I’ve had an electronic die-cutting machine for several years, and for the longest time, I couldn’t understand why people would need a manual cutting machine. Â A couple years ago, I gave in and got my Big Kick – and wow, have I ever been pleased with the variety of things I can cut with it that I cannot cut with my electronic cutter. Â When Sizzix recently released their new line of Framelits, I was excited to try using them on fabric (especially being that this is sewing month!).
Framelits are wafer-thin, chemically etched dies which allow you to see exactly what you are cutting. Some Framelits sets even have coordinating stamp sets, so you can stamp an image and then cut it out precisely. (I love this concept, because I hate fussy-cutting!)
I noted the directions on the back of the package. One thing I immediately loved was that unlike other similar dies, with Framelits, when you make your cutting sandwich, you lay your material to be cut down FIRST on the cutting plate, then lay the cutting die face down over your material, allowing for perfect placement, and then place the top cutting mat over the die(s) to complete the sandwich. I’ve had problems with other dies in the past, where I had to lay the dies down face up, then place my cutting material on top of the die – and my material moved in the process of making the sandwich or putting the sandwich through my machine…causing lack of precise cutting and inability to maximize my material. There was none of that with the Framelits.
I basically wanted to try cutting a variety of fabrics with the dies. Â The following are essentially my “swatches” for this review!
Muslin: second only to the denim, probably the most threads left connected, but these were easily clipped with small scissors, and the overall result was still pretty good.
Crinoline: the dies cut cleanly through the crinoline and left virtually no threads connected. Â You can see the detail of the scallops around the edges is nice and clean.
Quilting cotton: the dies cut the material cleanly, leaving only a thread or two connected to be easily snipped with scissors.
Canvas: Â the dies left a few threads connected and had a bit more difficulty cutting through this, though not as many as with the muslin, and still resulted in nicely cut shapes.
Burlap: the dies cut fairly easily through this rather thick material, surprisingly, leaving only a few threads to be trimmed.
Felt: the dies had no problem cutting cleanly through the Eco-felt I had on hand. Â I didn’t have any wool felt to try.
Fleece: again, the dies cut neatly through the material with no problem.
Denim: the dies had the most difficulty cutting the denim, though with a couple extra passes through the Big Kick, were, in fact, able to successfully cut the denim while leaving only minimal threads left to clip with thread scissors. You can see the detail in the scallops around the edges is still nice and clean.
I have to admit that prior to doing this post, I was extremely skeptical about whether or not these dies would be able to cut fabric – any fabric – let alone ALL of these fabrics! I have used wafer-thin dies from other companies in the past, to try to cut fabric, unsuccessfully…always ending in frustration on my part. I am THRILLED thinking of the possibilities this opens up…applique, hair accessories, home decor, clothing accessories, fabric pieces to use in mixed-media art…the possibilities are ENDLESS. And priced at $19.99 per set, they aren’t unreasonable, especially for the quality.
While I have many more ideas zooming around in my head, here are just a few quick ideas that I put together. Â The first is a layered flower, sewn together using jute string. Â Imagine using this on a scrapbook page or an altered frame. Â Gorgeous!
And how awesome to be able to quickly cut canvas circles to size? Â They are perfect for stamping on and adding to a larger canvas to give dimension, or to a paper scrapbook layout, or to an art journal page…so many ways you could use these!
Finally, I folded four circles in half and layered them in a different way, stitching them together using my sewing machine. It sort of has a doodling-effect to it. Imagine a gorgeous frame around 9 of these on a coordinating background? What a simple, quick piece of home decor!
I think you should give these Sizzix Framelits a try! I just bet you will be as pleasantly surprised as I have been! And if you’ve tried them already, I’d love to hear what you think! Have you used them to cut fabric?
Update 1/21: if you are having difficulty with the fabric cutting cleanly, try adding a shim of a piece of cardstock (or 2) on TOP of your die. This will add pressure that may help it cut more cleanly. Or consider investing in a metal base plate which will also increase the pressure and give you cleaner cuts! Check out this post so you can see Tim Holtz demo the metal plate for Framelits.