Quilting is more than just a hobby.
Quilting is a form of art, self-expression and love for our closest friends and family.
How often, though, has all the cutting made it just seem like hard work?
We have put together a list of our favourite Die-cutting machines that allow you to do more of what you love for those you love!
Top Five Fabric Cutting Machines of 2022
1. AccuQuilt Ready. Set. GO! Fabric Cutting System – Best OverallReasons we love it:
Designed especially for quilting and includes everything you need to get you started. Plus, it cuts 90 times faster than rotary cutters!Reasons we might unpick it:
All the extras might be unnecessary for the more experienced quilter.
The AccuQuilt Ready. Set. GO! A fabric Cutting system is all you will ever need.This system comes standard with:
- Fabric cutting machine
- Qube 8” Mix and Match Block
- Two cutting mats: 10″ x 24″ and 6″ x 6″
- Die pick
- Qube book written by Eleanor burns
- More than 70 free patterns
- Strip Cutter 2-1/2″
- Square: 2-1/2″
- Parallelogram 45 degrees: 2-3/4″ x 3-1/2″
- Square: 4-1/2″
- Square on point: 3-1/4″
- Rectangle: 2-1/2″x 4-1/2″
- Half square triangle: 2″
- Half square triangle: 4″
- Quarter square triangle: 4″
All that, 70 free patterns and a great quilting book! All you need to get going!
2. Sizzix Big Shot Pro Fabric Die Cutting and Embossing Machine ( Best professional machine )Reasons we love it:
Our most robust manual die cutter on review, making it perfect for professional home use!Reasons we might unpick it:
It is heavy and not easy to transport
The Sizzix Big Shot Pro, made by Ellison, is compatible with all the Ellison and Sizzix designs you can find! (Find them all, I dare you!) It also has an incredibly large variety of materials it can cut or emboss.
Think fabric, but also, think cardboard and paper and foam!
Its hefty design will allow you to work with large pieces of materials and cut multiple pieces at once.
- Cutting pad
- Crease pad
- Adaptor pad
- 0.10mm mylar shims
3. Cricut Maker, Champagne Fabric Cutting Machine ( Best Electronic Die Cutter )Reasons we love it:
It comes with a helpful free design app you can use on your phone. It can cut up to 300 materials!
Bonus feature: Champagne colour!Reasons we might unpick it:
It does not come standard with any designs or a knife blade.
The Cricut Maker is an excellent take on a tried and tested classic. Owning this machine will, at a fee, give you access to some 500 sewing patterns. The Maker also allows you to use your designs easily with their smartphone port!
4. Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine with Scanner ( Best for Versatility )Reasons we love it:
Auto blade sensor technology! (It is as efficient as it sounds) 5” LCD touchscreen display for editing your designs on the spot.Reasons we might unpick it:
The Thin Fabric Auto Blade, necessary for quilting projects, comes as an accessory you need to buy separately.
The Brother SDX125E Cutting Machine is as new-age and ultra-versatile as the name suggests!
Precision at its finest!
It can cut from the most delicate fabric to 3mm felt and uses Auto blade sensor technology to detect the thickness of the material you insert automatically.
Besides all this, Brother gives you 682 built-in designs. And, as though that is not enough, they offer 100 quilt patterns and 9 letter fonts. All this before you even search the internet or scan your designs in!
5. Cricut Explore Air 2 ( Best for your Budget )Reasons we love it:
A small and affordable electronic die cutting machine grants you access to all Cricuts fabulous designs without the bigger models’ price tag.Reasons we might unpick it:
It is not robust enough to cut through certain fabrics, and you will need to buy a rotary blade separately.
This is the baby sister of the Cricut Maker, hosting all the same tech support, with a few limitations in what it can cut.
But, when considering bang-for-your-buck, this little firecracker is sure to send you quilting with a bang!
A few things to consider before buying:
If you are wise, you only need to buy one great die cutting machine.
Choose right, and you will have a creative companion until the day you die!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before deciding on a die cutting machine:
How do you want to create?
What is it you enjoy most about your creations? And what do you wish you could do without?
Answering this tells you so much about the perfect machine for you!
Do you enjoy cutting? Embossing? Sewing?
If you do not like to cut and sit and sew tiny pieces for hours, a manual die cutter will have you doing less of what you hate and more of what you love!
Do you consider yourself a digital artist too? Electronic die cutters will bring your online crafts into the real world with a host of clever software!
The future is now! Make a spaceship quilt if you want to!
What fabrics are you using?
Are quilts your first and only love, or can you see yourself embossing retirement invitations on camel hide in the future?
Finding a material-specific die cutter is excellent if that is your only goal!
But many, more heavy-duty machines allow you an abundance of versatility that can take your crafts in a multitude of directions in the future.
How big are your projects? How much time do you have for them, and how much space?
You can guarantee more tremendous success on a big project with a limited time frame if you own an electronic machine. A stitch in time saves nine, after all!
(Trust me, your hands will thank you later.)
But often, these machines are bulky space hogs that will clutter a small house or studio.
The trade-off between big projects and limited space should not hinder your dreams, though!
Trade your bulky electronic device for a motorised smaller one.
Here’s a clean-cut view of how these lovely machines work for those who are new!
Think of a die cutting machine as a printer. Except this printer uses blades, pressure and preset designs and not ink. Also, this printer works on paper, fabric, leather, heck. Some even work on wood!
All you do is load your materials on one side of the machine. Then pass it under the blades with either manual or motorised pressure applied, and BAM! Perfectly cut or embossed pieces for you to work with!
So, it’s a bit more like a printer that will not ever leave you fuming!
Manual vs Electronic, what’s the stitch?
It all depends on you.
Manual Die Cutters
Use the power of YOU turning a crank to move the die pieces and materials through the machine and out the other side.
They are generally smaller, more compact and portable, and often easier on the pocket.
Manual die cutters are also great if you love a hands-on approach to your quilting! They will produce clean cuts every time, and you still have the satisfaction of being part of the cutting process.
But, these machines are tiring for big projects, are time-consuming and can be real trouble for those with limited mobility.
Motorised die cutters (manual cutters with a motor instead of your arm) can help with that, though! But it is important to remember that they are not electronic. We’ll learn about those in a pinch!
There can be a limit to the amounts and types of dies you can find for each machine, with the cost of buying extra accessories making it a less than a value-for-money option.
Electronic Die Cutters
Tech-savvy quilters, you are home!
Electronic die cutters are connected to a computer, make use of digital designs and are almost entirely hands free.
Load your material, click a button and away it goes! Perfect cut every time.
You can (and this is the most incredible part!) create your hands-free designs online and cut them, or make use of an entire internet of cool ideas!
Think of the potential!
They are, however, bulky and quite expensive. Being connected to a computer is also a real struggle for those who have intermittent access to the internet and electricity.
And, some of us just want to get away from our computers and keep it simple when we’re crafting, and there’s no shame in that.