There was a discussion today on Cricut Chat MB about the sizing of everything. I offered my 2cents worth and added a visual.The size of your cut is always measured from the top to bottom of the mat, not the longest part of your cut. Some things are laid out in such a way on the cart that 1" tall makes them 3" long!
Imagine my surprise when I cut 1" tall waves to go with my little 2" light house from Life's a Beach. It looked like Tsunami! I almost always use CDS for planning cuts.
Here's a visual example. Everything here is 1" tall. But everything varies in proportion tremendously.