Embroidery and the Brother ScanNCut - a perfect partnership

It is no secret to those who watch my shows that I am a big fan of Brother products, and that I use many of them in my crafty projects. I find them well built, well designed and intuitive, and getting to play with them before they appear on my Create and Craft shows often leads me to buy them :)
As a result, I get many questions about their use, and how you can put them together. One question I have been getting a lot, is how the embroidery machines and the ScanNCut CMQ (quilter edition) can work together, so I thought I would post some useful info here.

The ScanNCut is an electronic cutting machine that can take your scanned images, photos or hand-drawn sketches, and turn them into unique cutting designs, without the need or expense of a computer, software, or pricey cartridges. It cuts though lots of things, including (and to me, most importantly) FABRIC! This means that  you can use it to cut fabric elements for your applique designs. So how do you do it?

For a start, the CMQ and the 900 are currently the only versions that can read embroidery (this is correct at time of writing). Unfortunately older machines do not have this capability because it is a hardware change and cannot therefore be updated using a software upgrade.

So how can you use the ScanNCut with your embroidery machine? Well here is a tutorial from the ScanNCut YouTube page (why reinvent the wheel!). It shows the whole process from beginning to end!

What is important to know is that the pattern used has applique elements in the design. This is not possible with any old PES files because they don't all contain cutting information. If you want a go, there is a teacup pattern available on the Brother CanvasWorkspace Website for you to have a practice. This is a pic of the project - not the most inspiring but it gives you the idea!

Teacup applique project
There is even a tutorial on the top right of the project showing you how it's done. now that is hand holding!

There is always the following method for scanning in a applique design in case you don't have the correct cutting content in your PES file. Firstly stitch out your design with a dark thread, then trace the design and scan it in. This is shown on this YouTube tutorial with ScanNCut expert Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

I hope that this gives you some inspiration to get your Scan N Cut and your embroidery machine working together. Perfect Partners!


  1. Hello Sarah Payne,
    I watched the show on the Brother embroidery machine and the scan n cut.A fantastic buy for the Uk craftiers.

    Thank you so much for stopping by my Blog. I was so happy you did.Quilt is on the make now finished all the names and dates of the zodiac signs.
    Next will be sewing in the strips and then sewing it all together. I will do a bit of updating on that blog.
    Thanks again for stopping by and thank you so much for your lovely comment. Stop by again when you have a chance.
    For now

  2. Hi Sarah I have recently take delivery of the CMQ - upgrading my cm300. I love the cm300, but am a bit apprehensive with the fabric on the cmq. Will there be any programs coming up that are dedicated to the cmq and not shared witH a sewing / embroidery machine. There are so many things I would like to know particularly about how to save appliqué files
    as PES, even simple things like which is the best way to attach the fabric to the mat. I purchased this machine to use with my brother v5. Love watching the shows keep up the good work.

    Bye for now

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  5. Well said Sarah.. I am also a big fan of Brother products. And thanks for a review on Scan N Cut, it will really work on my embroidery digitising projects. Great job. Thanks.

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