I'm working on a tutorial on how I made this bag for a dear friend. Would you believe all the fabric rectangles were cut with my Spellbinder Dies and Cuttlebug?!! Before I get to my next post on how to make this bag, I first had a request on which die cutting machines work best for fabric. I own several die cutting machines: some fantastic, some not so much, and one that advertises you can cut fabric like butter, but it really doesn't work (at least not for me!).
So for Ashley and anyone who would like some help, this is for you!
The die cutting machines I own are the Cuttlebug, Cricut Expressions, and the Wizard.
1. Cuttlebug- is probably my favorite and most inexpensive machine that is very versatile with fabric AND paper! I love this machine because it's compact and has a heavy duty suction pad on the bottom to sticks to your table. It's pretty self explanatory for cutting paper, but when it comes to cutting fabric there are a few things I've learned that help make the process easier.
Iron and starch all fabric before cutting. This allows for a stiffer fabric and also cuts your fabric like butter with NO FRAY ends! For heavier weight fabrics, you may have to run the plates thru a few times. For the cammie purse above, I ran each rectangle thru twice. I also like the handle on this machine much better than the toggle crank on the Wizard...much less stress on your hands!
2. Cricut Expressions-a wonderful die cutting machine for paper and not so much fabric. My first try with cutting fabric on the Cricut was disastrous. The blade would cut the general shape, but it did not cut the shape out in its entirety. I had to go back and cut around the shape with mustache scissors...already an added step I could have avoided! Also, when cutting fabric on your Cricut you have to iron on Underwonder to stiffen your fabric so it won't slip (it slips!) on the sticky cutting mat. Next!
3. The Wizard-much like the cuttlebug, but with a different handle ("wrench" like) and plates. This machine will cut paper AND fabric. When cranking the plates through this machine, it can become tedious with the crank handle and you insert the cutting plates from the back. I have used this machine for the last few years and it's been wonderful. The Wizard is used in conjunction with Spellbinder dies (which can ALSO be used on the Cuttlebug!) which are made of steel and compact. I love that you can use these dies on other machines, because if I don't feel like using the Wizard, I switch over to the Cuttlebug because I prefer that handle when cranking. The only downside, which does not effect cutting ability, is that the cutting plates flake after long uses...think of when your skin peels after a sunburn! It drives me crazy having flakes everywhere. I did have them replaced (free of charge) from the manufacturer, but my 2nd set of plates eventually did the same thing. Again, it never interfered with the ability to cut precisely, just annoyed me! Hobby Lobby carries the Spellbinder Dies...too bad I don't have one here;(
Bottom line...if you want to cut fabric in one easy step, use a pressurized die cutting machine (Cuttlebug, Wizard, etc.) not a blade (Cricut) machine. I'm not endorsed by any of these companies. I have learned my trial and error what works best for me! Before investing in any die cutting machine, you need to way the odds of how often your going to use it.
Before closing, here are a few more machines I thought I'd share with you...I have not tried them, but they are on my wish list!
1. Spellbinder's Grand Calibur---you could cut some nice sized appliques with this machine...watch the video closely, I'm wondering how well that suction cup on the bottom really works...if anyone owns this, please let me know! Thank you to Kimberly Crawford for posting this!
2. Accuquilt---two machines for the "mac daddy" of quilting---GO! Fabric Cutter and the Studio Fabric Cutter. These machines are pricey, but if your a hardcore quilter, why not splurge? Just think, no more dragging out the ruler and rotary cutter! LOVE THESE!
I hope this has been helpful! Again, I'm no expert in the paper or fabric world, I just learn as I go!