Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sew a Bunny Softie with the new Cricut Maker

Thursday, September 28, 2017
cut softie pattern with Cricut Maker
I was given a Cricut Maker to review and this post contains affiliate links.

You have probably realized by now that my current crafting mostly involves fabric. I love all the new fabric prints and the fun things you can sew. I love that things last longer when made with fabric than with paper. What I don't love is all the prep work that goes into getting ready to sew. Preparing your fabric, cutting out the pattern pieces- it's a lot of effort that goes into getting ready to do the thing I really want to do, which is sew. That's where my love for the Cricut Maker runs deep! All the steps of printing or cutting out the pattern, pinning or tracing the pattern and then cutting out the fabric- they are all gone with this awesome machine! When I started looking for a pattern to try out this fun feature with, I couldn't resist these darling bunnies- and the best part is that the pattern is free if you have a Cricut Access membership!
All the pattern pieces were cut out with the Cricut Maker
Once I made one, my girls all decided they needed their own, so I ended up making three! I have a few tips for you if you decide to make this pattern that will hopefully help you out! Read all the directions for the project first- they will give you all the steps for assembly, but here are some of the things that worked for me:

baste bunny limbs closed before attaching to body
The first tip is to baste the limbs closed before attaching them to the body. I like my softies nice and firm since the batting tends to break down over time and I want them to have a nice feel for a long time. But, firm limbs are hard to attach since they don't have a lot of room for seam allowances. If you are new to sewing, I would leave a bit more space at the top of each limb so you have more room to work with. Basting will hold the sides of the limbs together and make them easier to attach.
adding limbs to the bunny can be tricky
The second tip is to baste the limbs to the body before adding the back. You can see that once you add arms, legs and ears, it's a bit crazy looking. Trying to keep everything pinned neatly in place can be tough, so go ahead and use a long stitch, and a scant (just smaller than) 1/4" seam allowance to stitch them all in place. Also, note the position of the ears on this bunny. I like them a bit to the sides so they don't always hang over the bunnies' face.
pin the bunny back on
Once you have the limbs sewn down, start at one of the notches on the body and line up the back. Normally when you pin two pieces together, you like them to be flat and even, but with so much bulk in the middle, you have to rely on the notches, and the seams to guide you when pinning. I start just below the notch on one side and pin that side in place, you can see that I leave the legs out of the bunny for now. It makes it much easier to sew the neck if you do the bottom last. Pin up the side and make sure the neck seams line up. Go around the head, pinning more than you normally do and down the other side. Again, check to make sure the neck and notch seams line up. Sew around the bunny where you have pinned- *tip: I like to back stitch a couple of times on places that will get a lot of stress- if your bunny will be loved (and if you give it to a child- it will!!) the limbs and ears will all get pulled on, so, I back stitch whenever I get to the beginning or end of a limb as I go around.
Now it's time to do the bottom. Feed your legs up and into the body of the bunny. It might take a bit of manipulation to get the feet through the neck. Get the bottom as neat as you can and pin from the inside of each leg and around the corner to where your stitching stops. Sew the two legs in, leaving the space between the legs open for stuffing. Make sure to back stitch when starting and stopping- especially the opening where you will turn the softie right side out and stuff it!!
**The biggest tip I have is to go slow and watch your seams. You want to make sure you are catching the front, back and both sides of each limb and ear so they are securely stitched into the bunny. Use a smallish stitch length and lift your presser foot often through the curves.
bunny softies
** Before you turn your softie right side out use pinking shears or sharp scissors to notch your curves. You will get a much smoother shape to your softie if you do!
dress for bunny softie
This is how I ended up making the dress. Cut out the pocket pieces and the dress pieces- skip the straps.
  •  Sew the pocket pieces right sides together, leaving 1-2" on the top straight edge for turning.
  • Clip seam on curves and turn right side out, press.
  • Edge stitch along the top of pocket to close the hole. 
  • Center the pocket on the front dress piece and sew around the bottom curve, back stitch at the beginning and end of pocket to secure. 
  •  Press the top of each dress piece down 1/4", then again 1/2". Press the bottom of each dress piece up 1/4" then again 1/4". 
  • Unfold the pressed hem pieces and put the two dress pieces right sides together. Sew down  both sides of dress (with notches)
  • Fold hems back up and top stitch down.
  • turn arm curves under 1/4" and top stitch
  • fold top hems back down and stitch at just under 1/2" to create a channel for the elastic.
  • Take a 7" piece of decorative elastic and thread it through the front and back channel of top of dress. Sew ends together and turn the elastic so the seam of the elastic is in the casing.
    elastic makes easy straps
The elastic allows the dress to easily come off and on.
sweet bunny softie
 I had so much fun making these bunnies. My three youngest girls have all claimed their favorites and are having so much fun playing with them.
fun bunnies to play with
I even used scraps and my Cricut Maker to create the little bunting in the background. I can't wait to use my Maker machine for all the crafting I want to do!

As always, let me know if you have any questions- I'm happy to help!
xoxo,
Amy

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fabric, Felt and the New Cricut Maker

Thursday, September 7, 2017
This is a sponsored post. I received a Maker machine to review and this post also contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Wondering why you might consider upgrading to a new Maker machine from your Explore? Curious as to what the fuss is all about? Interested in just how excited should you be if you sew or just love fabric? Today I am sharing exactly why I have been so giddy since I first heard about the new Cricut Maker machine.
cut felt and fabric with the Cricut Maker

I have owned a Cricut machine since they first came out. You might remember the cartridges? I still have some! As Cricut has grown and changed I have loved the updates and increased capabilities of their machines and design space. I was given an Explore when they first came out and I have used it over and over again. But, there has always been one draw back for me- working with fabric was always a challenge. I didn't always want to have to back my fabric with something in order to get it to cut. And, even if I did, I often felt like the cuts weren't clean. And don't even get me started on cutting felt! (the pictures below are from the Room Challenge I did for the Cricut Design Star challenge I participated in a couple of years ago, you can see in the first picture that the cuts are pretty good, but there are still a couple threads that didn't get cut all the way)
Cutting Fabric on the Cricut Explore- fabric backed with freezer paper

Reading pouf created using the Cricut Explore


I was told that Cricut was coming out with a new machine that would cut fabric- I was thrilled, but also a little skeptical because I had been told that before with the Explore machines. (which, while it technically does cut fabric, requires backing your fabric and sharp, new blades to get crisp, clean cuts)
So, when I went in to check out the machine- I came prepared with samples of my own! I wanted to see if it really would cut fabric, wool felt and even the cheap acrylic felt from the craft store.
cut fabric with Cricut Maker
Fabric cut with Cricut Maker

Let me tell you, this machine knocked my socks off! The rotary blade is magic!! It's a tiny 12mm blade and it lifts and pivots amazingly!
cut wool felt with Cricut Maker
felt bird cut with Cricut Maker

There are a couple of limitations you should be aware of:
 First: you can only cut down to a 3/4" radius on curves. Any smaller than that and you will damage your fabric mat. For really intricate cuts, they recommend using the bonded fabric blade and fabric backed with a stabilizer such as Heat n Bond
 Second: There is an over cut programmed into the machine so that the corners are sharp and neat, since there is a round blade involved. Why this matters is if you are cutting something thin, like the stem of a leaf, you might find that the stem is cut off because of the over cut. Just something to be aware of.
There are free projects available in Design Space to get you started cutting fabric and felt. In addition, Cricut has teamed up with Simplicity Patterns and Riley Blake Designs to provide patterns and quilts for you to purchase and make. Plus, with design space, you can upload your own designs and create your own projects! I will be sharing the file to make the pincushion in this post soon!
If you focus on paper projects or mostly cut vinyl and already have a Cricut Explore- I would definitely enjoy your machine and not upgrade. But, if you're like me and spend most of your time with fabric, needle and thread I would not hesitate for a second to make the switch. The adaptive tool system provides accuracy and pressure to cut cleanly and the new fabric mat holds the fabric in place so you don't need to add backing to your fabric.
Watch for lots more projects and videos from me soon!
xoxo,
Amy


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

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