The quality of designs available in the subscription service varies wildly, with some that can only be described as being too Texan-suburban-soccer-mum. However, if you dig, you can find gems like a bowl cosy, Christmas stockings, bow ties and a selection of truly delightful Halloween decorations.
If those don’t tickle your fancy, there are other designs (including some curated by Martha Stewart) available for purchase. You can also find more further afield online or design them yourself.
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to turn a simple JPG into a pattern ready to be cut out. It was significantly more challenging trying to make panels for a waistcoat from scratch, but I’m sure that skill will come with practice, and I perhaps shouldn’t have tried to run before I could crawl.
The machine itself is extremely easy to use. Once they’ve chosen a design, everyone from your technophobic father to a reasonably dexterous five-year-old will be able to place their material on the appropriate mat (there are two mats in the box; one for delicate materials and a stickier one for harder materials, and more are available separately) insert the appropriate blade or pen (maybe don’t let the five-year-old do that), and press the Create button when they’re ready to go.
The machine lets you know if you have the wrong blade inserted for the task, which is helpful if you’re wanting to follow the design and materials exactly but less so if you’re trying to adapt it for a different material.
What impressed me was how competently the machine cut through leather and thin cardstock alike, and it also claims to be able to cut chipboard and delicate paper. Having attempted to use other brands of cutting machines to make lacy paper wedding invitations a few years ago (a memory that still haunts me), it’s wonderful to see how far the technology has come. While I didn’t get a chance to try fiddlier fabrics like chiffon, I’m sure any designer with the skill to create their own patterns in the software will find this a far better way to cut out their fabrics. I can think of several past contestants on Project Runway who might have benefited from the device.
In the end, those who dream of making clothes for their children out of a love of creation, rather than a desire to save money, will absolutely love this machine, as will all crafters who struggle to cut precisely.