Category Archives: inkscape

Laser-cutting bias tape in off-cut regions

I have a few more tops to do. As an experiment, I cut my bias strips from the offcuts surrounding the peach top I was working on. That took a bit more work than cutting a 10" square and following the continuous bias tape tutorial from Colette, but it was satisfying to use the oddly-shaped offcuts for something useful. To make this easier in the future, I modified my basic top laser-cutting template to include bias strips (and a few other circles and 2" rectangles) in the off-cuts. I'll be able to use it for the Kaufman cotton lawn that I haven't started working on yet, and I'm looking forward to giving this tweaked pattern a try. This is what it looks like in Inkscape:
2015-05-08 22_40_17-2015-05-08-top.svg - Inkscape.png 2015-05-08 22_40_17-2015-05-08-top.svg - Inkscape
The perpendicular seams waste a little more fabric and are a little bulkier compared to 45-degree seams, like this:
2015-05-08 22_03_29-2015-05-07-top.svg - Inkscape.png2015-05-08 22_03_29-2015-05-07-top.svg - Inkscape
but I find perpendicular seams easier to sew, since I don't have to worry about the pointy ends getting misaligned. How to draw the diagonal lines:
  1. Use the pen tool to draw a long diagonal line, using the Ctrl key to constrain it to a 45-degree angle.
  2. Use Ctrl-D to duplicate it many times.
  3. Select all the duplicates.
  4. Use Object > Arrange to arrange the lines in one row (uncheck the checkbox for equal width and height). For 1" bias strips, set the X offset to 1.414 - the diagonal line's width. This will be a negative number. Set the Y offset to 0. Arrange the items.
  5. Combine the arranged lines and move them into position.
  6. Duplicate your main pattern with Ctrl-D.
  7. Select that and the combined diagonal lines. Use Path > Cut Path to cut the diagonal lines where they intersect with your main pattern.
  8. Delete the lines you don't need.
Here's one way to draw the horizontal or perpendicular lines in Inkscape:
  1. Use the pen tool to draw a line at the desired degree, using the Ctrl key to constrain the angle.
  2. Change the width (and height, for diagonal ones) in the toolbar to make it exactly fit between the lines.
  3. Select the seam line, then select a diagonal line. Use the alignment tools to align it to the top of the diagonal line and align the right edge to the left edge of the diagonal line. (Play around with the alignment tools until you figure out what works.)
2015-05-08 22_47_36-2015-05-08-top.svg - Inkscape2015-05-08 22_47_36-2015-05-08-top.svg - Inkscape.png
Now I just have to figure out what to do with these bias tape bits that are piling up. This patchwork string tutorial looks promising. In addition to using the bias tape for binding, I can use them for straps, strings, and ribbons. Hmm… Here's the file:

Drawing with my tablet


Drawing with my new tablet PC is lots of fun. Instead of being stuck in the basement or near a table large enough to hold a laptop and a regular tablet, I can draw pretty much anywhere – like the couch where Neko loves to nap.

There are plenty of drawing programs for tablets. Some mimic traditional drawing media: pencils, charcoal, even oil paint. Some let you use all sorts of effects. Others take a different approach to drawing, with lines and shapes that you can draw and edit. I like the latter more, because I can tweak my drawings until they look more like what I had in mind.

My favourite drawing program is Inkscape. Using it in full tablet mode isn’t as convenient as working on the Cintiq because I don’t have all the buttons I’m used to, but I’ve been working on my configuration to make it easier to draw. I use mouse gestures to switch between different tools so that I don’t have to click on the toolbox, and I’ve mapped one of the buttons on the tablet frame to “Delete”.

Growing up, I hadn’t really thought of myself as artistic. We’d fallen into the habit of labelling ourselves, I guess. My eldest sister and I were academically and technologically inclined. My middle sister was the one who was good at photography and drama and all that stuff. In high school, the split became even bigger as I compared myself with classmates who created beautiful landscapes and still-life drawings in art and drafting. Gadgets and presentations lured me back into drawing. I got a Nintendo DS to play games and draw on it, discovering along the way that drawing was a lot of fun. I sketched a presentation on it, and the overwhelming response to that told me I’d stumbled across something more fun than illustrating my presentations with impersonal stock photographs. I’m beginning to think of myself as someone who can draw--perhaps not amazingly well, but enough to make me and other people smile.

I have a feeling this will definitely be worth the money I set aside for it. =)

My Inkscape settings

Here are some things I change right away in my Inkscape settings:

  1. Double-click on the pencil tool, and choose “Last used style”.
  2. Draw something, then click on the fill color box. Choose X for fill.
  3. Switch to the Stroke style tab. Select a rounded joint and a rounded cap.
  4. Open File > Inkscape Preferences. Click on Transforms. Uncheck “Scale stroke width”.
  5. Use View > Snap to turn off snapping to the grid or to guidelines. That way, you can use guidelines, but your strokes will still look natural.