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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Designer Label -v- Design A Label : My garment sewing comes of age!

Hello sewing buddies!

I’m sure you’ll agree, Labels can be contentious things; from the ones we assign ourselves and the ones society places on us to the ones we’re told we should aspire to buy. I can be labelled ‘Mother’, ‘Wife’, ‘Middle-Aged’; as a ‘Sewist’ and ‘Maker’; an ‘Introvert’ and ‘Bookworm’ for example but can these labels, singularly or together, give you the whole picture of who I am? Of course not. (As far as labels go, I like ‘Human’ best ;-)) And, as someone who sews my own clothes, I’m rarely swayed by Designer clothing labels either.

That all said, admittedly, there is one Label I have been desiring for years; my own self-designed woven label to sew into my handmade garments!

And now I have them and I couldn’t be happier! Friends, I also have a 15% discount code for you too, should you want to whisper in Santa’s ear! …

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The Weight is Over : Crafting Sewing Pattern Weights & an iPad Holder!

Hello again!

Do you have a sewing process you actively dislike? For me, it’s cutting out. Or rather, its the thought of the cutting out process that puts my teeth on edge; imagining it as a laborious obstacle to be gotten through before I can get on with the, y’know, actual sewing. My aim then was to speed up the process and make it more appealing in any way I can; crafting my own pattern weights, something I’ve aimed to do for a long time, seemed a good place to start.

So the question was, how many pattern weights can I get out of one metre of fabric?

Well, quite a lot as it happens.

Which all had to be cut out. Oh the irony! 

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Inspector Gadget Strikes Again…A Roundup of my Latest Fave Sewing Tools, Gadgets & Gizmos!

It probably won’t surprise you when I say I really believe the right tools and gadgets make a huge difference to my sewing projects; whether it simplifies a process, neatens an outcome or just makes me smile in using it. So I thought I’d share a collection of the latest gizmos to have quickly become indispensable to my sewing kit. Who knows, something here may catch your eye! They’d all make great Christmas Stocking fillers; just sayin’.

First up, I’ve got this funky little acrylic sleeve placket template from LunaGrafix.com’s Etsy Store. If you’ve sewn sleeve plackets before, like me, you may also find the trickiest part is actually marking your fabric pieces sufficiently. There’s a lot of marks to transfer (fold lines, notches, slash mark etc). This nifty little tool, designed to produce a 1″ wide placket, has cut-outs in all the right places to make pattern transferring that much easier. I’d also imagine this is really handy if you’d like to add a placket to a sleeve that isn’t drafted with them. As a caveat, I will say that this template is obviously of a fixed average size…and it may be bigger (or smaller!) than you want; however, I still think it’s useful for transferring those pesky markings!

It comes with an illustrated instruction booklet or see Inside The Hem’s vlog on how to use it here.

Next up we have what I think is one of the handiest little tools, perfect to pop into your bag when out fabric shopping or if you’re wanting to check your stashed fabric meets the stretch requirements of your pattern, I’m talking about the … Read More

Getting Crafty Again! Sewing a Machine Cover for my Serger / Overlocker…

Ah finally the six weeks of bedlam and mayhem that constitutes the summer holidays are over! The minute the children were shooed on their way back to school, I took a sweeping look at the devastation left in their wake and took to frenzidly cleaning, tidying and organising the house. And, of course, once that was sorted, my attention turned to my sewing space!

It’s not that long ago I assembled my ‘bijou’ sewing area – the beginning of the year in fact. But, like my middle-aged waistline, the area has continued to expand! It seems I’d consoled myself with having my sewing time curtailed during the school break with planning; buying a shedload of fabric and patterns, as well as a number of new sewing tools.

So my sewing space got a bit of a makeover too! And as part of that I decided to get crafty and sew myself a new machine cover for my serger, using the free downloadable pattern from Closet Case Files. Read More