About the GO! Big Cutter from AccuQuilt
I had the opportunity to try out AccuQuilt's GO! Big Electric cutter, a fabric cutting system that works by sandwiching fabric between a cutting die and a special mat, and then feeding the sandwiched pieces through a cutting apparatus.
Let's talk a bit about the machine's capabilities.
GO! Big Electric comes with one cutting die, Flying Geese, a 6" x 12" cutting mat, and a short pattern book to help you use the fabrics cut with the geese die.
I was happy to see that the ends of geese triangles are pre-trimmed, a step that makes match-ups a breeze.
The GO! Big Electric can slice through up to six layers of cotton at a time, but you can also cut up to five layers of fabric that have been adhered to fusible web. As you'd expect, cutting through thicker materials (like fleece, flannel, denim, leather, wool, batting, and felt) lowers the layer count, but rolling thick sewable fabrics through the cutter is much easier than wrangling around with scissors or rotary cutters.
How to Use the GO! Big Electric Cutter
A quick look at cutting fabric.
- Place the cutting die onto the cutter as instructed.
- Place pressed fabrics on top of the die, with the lengthwise grain positioned to feed into the cutter as it progresses.
- Place the special cutting mat on top of the fabric, hit the switch, and push the fabric sandwich towards the roller.
- That's it, the roller grabs the unit and takes it through the cutter, and your patches are cut when it emerges. Nothing could be more simple.
When using fabric without selvages (the bound edges that end on each side of the crosswise grain) do take care to determine which way the sturdier lengthwise grain runs in each piece. Try my easy fabric grain test, but don't tug quite as much as I did for the photos, or you might stretch the fabric out of shape.
AccuQuilt recommends that you allow an extra 1/2" of fabric on all sides of a cutting die. That small amount of 'waste' was not an issue for me, because there's always a bit of waste when squaring up fabrics, anyway, and you don't need to use perfectly cut pieces (just remember the lengthwise grain guideline for best results).
AccuQuilt also sent me one of the larger cutting dies to try, a Double Wedding Ring, along with the larger cutting mat required for the larger die. Many readers have asked me for a Double Wedding Ring tutorial, and although the templates will differ a bit since not everyone has a cutter, I'll use my GO! Big pieces to explain how to put that popular design together.
I have to mention the instruction book. I've read hundreds of how-to books for sewing devices over the years, and most left me with questions. Not AccuQuillt's. The instructions for using the cutter tell you exactly what you need to know about cutting and caring for your equipment -- in easy-to-understand language. If you do have questions, the company's website and customer service folks can help.
Products change, so I hesitate to mention how many cutting dies are available, or which dies can be used with specific models, but the GO!
Electric is compatible with all GO! dies (more than 150 when this review was written).
Here's a quick overview of the company's other cutter choices. All are operated manually.
- GO! Baby is the smallest cutter of the (current) line, and its 8.5-pound weight makes the cutter very portable.
- The GO! Fabric Cutter takes you upwards in size, with a larger cutting surface.
- The Studio Cutter has an even larger surface and will cut up to ten layers of cotton fabric at a time (vs. six layers of cotton for the smaller models).
Pros, Cons and a Few Last Words
- I have carpal tunnel issues that often make rotary cutting a bit painful, especially on days when I must cut lots of fabric. The ability to cut multiple layers of a wide range of shapes without using my hand and wrist is definitely a plus.
- My cutter was the electric model, but I have heard from owners who have the manual machines, and they say cutting is a breeze.
- Need only one of the patches on a die? No problem, just place fabric over that area.
- I measured patches cut from the dies sent to me, and they were accurate.
- The machine folds up for portability and has a wide, comfy handle. It weighs 23 pounds, a bit more than a Singer Featherweight sewing machine.
- I know many quilters who have one of AccuQuilt's cutters and haven't heard a single complaint. The only thing that some have mentioned is the desire to step-up into a larger cutter.
- The cost of the machine and dies might be prohibitive for some quilters, but costs do vary quite a bit. AccuQuilt offers an extended payment plan through PayPal and often runs specials on its dies. Sign up for the company's newsletter to stay up-to-date with all specials.
- Create an account with AccuQuilt (you needn't own a machine yet) to learn how you can earn points to use towards purchases.
- Machine embroidery designs are available and work with some of the cutter shapes.
- Block on Board dies (BOB) allow you to cut an entire block with one die.
Need more information? You'll find all the help you need, including videos, at the AccuQuilt Website.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.