Friday, November 04, 2011

Review of the Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutter

Hi all!

As you all know - or if you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know - I love my Accuquilt Go! fabric cutter.  I have really enjoyed using it and creating quilts with it.  I don't know how I quilted without it!   

Recently I started hearing about the Sizzix cutter and how they have partnered with Westminster fabrics to make a quilting machine; so, I thought that it would be interesting to see what all the buzz was about.  When I was given the opportunity by Sizzix to try their machine and a few dies out I jumped at the chance.

Now let me first explain my ignorance concerning Sizzix and their cutting machines.  I am a quilter - not a scrap-booker at all so I had no idea what they were all about or their scrap-booking products.  I know that a lot of you are scrap-bookers so you're probably ahead of me here ;-)  I wasn't aware of their machines until they put out a quilting edition.  So, naturally,  my review is going to focus on quilting.

I also want to clarify that I have not tried the Accquilt Studio machine yet so I can't compare that one - sorry.

My machine came in the mail and I gleefully unpacked it.  I had to put the handle on the machine - but that was all the assembly required.  My initial reaction was - look at the little purple jewels!!!!  LOL I kid you not I love those little guys.  My next reaction is - wow is this ever heavy!  

I grabbed the small Dresden plate die and cutting mats.  The Big Shot uses two Plexiglas sheets to sandwich the die.  I layered just 4 layers of quilter's cotton over the die and ran it through.  the Sizzix can cut up to 10 layers of fabric!


I have to be completely honest here - I was shocked at how easy and smooth the die rolled through the machine!  Really and truly it was effortless to put the die through the rollers.  No strength was required at all.  The little rubber feet on the bottom of the machine kept the cutter very still and stable - I think the weight of the machine also helped with that.

I had perfect shapes in seconds - I did have to trim a couple threads but nothing big.

Look at how cute those little Dresden petals are!  I will be honest - I was going to make small project using this die but I am so in love with those petals that I want to make many more; so, I figured that instead of holding this review up that I would do the review and then do the project.

Next I grabbed the 2.5" strip die and gave that a whirl.  I thought that the this die would be challenging to use because of the length of the die and the shortness of the bed on the Big Shot - I was completely wrong!  It was once again effortless to run this through and I got a perfect 2.5" strip.

When I was looking at the strip die I thought that it looked a little longer than the Accuquilt ones so I layed them side by side.

Guess what?  The Sizzix strip die IS a little bit longer than the Accuquilt die!  I have often wished that the Accuquilt dies were just about an inch longer and the Sizzix one is!  Remember that I put the silver Sharpie lines on my dies so that I know where the blades are when I cut - they didn't come with the lines on them.

I took a trip into Michael's craft store and was in the scrap booking isle area and I found these so I grabbed them to try out as well.  Even though they are not "quilting" dies they will cut fabric so I figured I'd better try them out - I am excited to do something with these.

I am truly impressed with how the Sizzix works - I think it is a great machine!  I was told that there is a shim available so that the Sizzix machine can take the Accquilt dies - I think this is a an amazing thing since quilters can have all the Accuquilt dies available to them as well as the Sizzix ones.

Now for the pros and cons.  I still love my Accuquilt machine!  I think that both manufacturers have pluses and minuses.

Pros for Sizzix
-the machine is sooooo smooth and easy to opperate.  It was effortless to put the die through the machine
-the easy crank deserves at least two points!  LOL!
-the ability to cut MORE layers all at the same time.
-the little purple jewels are too cute!
-the ability to use the Accquilt dies in the Sizzix machine.  Accuquilt can only take Accuquilt dies
-huge selection of dies available if you take into consideration the scrap booking dies.
-I love the longer strip dies!!!

Cons for Sizzix
-there are not many quilting dies made by Sizzix yet.  I know that they are releasing more but right now there are not very many.  You can also use the scrap booking dies though, however, looking through the dies many of them just don't seem to be conducive to quilting - the appliques are too skinny or would not be easy to applique.  So right now there is a limited selection.
-the bed is very narrow so the dies must be less than 6" wide.  The Baby Go is a little wider so there are more dies that can be used on the smaller of the Accuquilt machines.
-the space needed to store the machine.  The Go folds up smaller and can be stored more easily.  This can be a huge issue if your space is limited and I know that it is for many people.
-not a lot of supporting materials.  For example on the Dresden plate die there is just the three petals and that it makes a 6.5" block.  There is no direction as to the size of the center circle needed or a pattern or piecing directions.  This could be confusing to a lot of quilters.  There are only a few patterns on the web site, at present, I am SURE they are working on this LOL!

So what should you buy?  That is a huge question.  Both Sizzix and Accuquilt have good and bad points.

I love the way the Sizzix machine operates.  Sincerely, it is so smooth and easy to operate.  But, it doesn't fold down so the storage space needed is much larger.  This is a huge issue for some quilters so I would say look at your sewing area.  If space is at a premium you have to go with Accuquilt.  The Accuquilt is much more portable so if you are traveling or want to take it to bees the Accuquilt is the way to go.  However, Accuquilt Go machines can only take Go! dies.  However, if you have shoulder problems or anything like that the Sizzix is the way to go!  It is extremely easy to crank and requires no effort at all.  

There are two sizes to both machines so look at the dies you like before you decide.

Right now Accquilt definitely has far more supporting materials available for customers.  There is a free pattern in every die and multiple patterns and videos available on their web site.  The Accuquilt dies have everything that you need for the block on the die.  For example the Dresden plate die has all the petals and the circle.  This is a good and bad thing in my opinion.  I like having everything I need on the die - it's easier.  But sometimes you get repeated shapes.  It's a toss up!  Accuquilt has gone heavy into quilting and has partnered with Electric Quilt and has embroidery designs available too.  This is a huge plus for many of us!  However, with a shim you can use Accuquilt dies in your Sizzix machine; so, you are not limited there at all!

So, which machine is better?  Which should you buy?  Honestly I have no firm answer for you.  Sorry.  They are both good machines and I will enjoy using both of them.  I am looking forward to getting a shim to try my Accuquilt dies out on the Big Shot next!  The Big Shot is approximately the same price as the Baby Go! And the Big Shot pro is a bit more than the full sized Go!

Thank you to the kind people at Sizzix for this opportunity to try their great little machine out!

Wowzers that was a LONG one!!!


paulette said...

Thanks for this info...I wonder how they compare price wise? I will have to check this out!! Thanks again...Lucky you having both!

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

thanks for this great review! I am going to go check these out.

Linda said...

Thanks for the great review.

Gene Black said...

interesting to say the least.

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Great review....and it is all about what the person is going to do with their machine. I have had both of the AccuQuilt machines and now I have all three Sizzix machines. I'm all for versatility and sturdiness!

Be careful about the embroidery software and the AccuQuilt dies...people are assuming the Rose of Sharon Die works witht he Rose of Sharon ME software...and it doesn't.

Thanks for sharing ... I always love to read about other folks experiences.


Judee said...

Good information that will be helpful to me. Thanks.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I too have an Accuquilt and for the most part I love it. But I have arthritis in my hands and am having some difficulty turning it if I have more than a couple of layers of fabric on it. blessings, marlene

Dana Jo said...

I have a Sizzix Big Shot, and I love it. I fell in love with the dress quilting die, and it caused me to buy the machine. I love that die, and the applecore, and have several others that are great for other things.

One thing I'd like to mention--I got the Big Shot at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, which brought the price down to about $80. Usually at stores that sell the AccuQuilt, the AQ (and Sizzix, and Cricut) is excluded from coupon use. Not at Hobby Lobby, and that is also true of the dies. So price was a huge factor for me.

I also didn't buy the Sizzix Fabi--it's exactly the same machine as the Sizzix Big Shot (different paint) but they come with different accessories. The Fabi comes with a die, and the Big Shot comes with a plate that allows you to use all sizes of Sizzix dies and embossing folders. (Maybe the AccuQuilt dies, too, I haven't tried that yet, as they're more expensive in my experience.) The Big Shot and the Fabi were the same price as each other, even with their different accessories. The die included with the Fabi is a flower die, and I haven't seen it available for singular purchase. I didn't have a need for it, so I was willing to forego buying that. The Extended Multipurpose Platform that came with the Big Shot was higher priced on its own than any of the Bigz L dies were, so it seemed like a better deal to buy it in a package.

I've been extremely happy with it, but can't compare it to the Accuquilt.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this information, I was given a Sizzix for Mothers'Day from the kids but haven't used it yet. I was looking at some of the Accuquilt dies and wanted to know if I could use them so thank you again. I will try and get a shim.


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