For years I’ve been posting videos on YouTube, and my most popular (and likely most helpful) ones are the worst quality. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to replace my YouTube videos with something better, and I got the chance to do this when Interweave accepted my proposal to film a DVD about die cutting.
I was originally scheduled to film the DVD in November for a February release, but unfortunately I developed a respiratory infection with laryngitis that prevented me from filming, and we had to cancel the day before I was scheduled to fly out. Though that put a kink in the schedule, we were able to reschedule it to January, for an April release. Well guess what? April is almost here! So I thought it would be fun to tell you more about the DVD, and share some behind-the-scenes info on the filming.
About the DVD
I don’t have the DVD in my hot little hands yet, but since I was there, I’m pretty confident I can tell you what it’s about. One of the biggest parts of my business is educating people about die cutting, and this was such a great opportunity to film all the components that would get someone started off die cutting successfully.
The fantastic thing though is that this isn’t just a DVD for beginning die cutters; it also includes full instructions for the quilt that’s featured. I love that there’s something for everyone in this package. I’ve got it set up for pre-order on my website if you want a signed copy; otherwise you can order through Interweave for the DVD or an instant video download.
The DVD loosely follows the sequence of my book about fabric die cutting: first we review the different types of cutters, then we walk through how to prepare your dies and fabric. I walk through several types of die categories, providing tips along the way, and then review maintenance to keep you cutting for years to come.
For this DVD, I partnered with several companies to bring it to life. I am so appreciative of Sizzix, Andover, and BERNINA for sponsoring the project, and to Interweave for bringing it all together into a cohesive package. I’m really proud of the work I put into this, and I hope that you find the advice and tips contained within helpful along your die cutting journey.
This DVD is great for people who:
- Own a manual die cutter, but haven’t taken their cutter out of the box.
- Have taken their cutter out of the box, but haven’t cut anything yet.
- Have cut something with their cutter, but weren’t quite satisfied with the results.
- Are curious about the different types of machines available for fabric cutting.
- Are visual learners, and would benefit from seeing techniques demonstrated.
- Are in love with the project featured on the cover and want to make one of their own.
This DVD is terrible for people who:
- Own electronic cutters like Slice, Silhouette, Cricut, Scan n’ Cut, etc. I only cover enough about the electronic cutters to explain the difference between them and the manual/electric machines, and that takes about 65 seconds.
- Are easily confused by techniques demonstrated on a machine that’s different than the one they own. (All the demonstrations are done using Sizzix machines, but 95% of the information is transferable to other cutters. The differences to keep in mind are the type of mats you use, and the number of layers you can cut.)
- Never, ever, ever, ever want to die cut their fabric.
Are you ready for some behind-the-scenes details? It’s amazing what goes into film production, and it’s pretty cool to take part in the process.
On Location at the Filming!
In addition to my health issues, I am also plagued by a secretary who can’t seem to ever get travel booked without a hitch. This time, she reserved the airline ticket but forgot to actually purchase it; good thing the filming was in Cincinnati, which is close enough to drive and still get to where you need to be on time if you leave at the same time you would have left for the airport. (By the way… my troublesome secretary is yours truly, and this was the last road trip for the Beetle before she was destroyed 10 days later.)
Once I arrived at the film studio, I had to stage everything for the filming. We actually filmed two projects that day; one for the DVD, and another shorter video class on die cut applique.
Staging involved separating all the dies, fabric, step-outs, machines, and props by chapter so that we could change the set over quickly. I also had to unpack the huge boxes of product and machines that Sizzix sent!
Here’s a closer look at the staging: the dies being used for the chapter, the fabric to be cut, step outs, a sample quilt, and a note about which machine to include. I believe this is the chapter about squares and rectangles, and using strip dies for more than just strips.
This is the setup for prepping dies for cutting, including marking them with registration marks and to outline the blades. Do you think I brought enough markers?
Here’s the sample quilt, before I finished the binding. The full pattern is included in the DVD. I love the way it turned out.
The set is a big room with some furniture and props, but you have to decorate it to really personalize it and make it your own space. I think they had just finished filming for Martha Pullen the previous day, so the set was in a partially-decorated state. We had to swap out a huge sewing cabinet for a high-top table in the center of the room. I think my favorite part of this set is how they only painted the walls as far as they needed to for the camera. 🙂
This is the set decoration in progress. The cool thing about filming at a studio is that they have a prop room that you can raid for just about anything. It took us a couple of hours to get this set up, but it felt a little bit flat, so we decided to run to a store to see if we could find some additional items to make it more special.
We brought back our finds, rearranged a few items, and I think they really made a huge difference. I felt like this was someplace I would realistically work in. And check out the BERNINA 750 machine on the shelf! It’s such a lovely machine.
Vivika, my producer, found this “Love Lives Here” sign, and it was so perfect. It actually slid right into this spot, supported by the taller cabinets, without nails or tape or anything. It was almost like the universe was approving my work and blessing the day. (That sign came home with me, along with the flying geese scarf dressing the mannequin. The giant wall ornament stayed at the studio.)
They have a pretty slick setup, with three cameras filming at the same time. We filmed the DVD in order, and tried to do everything in one take. There was a situation where I dumped a tray and fabric that had just been cut onto the floor, and we had to scramble to find replacement fabric to reshoot the last few minutes of that chapter. I’m anxious to see how they handled that!
It took an entire day to shoot a 70 minute DVD plus the 45 minute class. I was completely exhausted by the end of the day, but I’m really excited for the results. If you want to add this DVD to your collection, don’t forget to reserve a copy in my shop!
And if you have any questions about die cutting, the DVD, or anything else on your mind, just post a comment below and I’m happy to reply!