cutting machine

  • New Quilting Toy

    by Brian Partin

    One of the first things that drew me to quilting was appliqué. I remember seeing a very simple primitive quilt at the Dade County Youth Fair. It was a red plaid angel quilt, and each angel was made up of a heart body, round head and a halo. I wanted to buy the quilt, but I couldn’t afford it. I kept thinking, “I could make that”. After taking beginning quilting, an Appliqué class was next on my list, and yes, I did make that angel quilt.

    Ever since then, appliqué has been one of my favorite types of projects. It addresses my need to be creative better than anything else. The only down side is the length of time it takes to crank out an appliqué quilt as opposed to pretty much any other type of project. The holiday and season quilts that I want to make keep stacking up, and the time keeps slipping away. Not to mention the long list of family members and friends that think they deserve a quilt from me as well. Something had to give.

    Purchasing laser cut and pre-fused appliqué soon became my "go-to" for putting together an appliqué project. The precision cutting made the shapes clearly identifiable, and the project's a breeze to snap together. Just peel, place and press. I only wished that I could get them in exactly the size that I wanted for my project. And wouldn’t it be great if I could get them out of the fabric that I already own to match collections that I have already bought?

    Well, it turns out I can. Enter fabric cutting machines. These new cutting machines allow me to buy SVG files and cut the designs at home, using my very own fabric, in any size that the machine will cut. It did take a bit of a learning curve, but that is a part of the journey, isn’t it?

    My Quilting Toy by Brian Partin
    Here are a few things I've learned so far:

    1. Designs don't always open the size that is specified, but I can scale and rotate them anyway I want. Pretty cool ... right?

    2. I have to “select all” so that I can ungroup the design. This allows me to separate the components of the design so that I can cut the pieces from various fabrics. The machine also cuts better when the cutting is separated a bit from each piece.

    3. Since I am cutting the fabric face down, I want to flip the design to keep it facing the right direction and the lettering readable, if there is any.

    4. Any items that are showing on the "mat" will be cut. Those that I drag off the "mat" will not cut. I can drag off items now while they are the right size and cut them later in a different fabric. I just go back to the design after cutting and switch the items that I want to cut next.

    5. When I load my fabric on the mat, I place the right side of the fabric face down on the mat. Using a lot of pressure I hand press that fabric onto the mat to make sure it is flat. If it is loose it will get pulled up while cutting and make a mess. I have pre-fused the Steam-A-Seam II onto the back of the fabric, and make sure that it is freshly ironed and the paper backing is still tight on the fabric. I will lift the paper, and re-iron it flat if there are any creases in the paper that might catch on the cutting knife during cutting.

    6. I have read that some people soak their fabric in Terial Magic, available at Amazon or at your local quilt store, to stiffen the fabric, but I have yet to try it.

    My Quilting Toy by Brian Partin

    Who knew that after quilting for 27 years that I'd find something totally new to learn? And it's a good thing because I think learning new things makes life more interesting, and it also makes me more interesting too.

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