Cutting it-an experiment

I have a sewing project in mind, in fact I’ve already begun-it is bunting for my daughter’s second birthday. I really wanted to add some motifs to the end flags using fabric and I had the perfect cutting die-a super simple butterfly. I have had a Cuttlebug die cutter for around 6 years and had a brief attempt at cutting fabric a few years ago. By brief I mean I had one go, it didn’t work and I gave up! Last week I was chatting to a crafty friend about die cutting fabric and she had been successful. She also mentioned using some kind of fabric stabiliser. So there was my answer, I needed to add to the fabric. It makes perfect sense in many ways-stiffening the fabric and also adding to the thickness. Being a craftaholic I had both Bondaweb and some iron on interfacing in my stash. Here was my chance to do an experiment! As a lover of science as well I couldn’t just do it in a haphazard manner, it needed to be a full on fair test.

First of all I cut 6 pieces of fabric-3 felt and 3 polyester fabric. I am not a fan of the feel of the polyester fabric and certainly wouldn’t use it for the basis of most projects, but I had one with the perfect pattern on it and desperately wanted to use it as an embellishment. I then ironed Bondaweb onto 1 each of the felt and fabric pieces and interfacing onto another. The third piece of each was left ‘raw’ as a control piece. This was after all a proper experiment!

Left-right: Untreated fabric, fabric with Bondaweb, fabric with iron on interfacing

Preparation complete, the time had come to begin. I decided to sandwich the die as normal, with the A plate, B plate with die facing up, fabric and then C plate. Each time (to keep it fair!) I ran it through the machine once and then reversed it back through.


You can just about see the die through the fabric.

I decided to try the untreated fabrics first, just to see what would happen. As you can see, felt was far easier to cut than the polyester, which I expected. The photos below show the results, if you look carefully you can see the outline of the butterfly in the polyester, but it hasn’t cut all of the way through. Still, it was a good start.

The results when I tested the fabric with both Bondaweb and interfacing were similar, with the felt cutting perfectly and the polyester being only partially cut. This called for something tougher so I decided to add a card shim to the sandwich. I had high hopes for this new method and proceeded with enthusiasm!


This sandwich certainly took a lot more effort to run through the Cuttlebug, but I was still on a mission to keep it fair so it went through once and I reversed it back through as I had done earlier. Again, I began with the untreated fabric. This time it cut much more cleanly, so well in fact that the die was embedded into the C plate! Whoops! However I did have a perfectly formed butterfly, which was my aim.

The other fabrics all performed in the same way. In many ways I was quite pleased-it’s nice to have the option to not alter the fabric but at the same time Bondaweb is amazing for applique work. I will be using both felt and fabric in my project, and having tested these combinations I think Bondaweb will be a really useful addition as then my sewing will be for decoration rather than to join the fabrics. Is stabiliser necessary? I’m still not sure. Is it useful? It depends what you are doing with it afterwards!

I rather enjoyed my experiment, although my poor C plate now has some rather deep butterfly shaped grooves in it so I might have to do another little experiment involving baking them to ‘heal’ them. Will it be a Pinterest fail? There’s only one way to find out…

Karen x


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