Sew with your Cricut : How to Convert and Upload PDF and Paper Sewing Patterns into Design Space

I’ve written a couple of posts recently about my new Cricut ‘Maker’ machine (an intro / overview HERE and a guide to tools HERE) but perhaps this may be the one most useful for us sewists; how to upload sewing patterns into Cricut’s design software ‘Design Space’ so that the machine can cut pattern pieces out for you! I’ve had a good play with this; not only did I want to upload some of the PDF patterns I already had saved in my computer drive, but also to upload paper patterns. So this is what I aim to demonstrate in this Post, breaking it down into hopefully digestible stages with graphics to illustrate.

The ‘Black Beauty Bra’ by Emerald Erin – pattern cut out using my Cricut Maker!

I started using my Cricut in my sewing by customising fabric, cushion covers and tops with iron-on vinyl – which is enormous fun! But I quickly progressed to wanting to use my Cricut more particularly for sewing itself – there are loads of ‘ready to make’ little sewing patterns available in Cricut Access, ranging from bags and totes, pin cushions, dolls clothes, soft toys, quilts and more from a range of designers, including Simplicity…

A small sample of ‘ready to make’ sewing patterns in Cricut Access

For my first project, I decided to make a pay-for pattern in Cricut Access; a quilted, zippered pouch to store a tablet as a birthday gift for my Mother-in-Law…(and yes I personalised the inside with a message cut using Iron-on Vinyl!)

Moving on from that, I started to think about how I could upload some of the sewing patterns I already owned, both PDF and Paper, which took me down the route we’re now about to travel together! As I’ve broken this down step-by-step with illustrations, it might seem a lot at first glance but in the actual doing, it’s quick and relatively simple!

There are a couple of pointers worth mentioning before we get started with the tutorial :

  • You are limited to the size of pattern your Cricut machine is able to cut – its standard cutting mats are 12″ x 12″ and the larger are 12″ x 24″ so any pattern piece will need to fit within that framework – lingerie for example.
  • Getting your Cricut to cut patterns is ideal when a) you’ve a lot of identical pieces to cut which need to be accurate (e.g. quilts) or if you’re working with a shifty fabric or weeny pattern pieces that can prove tricky to cut manually – bras, I’m looking at you! Of course, you don’t need to upload entire patterns; say, if your making a shirt in something like a shifty rayon/viscose – I can see myself uploading just the collar and cuff pieces, or any piece where cutting accuracy is both pivotal and tricky, and letting the Cricut cut those to avoid any warping and shifting of the fabric in the process.
  • Uploading a sewing pattern into Cricut Design Space also enables you to resize and otherwise alter your pattern pieces prior to cutting out.

Ok, enough already – let’s get started on getting your PDF and paper patterns uploaded!

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Finally! Sewing my own Lingerie : the Black Beauty Bra Review

I am so happy to be writing this post as it’s been such a long time coming! I first starting banging on about sewing my own bras back in my 2017MakeNine list (which is a perfect example of why I’ve stopped making these lists!) Why has it taken me so long? A couple of reasons, confusion being one – fear definitely being the second.

black beauty bra

If this is you, let me attempt to talk you out of that, hopefully convincing you that there really is nothing to fear – whilst I try to simplify any confusion you may have with regard to the seeming myriad of different elastics and supplies you might think you need. But first…

Why Sew Your Own Bras?

Why did I so desperately want to sew my own bras? It wasn’t about design choice for me, or even about accomplishing new sewing skills – which, of course, are both extremely valid reasons! It was because wearing bras tended to make me, what I term, ‘Brangry’ (Bra = Angry)! I would wrestle my way out of any bra I was wearing the nano-second I walked through the front door. I wouldn’t even stop in my tracks to do it; I’d end up tossing said bra over whatever I was passing as I furiously whipped it off. Family and visiting friends were accustomed to finding bras discarded in a Brangry fit over the back of dining chairs, in the fruit bowl (it was otherwise empty!), down the back of the sofa – even in the shoe rack! No matter what size bra, no matter what style, no matter whether I’d had it professionally fitted or not – I hated wearing bras – they were uncomfortable to the point they’d make me seriously agitated.

I’d long suspected its partly down to my shape – I’m a DD cup on a relatively narrow petite frame. Bra straps would constantly fall off my shoulders (tightening them didn’t help). My boobs are also quite bottom heavy – 90% of shop-bought bras would squish and flatten my boobs in the lower cup so they’d end up overspilling in the top cup – even if it was ‘technically’ the right size. If I sized up, they’d fit in the bottom cup and then gape in the top. I could go on and on…suffice to say my loathing of bras goes a long way to explaining why I tended to live in PJs when at home!

Black Beauty Bra sewing pattern review Sew Sarah Smith

Are you noticing the past tense I’ve been using? Oh yes, things have very definitely changed – I’ve gone from stark raving Brangry to being very Brappy. (I’ll let you work that one out 😉 ) So, here’s why…

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Cricut Maker : Guide to Tools / Accessories (for Sewing and Clothing Projects!)

Ok, so you’ve got a new Cricut Maker machine or you’re pondering getting one? I thought I’d elaborate on my first Cricut blog post (What Does a Cricut Maker Machine Do, Exactly?!) and chat about what tools and accessories you might want to go with your Maker in order to get the most out of it! Let’s face it, a sewing machine without thread or needle isn’t going to produce much, and this is equally true of your Cricut!

Cricut Maker tools accessories

Of course what you might need / want largely depends on what you’re planning to use your Maker to, well, make. So, I’m going to talk from my own viewpoint; that is, mainly as a maker of clothes who’s just discovered a passion for all things crafty generally!

I’ve put everything under separate Headings, so you can skip to read the bits you’re interested in 😉

Let’s start off with the biggest thing…

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What does a Cricut Maker Machine Do, exactly!? A Beginner Review

Happy New Year to you! Hope yours has got off to a great start? Mine has; I had a really lovely, quiet, Christmas at home with my family – the days were spent playing with the kids, eating my own bodyweight and occasionally ducking out and hiding in my Happy Place to make stuff! Y’see I was very lucky to receive a Cricut Maker machine at the end of 2019 (please read my *Sponsored Post Disclaimer at the end of this Post) and I spent most of the Holidays playing with it! I only had a vague idea at the outset of the Cricuts’ potential – enough of an idea to know I was insanely lucky to be offered one but I had absolutely no idea how to use it! It sat in its box, unopened, for two whole weeks whilst I researched online and tried to get my head around its seemingly endless capabilities! If this is you right now, or if you’re thinking of getting a Maker too, or if you’re just curious to know what I’m waffling on about, read on!

Cricut Maker a beginners guide
The First Rule of Cricut Law is … you must customise your Cricut machine!

In short, learning about my Cricut Maker, progressing to actually unboxing it and finally, to switching it on, has unleashed an unprecedented maelstrom of making (and believe me, that’s saying something!) I’ve fallen completely in love; absolutely head-over-heels gaga, in fact, with designing and making craft and sewing related projects. And I’ve only just started! I am giddy with the possibilities!

But before I get completely carried away in my own enthusiasm, let me draw a calming breath and slow down, so we can take this from the beginning. (I’ll throw in some of my starter projects to illustrate!)

applying printable vinyl to clothing
My ‘Maria’ Crossback Apron customised with printable vinyl
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Pattern Matching Tricky Bits! My latest Carolyn Pajamas…and a Giveaway!

I’ve sewn another pair of Carolyn Pyjamas by Closet Case Patterns! It’s been years since sewing my last pair and they finally gave up the ghost. I’ve sewn a few knitwear PJs lately (see here) but I really wanted another classic, more tailored, set. The Carolyns are a more involved sew which satisfies my itch to get deeper into a project; time that I know will be repaid in a garment that should survive years of repeated wash and wear!

(And yes, I really wished I’d cut out in the opposite direction! It really bothered whilst I was sewing them up – thankfully though, it bothers me not a jot in the wearing ‘cos at least the books are faced so I can ‘read’ them when looking down at my bottoms!)

My first two iterations of this pattern were sewn from the easier of the three Views (View A). This time around I wanted the full works – cuffs and piping! I chose this book print broadcloth fabric, or rather it chose me, as at the end of every day, I’ll declare “I’m off to bed to read!” Given the ‘busyness’ of the print, I wasn’t particularly bothered about pattern matching generally, however I did want to match the breast pocket, which is both cuffed and piped, so it wouldn’t look ‘off’.

I thought I’d share with you how I pattern match trickier pieces like this – taking photos of each step of the process to clarify how straightforward it really is – ‘strap yourself in’ though as there’s a few of them as I also thought I’d illustrate a closer look at how the cuffed pocket is constructed at the same time! In reality, the doing is a quick process, promise!

Piping and a pattern matched breast pocket
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