Some hobbies are more expensive than others, and quilting definitely falls on the pricey end of the spectrum. After buying all the fabric and all the sewing equipment, is it really worth it to pay for a machine that will put you even deeper in the monetary hole?
Almost all quilters unanimously agree: an AccuQuilt is worth the price. An AccuQuilt can cost up to $600, but its ease of use and the amount of time it saves easily make it worth the price to many quilters. Most quilting shops even use AccuQuilts as their standard die-cutting machine.
AccuQuilts work wonders for those lucky enough to lay their hands on one. But what exactly about this machine makes people go crazy for it? Is it really good enough to buy it and use it in professional quilting shops as a standard? And are there other options for those who just don’t have the money to pay for AccuQuilt products? We’ll cover all of these questions below and share some advice from quilters who have used this product.
What Does AccuQuilt Do?
As any seasoned quilter will tell you that before you can sew anything together, you first have to cut out the fabric pieces that you want to stitch together. And AccuQuilt is there to help you do that quickly, efficiently, and accurately. The AccuQuilt takes shape patterns (called dies) and cuts the preferred fabric out in that exact shape within seconds.
You might be wondering: “Why do I need a machine to cut out fabric for me? It’s not hard to cut out squares.” And you’re right; it’s not. If you’re only planning on quilting blankets with the classic square pattern, then fabric die-cutters like AccuQuilt might not seem as useful to you. But trust us, it is still extremely helpful.
After all, you need to make sure that you’re cutting out the fabric in the exact size and shape you want every single time. Even if it’s just a square, after re-cutting out the same shape over and over and over again, the squares might start to look a little wonky.
You’re human, and cutting out the same shape is bound to bring mistakes, even if they’re small ones. Plus, many people don’t want to draw guidelines directly onto the fabric because they might leak into your design.
This is where the AccuQuilt comes in handy. You really never have to worry about cutting accuracy ever again. Sure, your scissors might be collecting dust in the corner, but they can’t measure up. After all, AccuQuilt can cut from 6-10 layers of cotton at a time (depending on which model you use).
Let’s say it takes about three minutes to cut out each piece of fabric shape by hand. And if you want to cut out twenty little angel shapes by hand for a Christmas blanket, it will take around sixty minutes, or a full hour to cut out twenty shapes.
If you have AccuQuilt, it’ll take around five minutes to cut out twenty shapes. You’d save fifty-five minutes. And that’s just on one project. Just imagine how the time will stack up after weeks and months and years of using this. Fifty-five minutes will quickly turn into fifty-five hours of saved time.
Another handy feature of AccuQuilt dies are the dogeared corners. You will never have to go back and trim the corners of your squares again. This alone will save you heaps of time.
The only extra cost is the price of fabric dies. Dies are the patterns that are run through a die cutting machine and they’re why the shapes come out the exact same every time. They’re the template that’s telling the machine where to cut.
The dies can cost around fifty to eighty bucks apiece, but they last forever and they help create designs that are nearly impossible to do on your own. Fortunately, AccuQuilt frequently has sales on their dies and even their machines. Learn more about the cost of dies and which dies you should get in my article How Much Are AccuQuilt Dies? Cost Of 38 Common GO! Dies. Also, check out the AccuQuilt website for the latest sale.
Fabric dies include shapes for basic squares, flamingos, leaping frogs, and even cute Christmas designs. What better Christmas present than an adorable reindeer quilt that you crafted yourself? If you buy the right dies for your designs, all shapes and patterns you quilt will come out clean, fresh, and professional looking. Not to mention gorgeous!
Some quilters worry about having excess fabric waste that will add to the cost of using an AccuQuilt cutting machine. Fortunately, there are many techniques you can use to reduce waste and still get highly accurate fabric pieces. Learn more in my article, Does Accuquilt Waste Fabric? Tips to reduce Fabric Waste
But if you’re still having doubts as to whether or not the AccuQuilt and dies are worth the money, check out what real quilters say about this efficient technology.
Opinions of Real Quilters
If you’re lamenting the price (three hundred dollars isn’t cheap), you’re not alone. But despite the dent the AccuQuilt leaves in your wallet, almost every quilter who has bought one has really loved it and said it’s definitely worth the price.
One such quilter said that they got one “before anyone really knew what it was” and all of her quilt friends all thought she “was nuts,” but over time, they slowly began to become more and more interested. Eventually, everyone realized its worth, and now everyone in their quilting group has one. In order to pool resources, they share dies so they don’t have to spend any extra money.
Some of them have back issues, and they claim that the AccuQuilt has helped them be able to cut shapes out again. Before, the cutting out by hand would be too much and it would strain their back, but now they’ve been able to get back into quilting again.
Many quilting shops own the AccuQuilt Studio 2 because it’s just the best option. If they use AccuQuilts as a quilting standard, then that should be enough proof. These machines aren’t just helpful–they’re practically a necessity. Learn more about the AccuQuilt Studio 2 in my detailed review.
It all depends on your priorities. If you don’t mind spending extra time and energy cutting out shapes on your own, then you might not want one at all. While AccuQuilts might be necessary for quilting shops, that doesn’t mean you have to get one. A dedicated quilter will get their quilting done with or without AccuQuilt, but having one might make it easier on you.
That being said, it’s still a pretty expensive machine. If you really want this, but don’t have the money for it right now, quilters have recommended asking for the AccuQuilt and preferred dies for a Christmas or Birthday present. It’ll give your family ideas for your Christmas gifts and you’ll get an amazing quilting machine without having to fork out $200-$600 yourself.
Different AccuQuilt Models and Starter Kits
Before you rush off to the store (or open Amazon in a different tab), it’s important to know the different models of AccuQuilt, so you can find the die-cutting aid that’s right for you. You can also check out the options available on AccuQuilt’s website.
|Max Die Width||Max Layers of Cotton Cut at Once||Best for…||Foldable and Portable?||Compatible Dies||Hand Crank or Electric?||Price|
|GO! ME||6″ (15 cm)||Six layers||Children and Beginners (anyone new to quilting)||Yes||Over 130 GO! dies||Hand Crank||$129.99|
|GO!||10″ (25 cm)|
or 2 6″ side-by-side
|Six layers||Regular quilters and students learning advanced quilting||Yes||Over 200 GO! dies||Hand Crank||$299.99|
|GO! BIG ELECTRIC||14″|
|Six layers||Regular quilters and those who suffer from arthritis||Yes||Over 200 GO! dies||Electric||$599.99|
|STUDIO 2||14″ (35 cm)||Ten layers||Quilting shops (retailers) and quilting experts||Yes||-Over 200 GO! dies |
-Over 400 Studio dies
There are pros and cons to each of these models. The price increases with quilting level, and the higher up you go, the more dies it can cut out for you. All machines, aside from the STUDIO 2, are sold in a starter set which includes 1 or 2 dies, a cutting mat, and a pattern book.
If you like quilting but don’t plan on doing it much GO! ME or the standard GO! would be good options for you. Both these models go on sale and frequently you can get $150 dollars off the GO! machine!
The GO! is also good for more advanced quilters, and it’s not nearly as expensive as the GO! BIG ELECTRIC or STUDIO 2, so you could save around $200 if you buy the GO!
If you’re looking into buying a die cutter for your child, the GO! ME would be the best choice. It’s made for beginner quilters and it’s not as much as a monetary investment. It’s only a little over a hundred dollars, so if your kid isn’t as invested in quilting as you thought they’d be, not a lot of money will go down the drain–at least, not when compared to the other models. And you still might be able to use it yourself for fun projects. Read my AccuQuilt GO! ME review for all the details.
But if you’re planning on quilting extensively for the rest of your life, the GO! BIG ELECTRIC or STUDIO 2 would be good options for you. The STUDIO 2 could be a really profitable option if you’re planning on selling cut fabrics or starting up your own quilting shop. Get the down low on the STUDIO 2 in my review. I recently saw the STUDIO 2 on sale for $200 off on the AccuQuilt website.
The GO! BIG ELECTRIC is a really good option if you have arthritis or other physical disabilities that might make it hard to hand crank a machine. Just keep in mind that it requires a constant power source to work, whereas the other ones are purely mechanical.
AccuQuilt also provides starter packs and bundles. Then you don’t have to worry about purchasing a bunch of different dies. AccuQuilt put together dies, mats, patterns, and machines in different bundles, depending on your various needs. These can save you hundreds of dollars over buying the different parts separately. You will have to purchase your own fabric, but half the full of any sewing project is fabric shopping.
Popular Quilt Designs from AccuQuilt
AccuQuilt doesn’t just provide the tools to quilt, they also have been kind enough to offer free quilt design templates on their website. They have designs for table mats, wall hanging patterns, regular throw quilts, and pillow patterns. If you check out their free design webpage, you can find designs that will light up your home and your life.
Most designs are completely free, and the ones that aren’t only cost two to three dollars to download (which is definitely the cheapest product mentioned so far). You can find other designs on Pinterest for free, sure, but Pinterest doesn’t tell you the exact dimensions and amount of fabric you will need like AccuQuilt does.
Don’t worry; AccuQuilt isn’t the only fabric die-cutting company out there. You’re not only limited to one option. And while the alternatives might not be as professional, or have as many die options as the AccuQuilt, they can be a bit cheaper.
Sizzix is an alternative that makes manual die cutters. Its most expensive model only costs $350, and the other models all cost around $120 to $200. They also provide starter kits for less than half the price of AccuQuilt’s starter kits. But the starter kits available do not include the quilting dies.
The Sizzix Big Shot is the cheapest of the Sizzix machines. It has a fairly narrow cutting width of only 6″. The Sizzix Big Shot Plus can cut up to 8.5″ wide and the Sizzix Big Shot Pro can cut dies up to 12″ wide.
The Pro is comparable to the GO! in cutting width and in price. The Standard Big Shot is similar to the GO! ME. The Plus doesn’t have a comparable AccuQuilt machine.
Sizzix dies are generally cheaper and these machines have more than one use. Sizzix’s die-cutting machines don’t just cut fabric–they also emboss and can even cut thin metals.. They’re made for more than just quilting, and you can stamp designs paper, cut card stock and chip board.
|Max Die Width||Sizzix||Price (MSRP)||AccuQuilt||Price (MSRP)|
|6 inches||Big Shot||$119.99||GO! ME||$129.99|
|9 inches||Big Shot Plus||$199.99||N/A||N/A|
|12 inches||Big Shot Pro||$349.99||GO!||$299.99|
The Cricut Maker 3 is another great product to consider because it is extremely powerful and versatile. This machine has the ability to cut over 300 different materials, from delicate fabrics to firm wood! It’s also compatible with a variety of accessories that enable it to cut, write, score, and embellish.
The current model costs $399, and it also comes with bonus features and accessories when you buy from their website. New buyers get a free subscription to Cricut Access, as well as 100 ready-to-make project designs. This is a powerful machine that can be used for a wide variety of projects.
To use the Cricut Maker 3 for quilting, you will need to purchase a rotary blade and a fabric cutting mat. I recommend buying the 12″x24″ fabric grip cutting mat so you can cut longer strips of fabric and cut more at one time.
The biggest down fall of the Maker 3 is it can only cut through one layer of fabric at a time. This means it may be slower to cut out a quilt than if you had purchased an AccuQuilt.
Cricut also has available the Maker. This is the predecessor to the Maker 3 and if your intention is to use it mostly for fabric then it will be a better option. The rotary blade and a 12″x12″ cutting mat are included in the box. But I still recommend buying a 12″x24″ fabric grip mat. Learn more about the Cricut Maker in my detailed review.
I’ve also written a detailed article comparing Cricut to AccuQuilt for fabric and quilting. Read all the details here, Accuquilt vs Cricut – Which is better for fabric and quilting.
Silhouette Cameo 4 is the final product on this list, but that doesn’t mean you should doubt its quality. This is a sleek, compact machine that is perfect for all sorts of die-cutting projects. One of the major benefits of the Cameo 4 is the speed at which it cuts. You won’t need to wait around for a long time, because it is very fast at scanning and making accurate cuts.
The blades are also very sharp and accurate. This machine can cut all sorts of paper and many fabric types (even without the use of a base mat). The Silhouette Cameo 4 comes in 3 different widths, 12″, 15″ and 24″. The most common size is the 12″ version which retails for $299. Read my full review of the Cameo 4 for all the details about this machine.
There are two important things to note about this machine, the rotary blade needs to be purchased separately and it can only cut one layer of fabric at a time. This is the same as the Cricut Maker 3.
All quilters who I have found think that buying an AccuQuilt cutting machine has saved them so much time and frustration that it is total worth to cost of the machine and the dies. The accuracy of the dies, the dog-earred corners and the ability to easily cut 6 layers of fabric at a time far out way the price.
AccuQuilt has been specifically design for quilters and all dies are meant to be used to create unique and beautiful patterns. In my mind the small details that have been considered plus the access to hundreds of quilt designs that utilize the AccuQuilt dies make it the purchase well worth it.
The AccuQuilt GO! is the best option for the standard quilter.