Sewing With a Sizzix!

I am so excited about today’s post.  I’m gonna talk to you about Sizzix!  I know what you’re thinking: “Crystal, you don’t paper craft”.  And I totally don’t.  I am a seamstress and not much else creatively.  I have my moments, but  I tend to stick to fabric and a sewing machine.  I’m totally WILLING to branch out, but practice makes perfect and ain’t nobody got time fuh dat! A lot of crafty mom's have a Sizzix for card making and scrapbooking, but don't limit your machine to paper. Did you know that they have die cuts for FABRIC?  That’s right!  You can cut perfect fabric shapes using your Sizzix machine.  I have the BigKick and it’s pretty amazing.  Ain’t it purty?

I have been staring at my hexagon die cut (they come in many sizes- pick one!) for a while now knowing that I needed it to make something.  I have been so drawn to hexagons lately.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something so awesome about them.  Hexagons need to be pretty perfectly cut to piece together correctly.  I made a quilt once and my hand cutting made for few challenges along the way.  The beautiful thing about the Sizzix die cuts is that you will have all of your hexagons EXACTLY the same.   It gives the precision you NEED when working with this shape.  I'm pretty perfect, practically Mary Poppins, but even I have a problem cutting perfect Hexis.

Now,  I didn’t want to make a  quilt (time thing) nor did I want to make a table runner that my children would inevitably destroy.  I came up with a way to use hexis in my favorite type of sewing...garments!  I’m going to show you how to make some custom fabric to use for a lined dress bodice.  The bonus?  It’s PERFECT for those scraps you have laying around waiting to be used =)  This isn’t a QUICK project tutorial, but it’s a technique that will give your projects a very personal and unique touch.  Handmade is all in the details and love put into it.

  • Sizzix machine (like my amazing BigKick)
  • Sizzix hexagon die cut *for fabric
  • Fabric scraps
  • SEW-on interfacing (DO NOT use iron on)
  • Basting spray
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing pattern of your choice calling for a lined bodice.
  • Fabric for your dress skirt
The first thing you need to do is get out that ruler.  Measure your bodice pattern pieces (front and back or just front if you prefer) top to bottom and side to side.  These measurements will be the height and width your finished hexagon fabric piece will need to be- I made mine larger to account for layout and any possible error.  Make sure to take into account any “cut on fold” or any pieces you will need a duplicate of.

Now, you can do the complicated math of how many hexi’s you’ll need including seam allowance, OR you can just cut out a crap ton!  Any extras you have can be used again anyway, so why not?  That’s what I did.  I just cut about 40 hexagons  for my simple rectangle bodice (12”x5” piece).  This cutting goes by so fast!  Cut your fabric into squares- they don’t have to be perfect, they just need to cover the shape on the die cut.  Then you make a Sizzix sammich by putting one acrylic cut plate on the bottom, the die cut (foam facing up) on top of that, then your fabric, then another acrylic plate.  Roll it through and WAHOO!  It’s so fast!  You can cut these while watching TV.  It doesn’t take much concentration. *NOTE* Iron your fabric BEFORE you cut.  I didn't and had to recut some hexis.  I knew better than that.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

After you have you 5 thousand hexagons.  Play around with layout and color making sure that your hexis stack high and wide enough to fit your pattern AFTER they’re sewn together.

Once you have the layout figured out, Sew those bad boys together.  There are many tutorials out there to do this, but I prefer THIS ONE.  This will take some time, but it gets faster as you get used to sewing them.  
Now that they’re all together and pressed, use the basting spray to adhere the entire piece to the sew-in interfacing.  The reason I don’t use iron-on is because it’s very easy to iron it on wrong and wrinkly and then you’ve just messed up all of that hard work sewing hexagons together.  You WILL cry.  Just use what I say.  When you are adhering your fabric to the interfacing, make sure to smooth out all of the wrinkles.

Now, topstitch all of the hexagons 1/8” from the edge, essentially quilting it to the interfacing.

Once that’s done, you can put your pattern piece on and cut out your bodice. Your hexis are your "main" fabric.  Your lining can be whatever you normally use for lining.   Follow your patterns instructions to complete your dress and you will be so happy with the outcome.

If you want to jazz your dress up a little more, use some of your leftover hexagons to make appliques for your skirt.  Randomly place them wherever you want and pull the whole look together. Put that Sizzix to work!  It's an amazing tool for a seamstress.  You can applique, make custom fabric (like we did here), even use it to cut out stencil shapes for fabric painting.  If you don't have a Sizzix, I really recommend it.  I have a  lot of fun with mine and it helps me be as creative as I can be.

And because I know seamstresses always love to see the back: