Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Who likes a bigshot?

A while ago mum and I went halves's on a sizzix big shot die cutter.  I must have entered a few hundred competitions to win an Accuquilt Go cutter, but never had any luck.  I was never going to get one without winning it either...  Enter the Sizzix!

Its a great price, and if you search on line there are lots of discounts and offers to be had too.  We got ours for about £50.
To be honest, the disappointing truth is that its sat untouched under the bed for months - I just didn't really know what to do with it!

Tumbler Cushion

When we first got it, I used the tumbler die to make a cushion.  I loved it, really.  Great shape, lovely pattern, they piece together beautifully.  But a 20" cushion took practically a whole charm pack, so the thought of doing a quilt .....  blimey.  How many charm packs would that take?!  I was a bit daunted.

I've decided I need to learn how to use it better.  I don't mean how to operate it; that is super simple.  It requires no effort at all really, and it feels good and strong and solid too.  No, "operating" it is very easy.  What I need to master, is planning and forethought.  I need to work out better what I can make with it, plan better what I need to use it.  I've been reading the sizzix blog and webpage, which I'm pleased to say is actually quite helpful.  I think it would have been more helpful had I read it before I purchased dies!

Dies are probably the most costly part of most cutter sets.  Again, Sizzix are cheaper than the other and special offers and discounts are always available somewhere on line, every bit helps!  What dies would I recommend tho?  Well, so far...  I think the Drunkards Path dies are a good buy, I mean, cutting those by hand is a nightmare, and its no easier with a rotary cutter either.  For the same reasons, the circle dies and hexagon dies are pretty good.

I'm finding that if you just want to go through your scraps, then any dies are great.  But if you have a specific quilt in mind, its a little annoying to still have to cut your fabric into small manageable pieces to run through the sizzix.  At best it cuts 4 layers of fabric, so you don't want to have any excess hanging over the side of the die as it will then count towards the layer thickness.  Also, I would ask sizzix to please, please, please write on the die the ideal size of fabric to place over the die for least wastage.  That would be so handy.  Not hard to do surely?!

I've been chopping away with my 2.5" square die, going through my scrap stash.  This one just hasn't worked properly since I got it, its sucking the fabric into the die at the corners and each cut is requiring a good snipping with scissors to get all the uncut threads.  Most annoying...  But it has just been this die, the others have been fine.

However.  To sit with your scrap pile and a sizzix is great fun, and the cut shapes will be so much handier for all sorts.

One die I'm awffy pleased with is the rather different Trapezoid.

A nice big pile of these makes something like this.

Not entirely decided what I'm doing with this yet, watch this space!
Having just read the sizzix blog again, I could also combine this die with the triangles die

A trapezoid either side of one of these triangles will give me quick cut Geese!  Looking forward to trying that one day.

All in all, I have to say I'm chuffed to bits with the sizzix.  I just need to think more about what I do with it!  I'm not seeing me make whole quilts, but I am seeing it being wonderful for smaller projects, and especially awesome for speedy fancy ass looking borders!
All I would ask is that sizzix make more of the dies with windows as opposed to solid.

The windows make it sooooo much easier to gauge the size of fabric you need and get it in the right place.  Essential if you want to fussy cut too.

To summarise:  Fun product.  Affordable if you shop around.  Good quality, well made, easy to use.  Just think carefully about what you want to do with it before you start buying dies or you'll end up spending twice the cost of the machine.... it is fun, and so easy to get carried away!


  1. Thank you for this post, I've been wanting an Accuquilt Go cutter for a while. This may be just the thing for me, it looks much more affordable.

  2. Thank you for the review. I sort of want to get one of the cutters to cut hexagons and papers for EPP. Also, strips and squares would be useful too, to deal with the scraps better. But mine might also sit under the bed a lot.

  3. Great review! I love using mine for quick applique shapes and scrap vomit. I sometimes get the fabric stuck in the corners too, but I find the more layers I use the less that happens. Jxo

  4. Good review Sarah. I jumped on the Accuquilt bandwagon a couple of years ago and try to make it pay for itself by dreaming up workshops, so I tend to go for applique shapes.

  5. Thank you for this post, My question is, can you use the same machine for fabric as well as paper? Not that I am about to foray into "card art" but it would be nice to make a few things every now & then.

  6. Thanks hun! I already have one but only the DP and leaves dies so far! Keep wondering what to get next!

  7. My square die does the same in the corners. I've got through about 5% of my scraps drawer now lol

  8. That was really useful Sarah, thanks. I'd love to get one one day, i hadn't realised they were so much more affordable (but still dreaming territory at the moment!). I think I'd suffer from the problem you're warning about - proper planning and working out what to do with it! Juliex

  9. Thanks for this, it is really useful. I am hoping to get one for Christmas.

  10. I'd love one for the 2.5in die - I have dreams of a scrap vomit but cannot face cutting all those squares! *g*

  11. Glad you like it. I have had a big shot for years from my papercrafting days and I have used it for cutting fabric, leather, card, chipboard and all sorts of things. I haven't bought any of the specific quilting does yet - but the drunkards path is on my Christmas list. Yes Diegoagogo you can use the same machine for it all, but be warned some things will blunt your dies so just as you wouldn't use your fabric scissors for card, don't use your fabric dies for card.

    1. Thanks Ali, Good to know this stuff before purchase :)

  12. Ahh, I do love enabling people to develop new addictions :oD

  13. I have recently acquired one of these too, on the recommendation of Katie (is she on commission????) ... it was a birthday prezzie and since I was in hospital for 3 of the 5 months since, mine has sat untouched so far too, lol. I found your review really helpful and hope to hear more about your experiences with different dies :)

  14. My DPs are my most used die for my Go! Though I do use it to cut hexie papers a lot.

  15. I used a HST die to make a whole baby quilt. Muuuuuuuch eider than pinning, marking, sipping and squaring up. I still squared mine up even after using a die, but that's just me being a freak.

    On mine I figure out how wide the fabric needs to be to go over the cutters with a wee bit of overhang. Then I half ass cut strips and fold them so it's not too much waste. Worth it to not sit with a rotary for a good long while.

  16. I love mine too. I haven't seen the window ones, that's great! I bought the smaller owl, but one cut gives one body, two feet, but just one eye and one wing!!

  17. Your die may be faulty. I had a hexagon die that was like that and Sizzix UK told me it was faulty and replaced it for me. You should email them!

  18. Brilliant post, I keep ummimg and ahhing about buying one and your post has really helped. :-)