Learn how to cut fabric with a Cricut Maker, plus tips and tricks for getting the best results from your machine and your fabric!
I’ve been crafting with my Cricut Explore Air for years now, making fun things out of paper and vinyl, but I never did much with fabric. The Explore Air can technically cut fabric, but it just drags the blade across the fabric, which results in fraying and tearing and not very clean cuts…
But all that has changed with the new Cricut Maker! The Maker comes with a rotary blade that cuts as the blade is pushed down AND as the blade rolls, so no more dragging, fraying, tearing, and bunching! Plus you don’t need a backer fabric with the Maker. Today I’m going to show you exactly how to cut fabric with a Cricut Maker, plus share some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Maker, your mat, and your cutting fabric.
My favorite thing about the rotary blade is that it cuts through fabric like butter! The Maker’s Adaptive Toolset has gears that allow the rotary blade to turn as it moves across the material so that you get smooth, clean cuts every time, even when you’re cutting out an intricate design. And unlike a handheld rotary cutter which you might accidentally run into a ruler, it doesn’t get nicks and dings in the blade from use! (Though Cricut does make a rotary blade replacement kit if you do want to replace the blade at some point.)
And for all you sewists out there, Cricut has partnered with Simplicity and Riley Blake Designs to offer tons of amazing patterns straight through Cricut Design Space! They also have at least 50 ready-to-make projects in Design Space that are FREE for the Cricut Maker, and hundreds of other patterns and ready-to-make projects available in the Design Space library. You can find hundreds of patterns for everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and holiday decorations, and they are always adding more!
The rotary blade can cut hundreds of different materials, and up to 3 layers of fabric at once; it can even cut your patterns out on the fold if you want! And if your pattern has any markings on it, you can put the washable fabric pen in the accessory clamp and the Maker will number your pieces and draw your seam allowance for you!
How To Cut Fabric With A Cricut Maker
As with all Cricut projects, start by opening up your pattern in Design Space. You can choose from hundreds of Simplicity patterns, Riley Blake Designs patterns, or other simple sewing patterns that are ready-to-make on your Cricut Maker. Click on a pattern to see photos, a material list, and full instructions. Once you’ve chosen a pattern, click the green Make It button at the bottom right. (At this time you cannot customize the pattern or make any adjustments or resize it, but hopefully that will change soon!)
Design Space will walk you through the steps you need to follow to cut the fabric with your Maker.
Step 1: Start by placing your fabric right side down onto the mat. It may seem counterintuitive, but the patterns in Design Space are already set up this way, so put the pretty side down onto the adhesive on your mat.
If your pattern has markings, like seam allowances or piece numbers, load the washable fabric pen into Clamp A. The Maker will automatically draw with the pen to mark your fabric as needed for your pattern.
Make sure the rotary blade is installed in Clamp B with the gears on the blade aligning with the gears in the Adaptive Toolset.
Step 2: Press the Load/Unload button on your Maker to load the mat into the machine, then press the flashing Go button and it will cut out your fabric and make any pattern marks for you!
Step 3: Once the pieces are cut, pull them up off the mat and you’re ready to go.
I used this fabric to make cute soft baby blocks for our youngest daughter!
Tips For Cutting Fabric With A Cricut Maker
- Make sure you use the pink FabricGrip mat when cutting fabric! The adhesive is specially designed to hold all fabric types and thicknesses, and the mat itself is very durable and can hold up to the extra pressure the Maker exerts when cutting fabric. (And just like with fabric scissors, only use the FabricGrip mat for fabric; no paper or other materials!)
- Always place your fabric right side down onto the mat so that the Maker cuts from the back of the fabric. This means your markings from the washable fabric pen will also go on the back of the fabric, where they’re supposed to be.
- Extend the life of your mat by using a brayer to apply the fabric to the mat and broad-tipped tweezers to pick the cut pieces up off your mat. This will prevent oils from your fingers getting on the mat and wearing down the adhesive. (PRO TIP: When your mat is new, you only need really light pressure with the brayer, but when your mat is worn in, you can use firm pressure with the brayer to make sure the fabric is really stuck and doesn’t move while cutting.)
- Don’t clean your FabricGrip mat. The adhesive on the FabricGrip mat is special, and using the scraper on the pink mat can ruin it. Even the stray threads and fabric “dust” are ok! Just put your new piece of fabric down right over the top of all that, use a brayer to get it really stuck, and you’re good to go. The rotary blade will cut right through your fabric AND those loose threads. (Plus trying to pull all the threads up is both time consuming and can damage the adhesive by leaving finger oils on the mat.) If the loose threads and fuzz are absolutely driving you crazy, grab the biggest ones with tweezers and then use StrongGrip transfer tape to pick the rest up off the mat.
- Always TEST when cutting a new type of fabric! Every fabric cuts differently, so make some test cuts before cutting out your actual pattern, just in case you want to adjust the cutting pressure.
- Speaking of…the Maker will select default pressure settings for you based on what type of fabric you tell it you are cutting, but you can always adjust those settings if you want more or less pressure. I find that erring on the side of more pressure helps prevent fraying, especially in loose weave fabrics that tend to fray a lot.
- That said, trust your machine! The Maker is a very smart machine, and the default settings it chooses for any type of fabric work really well, even if it’s super stretchy knit fabric or a really lightweight fabric like tulle.
- Choose your fabrics and your designs wisely. The rotary blade can make really intricate cuts, but your project will come out better if you use a tightly woven fabric for intricate designs because it will reduce fraying.
- Make sure to take your washable fabric pen out of the machine when it’s done cutting, and put the cap back on it so it doesn’t dry out!
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Disclosure: I received compensation from Cricut in exchange for my participation in this campaign, and my honest discussion of their products. But the Cricut Maker and, really, all Cricut products are seriously amazing and all opinions in this post are 100% my own. I would never write a post about something I didn’t think was useful or interesting for you guys, and Practically Functional will only publish sponsored posts for companies or products I love and believe in! 🙂
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.