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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!



  1. Good review about the different types.
    Do you find it takes longer to cut, having to add the shims?


  2. Wow. What a great post. Thanks for sharing your insights. Very helpful.


  3. What a great, informative post - you're the best, Kelly!

  4. Kelly...thank you! I have been doing a lot of reading on reviews but yours is really superb!

  5. Very informative! I had wondered about all the cutters but have not seen such a concise comparison as I have here. Thank you!

  6. FABULOUS post!! Thanks for all of the great information!!

  7. What a wealth of you got all of that on paper and in such great order is beyond me. Thanks for your was great!

  8. Wow, You covered all thing die-cutter here. I highly suggest you link this article on your sidebar and in your store for reference!

    Thanks for researching this and taking the time to write and post this information. Hugs!

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is a post that is a valuable resource, and I will turn to it again, and again... and again... NICE JOB KELLY!

  10. Thank you so much for putting the effort into doing this review for all of us!!

  11. Awesome post Kelly .. so what size was that cardboard again?

  12. Whew! Think I'll just stick to rotary cutting.....

  13. What a wonderful post! Faro 'definitely a bit' of advertising to this information so accurate! Ciao from Italy

  14. Great post, Kelly and am GOing to share it on my

    Thanks sew much for your work.


  15. Bless you! You are a saint for doing all the research for those of us that just have to read what we all want to really know. I, for one, am going to save this information (cuz my brain can't) for reference. I have a vagabond and bought the accuquilt circles die. Little did I know the die was just like you said, just a little bigger than 6". Enough that it won't go through. Lucky me, I have a husband that shaved off just a bit on both sides and as you say ... waaa laaa. Dang if that die doesn't go right though now. So again, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

  16. This is a great post Kelly! I pre ordered the Vagabond and it is arriving in the UK at the end of March, so I will be using that for fabric cutting, but mostly for my journal making. All your info was so helpful.

  17. I, too, appreciate the run down. I am just now starting to entertain the idea of a fabric cutter. In the past I was skeptical about how well they actually worked. I was wondering if you share the ball park costs of the different brands, or even just highest and lowest. I realize there are factors such as location that will affect cost, but I don't want to get my heart set on something completely off limits for my budget. Thanks!

  18. Have you tried the Accuquilt Studio dies with the Big Shot Pro? I know they are much thicker than the GO dies but I wonder if they will work.

  19. Kelly thanks to all the great info you posted about cutting machines I did take the plunge and bought a Sizzi Big Shot. Only got it yesterday so I am still looking at it. LOL Thanks for all your hard work. Ro

  20. Great post - I had only heard rumblings about the Slice but haven't seen it in action. I just wanted to put in a plug for the AccuQuilt Studio as it was not mentioned in the original post. AccuQuilt makes a larger machine called the Studio which will accept Sizzix, Ellison, AccuCut and AccuQuilt dies, EXCEPT for the GO! dies.

  21. great info!
    i just bought a accuQuilt go baby.. just awesome bcause it is portable :)
    however i cant use sixxiz dies with it. are there any dies brand that compatible with my new Go!baby? thanks :)

  22. Never imagined this type of machines are available. I had seen only vegetable cutting machine to cut different shapes and sizes. I have seen huge beautiful quilts on web site. This machine definitely will help for such quilt. Thanks for enlighting new machine and concept which I had never seen.


  23. Fantastic!! Just what I needed. Thank you!!

  24. LOL, a year after you posted this, it is still being read and appreciated! Such great information to help make a purchase decision when I live in a small town. Thanks!

  25. Thanks for the cutter tutorial- someday I hope to have one.

  26. Today you are my angel. Thank you for so thoroughly explaining the fabric cutters. I know that must have taken you several hours! I am better for it!

  27. I have a big shot and a Fiskars Fuse that I use to cut leather pieces with custom dies. The Fuse came with grey opaque cutting pads about 4" square. The adapter set of pads are also grey and a pain to use so I'm looking for the right kind of translucent plastic pads. I tried "Acrylic" and the snapping and popping was indeed the acrylic pad breaking to smithereens. lol So now I'm on the hunt for some polypropylene Plastic ones that are the size I need. If I have good results I'll tell everyone what to get. Thank you to the blogger who gave me insight as to how thick the Accuquilt dies are. That makes a world of difference when ordering custom dies. :) Blessings on your head.


Thank you for reading the IHAN Blog. I love getting and reading every comment that is left here; however I may not be able to respond to all comments left during giveaways. There are times when I am juggling many tasks at one time and may not reply to all comments. Please e-mail me at if you need a reply quickly. I thank you for your understanding and-
More Later-Beth


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