Monday, April 26, 2010

Die Cutting Hexies Tutorial...

Over the weekend I have been having fun cutting for a new project....although this time instead of my standard rotary cutter, mat and ruler....I have been using a die cut.

I already have a die cutting machine that I use for paper and I just LOVE it. It's from Stampin Up and it works very well. Stampin Up has so many adorable and useful dies that I have used and I also have been able to buy any other brand of die cut to use in it.

So, while I was on retreat last week, I found a couple of die cuts for cutting circles and hexagons....out of fabric....YAY!


The brand name is accuquilt. The Accuquilt die cutting company is new (or at least in my neck of the woods) and is for cutting fabric instead of paper.
They also sell thier own machine but as I said, I only needed the dies.
If you want to know more, check them out here.


They have several other standard quilting shapes to offer such as squares, triangles, rectangles etc...but I wasn't interested in any of those as I have used my rotary cutter for years to cut them out and I simply don't see why they would be necessary or useful enough to pay the price.

However...when it comes to hexies and circles I was really exited to get my hands on those!
Shapes that aren't so easy to cut with the rotary cutter are very appealing to me and I also love the idea of being able to cut multiple layers at a time.

The above photo shows some of what I have been doing with the hexagon cutter. Fun right?



I havn't used the circle one yet but I'm sure that I will. I use circles alot in my work and I usually use heat resistent template plastic to prepare my circles by cutting the fabric larger and gathering it around the template then pressing it to get the perfectly round shape.

As you can imagine, because I applique ALOT, I have quite the collection of circles that I have cut and used. I keep them all in my little Mary Engelbreit round zipper bag.
I like that it's see thru and it's appropriate because it's a circle too and of course it's red and also adorable just like everything Mary does.


I also use precut circle templates that several quilt shops carry. I put them all on a key ring and keep them in the same bag. They are very handy and are called "perfect circles" by Karen Kay Buckley.

Of course I will continue to use this method as it has proven over and over again to work well for me...but when I saw the circle die cut I knew this would come in handy for cutting larger circles (2", 3" and 5")... several at a time for a project that I am doing but cannot show you now but I promise that I will show you later.



Anywhoo....back to what I have been doing over the weekend..... the hexies.


Accuquilt hexagon die cut cuts 3 sizes of hexies, 2"...3"...and 5".
Keep in mind that is the CUT size of the hexagon...NOT the finished size.
I spent the weekend cutting 3" hexies because they pair up well with my 1" finished paper pieces. By using this size, I have plenty of seam allowance to wrap around the papers.
Just in case you didn't know, a 1" finished hexagon is really 1 3/4" tall x 2" wide.
The 1" measurement refers to the length of each of the 6 sides of the hexagon.
Kassidy has been wanting to learn english paper piecing so I thought this was the perfect project for her to learn on. She loves using my die cutting machine for paper so I knew she would love to cut fabric with it too!



These are my hexagon papers. You can buy different sizes along with smaller packages but I bought the big one as I seem to use the 1" size most often ....and I don't like to run out when I'm right in the middle of a project. You can find them online here.



Soooooo...picture this.....
I'm in my studio...I have set up my die cutter and my new hexie die,
I pulled some fabric from my stash,
I turned on my ipod to something groovy,
grabbed a bottle of water and some popcorn ( I know, no chocolate. I am trying to take better care of myself!)
....now I was all prepared to have fun with my new toy.
I put a few squares of fabric on the tray...
I went to put it through my machine and....
it.
wouldn't.
fit.
No......... it was too wide to go into my machine by only a very scant 1/4" but still...too wide.
So, as I DO NOT easily give up on something that I really want, and before throwing both dies back in the bag and finding my receipt for a refund, I examined the die to see if it could be cut down on to size.
Now I'm on my soap box...I'm pretty sure that accuquilt would love to sell as many of thier own machines as they can, but I really think they should have thought it through before making thier dies only to fit thier machines. I know this makes perfect sense to them but what about people like me who already have a machine but would love to use thier dies?.....I say to them....
"Happy costumers = happy sales".
I discovered that it was made of wood and was wrapped in plastic on the sides and bottom with black foam on the top.The actual blades are made of metal but are in the middle and under the foam so of course I didn't need to worry about them.
I then immediatly called Mr. Honey because that's what I always do because he can fix anything.
He was on his way home from work and said..."no problem".
He used a hacksaw to trim 1/4" off on one side and then used a file to smooth it out.....it took him about 5 minutes.
I tried it again and it worked like a charm!
My better -half to the rescue again.
That's why I call him "Mr. Honey"!



Below is my cutie -patootie "Big Shot". It's made by Sissix for Stampin Up. There are several brands of die cutting machines on the market but I did my research when I bought this one and I have been completely satisfied.


Other brands I'm sure work well ...but I also really loved the look of this one.
It looks vintagey to me...kind of like the styling of a ringer washer and a featherweight all rolled up in one.....lol.
I know, I'm weird like that. But my motto is...
"If you're gonna to buy something, it might as well be cute!"

....and it is.
Don't you think?

If you want one for yourself...you can find out about it here.
Now let me tell you what really clinched it for me when I was looking to buy...
Stampin Up sells a designer bag for it.
yes.
I know.
adorable.




It looks like a doctor bag and is black and white gingham with a little pink and black stripe.
Below is the inside which is equally adorable along with the fact that there is plenty if room to store several die cuts along side the cutter. (the handle comes off for storing)
The bag was important to me because I need a compact and portable way to store things in my studio.

Okay....here is how I did the cutting.
I cut my fabric for each of the 1" finished size hexie 3" tall by 3 1/4" wide.
I precut these with my rotary cutter in preparation to die cut them into hexies.
This step didn't take much time at all and was well worth it to make sure that I didn't waste any fabric and that it lined up over the blade correctly.
I used fat quarters from my stash and cut a 3" strip by about 22".
I was able to get 6 hexagons from one of these strips which worked out perfectly for 2 reasons...
1. I need 6 hexagons from each fabric to make the petals of one flower so I only needed to cut one 3" strip from each fat quarter. ( if you are making 2 flowers, cut 2 strips etc...or cut a 3" strip x WOF).
2. I found that cutting 6 layers of fabric at a time works best for my cutter. That means I could easily cut for one flower from one fabric in about 3 seconds!

So.... after I figured that out, I went to town cutting a strip from lots of fat quarters from my stash in a variety of prints and colors that I love to work with and stacked them up all ready to go.


Here is a close up of what it looks like to cut them....


I placed the six - 3" x 3 1/4" pieces onto the foam and centered over the 3" hexagon blade. The foam protects you from touching the blade.
You can see the lines of the 5" hexie on the top and the lines of the 2" hexie underneath.

I rolled it through my machine and out came 6 perfectly cut hexies!


Of course this is what they look like after removing the outside leftover fabric....okay I'll do it again to show you what that looks like....


....not much fabric to spare...just enough to cover the hexie size. I don't like to waste.

So the cutting continues....




Do you like?
I do.
Lots of hexies in a row.
But remember...the cutting is only the first step.
In my next post I will show you how I stitch each hexie around a paper to make flowers.

Click Here For Part II

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26 comments:

sewprimitive karen said...

You're right, it has the cutest vintagey look, much better than the Accuquilt.

Cardygirl said...

Your hexies look great..fun & bright! Looking forward to your next instalment.

Nedra said...

Lori,
You are so organized and make everything you touch so cute!
It was fun to be with you when you bought the shapes. I didn't realize they were a different brand than your cutter. Great idea to have Mr. Honey work on them to make them fit.
My first quilt was a GFG made with the same premade hexigons. I've even taught classes on GFG's. Great take along project. Seeing your cut outs makes me want to do another.

Thearica said...

hmmm...I have been toying with whether or not these type machines would be beneficial to me...I may just have to re-think this in a different way.

Anne said...

I love it when tools for one craft work for another! Can't wait to see what you are working on!

Darlene said...

Ironically, Friday I was doing some research on that machine. I want something to use to cut shapes but I don't want to pay the Accucut price. That's it I'm reserving a date with you and coming to spend a full day with you - I just want to be in your shadow. OK? What day works for you? :-)

Busy As Can Be said...

I have that machinetoo! I love it! But I am so glad you found out how to make the die cut work!

Karin said...

I have been so wanting to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt and you just pushed me over the edge! That hexagon die simplifies the process immensely! Isn't it wonderful having a handy hubby?!

Rae Ann said...

You are the adorable one Lori and that Mr. Honey is something else!
I think you and I are headed out on a little shopping spree for my birthday to pick me up a "Stampin Up" cutter and bag. Sound fun?
I adore all of the little hexagons... and my you are getting right after it!
I can't wait for your tutorial... I am dying to make a Grandma's Garden quilt.
See you tomorrow ~ Hugs!

Kimberly said...

You one smart girl! I've used my Cuttlebug to cut felt for pennies and it worked like a charm, and I've seen the new dies and machine for fabric... do you know if the Cuttlebug would work for cotton? I saw the new machine at a recent quilt show but just couldn't bring myself to spend the $$ on it.

One other question - I also have a Cricut (Christmas gift from my parents) but can't get it to cut cotton for me. Have you ever tried it or heard of someone actually getting it to work?

Have a great day! Kimberly

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Well I had to read every word and click the links to see how this is done. I love the hexagons. Love them. What a sweet fun thing to make over the weekend. I think lined up just like that they couldn't be more beautiful. Almost like you could just frame them. In those fabrics, and with that shape - how could you go wrong? You make me laugh. I'd have done the same thing. Dave can fix most things, and I like to take advantage of that. And you just go on making the world a more pretty place starting with your house and your stuff! Gotta love it.

Beth Brohl said...

Hi Lori,

I am sooo excited you got The Big Shot! I just bought mine a couple of weeks ago and love it. I made flowers for our R.S. Auxiliary Training and they all loved them. Now I think I have to get the hexies and circles die cut too. Your just great and creative. Love ya, see you tomorrrow at Clothesline.

Sandra Henderson said...

Alright! That does it!!
I'm going to go make a flower right now using feedsacks... I made another civil war in lavander yesterday and posted it, but i JUST HAVE to start an original fun happy cheerful retro one... :)RIGHT NOW! I'll have it ready for One Flower Wednesday! :)
thank! :)

Kigwit said...

I think I am going to have to get started with some hexies. This is so cute it's just killing me!

Barb said...

I really enjoyed your post....there is just too much to comment on but loved it!!

amy smart said...

Fantastic! Now that it's warm outside (well, some days) I need some hand work projects to take with me while my kid are out and about. (I feel kind of mean making them all stay in the basement just so I can sew.) I'm dying to learn how to make hexagons. I've been looking for the best place for templates (thanks!) and wanting to learn how.

Also, loved the accucut demo. I've been eyeing those templates, but not really wanting to pay the big bucks. I will keep pondering this one.

Can't wait to see more. Your pile is beautiful by the way.

Jan said...

Oh Lori, since I'm in the process of making a "Scrappy Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt," I am sooooo jealous of your ability to cut all those hexies so quickly! What a great find :) Also, I had no idea that they sold the "already cut paper pieces!" I've been using freezer paper and will definitely check out those paper pieces. Tks so much :) Can't wait to see what you're working on!

Sherri said...

Not just like..LOVE...now I'm going to need to go shopping at Stampin Up...for quilting...who would've thought?!

Dawn said...

Since we chatted about this at the retreat I've been looking on ebay for a die cutter. I was wondering what kind you have...now I know. I will be looking for one at Stampin Up now!! Thanks for the info.

ScrappinCricut said...

I saw these this past weekend at JoAnn's. Did you have to use any kind of shim to be able to cut the Accuquilt dies with the Big Shot? I own the electric Big Shot and did not want to have to purchase another machine! Thanks so much for your time in answering me.

Sue said...

That was a very informative post:) I have the Big Shot die cut machine. I have saved all of my dies from Sizzix and other die cuts that I have so that I can use them for applique. However, for the hexagons, I use my Quilt Cut 2 cutting surface. I like that the attached ruler clamps the fabric in place and with some swiveling of the ruler I can crank out some hexies. This cutting system may not be as fancy as the Accuquilt, but it's much less expensive. I agree that the dies for the Accuquilt ARE quite expensive. I really don't mind rotary cutting. Anyway, just thought I'd share that :)
I am REALLY enjoying your blog!!

Melody (lacyquilter) said...

You may be happy to see that Sizzix is coming out with 4 new hexagon dies. I don't think they are available quite yet, but here they are on the Sizzix site:
http://www.sizzix.com/category/Bigz+Shapes

I can't wait until they are available.

Thimbleanna said...

Well Hmph. I was reading all about the hexies and wondering if that die would fit my old sizzix machine -- I'm guessing not -- it doesn't look as wide as your sizzix machine. You're brilliant to think of that solution though. And funny -- reading about the hexies to see your circle templates - how'd I miss those the first time around??? ;-)

Lyn said...

So glad you figured out how to use those dies in the Big Shot! I am a Stampin'Up demo and you wouldn't believe some of the quilts some demos have made with our exclusive SU dies!
And as a quilter, I'm really happy Sizzix has come out with some dedicated dies for us! I LOVE my Big Shot!

A.J. Dub. said...

I did not know you could cut fabric with a Sizzix. And pretty cool that your hubby adapted your new dies for you.
I am going to try some hexies this weekend. Thanks for the tutorial!

Sara Amerine said...

That's such a great idea!
I have a paper cutter, similar to yours, and I would of never thought to buy fabric dies for it. I'm so going to try this! :)

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