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I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

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    I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

    Be prepared....This is a LONG post but I hope will be informative to some!

    I've noticed some recent posts about the Accuquilt GO and fabric cutters in general and thought I would give my two cents on the issue. If you had asked me 3 months ago I would have been in the camp that said fabric cutters were time consuming, wasteful, limited in their practical use and TOO EXPENSIVE! One thing I have learned though, is NEVER say NEVER!

    Sometime this Spring one of our ladies here made a post that included a link to some of Patsy Thompson's quilting tutorials. (She is a great teacher and quilter and worth checking out her YouTube tutorials) Anyway, I was checking out her videos one day and happened upon this one that started me on my Big Shot obsession:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok4DR1d3UUc

    After seeing her enthusiasm for the Big Shot and realizing that the initial cost for the cutter and a few simple dies was about 1/4 the cost of an Accuquilt system I took the leap and purchased a Big Shot from Amazon.com ($59 + free shipping)

    I then started buying some of the Sizzix dies, quickly learning which ones were designed to fit the Big Shot. Accuquilt dies can retail in the general range of $25-$80 each with an occas 20% off sale at Joann's. Big Shot dies retail from $10-$25 each but early on I discovered the Sizzix.com website and their wonderful Outlet Store which is now about the only place I buy dies except the occasional good deal on Ebay. If you are willing to wait for a die to go to the outlet store you can end up paying anywhere from $1.99 - $7.99 for brand new Sizzix dies.

    As Patsy Thompson's video shows, by using her technique of fusing strips of fabric in advance and then cutting pieces to just the size you need to fit your die shape, you can reduce your fabric waste to almost nothing. Any small scraps I end up with of fused fabric, I throw into a ziplock bag to save for future projects where I might need just a small shape for applique. It already will have the fusible on it and be ready to go!

    Here is some additional info you need to know if you are considering a Big Shot. The original Sizzix die cutting system was created primarily for paper crafting so some of the dies may not be suitable for fabric applique or quilt shapes. However there are many Sizzix dies that say specifically they will cut fabric, foam and other thicker materials. These include all the Original Sizzix dies in Large (red) Medium (yellow) and small (green) sizes. (these dies are plentiful on Ebay and the Outlet store but harder to find in retail stores) It also includes all the BigZ dies which are the slightly larger dies created specifically for the Big Shot. You can also use the new BigZ Pro dies that are longer and made for the new Big Shot Pro cutter as long as you purchase the extended cutting pads to fit the longer dies.

    The Sizzix dies that will NOT work with fabric are the Sizzlets and some of the embossing, texturizing dies which work only with paper crafting.

    Until recently Sizzix dies were not designed specifically for fabric or quilting shapes. There is new interest building in the quilt community, however, and Westminster Fabrics has partnered with Sizzix to create quilt specific die shapes ie. circles, triangles, half-square triangles, drunkards path etc. These dies are designed for the Big Shot Pro system and are more expensive, along lines similar to the Accuquilt Go. If you have the original Big Shot and the extended size cutting pads, you can still use these new dies as long as they are no more than 6" wide. (much cheaper than buying the Big Shot Pro cutter to use those dies) Check out some of the new shapes available here:

    http://www.sizzix.com/catalog?submit...es&per_page=24

    At this point, my interest in the Big Shot is strictly for unique applique shapes that I would have a hard time cutting out the traditional way with scissors or rotary cutters. I am not yet willing to invest in the more expensive quilting shape dies or larger cutter systems since I think basic quilt shapes are very doable using our rotary cutters and multiple fabric layers. My excitement about the Big Shot is more for the applique options and advantages it offers.

    I am still new to the Big Shot applique process, but having a lot of fun learning and exploring all the ways I can incorporate the shapes into my quilt projects. Here are some of the projects I am working on now: (Click on the images to get a larger view)

    APPLIQUE LEAF WALL HANGING READY FOR BINDING.jpg

    I used a large leaf die and a curly cue die to create this 40" x 22" wall hanging. I free motion quilted around the leaves and curly cues plus used stitch in the ditch around all the seams. Still need to do the binding but then it will be finished

    SIZZIX PROJECTS_0036.jpg

    These are 5" charm square sandwiches I used for practicing my applique and free motion quilting designs. The appliques were all cut using the Big Shot dies. A fun way to practice new techniques without using too many material resources. I may end up making hot pads or placemats out of them!

    SIZZIX PROJECTS_0030.jpg

    This is a very basic block I made by cutting the blue design using my Big Shot dies and fusing to a 10" black layer cake sheet. It would be very easy to make a quick appliqued quilt using a variety of fabric prints, shapes and colors, fuse them to the layer cake sheets and use decorative stitching and quilting to finish them off!

    ONE day I hope to be as good as Patsy Thompson and create some of the wonderful appliqued quilts she shows on her Blog. The four images below are all the work of Patsy Thompson. She has now created her own custom dies to be used on the Big Shot system and sells them on her commercial website along with many other quilting products and accessories. She has created some beautiful dies!

    sprouts-of-sunshine-center-close-up.jpg Dancing-Feath-Star-whole-quilt.jpg 4-pack-of-flowers-early.jpg feathers-a-la-carte-3.jpg

    You will find tons of good advice and technique tips for using the Sizzix Big Shot cutter in your quilt projects at her Blog here:

    http://www.patsythompsondesigns.com/blog/

    Hopefully, this information will be helpful to a few who are toying with the idea of getting into fabric cutter systems. I am very happy with my decision so far and see endless options for using these cut shapes in my quilts!

    P.S. here is a pic of the actual Big Shot cutter and some Sizzix dies I bought from the Outlet store:

    SIZZIX BIG SHOT EQUIPMENT_0023.jpg

    SIZZIX BIG SHOT DIES_0004.jpg
    Last edited by Sewbee; June 25, 2011, 05:26 PM.
    Linda
    -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

    sigpic

    #2
    Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

    Thank you for all this info! Just recently I did my first applique wall hanging and I loved it!!

    I'm saving all these links so I can look at them later when I have more time!
    ~Mary
    As ye sew, so shall ye rip.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

      Wow what an eye opener. Great post. Thanks for the information. oh yea your work needs to be entered in a quilt show!!! Absolutely beautiful.To me alot prettier than some of the quilts we seen in Paducah. You are truly an artist!!

      Comment


        #4
        Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

        Your work is breathtaking and your thread is so informative. THANKS !

        Comment


          #5
          Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

          this is great. i am bookmarking this. some of those shapes are really narrow. Do you still do a applique stitch around them? What kind of stitch do you do and do you hand stitch or do it on the machine?
          Patrice

          Comment


            #6
            Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

            Thanks for this info. I was very leary about investing in a cutting system, but the Big Shot sounds good. Love the flower garden! It would make a great girl's quilt.
            Susan

            Comment


              #7
              Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

              Originally posted by Sewbee View Post

              ONE day I hope to be as good as Patsy Thompson and create some of the wonderful appliqued quilts she shows on her Blog. The four images below are all the work of Patsy Thompson. She has now created her own custom dies to be used on the Big Shot system and sells them on her commercial website along with many other quilting products and accessories. She has created some beautiful dies!

              SAMPLES OF PATSY THOMPSON'S ORIGINAL DESIGNS
              [ATTACH=CONFIG]6236[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]6237[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]6238[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]6239[/ATTACH]

              I just want to clarify that the 4 images above are samples of Patsy Thompson's work, NOT mine. Be sure to check out her Blog and Website for many more inspirational images, videos and technique tips! She has been a great resource for me in learning how to applique using the Big Shot.
              Attached Files
              Linda
              -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

              sigpic

              Comment


                #8
                Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                Originally posted by Patrice View Post
                this is great. i am bookmarking this. some of those shapes are really narrow. Do you still do a applique stitch around them? What kind of stitch do you do and do you hand stitch or do it on the machine?
                Hi Patrice,
                Its pretty easy to decorative stitch the larger applique pieces but the tiny vines and intricate shapes are more difficult. I try to do everything by machine so generally use either a straight stitch, satin stitch or zigzag around the raw edges to stabilize them. If I have a long narrow applique piece that I can easily use my zigzag presser foot with, I can then choose one of the many decorative stitches on my machine and pick a contrasting thread for adding interest to the design.

                If the applique shape requires free motion stitching, that is where my repertoire is pretty limited at the moment. Since I am just learning FMQ I don't always want to use a contrasting thread if it is in an area that needs to be precisely stitched. For stabilizing the raw edges to prevent curling, a fine monofilament invisible thread can be used which will be hard to see mistakes. Be sure the needle size is not too large and the stitches not too short since you will see the holes made in the fabric even if you don't see the thread!

                Sometimes it is desirable to use a contrasting thread and free motion stitch which will stabilize the edge and also add to the design. I have been playing around with this a little bit but have a long way to go before my stitching looks neat and clean where I need it to be. There are some FMQ patterns though that lend themselves to random "anything goes" type stitching so its hard to do something wrong.

                Patsy Thompson has a great FMQ Video Tutorial on her website and YouTube which talks about doing an "EKG" stitch around the raw edges with a contrasting thread. It looks sorta like an EKG heart monitor strip with a variety of different length V shapes. This is the kind of stitch which is very forgiving to small mistakes but still lends interesting texture, color and design to your project. Patsy talks very specifically 3/4 through the video about how to adjust your stitching for very small narrow applique shapes. You may want to check it out here:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVVQWNZ9uqU&feature=player_embedded#at=423


                On my wall hanging project with the Blue/Yellow/Red Leaves I had to decide whether to stitch down the small curly cue shapes or just leave them fused. I did learn a valuable lesson that when using fusible webbing you need to not over press with a hot iron or the applique piece may not stay fused. I had to replace a couple of the curly shapes that I had "pressed the heck out of"! So just enough heat to fuse to the background fabric is all that is needed. Since I don't plan on washing this wall hanging I am going to see how the fusible holds up without stitching on the curly shapes. If the edges start to curl with handling or time, I will probably try to stitch them down using invisible thread.
                Linda
                -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

                sigpic

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                  Wow! Thanks for all the info - those are so cool!
                  I just had to order one from the outlet store, with a few dies can't wait to try it out!
                  Mary :icon_hi:


                  Love is the thread that mends worn hearts.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                    Amazon.com is currently the cheapest place for buying the Sizzix Big Shot machine. $59.99 including the cutting pads and multipurpose platform plus free shipping. The machine prices on the Sizzix site are full retail. There are many different machine models also so be sure you get what you intended. There is the SideKick, BigKick, BigShot, BigShot Pro, Vagabond and Ellipse machines plus some models come in electric versions. I bought my Big Shot from Amazon and my dies from the outlet store and EBay. I think Joanns Fabrics has a sale currently on paper crafting supplies and they may have the Big Shot on sale right now also.
                    Linda
                    -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

                    sigpic

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                      I've been using my Big Shot for cardmaking and papercrafts for some time but had not thought about using it for applique. What a brilliant idea - this will further justify the investment I made! Thanks
                      my blog: http://craft-e-place.blogspot.co.uk/

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                        Wow, thanks for all the information. I am not currently in the market, but will definitely consider re-reading this if and when I do. Thanks for sharing and love the enthusiasm.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                          Awesome info, thanks. I haven't dared to venture into applique yet but it's so lovely that it's definately on the list...someday.
                          ;)Nancy

                          I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                            Do you know that you can use other dies on the Sizzix beside the Sizzix brand. I have a Cricut Cuttle Bug. And I use sizzix, cuttle bug, and spellbinder Dies on my cuttle bug. So your are not limted to just use Sizzix.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: I LOVE MY BIG SHOT!

                              Thank you so much Sewbee, for all the information

                              I got my Sizzix BigKick at my door yesterday and tried it out this morning. It is great! I made a cute fabric label for a quilt I am giving my mother-in-law today. I got everything at the outlet store - the BigKick was $50, and as far as I can tell it works the same as the BigShot. I am really looking forward to incorporating applique into my quilting
                              Mary :icon_hi:


                              Love is the thread that mends worn hearts.

                              Comment

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