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Showing posts with label Big Shot Express. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Shot Express. Show all posts

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and Slice Fabrique - Some Fabric Cutting Answers

If I had a dime for every question I get about the Westminster Sizzix, AccuQuilt and recently the Slice Fabrique by Making Memories I would be able to retire.  Since I'm not retired....I'll get on with it :)

This is the Slice Fabrique Starter Set  and it works with design cards specifically customized for fabric allowing you to cut alphabets, numbers, flowers, icons, basic shapes etc.  The Slice Fabrique has a large 2" graphic preview window, and runs on  rechargeable battery or can be plugged in.  This package includes: Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter, power cord, 3 replacement blades, blade adjustment wrench, 6" x 6" glass cutting mat, repositionable adhesive, foam brush, 3 - 6" x 6" fusible web sheets, user manual, quick start guide, Appliqué Basics SD design card and design card booklet.
This is a photo I took in Houston at Quilt Market.  As you can see it cuts nice and clean.  You can make appliques between 1 and 4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  Some designs are 2-4 inches in 1/2 inch increments.  The Slice Fabrique cuts one layer of fabric at a time.  All of the Slice Design Cards (Slice Fabrique and Slice) work in the Slice Fabrique however you need to be aware that many of the Slice Design Cards were made for paper and some of the designs are too intricate for fabric.  The Slice Fabrique comes with a One Year Limited WarrantyMaking Memories handles all of the Warranty issues which is great because you don't have to return it to the place of purchase....just to Making Memories.  

The Slice Fabrique is an excellent choice for those people who want a larger variety of shapes and who want a variety of fonts for letters.  Keep in mind that it cuts one layer of fabric at a time.

AccuQuilt GO!, GO! Baby Fabric Cutters,

There are lots of misconceptions about all of these machines and which dies work in which machines etc.  I am going to do my very best to clarify these questions for those people who want and need to know what works with their machines.

AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby.

AccuQuilt GO! Baby
Will take every die that has been made by AccuQuilt for the GO! Baby and some of the AccuQuilt GO! dies as well.  For a complete list of AccuQuilt compatibility click here.

Neither of the AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters will take Westminster Sizzix dies.  Simply put: DO NOT USE Sizzix Dies in your AccuQuilt GO! or GO! Baby.  How is that for easy :) lol

The AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby both fold up for storage and can cut 4-6 layers of cotton fabric at one time.

These fabric cutters will take ALL Sizzix Sizzlits, Sizzix Bigz and Bigz XL dies as well as the AccuQuilt dies that are 6 inches wide or less.  The bed of these machines are 6 inches wide so they will not take dies that are wider than 6 inches.

Clearing up some of the confusion (hopefully):

I think much of the confusion is about the size of the AccuQuilt GO! dies and using them with the Sizzix Cutters

AccuQuilt dies come in the following sizes according to their website: 5 x 10, 6 x 6, 6 x 12, 10 x 10, 6 x 24 and 10 x 24.  A consumer might conclude that these measurements are the exact measurements of the dies themselves.  The dies are actually between 3/8 and 1/2 inch wider and longer than these measurements when measured from the green plastic edge to edge.
 This is the GO! Rectangle you can see it does not measure 5 inches exactly.
This is the GO! Hexagon die which does not measure 6 inches exactly either.  The issue of exact size is only important when using Fabric cutters other than AccuQuilt.  All of the AccuQuilt dies work well in the AccuQuilt Fabric cutters.
The AccuQuilt dies that will work in the Westminster Big Shot, Big Shot Express and Vagabond Cutters are:

GO! Alpha Baby
GO! Baby Baby
GO! Feathers
GO! Funky Flower
GO! Half Square 3" Finished Triangle
GO! Heart
GO! Parallelogram
GO! Rectangle
GO! Rose of Sharon
GO! Round Flower
GO! Square 2"
GO! Square 3 1/2"
GO! Star
GO! Star Points by Sarah Vedeler
GO! Sunbonnet Sue
GO! Overall Sam

All AccuQuilt dies will work in the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is just the smaller AccuQuilt dies mentioned above that will work in the other Sizzix cutters. 
I also get many questions about the difference between the Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro (Purple) and Sizzix Big Shot Pro's (Blue).  The Westminster Sizzix Big Shot Pro comes with the Extended Cutting Pads, Extended Adapter Pad and the Extended Tray.  The Blue Big Shot Pro comes with the Standard Tray and Pads.  The Blue Big Shot Pro will not take the Extended dies so many quilters have purchased them thinking they are saving themselves money when in reality they frequently need to purchase the Extended Tray and Pads separately costing them more money.

The AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies so they require a shim to be put under the pad/die/pad sandwich prior to putting it through the machine.  What size shim you ask?  Well, for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutter I use some cardboard and I took it from the back of a notepad.  Please don't call or write and ask me what size my cardboard is....I don't have any measuring instruments that will measure it.  Just use what you have and check until you have a depth that will consistently cut through all layers of your fabrics.  If it is not cutting through....that is a good sign the cardboard you used is not thick enough.

As I mentioned above the AccuQuilt dies are not as thick as the Sizzix dies and everywhere I've read and everyone I've spoken to says you will need a shim to raise the AccuQuilt dies. Below is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Standard Mylar Shims

This is a photo of the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Mylar Shims and the cardboard I use for my Westminster Big Shot and Vagabond cutters. 

I want to show you how I've been cutting fabric with my Westminster Big Shot Pro with an AccuQuilt die.  I'll start by showing you the things that come with this cutter.

This is a photo of the extended tray that comes with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  It is 27 x 12 1/2 inches wide.

The photo below shows you the thickness of the Extended Adapter Pad.
You also get two Extended Cutting Pads with the Westminster Big Shot Pro.  They are PC Plastic (according to the Sizzix website)  I call them "acrylic" and when you use them you will hear a sound that seems like you are breaking or cutting into the pads.  You are not hurting your Pads and this is how the machine works.
If I recall correctly, when I opened my Westminster Big Shot Pro the Adapter Pad was in the bottom of the Extended Tray with the two Cutting Pads on top of the Adapter Pad.  So what did I do?  I left the Adapter Pad right where it was.  However when I want to cut fabric using an AccuQuilt die....
I take the Extended Adapter Pad out and put it under my table.  I replace the two Extended Cutting Pads into the bottom of the Tray.
Here is the die I used for this demo, The GO! Rectangle.
I sandwiched the GO! Rectangle die between two Standard Cutting Pads with the fabric covering the foam side of the die.
You can see in this photo my Extended Cutting Pads are dirty and I left them that way so you could see I have them in the bottom of the tray.  I put the die sandwich in and cranked the handle.....and.....

wahhhhh lahhhhhhh I cut two rectangles using an AccuQuilt die without a "shim" per se'.  Since I left the two Extended Cutting Pads in the bottom of the tray they served as my shim. 

How many layers of fabric can I cut with my Westminster Big Shot, Vagabond and Westminster Big Shot Pro?  I didn't know until tonight.  I ran back to my machines and started layering the fabric up.  I cut 6 layers of cotton fabric with my Westminster Big Shot and 10 layers with my Westminster Big Shot Pro.  I just about flipped when my Vagabond cut 16 layers...yes....16 layers that were cleanly cut without any hanging threads....can you believe it?  I would not if I had not done it myself.

I also get asked what machine is my preference.  I like my Westminster Big Shot Pro because I can cut both Sizzix and AccuQuilt dies on it.  It is heavy and it does not fold up for storage.  I keep mine under my cutting table and move it to the table when I use it.  Of course I'm completely Ga Ga over my Vagabond.....I still can't get over how well it works and all I have to do is push a button.

There is more information on the machines that I have published here to read that post.

Everyone has different preferences and needs.  I think it is best to do your research first.   I hope this information helps!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quilting By Design - Sizzix and Westminster's Fabric Cutting System

Edited11/26/10 - Replying to questions asked at the end of the post.

Quilting by Design

I find it strange that people are still saying they don't know Sizzix and Westminster Fabrics have teamed up and have a Fabric Cutting System - Quilting by Design.  Especially since IHAN wrote a Product Review.  I guess people are waiting for Oprah to write a review!!!  Remember I beat Oprah to the punch with the Velocity 50 by Reliable.....true!!!  She doesn't have time to do her job and my job too :)
The Big Shot is pictured below with some of the newest Quilting By Design Dies.

I visited their booth at Fall Quilt Market 2010 in Houston.  Some of these photos are from their booth there and some are from my files.

The Big Shot is pictured below with some of the new Quilting by Design Fabric Cutting Dies.

The newest Fabric Cutting Dies are in the process of being added to the IHAN website.

The Big Shot Pro
Since I've already reviewed the Big Shot and Big Shot Pro I won't repeat all the details here.  You can click on the link and read the review.

I made a huge, gigantic, enormous mistake when I was organizing my creative space.  I took those scraps and disposed of 75% of them.  I know....just plain stupid!  Well....lets not be-labor the issue.
Here is a pix of a larger scrap I did not discard.  I'm going to show you some pix of some of the things I've done recently using my Big Shot Pro and my Big Shot (yes I own both....the Big Shot is to travel with and loan to our charity quilters locally).
This is my Big Shot Pro (aka the muth-ah of all I took some strips of Batik that I had and made 5" squares to use as signature squares for a signature quilt.  I don't like cutting and sewing alone....these little buggers you see keep me company.
This is my Big Shot (aka little booger) and I was taking some scraps to make some fusible appliques to adhere to Tea Towels that I'm giving to a friend who has recently moved.
I use all sorts of scraps....who cares if Thomas is in the way....depending on the die you one will be the wiser :)

I won't repeat that I'm a visual person again for the 10,000 time....I'll just show you how I choose to label my dies:

I tape the package insert to the top of the die so I'll see which one it is without having to look at the side of the die.  By the way, did you know the Big Shot and the Big Shot Pro will take AccuQuilt Dies?  100% TRUE.....any AccuQuilt Die that is 6 inches wide or smaller will fit into the Big Shot and the Big Shot Pro will take all the AccuQuilt Dies including the Studio Dies. 

Sizzix carries a Platform and Shim to raise up the AccuQuilt Dies but I use my small Omnigrid Cutting Mat and it works just fine for me.
I made all of these fusible applique shapes with my Sizzix Dies (the white show flake is batting).  Before I cut my fabric I use Mistyfuse on the back of my fabric so once it is cut I can just fuse it down.  I prefer Mistyfuse because it is light and it does made my appliques stiff.
These were just some I made from scraps for the fun of it.  I wanted to show you how nuts I can be....sometimes I just cant stop and I just keep layering them up on top of one another just to see what the look like.  I also use the fabrics from around the shapes and use the interesting shapes to build other designs.  If one of you would devote yourself to maintaining my business, kids, husband etc....then I could spend all of my time blogging and you could see everything.....any volunteers? I didn't think so :)
I like this one....and I want to make lots of them and put them around a center focal point.

I wondered what a Christmas tree would look like on top of the heart.....

Then smack a big ole flower on top of the tree!!!  Gotta love it.

Since many of the Sizzix Dies I use are also for Scrapbooking they have small details that sometimes connect.  I like to carefully trim those areas away.  On the left are scissors I own and use.  On the right are how they look in the package.  They are all excellent scissors.

Jackpot Scissors made by Famore Cutlery for Simplicity Creative
Omnigrid Needlecraft Scissors

Oh and did I mention,

Sizzix has a brand new electric Cutter - The Vagabond, inspired by Tim Holtz.  I hear it is the mega cutter of all times.  I'm excited about the Vagabond because many people I know who own the Big Shot and the GO! Baby say their hands, arms and shoulders start to hurt after cutting lots of fabric.  There are also those who can not turn the crank on the other cutters because of Arthritis and other funky things that happen to they can cut fabric all day and night without any problems :) 

Check out the YouTube Video for the Vagabond :

Just to be kind to all of those folks who get funky things going on with their hands and can't use the manual fabric cutters....I'm going to offer a FREE Sizzix Applique Die of my choosing to anyone who buys a Sizzix Big Shot, Big Shot Pro, or a Vagabond Cutter from IHAN on or before Monday, November 29th, 2010.

You might want to see what Patsy Thompson has made with her Sizzix Dies!!
Just Click Here
and Here
and Here too :)

See, I told you they are cool....and just add some Patsy Thompson magic stitching to the mix and you have Incredible Designs :)



Questions asked:
1.  Will the Vagabond cut several layers of fabric?
Answer:  OH YEAH BABY.....that mega cutter cuts chipboard and a little birdie told me someone fed it two and three layers of chipboard to see if they could jam it.....they did not jam the machine and it will void your warranty....but that lets you know it will easily cut through several layers of fabric :)

2.  Do I have an exact delivery date for the Vagabond? 
Answer: No, I was told they are currently shipping so I'm guessing it won't be long but I don't have an exact date.

3.  Will the AccuQuilt GO! and GO! Baby take the Sizzix Dies?
Answer: No they will not work in the AccuQuilt Cutters and if you try it and jam your machine, your warranty is voided so don't do it....even if you think it "might" me....I've done it and your cutting mat will curl and you could easily break the handle off.

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