Jo Connolly of Garden of Daisies Embroidery here.
I’m so excited to have had my first pattern published here at C&T Publishing this past May! My ‘Emma Messenger Bag’ features their wonderful kraft-tex ‘textile’ product. If you haven’t tried it yet, get moving -- you’ll love it! It looks and feels like leather but stitches and handles like fabric. And it’s washable, too!
Some of the other features I love about kraft-tex include:
- Cut edge is clean so no need to finish edges
- Can be used for large areas or small details
- Digital-cutter-friendly so shape possibilities are endless
- Gorgeous colors to combine and play with
- Machine embroider-able! (Go with a light-fill stitch here so it doesn’t perforate.)
I’m a machine embroiderer/designer by trade. (You can peek at my website, gardenofdaisies.com, to see what I do with needle and thread.) So that was part of my focus when designing the Emma pattern’s ‘link’ details. I also included a non-embroidered option for those without an embroidery machine. And it was almost an afterthought to include the svg file for those with digital cutters. As a matter of fact, my sweet and creative sister-in-law, Diane, actually tested the file for the pattern for me because I didn’t have a digital cutter at that time.
Part of the appeal of machine embroidery for me has been combing traditional needle arts with cutting-edge technology. Then it clicked! A digital cutter could be a VERY useful tool in my embroidery studio! So, that’s what I’m talking about here today -- kraft-tex and a digital cutter.
A couple of caveats:
1: I have fifty-plus years of sewing and twenty-plus years of machine embroidery under my hand-made belt. (I started at a VERY young age… J) but I am ALMOST brand new to digital cutting. (I had a first-generation machine before all the bugs were worked out.)
2: I am not affiliated with any machine manufacturer and my opinions are my own.
3: This isn’t a how-to for operating a digital cutter -- I’m assuming a working knowledge of them. These are just a couple of tips I found useful when cutting kraft-tex.
With that out of the way…let me just say -- I am hooked! I’ve only spent a few hours so far working with my new ‘toy’ and have found that cutting kraft-tex is a breeze! Oh, the possibilities!
For all of the photo samples and the key chain projects, I used a Cricutâ Maker, their ‘StrongGripä’ mat and the knife blade. I’m guessing that other cutters have similar tools. In Cricut’s ‘Design Space’ online (free) software, I chose the ‘faux leather’ setting. I think this is something makers will have to play around with, depending on your machine, software, etc. but just know it can be done and this is a good place to start. This setting had the cutter run multiple cuts. After about 3 or 4 passes, it looked clean-cut to me so I paused the machine and unloaded the mat. The cuts were as clean as could be!
Cricut’s software has lots of shapes that you can create your designs with. If you’re adept at other graphics software that can save to ‘svg’ format, you’re good to go, too! I created my own designs and svgs files in graphics software that I already had. I uploaded them to the Design Space software as easy as pie.
My final words: kraft-tex and digital cutters are a perfect creative mix! I foresee lots of projects in my future and I bet you might, too!
Happy cutting! Happy stitching! Happy kraft-tex!
For the key fob project:
Key fob hardware set: 1.25” fob clamp & split ring (I buy my hardware on Etsy -- there are many wonderful vendors that carry it.)
12” of 1.25”-wide webbing
2” x 13” piece of kraft-tex
Sewing thread to match the kraft-tex
Pliers the set the fob clamp -- If you decide that you’re going to make lots of key fobs, invest in the clamp pliers sold by many key fob vendors -- they are the right shape and are padded to protect the clamp.
A small scrap of fabric to cover the fob clamp when closing it with the pliers so it won‘t get scratched.
Follow your cutter’s machine and software instructions to:
1: Adhere the kraft-tex to the cutter mat in the proper position.
2: Open the design file and send it to your machine.
3: Cut the design.
4: Once cut, remove the kraft-tex from the mat.
5: Center the kraft-tex strip on the webbing and edge-stitch it to the webbing along each long side.
6: Fold the webbing strip in half.
7: Insert both ends into the key fob clamp.
8: Carefully cover the fob piece with the fabric scrap. Use the pliers to crimp it onto the webbing.