Creating space for a standing height cutting table in the sewing room.
I was so tired of using the floor space as my table that I made the decision to commission a bespoke, cutting height table. I used a local carpenter, gave him the measurements, the design and sourced the wooden worktop myself. He sourced the materials for the shelving units and base of the table and we were good to go. The table took one, full day to construct.
I excitedly set about clearing a space for my massive table. Once it was in place, it would mean that I’d have no excuse but to start rearranging more of the room and start creating my ideal sewing space.
It looks like there will be plenty of space to spare once the table is in place, but that’s not the case. The table is massive. The worktop is in two parts and is screwed onto the base units. I genuinely believed that getting this table up our stairs was going to be the end of me! Even though it was in parts, it was heavier than the heaviest thing I can think of. Kudos to The Hubs who has strength of the like I never even realised!
This isn’t where I’d planned for the table to be placed but The Hubs just set it up and classed it as job done. To be fair, I don’t blame him (in hindsight, that is. At the time I was livid that I hadn’t gotten the chance to choose where I wanted my table to go). The placement will suffice for now. No one’s ready to move it again. The sewing room is finally starting to take shape and I can’t wait to add more to it. Keep an eye out for future updates on the continued transformation of this space.
Using the Cricut Maker to cut simple quilt squares.
It’s been far too long since I did some quilting. I still have an urge to craft since my previous crafting project. This is why I enlisted the help of my friend (the Cricut Maker) to cut out the squares for my quilt top. Note to self: get a larger fabric cutting mat!
I’ve been looking for any excuse to give the rotary blade a whirl after all it’s hype and it didn’t disappoint. The rotary blade was precise and accurate, with each and every cut going straight through the fabric on the first attempt. The Cricut Maker worked like a dream and I was in awe.
It played such a small, yet crucial role in my quilting. I wanted to complete a simple quilt within one evening. Sewing is so important to me, and with two children under the ages of 3 years, every minute of sewing matters. I don’t get any time for myself once they are awake, so sewing time needs to be used wisely. The Cricut Maker shaved off some of the time that I would have spent measuring and cutting fabric, meaning I got to do more sewing, and finish my quilt faster than usual. What a result!
This experience has really got me thinking about other sewing projects the Cricut Maker could be used for. My only issue is that I don’t know how to turn images or patterns into Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). This enables you to resize an image without causing any distortion. It’s the file type recognised by the Cricut Maker (and most other die cutting machines) and enables it to cut out images and patterns.
Does anyone else use their Cricut Maker to cut fabric for their sewing projects? Does anyone have any idea of how to convert sewing patterns into SVG files? If so, I’d really love to know. The more this machine can aid in my sewing, and cut down my prep time, the better.
Revamping my sewing machine case with a giraffe mandala.
Quilting has taken a back seat. Just this once! The Hubs purchased a Cricut bundle, which means the machine came with a ton of vinyl, and other materials and tools, to get me well on the way!
Since my ‘Cricut Crafter’ post, where I completed my first ever Cricut project, I’ve joined more Facebook groups than I care to count and watched countless YouTube videos from all manner of Cricut crafters. My go-to sources for advice and tutorials are Jennifer Maker and Makers Gonna Learn.
In a large proportion of the Cricut crafting groups recently, members have been posting photos of their mandalas. These designs are intricate, with all of the symbols interconnecting, creating beautiful patterns within a larger image. The process of weeding (removing the excess materials in a design that you do not need) the mandalas appeared to me to be a delicate, yet therapeutic exercise and I wanted in!
I dislike doing a project just for the sake of it. Whenever I do this, I end up making mistakes because I don’t have the focus or willingness to properly apply myself. I really had to think hard about what I wanted to create. Then I got an idea to jazz up my sewing machine case. I decided on a giraffe mandala and set to work weeding the image.
It was certainly therapeutic and much more complex than I imagined. Vinyl is just so sticky and strong. Great care is required when weeding because it’s not always easy to rectify mistakes. Vinyl is an unforgiving material!
Thankfully, it all went without a hitch. Beginner’s luck, I suspect. My sewing machine case received a revamp and I was thrilled with the results. A tip for attaching vinyl to a surface: clean it with alcohol wipes beforehand. The vinyl will stick and stay put like a dream!
For those of you who fancy seeing the weeding process (sped up, of course), then here’s a short clip, especially for you. You’re welcome.
I’m feeling much more confident about my ability to learn how to use the Cricut Maker properly. This project has left me wanting to do more crafting. I’ve now got a few projects I’d really like to successfully complete. Some greeting cards and a Valentine’s Day gift for the Hubs.
I’ve moved from my designated corner in the dining room to the spare bedroom. I’ve been hankering after this space for quite a while, but to no avail. The Hubs surprised me by randomly suggesting that I should have it as my sewing space and I didn’t hesitate to claim it as my own.
As you can see, it leaves a lot to be desired, compared to the sewing spaces of Pinterest and Instagram! I’ve got big plans for this room that will more than likely happen in stages, so stay tuned for future changes over the course of this year.
This will eventually become a wonderful, inspiring, sewing space. I realise I’ve got my work cut out, and any transformations will have to fit in around looking after my two little ones.
My plan is out there now. Nothing like accountability. No pressure! 🙈
Completing my first Cricut project on the Cricket Maker.
I must admit, I felt completely daunted after turning on the Cricut Maker for the first time, yesterday. Then, I watched 6 YouTube videos in quick succession, got over the fear, and made myself a badge.
That’s right. I make myself badges in my spare time! For this quick project, I watched a Paige JoannaYouTube tutorial, used the card stock I received with the Cricut Maker, and fabric from my scraps.
Look at me…proper SMUGGINS! Also, check out the African Wax Print fabric from Dovetailed, for the ribbon.🎗Hopefully, I’ll learn how to make something useful to share with you, at a later date.
Hello there! I just received the Cricut Maker. It’s my birthday and my husband very kindly and lovingly purchased one for me. I thought that I would share my journey using the Cricut Maker as a complete novice with the machine, and just so I can look back and track my progress and see if I can go from complete beginner with no clue what to do, to having some idea and being able to make some really beautiful things using it.
Contents of the Box
So, here it is! The Cricut Maker fresh out of the box and here’s what it came with. Some cutting mats, the power adaptor, and in this box I imagine are the tools. I’m just opening it right now. Oh, look at this! “Materials for your first project.” Well, I never! Oooh, this is lovely. “Open me first.” The warranty…everybody needs a warranty in their lives. Ok, I imagine there are some tools underneath. Oooh, lovely! Well, you’re seeing this just as I’m seeing this. So, I’m going to have to open these lovely envelopes.
Goodness me, it just looks so beautiful. Right, let’s see, let’s open it up. Oh, wow! This is fantastic! It’s just so special. It just gives off the impression that it is a really, high quality product. I’m impressed. Here are the materials that were in that lovely envelope. Doesn’t it just feel as though you’re receiving an invitation to join a select club. It’s just amazing. Wonderful! “Get started in four steps.” Let’s see what they are. Unleash this beauty (giggles). Plug in and power on your fabulous new Cricut machine. Two, get connected. Three, make a little something, and four, bookmark the page. Well, I certainly will be on that page…a lot.
So, tools. I’ve got the rotary blade and then I’ve got the rotary blade cap. A fine point pen and some sort of extra connector. I’m unsure as to what it’s used for. Perhaps to connect your Cricut Maker to a computer or to the internet if you’re not wireless, or something of the sort? Not sure, I’ll have to check on that. I told you I was completely clueless.
Those are the contents of the box. The Cricut Maker itself, the rotary blade with extra accessories, and the power adaptor and a few cutting mats to get you started. There’s no physical booklet containing instructions. You have to visit the website in order to get it set up and from what I understand. you get given a project to start with, and that’s how you get to grips with the machine. So, my next thing is to go onto the Cricut website to set it up and start a project.
What is it about cleaning your sewing machine that just makes you think….hmmm, no thanks!? It’s such a vital, yet easily overlooked, and widely avoided aspect of sewing machine maintenance.
There are some sewists who have developed very good habits over the years and regularly clean out their sewing machines. When I quizzed these diligent folk in my sewing group, I was impressed to find out that the majority of them who regularly sew clean out their sewing machine at least once every few days. Only a very small few reported doing so daily.
Unsurprisingly, it was generally reported that sewing machines are rarely being regularly cleaned. With lack of interest in the task, limited time, or deeming it a pointless task for the amount that they sew being cited as reasons. I personally clean out my machine every 3-4 days, even though I sew every day. I admit, I need to increase the frequency of my cleans but being honest, I do find it an arduous task.
The cleaning out of our machines could prove to be cost effective in the long run. “A regularly cleaned machine will lessen the need to service your machine over time,” says Jenny Field, owner of Needle and Shed. “I regularly receive sewing machines where the owners think there is a major issue and it turns out the machines just want a good clean.” So what really is keeping a large proportion of us from regularly cleaning our machines?
If you sew infrequently, the need to clean your machine as regularly isn’t as great, but it is still an important part of maintaining your machine. There is no harm in cleaning your sewing machine after every use, or at the very least, after every project. It’s a great habit to start forming and means that your machine is ready for the next time you use it.
If you’re encountering any weird and wonderful, unexplained issues with your machine, it could be that it needs a good clean. (DISCLAIMER: If you think there is something seriously wrong with your sewing machine, please do not hesitate to get it checked out by someone who knows what they are doing. There could be a plethora of other reasons as to why your machine isn’t sounding right or working correctly. A sewing machine that hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, or never, can present sounds and actions that appear to be a major issue but are resolved with a good clean).
Perhaps some sewists are reluctant to clean their machines because they aren’t sure how to clean them. Our sewing machines can look very complicated, internally. They are such a big investment that the thought of unintentionally breaking them, or messing them up in some way, can be greater than the need to remove a few bits of thread and dust. If you fall into this particular camp, here’s quick a video I put together of me cleaning out the bobbin area of my sewing machine. I use an old makeup brush and tweezers that came with the machine. That’s my preference. Your machine should at least come with a cleaning brush that you can use. Other things that I’ve heard being used to clean machines are pipe cleaners, miniature vacuum cleaners, and mini paint brushes, to name but a few. Once you get into the habit of cleaning your sewing machine, you can get creative as to how you go about doing it.
If your machine doesn’t allow you to get underneath the bobbin area with the push of a button, it’ll require you to unscrew the plate. This can be a bit of an arduous task for some, scary for others. Especially if you’ve never done it before. The benefits of cleaning out all of the dust are far greater than the potential risk of causing any damage. Be gentle and anything that you remove, pay attention to how it slots back in place to make sure you can put it back correctly once you have finished cleaning.
Our sewing machines are a big investment, so it’s important that we maintain and look after them as best as we can. Regularly cleaning your sewing machine is a big part of ensuring it remains in the best condition possible, for as long as possible.