How can a fabric cutting machine make your life easier?
Fabric cutting machines are true game-changers in the crafting world. These devices are similar to printers in that they manipulate a material according to your specifications. Usually, you stack up your material on a machine-specific pad or mat and feed it into the machine, where a blade cuts the material into the shape you have designed or chosen from a library of designs. Aside from cutting materials, many machines, like the Silhouette Cameo 4 and the Cricut Maker, can use a sketch pen to draw on the material as well. Both machines also have dual carriages, which means they can carry out two processes, like writing and cutting, at the same time.
The fabric cutting machines we discuss here essentially fall into two categories: manual and electric. Electric fabric cutting machines, such as the Brother SDX125E or the Silhouette Cameo 4, receive the design information from a computer or another electronic device. Many newer devices, like the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore Air, are compatible with smartphones or tablets and can be operated using an app. The Brother SDX125E can even be used as a stand-alone machine because it comes with its own 5-inch touchscreen! Electric fabric cutting machines give you countless options when it comes to creating your project. You can design shapes in the app or on the computer, or you can download existing patterns from online libraries. Many fabric cutting machines, such as the Cricut Maker or the Brother SDX125E, give you access to project designs either with the purchase of the product itself or as an add-on service.
The manual models typically use the so-called dies for cutting. Die cutting machines essentially allow you to mass-produce a cut-out shape or design of your choice. This means you can make the same design as many times as you want, without using a stencil, a knife, or scissors. Some machines, like the powerful AccuQuilt Studio 2 Fabric Cutter, can easily cut through thick materials like leather and handle up to 10 layers of fabric. If you’re a quilter, the AccuQuilt Studio 2 is an ideal choice for you. Other fabric die cutting machines, like the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit and the Sizzix Big Shot Pro, are excellent for cutting card stock and other crafting materials. If you want to make intricate wedding invitations or place cards, these machines streamline the process and make it easy to create beautiful designs in no time.
Features to consider before you buy a fabric cutting machine
When you buy a fabric cutting machine, there are several aspects you need to consider. The most notable features to look out for are type, weight, dimensions, and warranty.
Should you buy a manual or an electric fabric cutting machine? That largely depends on your comfort level with technology, as well as the kind of device you have available. If you love high-tech devices and have access to a computer or a smart device, the Cricut Maker, the Cricut Explore Air, or the Silhouette Cameo 4 might be the best fabric cutting machines for you. In case you do not have access to a compatible device, the Brother SDX125E might be an option for you: while you can hook this device up to your computer, it has a flat-screen and can also be used as a stand-alone device.
If you have worked with manual machines all your life, you may not want an electric wireless machine that requires you to use an app or a computer.
Maybe you have to share a computer, or you do not have access to a device that is compatible with the software. Whatever your reason, some people prefer to work with the manual fabric die cutting machines, and that is perfectly okay. If you are into quilting, and a manual machine is what you are looking for, consider the AccuQuilt Studio 2
. If you lean more towards the crafting side of things and love die cutting, the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit
and the Sizzix Big Shot Pro
are an excellent choice.
If you plan to work from home or out of a studio, and you do not plan to travel much with your fabric cutting machine, weight may not be your main concern. In that case, there is no reason you shouldn’t invest in a sturdy, heavy-duty machine like the AccuQuilt Studio 2 that is built to last.
However, if you like to travel with your crafts, if your part of a quilting guild or crafter’s club, or if you are planning to bring your device in for a school project, a lightweight device might be best suited for you.
The Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit
is your best bet on the manual side, weighing only 7.5 lbs.
Just like weight, dimensions play a role in regards to your workspace.
Before purchasing a cutting machine for fabric, ask yourself: where am I going to set up my workspace?
However, you also need to ask yourself what kinds of projects you will be making. After all, a bigger machine can handle bigger projects. If you are planning on making long flowy skirts or large posters, and you have a crafting room to yourself, you should consider a larger model like the Sizzix Big Shot Pro
, which takes up 24 x 21.6 x 8 inches, or the Cricut Maker
at 25.8 x 13 x 16 inches. If space is an issue, the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit
offers a smaller option.
Getting a warranty can provide the consumer with an extra layer of security. Only the AccuQuilt Studio 2 comes with a 3-year limited warranty by default. However, most manufacturers will offer a warranty for their fabric cutting machine upon request. For example, you can obtain a 3-year limited warranty for the Brother SDX125E; the same is true for the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit and the Sizzix Big Shot Pro. If a warranty is important to you, contact the manufacturer for more information.