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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Tips for Sewing Stretch Velvet – my Party Appleton Wrap Dress!

I’ve made my party dress for this year! I really wanted something that was warm and comfortable yet sufficiently glam – for me, this meant a shimmer stretch velvet and a long-sleeved wrap dress to pair with long boots.

I’ve long since decided to try and get more use out of the patterns I own and like, rather than constantly buying new ones. I’ve made the Appleton wrap dress by Cashmerette before (see HERE) so I knew it was a) quick to sew, b) really comfortable and c) had a really secure wrap front. Making repeats of the same pattern is also a really interesting way to show how different a pattern can look depending on the fabric you make it in! My first version was made for Summer, with short sleeves and in a lighter-weight knit. This iteration is full on Winter plush!

If you’re interested in this particular fabric, read on, I have a 20% discount code on your entire order from the supplier (Patterns & Plains)

But first, let’s talk construction. Sewing stretch velvet is not particularly difficult but I did utilise a particular method of hemming the dress to ensure it came out sharp and even …

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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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My Finished Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat!

Hello again…let’s get this coat finished!

I proceed with sewing my coat like an F1 driver on the home stretch…I want it done and impatience has set in. I’m mindful of this and try and force myself to pay due care and attention…to not rush to the finishing line…but still I find myself easily irritated and rushing anyway. And this is the quandary; I know not to sew when I’m in this mood – mistakes likely happen – but given that my mood is underpinned by bloody-mindedness, I carry on.

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