The Artistic Edge Digital Cutter makes it easy to get creative with your sewing projects in ways that simply weren’t possible before. If you look just at what it does in appliqué – one of its many capabilities – you’re going to think of dozens… maybe hundreds of ways to use it. That’s not an exaggeration. We’ve been immersing ourselves in everything this updated cutter can do, and it’s almost overwhelming. If you have an embroidery machine, you’re going to want to take a serious look at how the Edge can expand what you can do. If you don’t have an embroidery machine, the Edge may just make you want to get one – immediately.
A new kind of digital cutter
When we first heard about digital cutters a few years ago, it took a few minutes to understand how they work. So in case you’re also scratching your head, here’s what they do.
A digital cutter uses the precision of a computer to cut fabric, paper, vinyl, stencil plastic, or any thin material you could cut with scissors (even thin metal works!). But it does it with a precision that’s beyond what even the most skilled seamstress could do by hand.
Basically, it works on the same principle as an inkjet printer. But instead of moving the print head to apply a micro dot of ink, it moves a little knife and makes a cut. You send it a digital file from your computer. Stick your material to be cut to the special cutting mat. Insert it into the machine. And it cuts out your design. EZ!
You can send over the most intricate snowflake pattern and your digital cutter will have it cut out in seconds. Sort of like how Edward Scissorhands did those instant topiaries.
That’s what you can do with a basic digital cutter.
The Artistic Edge is a step above that. Not only does it have precision that’s unmatched by any other brand, and cool features like laser alignment; it’s also a lot sturdier. While other cutters are made of plastic, the Artistic Edge has an aluminum body with rigid molde end caps.
But here’s the best part. As is typical with higher quality tools, the Artistic Edge is also a lot easier to use. You won’t end up with a huge skill gap between what you can imagine creating and what you can actually start doing.
A whole new world of appliqué
We’re focusing here on the embroidery and appliqué functions of the new Artistic Edge, but of course you aren’t required to have an embroidery machine to take advantage of this incredible cutting tool. It’s great for hand appliqué, repetitive shapes to build 3-D embellishments, and stencil cutting. More on this later.
Appliquéing is simply attaching one piece of fabric on top of another piece to create a decorative effect. Most often, you stitch along the edge of the decorative piece to both affix it and highlight its shape. We love appliqué at Sew4Home because the technique is such an easy way to customize an otherwise basic project, giving it a unique and upscale look.
As we mentioned, doing appliqué takes two steps: 1) Cutting out the decorative fabric, and 2) sewing it to your main fabric. If your decorative fabric is going be a simple geometric shape, the cutting and the sewing aren’t too difficult. But when you start getting into more complex, multi-layered appliqués, both cutting and sewing get a lot more challenging.
Here’s where the the Artistic Edge cutter is so exciting. It not only does the cutting of your shape for you, if you have an embroidery machine, it also takes care of the stitching! And it’s currently the only digital cutter that can do this because it’s the only one that can interface with your embroidery machine.
For example, let’s say you found a fun daisy design you wanted to use as an appliqué. After making sure it was copyright-free, you’d scan the illustration into your computer.
Then you’d use the software that comes with the Edge (called SimpleCut 7.1) to create the cutting pattern and the embroidery stitch pattern for your design. The Artistic Edge cuts out all the pieces of your daisy for you. And your embroidery machine stitches them all perfectly in place.
The result is amazingly precise. And the best part is how easy it is to set up thanks to the SimpleCut software.
SimpleCut Version 7.1: Easier than ever
SimpleCut 7.1 is the PC-compatible software that’s included with your Edge Digital Cutter. This newest version of the software has been completely revamped to make it very easy and intuitive to use.
You can import designs from all major image, design, and embroidery formats. That’s right, all. Any major graphics software and any brand of embroidery machine. (See the full list of supported graphic file types.)
You can then edit and combine files as needed to make your finished design. When done, simply output the cutting file for your Edge and the accompanying embroidery file for your embroidery machine.
SimpleCut 7.1 gives you incredibly detailed creative control when you want it, down to individual stitches. But it also does a lot of things automatically, if that’s what you’d prefer. For example, you can take that simple daisy appliqué graphic you imported and have SimpleCut 7.1 automatically convert it into all the separate elements that need to be cut out: stem, petals, center, leaves. The software can then assign all the appliqué stitching to attach it, including the order in which each piece should be sewn. The screen images below show some of the easy steps within the software to set up stitches, preview the design, and break apart the sections.
This latest version of the software has had a major overhaul from earlier versions to make the interface even more intuitive. Artistic worked hand-in-hand with their developers to make sure even people who’d never used embroidery software before would be able to open it up and start using it right away.
It really is easy to use. For example, if you’re not sure what a tool button does, just hover your mouse over it and a little text box pops up with a full description. Love that! Wish everything in life came with a descriptive text box.
If you spend a few minutes watching one of the SimpleCut 7.1 videos (on iTunes or on YouTube), you’ll be able to understand techniques like appliqué right away. For example, it only takes about a minute to explain how to create original lettered embroidery.
The Edge Digital Cutter and SimpleCut 7.1 are a powerful combination for creative inspiration. Our friends at Artistic told us about people who went right out and bought an embroidery machine after seeing what it could do in conjunction with the Edge system.
If you find yourself in the market for an embroidery machine, since we’re big Janome fans, of course we’d suggest on of their embroidery models: such as the top-of-the-line Horizon Memory Craft 15000, the Memory Craft 9900 (pictured below), or the brand new embroidery-only model: the Memory Craft 500E.
The Edge Cutter: Professional quality all around
You know how inkjet printers are made of plastic? Well, so are most digital cutters. But Artistic felt a machine with a blade that can cut at a speed of nearly two feet per second (600mm/sec) with more than a pound and a half of pressure (750g) should really have a metal body with rigid molded end caps!The Edge looks and feels professional-grade.
The quality of the cuts is also at a professional level. You can choose from three blades: Fabric, Paper, or Template, depending on your material. And the results are stunning, such as the detail of the paper art shown below.
But beyond its quality and precision, the Artistic Edge is different from all other home digital cutters because it’s the only one that comes with the SimpleCut 7.1 software. And, as mentioned above, it’s the only one that can interface with an embroidery machine.
The Edge cutter comes in two sizes, offering large and extra-large cutting areas. The Edge 12 has a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat. The Edge 15 has a 15″ x 15″ cutting mat. Both come with SimpleCut 7.1, industrial quality cutting blades, two versions of the cutting mat (for delicate and regular material), and all the other accessories you need to get started.
Going beyond appliqué
As mentioned above, we’ve been focusing exclusively on what the Artistic Edge can do with appliqué. But that’s actually just one of its many decorative techniques.
Rhinestones and Jewels
Do you love a little bling? You can use the Edge system to create designs for Artistic’s heat-secured rhinestones and jewels. The software makes setting up complex designs a breeze, and the cutter creates your placement template for quick and permanent application.
Take out the cutting blade and pop in one of the specially designed fabric pens. Instead of cutting your material, the Edge can draw on it, creating beautifully intricate designs.
Crafters were the first ones to use digital cutters and you can see why. When you can layer precisely cut designs on top of each other or use them as contrast, the visual effect is stunning.
Embossing and more
The Edge has the unique ability to emboss paper and other materials. Rather than cutting through, it makes a crease, allowing you to make gorgeous medallions like the one pictured below.
You can also do stencil making, glass etching, silk screening, and dozens of quilting techniques. We keep hearing of new ways to use the Edge. It really is proving to be a significant creative tool.
Try it out for yourself
Find out more abut the Artistic Edge Digital Cutter and SimpleCut Software on their official site. You can also check out all the instructional videos on iTunes or on YouTube to see how easy SimpleCut 7.1 is to use.
Then by all means, get to your nearest Artistic dealership to see one in real life. They’ll be happy to give you a demo of the whole, inspiring process.