Let's talk about using the Cricut Maker machine with fabric. I have some tips and test results to share with you to help you make the most of cutting fabric with your Cricut. If you are unsure of about this amazing tool, check out my review Cricut Maker Review: 10 Reasons you'll love the Cricut Maker. Many people know of Cricut from scrapbooking and cardmaking. These machines can do so much more! Beyond paper and vinyl, the Cricut cutting machines have always been able to cut fabric, but now, the Cricut Maker can REALLY cut fabric… without a stabilizer or other treatment and I'll tell you, there's a wide variety of fabrics you'll be able to play with.
Using the Cricut Maker with Fabric
The Cricut Maker is the newest Cricut cutting machine, just launched in July. One of my favorite features of the Cricut Maker is the amazing fabric cutting options. If you're a fan of fabric, crafting or sewing, you are going to LOVE this new feature. With the re-engineered “Adaptive Tool System” and brand new rotary blade, cutting fabric has become fun!
Cricut and Fabric isn't just for sewing
If you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love paper and drawing with the Cricut pens. What I don't talk about much is fabric. That's about to change. The Cricut Maker allows for cutting multiple pieces of fabric. You can cut a variety of designs, fancy or simple. Plus, the Cricut Maker can cut multiple fabric types… so easily! Today I'm going to share my sample fabric cutting so you can see just how versatile this machine is. If you do anything with fabric, you're going to want a get Cricut Maker of your own!
It's all about the Rotary Blade
The new Adaptive Tool System with the Rotary blade is what makes the magic happen when cutting fabric with your Cricut Maker. You can cut fabric using the Cricut Explore, but most fabrics require a stabilizer to cut cleanly. The reason the rotary blade makes such a difference is the rotary blade rolls over the fabric, cutting as it's pushed down on the fabric. A standard cutting machine blade doesn't push down, it pulls through whatever material to cut. So the blade can get stuck, drag or pull on threads of different fabrics and your cut is ruined. If you find you need help cutting fabric, or want more cutting options, more easily… the Cricut Maker is a must in your life!
Tips from my Cricut Maker Fabric cutting test
I tested 10 different types of fabric AND a sweater (Yes, a real sweater, I cut the arm and let the Cricut have at it.) to see how well the Cricut Maker would cut the variety of fabrics. I tried the different pressure settings as well as multiple fabric types on a single mat. Here's what I learned.
- Pink Fabric Mat is a Must
The pink fabric mat is designed specially to use with fabrics. The surface is a different kind of adhesive and it works GREAT with all the different types of fabrics I tried. Don't use paper with this mat, keep it separate, just for fabric cutting.
- Rotary Blade Pressure Settings are helpful
You can choose different pressure settings based on materials types with the rotary blade, just as you've always done with each Cricut Explore machine. Test these settings with your specific fabric to make sure you are getting the cuts you expect. I prefer the heavier setting for most fabrics, especially fabrics that fray easily… the heavier pressure seems to prevent fraying a bit more.
- Cut Design Matters
Not all cut designs will work with all materials. This goes for fabric as well. A fabric that is tightly woven and doesn't fray easily, will probably work better with an intricate cut design than a fabric that falls apart at the sight of scissors. Again, test.
- Watch the Fabric Type
Each fabric type is going to respond to cutting and usage differently. If you're new to using fabric, be prepared to try out different cuts with your fabric until you become familiar with which fabrics will work best for what you are trying to create.
What I learned cutting a variety of fabric types
You might have already heard that the Cricut Maker can cut a really large number of different fabrics. I wanted to test a variety without spending all day cutting. So I picked 10 fabrics from thick denim to light fabrics… I chose tulle. Every single fabric cut beautifully!
First, I learned I love cutting fabric… as long as I can cut with my Cricut Maker. Seriously. Love It!
The fabric I chose to cut with my Cricut Maker:
- Pink – Fleece
- Chiffon – red
- Silk – coral
- Broadcloth – orange
- Felt – yellow
- Tulle – yellow
- A spandex/swimsuit stretchy type polyester – gold
- Cotton – green
- Denim – blue
- A woven waffle style tea towel – purple
- Linen – tan
- Soft sweater – pink and purple
I first cut every single fabric using the ” thick fabric” setting. this setting is meant to be used for fabrics like denim or canvas. I wanted to see what would happen if I cut a thin fabric with it and really, the cuts turned out AMAZING. They were nice, crisp and clean. With the really thin fabrics, the mat got a little bit of a beating with this heavier pressure, but the fabric was fine. I even cut a sweater with this setting.. and it was a WOW moment when I pulled the cut off the mat.
Then I tried the light and medium weight fabric settings. I found some of the fabrics that you'd think are “light” benefit from a little more pressure. The silk I have cut a little cleaner using the medium setting instead of fine. So always test your fabrics with a quick cut before spending all the time and a large amount of fabric cutting at any given setting.
No more fighting with really light fabrics! The tulle worked great on the light setting. I wasn't sure this would cut well with the Cricut Maker… but again, the cuts were clean and crisp. Of all the fabrics, tulle is my least favorite, so I'm really excited to be able to let the Cricut do all my cutting instead of my own wrestling to see the fabric and cut it straight!
Stretchy fabrics cut great too! I was worried that my stretchy gold fabric would pull or bunch while cutting. On my Cricut explore, this fabric would have definitely been a problem. Between the new fabric mat and the rotary blade, even these stretchy fabrics are cut easily. I'm in love!
A tip about the fabric mat
You do not need to clean your mat after you've used it for fabric. The adhesive is meant to be just left alone. I was at a demo in Salt Lake this past summer and they specifically pointed out that if you have fabric remnants and threads stuck to your mat, don't worry about nit-picking to remove them all. So I test this too. I peeled off the cut fabric after every cut test and left the threads and fabric “dust” on the mat. The next round of fabric cut just GREAT! I didn't have faith this would work, but it does. Check out my mat now…
You are going to LOVE the Cricut Maker!
No matter what you want to create with fabric, the Cricut Maker is sure to be a tool that will make your life easier!
If you're a sewist, the number of fabrics, tools and patterns available in Cricut Design Space will make your heart sing. If you're an artist or crafter, the ability to leave the cutting to the Cricut Maker while you go play with paint or glue is sure to become a regular happy dance moment. Just seeing all the fabric types I was able to cut with this tool, I want to try to cut even more. I really didn't think each fabric would cut as well as they did. I was sure the broadcloth would be a win and all the quilter would be happy… but tulle and a sweater? Ok mixed media projects with fancy cut shapes… I'm ready to play!