So I finally broke open the box of one of my new toys – an Aqua colored Cricut Expression.
Technically I got this last November on a Black Friday Sale but I have been busy with work and all my hundreds of other sewing projects since then so I just never opened it (sidenote – I was super excited because Walmart had cool colored Cricuts rather than just plain white). And yes, I should admit here that I was a little intimidated on getting started because I wasn’t sure how much of a learning curve it was going to take to get it up and running, so I just never took the time to do it. I am very happy to report that it was super easy!
Now you are thinking – “Jamie, isn’t that just a scrapbooking tool? Do you even scrapbook?” The answer to both of those questions is NO! I love sewing…I love everything about sewing….I love the creativity and the fabric…I would sew all day everyday if I could. But scrapbooking…I don’t have the patience for…AT ALL. I tried it once and that was enough. Plus I have not actually printed a picture since around 2004. If I did, I would just put it in a plain boring album or a picture frame.
Anyway, the reason I bought a Cricut is because I read somewhere that you can use it to cut fabric appliques. By the way, normally for appliques I use iron-on adhesives and then zig zag stich them on…I don’t turn under by hand (I avoid sewing by hand at all costs). Here is a tip with zig zag stitching – use the SAME thread on your bobbin that you are sewing with. If you don’t you are more likely to get lots of skipped zig zag stitches. It took me way too long to figure this out!
I started out just cutting some green cardstock. Then I played around with different sizes.
Then I tried fabric and the first couple of products were horrible, but with the help of the handy internet, I figured it out it no time.
What I learned: (the hard way of course)
1. Stabilizer – ONLY use Steam-a-Seam Heavy Duty. I buy mine by the yard but you can get it in rolls of 2 or 5 yards. This is the one that works! I normally use Steam-a-Seam Lite for applique but it did not come out well at all. The heavy duty allows the machine to cut beautifully. Other bloggers also confirmed this was the best thing to use, and not to even bother with other options like Pellon.
2. After ironing the fabric to the Steam-a-Seam Heavy Duty, by all means, take the paper off before you put it on the mat! This seems like a dumb thing to say but I am dumb and ended up having to peel off thousands of little shards of paper. Be sure to put the “steamy” side down to the sticky mat, and the right side of fabric up.
3. Cricut settings I was successful with:
**Speed – Medium…you don’t want it going too fast or the letters might not be as crisp.
**Pressure – High or Max
**Blade Depth – 2…on the 2 setting, the blade cut up the mat less than the 3 setting did.
I love that you can cut out solid pieces up to 12 x 24 in size. I will have to get creative this summer! I was working on some more name banners – this time for my two nieces and my nephew. The results were amazing! It was sooooo much easier than using templates to cut everything..like I had to for the one I did for Layla. Plus I had different fonts to choose from.
Here is what I made:
I started using linen to make the name banners because I love how clean and crisp it looks! And now with my new Cricut the possiblities are endless!
I should admit here that I also bought a Cricut Personal cutter during the Black Friday sale. I was at JoAnne’s and the guy talked me into it because it was disgustingly cheap! I felt guilty at first because I already had the expression but I am so glad that I bought it! While I love how the Cricut Expression can cut large things, these banners take letters about 5 inches tall. By using the smaller Cricut I feel like I waste less fabric because the mat is 6 inches and you can only cut things out up to 5.5 inches tall. So now I have a convenient little system that makes my the applique portion of my banners go way faster!
This Cricut should keep me busy for a while. Good thing summer vacation is almost here!
Until later, happy sewing!