This post is sponsored by Cricut and contains affiliate links.
Last week I shared the first post introducing cool collaboration between the digital cutting machine, the Cricut Maker and Riley Blake Designs quilt kits. The Cricut Maker has a library of hundreds of projects in their Design Space that can be made with multiple mediums including paper, vinyl, balsa wood, etc. And now, the Cricut Maker is the first digital cutting machine to be able to accurately cut regular quilting cotton!
Cricut has teamed up with Riley Blake Designs to provide over 30 pre-programed quilt designs in their Design Space. (To browse all of the projects in Design Space, create a free account.) You can read more about the kits here. I’m making a baby quilt using the Happy Day baby size fabric kit and the Pave the Way baby quilt pattern.
In this post I going to share more about the fabric prep and cutting process and demo how easy it is to cut out an entire quilt in a short amount of time!
First of all, open up the fabric from your kits and lay it out in order according to the printable instructions.
Before I cut any fabric, I like to give it a good press to get out creases – this will result in more accurate cutting.
Once all of your pieces are pressed, lay the fabric on the sticky Fabric Cutting Mats – I’m using the 12″ x 24″ mats. The Brayer tool will help you get your fabric adhered smoothly without any puckers or wrinkles. Most of the fabric in the kits is already pre-cut to 12″ wide and ready to put on the mats.
Since the first cuts will be right at the top line of the mat, when putting the fabric on the mat make sure the selvage edge is above that top line. You don’t want to accidentally cut selvage edges into your quilt pieces. (Or just trim the selvage edge off before your place your fabric on the mat.)
You can prep multiple mats and have them ready to load as soon as each cut job finishes – making the job go even faster.
You can trim the fabric pieces before you send them through the machine, but I choose to just leave the width of fabric intact and let it hang off the edge of the mat – that way when the cuts are made there is a bigger piece of useable continuous leftover yardage for other projects.
Here is what makes the Cricut Maker different from any other digital cutter – and what makes it possible to cut quilting cotton: it’s a mini rotary cutter, part of the advanced Adaptive Tool system. This is significant because past electric cutting machines have only been able to cut fabric if it was bonded to something to make it more stiff – like Heat n Bond. The cutting tool on those machines is like an exacto knife – sharp and accurate, but unable to cut un-bonded fabric without catching threads and dragging the fabric. Kind of like trying to cut a pizza with a plastic knife. You could do it, but you’d probably drag the cheese and toppings with the knife, rather than cutting cleanly through them.
This rotary cutter makes clean, accurate cuts in quilting cotton!
I have used my blade for multiple projects and it’s still sharp and accurate. But you’re probably wondering how you would safely change such a tiny round blade. Cricut has thought of everything and they have the safe and easy Rotary Blade Kit for changing it when the time comes.
Once the fabric goes through the machine it’s easy to peel away the cut pieces that are now ready for piecing!
The Cricut Maker is able to cut through multiple layers of fabric at the same time – just like your regular rotary cutter. This is a great time saver if your cutting lots of custom shapes or pieces. (See a demo in this video.)
There will be some threads left over on the mats after cutting fabric. This is not a problem. Just continue to place the next piece of fabric right over the threads and the rotary blade will cut right through them.
To preserve the tackiness of the mats, try to touch them as little as possible and definitely don’t try to scrape the threads with a scraper tool – it will damage the tacky surface. If your mat starts to loose it’s tackiness, you can wash them, perpetuating their use for a long time. You can find tips for washing the fabric mats here.
Here are all of my pieces cut and ready to assemble! I’ll be sharing more of that in my next post in the series in a few weeks.
The one thing I did cut by hand was my sashing strips (#1) and binding strips (#9). For the Pave the Way pattern I need 8 white 2 1/2″ x width-of-fabric strips for sashing and 5 red 2 1/2″ x width-of-fabric strips for binding. These are quickly, and most accurately, cut with the mat, ruler, and rotary cutter.
Some quick tips: Fold the yardage in half, making sure the selvage edges match up evenly. (This may mean you need to refold and re-press the center fold.) To keep the strips straight and square, line up the center fold on straight line at the bottom of the mat. Square-off the raw edges so that you start with a clean edge.
Use the cutting ruler to measure the width of the strip in need of cutting and using your left hand, gently put pressure across the center of the ruler. Use the rotary cutter to firmly press the rotary cutter away from you.
Continue to move the ruler along the fabric to the right, cutting 2 1/2″ wide strips.
Repeat the process to cut the 5 binding strips.
I’m excited to start sewing! This pattern is a simple one, so it should come together really quickly for a cute, finished baby quilt.
But I’m equally excited about all of the capabilities that the Cricut cutter has for lots of future quilt projects – particularly eliminating lots of cutting by hand. Especially repetitive patchwork pieces. For example, English Paper Piecing projects where the Maker can cut both the cardstock templates as well as the fabric pieces (as seen in this post by Jeni Baker).
This project was perfect timing for me as I’ve been nursing a sore shoulder. It was so handy to just feed the fabrics into the digital cutter and have them come out ready to sew!
Stay tuned for the next post mid-August where I’ll show you my finished quilt!
If you are in need of any Cricut supplies, now is an awesome time of year to stock up with lots of accessories (including the quilt kits!) 50% off during their Christmas in July sale.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.