If you’re looking for a more efficient way to cut fabric for quilting, you should consider using a fabric cutting machine. These machines use blades or shaped dies to cut fabric with great accuracy.
There are several brands on the market, but in this tutorial, I will focus on the Cricut Maker and AccuQuilt Go fabric cutting machines because I have these machines and know very well how they work. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each machine, so you can decide which one is right for you.
Cutting machines are often thought of as tools for hobbyists who need to produce large quantities of cuts quickly and efficiently.
However, cutting machines can also be a huge help for anyone who struggles with repetitive motion or has limited mobility.
If you have ever spent hours cutting fabric for a quilt by hand with a rotary cutter you know how much of a pain it can be—literally. By doing the cutting for you, cutting machines can help to reduce strain on your muscles and joints. This is especially helpful if you have chronic arm or wrist pain.
Whether you’re elderly, pregnant, or have a disability, a cutting machine can make it possible for you to continue enjoying quilting without putting your body at risk.
Cutting fabric with Cricut Maker
If you are looking for a machine that can help you cut fabric, the Cricut cutting machine is a great option.
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What you’ll need
If you’re using Cricut, you’ll also need to download the free Cricut Design Space software. This program allows you to design your cuts and send them to the machine.
The steps to cutting fabric with Cricut Maker
Cutting fabric with Cricut is easy once you have everything you need. Here are the steps:
- Smooth a 12 x 12 inches cut of fabric on the adhesive cutting mat (also 12 x 12) and load it into the machine
- Use Cricut Design Space to program the cutter with your desired design
- Start the machine and let it do its work
When it comes to cutting quilting shapes with a Cricut machine, the process is actually quite simple.
The first way: you can select the shape that you want to cut from the Shapes option on the screen. Then you can resize the shape as needed. Once you have your shape or shapes chosen, you can then copy and paste them as many times as you need onto the design space.
Then click on the green Make It button in the upper right corner. Cricut will then automatically arrange the shapes in the most efficient layout for cutting.
There is another way to cut fabric for quilts. You can start by selecting pre-designed quilt shapes from the library in the size you want. You can choose Half Hexagons, Half Square Triangles, Squares, and Hexagons in sizes ranging from 1″ to 10.5″.
Once you’ve selected your shape, choose one of the grouping options. There are four options: a single shape, a smaller grouping, a grouping for a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat, and a grouping that will fit on a 12″ x 24″ cutting mat.
So choose a grouping that fits your needs and cut. The cut will be very efficient and there will be almost no fabric waste.
Here I am showing you how to cut half square triangles. It’s fast, efficient, and produces perfectly cut half-square triangles with ease. The best part is that it also cuts out the dog ears, saving you even more time and effort.
You’ll be able to cut out a whole quilt’s worth of shapes in one afternoon, streamlining your quilting process. With a Cricut, there’s no need to measure or mark each individual shape—the machine does all the work for you. That’s why a Cricut cutting machine can be helpful.
Pros and cons of using Cricut to cut fabric for quilting
If you’re thinking of getting a Cricut cutting machine to cut fabric, there are a few things you should know first. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a Cricut for cutting fabric.
There are several reasons why Cricut is a good choice for cutting fabric.
#1. Cut any shape at any size
One of the main benefits of the Cricut Maker is its ability to cut any shape at any size making it easy to create custom quilt blocks. This is a significant advantage over other fabric cutting machines that require separate dies for each shape which can become expensive if you want to buy different dies for your quits.
#2. Cut fabric very fast
Traditional quilting can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, but the Cricut Maker can help to speed things up. Cricut is very fast and can save you time if you’re working on a large project.
#3. Cut shapes with perfect precision
One of the biggest pros of using a Cricut machine for cutting fabric is that it’s very precise. You can get very clean, straight lines without any effort.
If you’ve ever struggled to cut a perfect hexagon or pentagon out of fabric, then you know how frustrating it can be. Even with a special ruler, it may be hard to get the angles just right. But with a Cricut cutting machine, you can achieve perfect precision every time.
Just choose the desired shape and size from the Cricut library, load your fabric into the machine, and watch as it effortlessly cuts out the perfect hexagon or pentagon – or any other intricate shape you need for your quilt.
#4. Cricut Design Space is an extremely useful feature
Cricut Design Space is a comprehensive design platform that gives you access to thousands of ready-to-make projects, or the tools to create your own custom designs.
If you’re looking for some specific design inspiration, you can browse the library by keyword or by project type. You can also purchase individual designs outright, or sign up for a Cricut Access Membership for unlimited access to the full library. With a Cricut Access Membership, you’ll also get exclusive discounts on fonts, images, and templates, as well as early access to new features and products.
The Cricut Design Space is a great place to find pre-designed quilt patterns. There are hundreds of options available, and you can even search for specific types of quilt patterns using the search bar.
You’ll be able to browse through dozens of different shapes, and you can even filter the results by shape or size. Once you’ve found a design you like, simply click on it to select it, and then click “Cut.” The design will be sent to your Cricut machine, and it will be ready to cut out.
Plus with the Cricut Design space, you have the ability to save your designs for future use and you’ll never waste time creating the same shapes again when needed.
You can also use the Cricut Design Space to share your designs with others. If you need help creating a design, you can use the Cricut Design Space to find tutorials.
#5. Very easy to use
The Cricut cutting machine is also easy to use. Even if you have never used a cutting machine before, you should be able to figure out how to use the Cricut with ease. The controls are straightforward and user-friendly and there are also many YouTube tutorials.
#6. Cut many different materials
Another advantage of the Cricut cutting machine is that it is very versatile. It can be used to cut a variety of different fabrics, including quilting cotton, flannel, felt, leather, vinyl, etc. This means that you can use the Cricut to create a wide range of projects.
Overall, the Cricut cutting machine is an excellent choice for anyone who needs to cut fabric. If you are looking for a machine that is accurate, easy to use, versatile, and affordable, the Cricut is the perfect option for you.
However, there are also some drawbacks to using a Cricut machine for cutting fabric.
#1. Some shapes for quilting can’t be cut easily
While the Cricut is able to cut a wide variety of shapes, not all of those shapes are created equal in terms of speed and efficiency. For example, cutting simple long fabric strips with a rotary cutter is going to be faster and result in less waste than using the Cricut. The Cricut is better suited for more complicated shapes that would be difficult or time-consuming to cut by hand.
#2. The fabric cutting mat gets dirty very fast
To me, one of the biggest drawbacks of Cricut for cutting fabric for quilting is that the cutting mat can quickly become covered in lint and thread debris. This is because the fabric can fray easily.
If this happens, it’s really difficult to get a clean cut if you need to cut more shapes for the same quilt. The threads are almost impossible to remove because the cutting mat is adhesive.
#3. Fabric may move during cutting
Another annoying downside is that fabric does not always adhere properly to the cutting mat, which can result in it being pulled by the machine during the cutting process. This can not only ruin the fabric, but it can also damage the Cricut itself.
That is exactly what happened when I was cutting this violet cotton fabric.
#4. Cricut can’t cut a few layers of fabric at once
Another downside to using a Cricut cutting machine for quilting is that it can’t cut multiply layers of fabric. If you want to cut multiple layers of fabric, you’ll need to use a different type of cutting machine.
#5. Some fabric waste
In general, you can expect to have some fabric waste when using a Cricut.
One way to minimize fabric waste is to plan your cuts carefully, making use of all the available space on your cutting mat.
Also, you’ll want to take advantage of the Cricut Design Space. This software allows you to see on your computer where each shape will be cut on the fabric, so you can easily edit them on your computer to get the most efficient use of material.
#6. The machine takes space
The Cricut cutting machine is not portable. This means that you will need to have a dedicated space for the Cricut in your home or office. If you do not have a lot of space, this could be an issue.
#7. Can be expensive
Finally, Cricut cutting machines can be quite expensive, especially if you need to buy a lot of different accessories to use with them. So it may not be the best option for everyone. Do your research and decide if Cricut is right for you and your quilting needs.
Overall, though, a Cricut machine can be a great investment if you’re looking for a way to cut fabric quickly and precisely. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision.
FAQs about cutting fabric for quilting with Cricut
You can cut a variety of fabrics with your Cricut machine, including quilting cotton, flannel, linen, felt, and more! Be sure to use the correct blade for your fabric type – the Rotary Blade is best for cutting fabric.
Yes, you will need an adhesive cutting mat designed specifically for cutting fabric. It’s pink. These mats have a grip surface that helps keep your fabric in place while you’re cutting. They can be 12 x 12 inches or 12 x 24 inches.
Yes, you can use your Cricut machine to cut applique shapes out of fabric. Simply create or find an applique design in Design Space, then select “Fabric” as your material type when cutting. You may need to mirror your design before cutting so that the applique pieces are cut correctly.
Whether you’re looking to add a unique embellishment to your next project or simply save time on tedious cutting tasks, a Cricut machine can help you achieve perfect results every time.
Cutting fabric for quilting with AccuQuilt Go fabric cutter
The AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter is a die-cutting machine designed specifically for quilting. It uses different dies to cut the fabric into a variety of shapes and sizes. Choose from manual cutters that operate with an easy hand crank or electric cutters that do all the work for you.
The machines are easy to use, and they can cut through multiple layers of fabric at once. This makes it much faster than cutting by hand, and it also ensures that the cuts are accurate and precise. The AccuQuilt Fabric Cutters are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to save time when cutting fabric for their quilts.
When I started with my quilting projects I used to cut fabric with my rotary cutter and occasionally used Cricut Maker to cut difficult shapes. But my friends who’ve purchased and used the Accuquilt line of products raved about the results.
So I bought AccuQuilt Go Fabric Cutter and I was so excited when I cut 28 small squares for a quilt in 1 minute! Wow, that was quick and easy. I was really impressed and I was sorry I didn’t buy it sooner. From now on I use only this machine when I need to cut fabric for quilting.
How to cut fabric with AccuQuilt Go
It’s so easy to cut fabric with an AccuQuilt Go cutter. I have the big cutter and a small one called Go! Me.
Simply place your fabric on the die, cover it with the mat, and run it through the machine. The pressure from the machine will force the sharp edges of the dies through the fabric, resulting in a clean and accurate cut. You can cut multiple layers of fabric at one time, which is great for when you’re working on a large quilting project.
Before using your AccuQuilt Go fabric cutter, it’s important to take some time to plan out which shapes you’ll need and how many different fabrics you’ll be using. Once you have a plan, you can then determine how many cuts of each shape you’ll need for each specific fabric. This initial planning stage is important because it will help you save time and prevent waste when cutting your fabric.
Once you know which shapes you need and how many cuts of each shape you need for each fabric, you’re ready to start cutting.
AccuQuilt offers a wide variety of free quilt patterns that come with their dies or can be downloaded and printed from their website and they range in die size from 6″ to 12″.
I started with the Mix&Match Qube die set. The Qube sets are a great way to get started because they usually include 8 dies for some of the most common quilt blocks.
The Qube sets also include cutting mats for the dies so you don’t need to buy them separately.
The patterns will give you some ideas for how to use the dies, and then you can get creative and come up with your own designs too.
✅ Related tutorial: Accuquilt Block On Board: Carpenter’s Wheel Die
To ensure accurate cuts and prevent fabric shifting, it is important to properly prepare your fabric before feeding it into a die-cutting machine. First, you’ll need to iron your fabric to remove any wrinkles or impurities that could interfere with the cutting process.
Next, you’ll need to manually cut wide strips of fabric (if you plan to cut many shapes for a quilt at once). Cut the strips a bit wider than the blades of the die, so you’ll have some wiggle room for any inaccuracy while the die goes through the machine. I usually cut my strips as wide as the size of the die I am using or half an inch smaller.
I also like to fan-fold the fabric to the side of the die so I will have to cut many layers at once. I press the fabric to flatten the folds. I know that my cutter AccuQuilt Go can easily cut up to 6 layers at once but sometimes I cut 7 layers at once if my quilting cotton fabric is not very thick. I know that quilting cotton varies in thickness and if I use thinner fabric I cut 7 layers without problems.
When you’re cutting fabric with an AccuQuilt Go cutter, it’s important to make sure you’re cutting on the straight grain. This can be a bit tricky, as the blades on the dies are slightly angled which is intentional. This helps the die glide through the machine more easily.
To ensure that you’re cutting on the straight grain, you need to place the fabric on the die so that the grainline is parallel to two sides of the blade. And it’s not always easy to do. So I like to draw lines on the dies with fabric markers that are parallel to one of the blades. This way, I make sure that I’m cutting on the straight grain. I place the fabric on the die in such a way that the grainline is aligned with my drawn line.
Once you’ve prepared your fabric, all that’s left is to feed it into the AccuQuilt machine and let it do its work.
Pros and cons of using AccuQuilt cutting machines
#1. Cut fabric fast
The AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter is designed to cut fabric fast, so you can spend less time cutting and more time sewing. In fact, the AccuQuilt GO! is up to 90% faster than traditional rotary cutting methods.
#2. Easy to use
It’s super easy to use; just load your fabric into the cutter, select the size and shape you want, and let the machine do the rest.
#3. Precise accurate cuts
If you’re a quilter, you know how important it is to have precise cuts. After all, even the smallest mistake can throw off an entire project. That’s why many quilters rely on the Accuquilt GO! Fabric Cutter. This innovative tool is designed for precision cutting, and it’s able to achieve far more accurate results than traditional rotary cutting methods.
#4. Cut up to 6 layers at once
This cutter can handle up to six layers of cotton fabric at once, making it a great choice for larger projects. The durable blades are designed to stay sharp.
#5. Huge variety of dies
The Accuquilt GO! Fabric Cutter comes with a huge variety of dies that can be used to cut a variety of different shapes and sizes. The AccuQuilt GO! fabric cutter can handle any cutting task – from simple squares and rectangles to more complex applique shapes. Whether you’re working on a small quilting project or a large one, there’s a die that’s perfect for the job.
#6. Wide selection of free patterns
The Accuquilt website has a wide selection of free patterns that can be made with these dies, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your next project.
#7. Prevent hand, arm, and back strain
Anyone who has ever done a lot of quilting knows that it can be tough on the body. Constant cutting, reaching, and bending can lead to hand, arm, and back strain. The Accuquilt go! Fabric Cutter is designed to minimize this strain by allowing you to cut fabric quickly and easily. The Accuquilt go! Fabric Cutter can help you stay comfortable while you quilt, even if you’re working on a large project.
#8. Perfect ¼” seam allowances
One of the great features of the Accuquilt GO! Fabric Cutter is that it cuts any shape with quarter-inch seam allowances. This means that if you use a special quarter-inch presser foot, your blocks will be a perfect size. Seam allowances are an important part of quilting, as they allow you to sew your fabric pieces together without worrying about them being too small or mismatched. Quarter-inch seam allowances are the most common type used in quilting, so this is a great feature for anyone who wants to make sure their blocks are the right size.
So, after I cut all the necessary triangles from different fabrics, I sew the triangles together in pairs making sure that the long sides of the triangles are aligned. I sew the triangles together with a ¼″ seam allowance, being careful to keep the seam straight from corner to corner. This method is quick and easy, and it guarantees perfect blocks every time.
#9. Trimmed dog ears
When you cut triangles with AccuQuilt Go corners on triangles (called dogs ears in quilting) are already trimmed! No trimming dog ears means that you don’t have to worry about cutting off the little triangle shapes that form at the corners of your half-square triangles. This is a huge timesaver because it can be very tedious to trim all of those little shapes off, especially when you’re working with a lot of fabric. The Accuquilt go cutting machine makes it so much easier because you don’t have to worry about trimming those little shapes off – they’re already cut.
#1. Some fabric waste
Even if you do everything as recommended, there will still be some fabric waste when using an AccuQuilt Go. Some people feel that the amount of fabric waste is significant enough to outweigh the benefits of using an AccuQuilt Go.
There are some ways to minimize fabric waste when using an AccuQuilt Go. Plan your cuts carefully so that you use as much of the fabric as possible.
#2. Can be expensive
If you’re thinking about purchasing an AccuQuilt Go fabric cutter, it’s important to be aware of the cost. These machines are usually pricey to purchase, and then the peripheral pieces, such as the dies, are sold separately.
This means that owning a complete fabric-cutting system that does everything you can do by hand with a mat and rotary cutter could stretch your budget. While they’ll save wear and tear on your hands and wrists, they may wreak havoc on your wallet. Your quilts will be gorgeous, however, and the piecing process is made much easier by the accuracy of the cut pieces
If you plan to quilt regularly, an AccuQuilt Go cutter can be a worthwhile investment.
#3. Need to buy separate dies for every shape and size
The AccuQuilt Go requires separate dies for each shape and size. So, if you want to be able to cut a variety of shapes with your fabric cutter, you’ll need to buy multiple dies.
The good news is that AccuQuilt offers a wide range of dies, so you should be able to find the perfect die for any project. And, if you’re not sure which die to choose, AccuQuilt also offers a die compatibility chart that can help you find the right die.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the benefits of an AccuQuilt Go cutter outweigh the drawbacks? Let me know in the comments!
In conclusion: This wraps up all you need to know about how to cut fabric for quilting with modern cutting machines. I hope you find this guide helpful as you grow and develop your quilting skills.
Learning how to cut quilt pieces accurately is one of the most important steps in creating a quilt top that comes together neatly with all the seams aligned. Once you master all the fun and timesaving cutting techniques used by experienced quilters, you’ll have more time for the parts you really love — turning your ideas into beautiful textile masterpieces for generations to enjoy.
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