A quick disclaimer: Read your Cricut Manual Thoroughly, and know what your machine is capable of before attempting anything I list here.
Here it is! The much-awaited “How to cut fabric with your Cricut” Tutorial! Today, I’m going to make a set of pillowcases for our bed. In part, because I wanted a simple project to show the method, in part because I’m hoping that labeling our pillows will keep Mr. Moore from stealing my pillow before I get to bed, and in part because pillowcases were only $5 for a set at Ross (but I didn’t notice until after I ran them through the wash that they were a mis-matched set)!
Enough reasons? Okay… let’s get going!
First, you’ll want to get your supplies together. You’ll want your fabric (light weight fabrics work best), some HeatNBond (or other iron-on adhesive), your Cricut machine, Cricut Tools (if you don’t have these, have a craft knife and an old credit card or store discount card handy), a clean cutting mat for the Cricut (new is best), a new Cricut Blade (doesn’t need to be a deep-cut blade, but it MUST be new!), Cricut Cartridge (I’m using George and Basic Shapes), a rotary cutter or scissors, and a set of small pointy scissors.
Start by ironing on your adhesive to the back of your fabric. Then, cut the fabric into 6.5″ widths. If you have the larger machine, obviously cut it larger. My machine has mats that fit a 6×12 piece of paper, so I cut the fabric into 6.5″ widths to have a little overhang. DO NOT cut the strip into 12 inch lengths, leave your pieces long.
Next, take the paper off of the back. Trust me… you want to do this. If you don’t you’ll end up with little paper shreds all over your Cricut Mat, and you’ll want to throw out the mat.
Use the U-shaped “ice scraper” tool to press the fabric onto the cutting mat (If you don’t have this tool, a credit card or plastic store discount card will work). Push hard. Get out all the lumps, and make sure that the fabric is sticking to the mat VERY well. You will have some overhang. Make sure that this overhang is at the bottom end of the mat.
Another VERY important step. Change the blade in your machine. We all know that nothing dulls a blade faster than cutting paper (unless you have a particularly inventive child), so we want a fresh blade to cut the fabric with. Be careful not to cut or poke yourself with either the old or new blades. Dispose of the old blade carefully.
Note, before replacing the blade, you may want to make a test sample of what you are cutting out of paper, to make sure that you are cutting it the right size. Once you’ve determined the right size using scrap paper, you can replace the blade.
Set the dials on your machine. The dials on the left side should both be at 5. The top dial determines the cutting speed… we want the blade to zip over the fabric as quickly as possible. The bottom dial is the cutting pressure/depth. Having this all the way up to 5 will wear out the cutting mat faster, but I like to be on the safe side, so I keep mine at 5. While you’re checking dials, check the dial on the right to make sure you have the right cutting size. My letters were 2.5″ tall… you’ll want smaller letters if your name is much longer.
Once you have all your dials set, insert the fabric covered mat, and let the Cricut cut away! Once it is done, peel away the fabric, and you should see your design. Peel with care, there may be a thread or two that did not cut all the way through, just cut those with your scissors or craft knife as you go. If you had a lot of problems, check the pressure and speed dials, and make sure that you used a fresh blade.
Now, trim your overhang bit, and re-“scrape” it onto the cutting mat. Doing it this way rather than cutting your fabric to 12″ lengths can save you precious inches – that can spell the difference between a design fitting or not fitting!
Check all of your cut pieces. Some may have caught a “snag,” and you will want to re-cut that piece. I cut 15 pieces and only had one piece I needed to re-cut. The tip of the scissors points out where my fabric snagged.
Lay out your letters onto the pillowcases. You’ll notice that one set is upside down. You’ll see why on the finished product.
Once you have the letters spaced the way you want, iron them down.
Then sew them on. I used a simple zig-zag at the edges.
Now, insert your pillows, and prop them on your bed! And, while you wait for your family to notice how crafty you’ve been, take a picture, upload it, and leave a link in the comments below!
You can use this technique for all kinds of projects, and with all kinds of Cricut designs. Here is one that I cut for a Baby Shower mini-quilt (Cartridge is the Designer’s Calendar):
Enjoy finding different ways to use this technique, and please share them with me – I’d love to hear how it works for you!
Expect Moore… but not for a little while… I’m off to the doc!