Die Cutting Fabric and Felt

I did a quick test drive of my new die cutter yesterday. I have a gently used Sizzix brand "Original Sizzix Machine" made by the Ellison company.

My love affair with the magic of die cutters began back in my old classroom days. Many schools have at least one big die cutting machine made by Ellison and I know those school/commercial models to be true workhorses. The popular die cutter today seems to be the "Cricut". That thing is really expensive and only cuts paper and I don't know, probably vellum and the other supplies papercrafters are really familiar with. Another type is the Cuttlebug. Cuttlebug dies are cheaper, but very thin and I don't know if they can cut felt.

This machine can use many different brands of dies, but I found the type that go with this specific machine. I prefer simple shapes without lots of details, I got these cute tag dies, some flowers, and I have a circle die coming later this week from ebay.

Mom gave me some vintage yardage of pink polyester gingham so I used that for my first test cuts. First I did fabric without any backing or interfacing. It cut perfectly! P1010088 See! By perfectly, I mean perfectly! Still, though... I need some sort of stiffener or fuseable webbing to use little gingham fabric tags, so I ironed some interfacing on and tried again:


Even better! I used one as an identification tag on my tea towel for my new swap going around.

Okay, my friends, now for the real test... felt.
I've been using some heavier duty punches. These are disaster with acrylic felt:
No amount of muscle makes these things go through acrylic or polyester felt.

They do make it through wool/rayon blend felt, but I have to clean up the fuzzies afterwards:

But the die cutter has no trouble with either type of felt:

These dies cost about $15 US at JoAnns, but they were on sale for about $9 when I got them. I'm a serious cheapskate, so even that is a bit pricey, but evenly shaped flower petals and perfect, consistent circles are really hard to cut with scissors, so this is worth it to me!