The New Cricut Maker

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If you’ve been a follower for very long you know I love my Cricut.  I recently upgraded from the Explore Air 2 to a Cricut Maker and I’m here to answer any questions you might have about the two.

This post is sponsored by Cricut.  I received the Cricut Maker, Easy Press, and Bright Pad in exchange for promotion.  While I received these products for free all thoughts and reviews on these products are my own.  I’ll do my best to highlight the pros and cons of all these products.

 

First, let me say that I’m a sucker for heat transfer vinyl or as Cricut calls it Iron On.  I’d say that’s what I use my machine for 90% of the time.  As a sewist, I’m all about personalizing our wardrobe.  That’s part of why I sew, to create unique, one of a kind clothing for me and my children.  The skies the limit with what we can design and iron on and the fact that it takes just minutes makes it so fun and easy.

If you’re like me and use your cutting machine primarily for vinyl then honestly the Maker just isn’t necessary.   It has lots of bells and whistles that I’ll address further down this post and the potential it has is huge.  I’m excited by what I can create knowing all the possibilities this machine has but if I was sticking with vinyl my Explore Air 2 was amazing too.

The biggest game changer for me was getting an Easy Press.

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I have a normal inexpensive iron that I was using to iron on my projects.  While it worked fine I would notice peeling after a couple of washes every now and then.  It was frustrating and always made me nervous to gift personalized tees because I was worried about the quality.  I never considered a heat press- too big and bulky, expensive, and unsafe.  My craft space is small and open so my kids are always in and out of it, just not ideal for a heat press.

The Easy Press has seriously been such a huge upgrade.  It’s so portable and easy to use.  The surface heats quickly and evenly and the temperature control and timer take all the guess-work out of it.  It comes with a handy Quick Reference Chart that I keep with it that details the exact temperature and time for your vinyl/fabric combination.

 

The weekend I got my Easy Press we set to work making some quick, cute Christmas presents for my daughter’s and their bff’s.  They helped me design their projects in Design Space then I had them do the rest.  They quickly weeded their sheets using the Bright Pad and I supervised as they pressed the designs to the tees.

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The Easy Press is easy to handle and the flat design makes it easy to slide from the cradle to the project.   We picked up a few tips along the way (most of these are mentioned in the user manual but I think they’re essential to getting a good result).  First, use a towel between your project and the hard surface beneath it.  The towel will absorb any moisture and protects your surface.  Second, preheat your area where you’ll be placing your vinyl with a quick press.  This will get rid of any lingering moisture and help the vinyl adhere best.  And lastly, make sure to flip your project inside out and iron from the backside as well.  This just makes it adhere even better!  Even following all these steps, you’ll have a great finished product in minutes!  I can’t say enough good things about the Easy Press and the great results you get when using it.

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Let’s talk about the Maker.  It gets ALOT of use in our house.  We use our cutting machine a few times a week.  We have a big built-in desk in our main living space that the Maker sits on next to our computer making it convenient to use.  We use it for school projects, bulletin boards, Valentine’s boxes, decorations, and more, using it to cut all kinds of paper and fabric.

 

The Maker has so many unique features.  It is heavy-duty, with up to 10x more cutting power than other machines.  It has an Adaptive Tool System that allows you to switch between blades easily and has the potential for more tools to be added.  The Rotary Blade is what sets this machine apart from others on the market.  The Rotary Blade acts just like a rotary cutter, gliding over the surface and pivoting to make even the most intricate cuts.  It can cut anything from thin, delicate tissue paper to thick denim.  It’s amazing to watch and I was in awe as it easily cut through thick glittered felt.  My son is so excited for the knife blade to hit the market.  He had the idea to make a chipboard puzzle as a gift this Christmas and I had to tell him that the Maker would soon be able to make it happen for him.  The possibilities of this machine are what sold me.  I hate getting a product only to feel like it’s ‘old technology’ within months (hello- how many gaming consoles have we gone through?!).  The fact that this machine can grow and expand is a huge selling point.

As an apparel sewist, I have yet to really use my Maker for garment sewing.  The small cutting space (you can use a 12×24 mat) just doesn’t make it practical.  BUT I can think of a ton of small projects that will be great for it.  My daughters have been sewing and enjoy quick little makes.  Design Space is full of projects that will be perfect for them.  I know when spring break and summer vacation roll around our Maker will be busy.  They love doll clothes, small bags, hair bows, accessories, and decorations.  Design Space continues to add more of these type of projects and I’m excited to get my craft on with them!

Our Cricut products are well-loved and have become a natural part of our lives.  We love to create and are grateful to have our Maker, Easy Press, and Bright Pad to help our dreams come to live.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Love Notions Sloane Blog Tour Day Three- free Cut File

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Here we are on day three and I’ve got another women’s Sloane for you.  This is inspired by a J. Crew sweatshirt I found on Pinterest

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It’s no longer available and I guarantee that I would cringe at the price.  Basic sweatshirts with a little embellishment are an easy DIY and usually carry a hefty price tag off the rack.

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For this version I sized up to a medium.  The inspiration pic looks really roomy and I wanted to keep that look.  I used one of my go-to fabrics- this light heather grey french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  It’s a cotton spandex blend that’s medium weight with great stretch and recovery.  I did a basic view B without any of the bells and whistles.

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For my floral embellishments, I used my Cricut.  I knew I could achieve the look of the velvet flowers on the original with a black flocked heat transfer vinyl.  I love flocked vinyl and use it all the time.  It lends a retro vibe to graphic tees and holds up so well in the wash.  It mimicked the velvet so perfectly for this project too!

I’m not a graphics girl by any means so my flowers were done with a little trial and error.  I found a few free floral clip arts online and traced them in Design Space.  I copy and pasted them to get multiple sizes to get a good variety to play with.  I had fun laying them out on my top and playing around with placement.  You really can’t go wrong.  Use as few or as many flowers as you’d like.

You can make your own with these free files using your cutting machine:

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I think they’d look great in a metallic or a subtle monocramatic color on color too!

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I love this quick embellishment project!  So easy and adds so much to a boring old sweatshirt.

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You can check out all the other stops on the Sloane Tour this week here and stick around for my official post tomorrow!

Monday: Sew Shelly Sew, The Wholesome Mama, Ruby Rue Creations

Tuesday: Third Shift Creations, Sew Like a Sloth, Four Seasons and a Roadtrip

 

Cricut Sewing Blog Tour

This is a sponsored paid post courtesy of Cricut.  All thoughts and projects are my own!

I’ve got a new addiction folks!  Me and My Cricut Explore Air 2 are now joined at the hip.  I’m excited to share what we’ve made so far and a simple-but-oh-so-useful tutorial that just may change your life (ok, maybe not truly but it certainly will make laundry day a bit easier).

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I’m lucky enough to be joining the Cricut Sewing Blogger Tour.   Cricut generously set us up with EVERYTHING we’d need to create to our hearts content.  Our package included the Cricut Explore Air 2, the Essential Tool Kit, a mat multi-pack, and the most gorgeous assortment of heat transfer vinyl ever!

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You only get a quickie cell phone shot because I didn’t waste any time before digging in to all this good stuff.  My kids and I spent the evening perusing all the designs available on Cricut Design Space.  We had a stack of tees from good ‘ol Target just waiting to be spiffed up. The hardest part was narrowing down our choices- with over 60,000 images at our fingertips, you can imagine that the possibilities seemed endless.  It was so fun finding images to match their personalities and current obsessions (just look at all these cute flamingo images!).  My son was also able to easily create a graphic tee featuring his newfound favorite tv show, The Office.

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Let’s just say we sufficiently broke in our new machine and got comfortable with how easy it is!

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I had a little ah-ha moment a couple weeks ago.  How fantastic would it be to make vinyl size tags for all our handmades?!! My kids just might not put their tees on backwards anymore and Dad will be able to tell front from back too!  Our handmades are starting to be passed down to cousins and it would sure be nice for them to have a size inside.

After playing around just a bit, I knew this would be an easy, fun solution and save my sanity while sorting laundry and outgrown clothes too!  I’ve got an easy tutorial on how to make your own and all my tips I’ve learned in the process.

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Setting up your cut file is a breeze.  I found it easiest to type each number and letter in it’s own text box, placing at least one space between each character.  So all my S’s are in one text box, etc.  Try to pick a thicker font since we will be cutting these fairly small, you can always ‘BOLD’ a font to thicken it up.  I like them between 3/4″ and 1″ tall.  I spaced each line at least 1/4″ apart also.  Once you’ve got each line how you’d like it, select all and attach the lines together.  This will keep your spacing as is when you go to cut.  You can also easily duplicate your lines and groups this way too.

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For my file, I cut my kids current sizes, my current size, and my girls initials.  My girls wear the same size in many things and can be super picky about sharing all their things.  This helps me so much at laundry time when I’m sorting their clean clothes.  I put their initials on their ready-to-wear things too- think underwear, pj’s, you name it!

I cut each line with my portable trimmer then roughly cut out each character.  You’ll want to leave each piece fairly big- this will make it easier to stick it on your garment later.

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I found a plastic jewelry organizer that works perfectly for sorting and storing all my tags.  It’s clear and easy to see exactly what I’m looking for.

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I love how easy it is to apply these.  I always do one last good press when I finish a sewing project and that’s the perfect time to take the 20 seconds to apply the tag.  I love that they melt right into the fabric leaving it soft and smooth.  Hooray for no itchy woven tags!

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I have a few patterns that I use in multiple sizes depending on fabric and the fit I’m after.  I can never remember which size I used for each garment though and this will be a huge help later on when I go to remake a pattern.

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I think my favorite tag I did was this little hidden ‘Rock Star’ tag in my first ever denim project.  I feel like this was such a huge, fun accomplishment and wanted to celebrate that in my own little way.  I think it’ll be fun to do this in future projects- a little personalized tag for special makes.  Maybe that special first day of school outfit, Halloween costumes, Holiday dresses- it’s just a cute way to commemorate and remember why and when each piece was made.

There are so many amazing sewing bloggers joining in this fun tour.  I have been blown away by their creativity and my list of projects has grown with each post I read.  You won’t want to miss a single one!  Make sure you enter to win your very own Cricut Explore Air 2.  It’s been so fun having one of my own and I can’t wait for you to get one too!

Enter to Win a Cricut Explore Air 2 HERE

Week One: July 19th

Week Two: July 26th

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Thanks for joining us and thank you Cricut for making our lives easier, more colorful, and definitely more fun!

I was invited to participate in the Cricut Party Blogger Program Kickoff.

This experience is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I have given my honest opinion.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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