I’m in love with my new Cricut Maker! It’s quick and easy to convert your PDF patterns to be cut out on this amazing new machine. Even if you don’t have the Cricut Maker, you can use your other Cricut machines (Explore Air, and Explore Air2) to cut out your paper pattern pieces too!
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I received my Cricut Maker for Christmas. I’ve been using cricut machines since they first came out and have owned each and every one that they have made. I think this Maker machine is a game changer for the doll community. I feel like I’ve been waiting for it all of my “sewing” life. You can now cut fabric by simply laying it on the mat. There is no need to apply any stiffener in order to cut it with this fantastic, new machine. The Cricut Maker is the only machine that has a new rotary cutting blade that was specifically made for fabric. See more about this amazing machine here!
The Cricut Design Space libary has quite a few sewing patterns for dolls. They cost about the same as the PDF patterns you buy from Oh Sew Kat! But what if don’t like those styles or you want to make something different? I’ve put together this basic tutorial to walk you through the steps of how to cut your PDF patterns on your Cricut Maker machine (or cut your paper patterns on other cricut machines). There are many ways to do this, but this is the method I have used and once you do it once or twice, it’s really pretty quick!
This tutorial assumes you have a working knowledge of the Cricut Design Space Software. To find tutorials on how to use Design Space, I like these from The Homes I have Made.
PLEASE NOTE: Sharing an SVG file (online or in person) you create from a PDF Pattern you purchased is the same as sharing the pattern file and it is illegal. If you have friends that you want to share with, please honor the designer’s hard work and direct them to purchase their own copy of the pattern as well. Thank you!
The Design Space software does not read PDF files. You will have to convert the pattern piece pages to .SVG files in order to import them into Design Space. There are a number of ways to do this. Even though importing the pattern pieces in pages or groups may seem tempting, I don’t recommend it. In the long run, it will be easier to work with your files if you save each pattern piece as a separate file. (This will let you arrange the pieces on the cutting mat to reduce the fabric used, and will be well worth the extra effort up front.)
I use Adobe Illustrator to convert my files. There are other graphic programs available on the internet. You need one that will read a PDF file, and also save as an SVG file. When you open the PDF file in another program, save it as a new file with a new name so you don’t lose your original, printable pattern and instructions. I name it something like “Popsicle Top 18 Cricut Maker” to differentiate it from my printable files. (There is also a website called PICSVG that I use to create SVG files from jpg and png files. It’s a great resource to try out as well. You can check it out here.)
You only need the outlines of the pattern pieces and each piece should be saved as an individual SVG file. If a piece is supposed to be cut on a fold, you need to duplicate that piece, and then flip it. Line the two up exactly so you have the full piece (the Maker will cut a single layer of fabric- there are no folds.) Delete the overlapping lines and weld the piece together into one shape. Depending on how the pattern piece is oriented on the page, you may have to adjust or rotate a piece or two to get it exactly right. Ensure each pattern piece is oriented up and down according to the grain line and you also need to make sure they are that way when you cut them.
Open Cricut Design Space and create a new project. From the left menu, click UPLOAD. Find your svg files you created on your computer, and upload them each one by one. Once they are all loaded, add them to your canvas. They will import in black. I change the color of the pieces to help me keep them all straight. I use a different color for each size doll, and then ensure that the pieces that would be cut from different fabrics are also saved in different colors so they will cut on different mats. (For example, a pattern that has a top and pants would have two colors.) Once you have imported your SVGs, take the time to load a piece of copy paper in your cricut machine. Cut out the pieces and compare them to your printed PDF copy to ensure they are exactly the same.
Duplicate any pieces you need to cut more than one of. One of those needs to be mirrored if they are not the same. For example, sleeves usually just need to be duplicated. A bodice back, however, needs to be duplicated with one mirrored so you have a right and left back bodice. Instead of importing a waistband or strap, I simply create a rectangle shape in Design Space, giving it a different color if necessary to keep it on a different mat. A pair of shorts with a front and a back that are different pattern pieces, will have four different pattern pieces in your Design Space file. Save your file so you can use it again later!
Lay your fabric on your mat. I like to use this tool to smooth it out. There are two ways you can conserve your fabric when cutting doll clothes on the Cricut Maker. Once you hit MAKE IT, you can easily move the pieces around and between the mats, but be sure to keep the pieces oriented correctly for the grain and for directional prints. You can also arrange the pieces before you hit MAKE IT, on your canvas, then ATTACH them to keep their spacing. If you are using the cricut app, try the snap mat where you can place your pattern pieces directly on to your shaped or pre-cut scraps!
Cut out your pattern pieces, and sew your doll clothes together according to the instructions. The largest cricut mat is 12×24 inches. You may need more than one mat to cut all of your pieces, and most 18 inch doll skirts won’t fit on the mat at all. I usually cut the skirt out while the Maker is working on the other pieces and get both done at once! Here are two cricut kits that will make your projects a little easier: Cricut Sewing Kit and the Cricut Brayer & Mat Remover Set. Find them both on Amazon or Cricut.com. Ta da!! Dresses done and my machine is ready to cut out the next one!!