker you get.
In fact, I’d love to point out a
Few sweet perks of these machines:

  • Save time in tracing and cutting – especially if you’re making more than 1 of the same project. Like, if you make the same cute wall hanging for all your sisters, pals and inlaws as holiday gifts. Or if you do craft shows and sell finished wall hangings – wholly crap would this save you time.
  • If you have arthritis in your hands and cutting out applique shapes is not do-able anymore - - wholly crap this could make applique fun again.
  • Have the scissor skills of a preschooler? It doesn’t matter. The machine cuts exactly what’s on the pattern templates.
  • Hate cutting out letters or words? Yeah, who doesn’t. Cutting letters tops the list of annoying tedious shapes to cut, in my opinion. This is THE #1 job of my cutting machine actually.

And, that’s the scoop on personal cutting machines. Now for a final exam to see if you’ve soaked it all up. Naw, just kidding, no final exam here.

So, that’s why I put the label “pattern formatted for personal cutting machines” on the cover of my patterns.

  • It means the pattern scanner-ready, non-reversed template sheets.
  • The template sheets are clean, without labels to remove – making file prep slick and quick.
  • Shapes using same fabric are “grouped” together - minimizing need for shape arrangement.

Just promise me this. You’ll take notice of the “scan and cut” feature on our patterns. And, if this slick machine (whatever brand you prefer) is tempting you in any way, you’ll check it out.

I give you an “A” for attention.

Thanks for not bailing out half way thru this crash course of scan and cut 101.


Owner/creative mind behind


Do you know we NEVER discontinue a pattern?
Yep, we don’t have to. We print on the fly.