Appliques cut with the cricut and designed with the pen tool

Being a night owl I often times find myself watching those long late night commercials. And I can’t believe that I found  2 of my favorite things to do right now on TV during those infomercials . One of them being Zumba® but that would make for a whole new blog. And the second one is the Cricut® In case you do not know what the Cricut® is: It’s a printer like machine (instead of ink it has a blade) that uses cartridges that hold fonts and images that can be cut out of paper for the scrap-booking community and amazingly it also cuts fabric. When I first saw it, I did a little research online and found a video on youtube showing a lady cutting a cute little cupcake out of fabric and sewing it onto a baby’s onesie. I liked the idea so much and got extremely excited about being able to do this myself. The only thing that was bothering me was the fact that the Cricut® prides itself in being a computer-less product, meaning no need to know any software and no connection to computer required. The Cricut® offers cartridges of which 1-2 are included with the machine and then you have to buy other ones separately. I however envisioned something entirely different. I wanted to draw my own designs inside of Illustrator and then make the Cricut® cut it out of fabric for me. So I did a little more research and found that Provocraft® (maker of Cricut®) came out with a product that is called Cricut DesignStudio ® software. That sounded really exciting until I found out that this product only allows you to use images from the cartridges. I guess it’s a step up for anyone not interested in using a real design software, as I assume that before this software one was only able to cut images from one cartridge at a time? Anyways, after I did some more research I found a website that sells a down-loadable software called “SurecutsalotTM“<<< love the name>>> and tested it out. Well… after deciding which Cricut® to buy (because they come in different sizes) and finding coupons and some Heat N Bond to stiffen the fabric. And  it works! Ha! Here is short tutorial on what I did (see pics above) First I found my inspiration, which happened to be a towel holder with these cute little elephants. Then I took a picture of them and traced them in Illustrator, then I saved them as a SVG. file. Then opened my elephants (one at a time) in surecutsalot.. hooked my computer per usb up to the cricut and pressed cut. Voila… i had my first computer generated appliques. Which will be used for a baby blanket for my friend daughter. There are some important hints and tips for prepping the fabrics and how to apply it to the actual cutting mat of the Cricut® and which blade setting and so on and since that is all information that I forget as soon as I do it, I am glad that there is a huge community of Cricut® users that share their tips online on the Cricut® message board. Here is the link to the youtube video that inspired me. Here is the link to the Cricut message board Here is the link to the “SurecutsalotTM” software And you can download my little elephants as Ai files right here. They are on separate Layers.
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  • Ana

    Hi Ludmila! I love your blog! I actually took your Saturday morning photoshop class, about 2 years ago. I’m still planning on taking your illustrator class for fashion design. Anyway, love this applique cutting. I make clothing for my two little girls all the time and I’m trying to sell some of childrens clothing. I have to do this! Thanks for the info!

    • Ludmilaadams

      Hi Ana,

      Thank you for commenting. I am actually considering making the Cricut cutting part of the last demonstration at LATTC. Sort of like a reward for all that went through the 16 weeks of learning. This Fall I will teach Illustrator for Fashion Design on Saturdays, I hope you can make it.

  • This is a very nice idea, and shows very well the Empowerment notion, this time, of customizing stuff up to your needs! 😀
    And that fabric idea, makes me wonder if other materials can’t be used, like the never-ending stream of Smart Materials and wearable Electronics that keep popping up!
    Have a look at this:

    http://www.inventables.com/