Cut Fabric with a Silhouette

Last week I extolled the virtues of owning a Silhouette Cameo.  Today, I want to get practical and show how I cut fabric with a Silhouette. (affiliate)

I’ve said this before: I make a LOT of baby gifts.  And my Silhouette makes this an easy task.  Here’s how to cut fabric with a Silhouette Cameo.

Cut Fabric with a SilhouetteHere’s what you need:

  • 2 Pre-fold Cloth Diapers
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Fusible Web (WonderUnder or Steam A Seam 2)
  • Spray Starch
  • Silhouette Cameo or Silhouette Portrait

What is a Silhouette

I start by ironing the prefold diapers and then setting them aside.  I prefer the prefolds that are heavier (I think they come 5 in a package at Target or Walmart).  However, for this tutorial I am using both a thicker prefold diaper and a gauzy prefold diaper.

Step 1:  Prepare the Design

When you purchase a Silhouette, it comes with design software* that works with the machine.  There is an upgraded version of the software that costs about $50 {but was a free upgrade when I bought my Silhouette}. Both versions will work for this application.

Once the software is open, it is easy to create this design.  I will be using a combination of lettering and a design I purchased {for $.99} from the SilhouetteOnline store.  The online store is what really sold me on the Silhouette.  There are a ton of designs that all cost $.99 and there is usually a sale every month or so with the designs being $.50-$.75. (affiliate)

*Note: You can download the software for free which allows you to purchase designs from the Silhouette Store and hand cut them. (affiliate)

Cutting fabric with a silhouette

I am using the font Fat Free which I tweaked.  The whale is from the Silhouette store. He needed a little editing, but this took all of 5 minutes.

Cut Fabric with a Silhouette

Step 2:  Prepare the Fabric

Cut a piece of fabric that is 12″ x 12″.  Make sure that it is free of wispy threads.  Spray the fabric with spray starch and then press with a steam iron.

Cutting Fabric with a Silhouette 2

Cut a piece of fusible web that is 11 3/4″ x 11 3/4″. Fuse the web to the back of the fabric scrap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it has cooled, peel away the paper backing. {If you are like me and get fusible web on your iron, use a little Hot Iron Cleaner to get the goo off.}

What is a Silhouette

Place the fabric right side up on the Silhouette mat.  There is a little more to this than just slappin’ it down on the mat.  It is imperative that the fabric be well-adhered to the mat.  If your mat is full of lint or paper bits, then the cut may not go so well.  If the mat has started to lose some of its stickiness, then spray an adhesive spray like KK2000 (affiliate) to the back of the fabric/fusible web before placing on the mat.

What is a Silhouette

Load the mat into the machine.

What is a Silhouette

Step 3:  Cutting out the Design

The Silhouette offers two types of blades:  one for paper and one for fabric.  The blades are identical, except the fabric blade is blue.  This is only to distinguish blades, because once you’ve cut fabric with a blade it doesn’t work so well on paper and vice versa.  It is best to have two separate blades.

Be sure to change the blade to the fabric cutting blade {the blue one}.

What is a Silhouette

Back in the software it is time to set the Silhouette.  First, I choose my Cut setting which is Fabric Cotton Print.  When I choose this setting, the software sets the thickness of the cut.  In order to get great fabric cuts, I’ve found that I like to set my blade at 4.

What is a Silhouette

It is now time to send the design to the Silhouette to cut.

What is a Silhouette

All that’s left to do is iron the design onto a burp cloth and top stitch around the design.

What is a silhouette

This is where the creativity begins.  I really like to cut out my letters and designs in different fabrics.  It makes the burp cloth a whole lot cuter.

What is a Silhouette

This also works well on onesies, t-shirts, pillows, blankets, quilts, and anything you can dream up.

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Comments

  1. says

    Sooooo…when you wrote about the Silhouette Store a few months ago, I didn’t realize it was for a product called a Silhouette! I was more into looking at the designs than reading the text, ha ha!

    The baby gifts you make are super cute!

    • Leslie says

      Thanks! For a long time I would see bloggers talking about a Silhouette and had no idea what it was or what it did. That’s why I am writing these posts. We MUST know what is available for all of our crafting and sewing needs.

  2. Jennifer Mowla says

    I love love love my Silhouette Cameo as well! It is such an awesome tool for any crafter. I’ve also heard that you can use the Silhouette to cut designs from your embroidery software as well!

    Another thing I’d like to add is that Silhouette offers great subscriptions in their online store. They have several options available and you can get designs for as low as 11 cents per design! Even less if you happen to get the subscription on sale! So if you are like me and find yourself buying lots of fun designs then the subscription is definitely the way to go!!

    • Leslie says

      Thanks for these tips Jennifer. I’d love to know more about cutting designs from embroidery software ~ any idea where I can find that info???

    • Kate says

      I was reading your message and was curious about cutting fabric using embroidery software designs. And you do that how? scanning the designing or sending the design to the Silhouette?

      • Leslie says

        You have to scan the design into the computer then send the design to the Silhouette software. The software takes it from there.

  3. Sandy says

    Leslie, I finally used my Silhouette!! I cut out some vinyl lettering yesterday, and now I am hooked. I make a lot of baby things too, so I will definitely be trying out cutting fabric with it. Thanks so much for the great info, I look forward to learning more about what this machine can do :)

    • Leslie says

      Cutting fabric on a Silhouette couldn’t be easier. Congrats on starting a blog at iputabirdonit(dot)blogspot(dot)com.

  4. says

    Wow, I’ve been cutting fabric circles for a baby mobile I’m making and wondered if I could cut the fabric with my Silhouette. Then I saw your tutorial on Lil Luna link party. So perfect! Thanks for sharing.

    I just started a craft blog, too!

  5. says

    This is a much needed and great tutorial! There aren’t that many good ones out there for cutting fabric on the Silhouette. I’m sure this will be helpful for me; I’m still working out the kinks for cutting fabric. Does it work better with a stiffer fabric or is that why you use spray starch?

    • Leslie says

      Thanks for commenting. I think the fabric works much better with spray starch. I like the Mary Ellen’s Best Press because it doesn’t flake or scorch but still has excellent stiffening ability.

  6. says

    Do you feel my Silhouette envy?? I can normally rationalize the fact that they are too expensive to own because to buy vinyl to cut would be a huge added expense to the machine–but the fact that you can cut fabric with it??!! That is not such an added expense and now I am so really wanting to figure out a way I can get my hands on this machine!

    • Leslie says

      I hope you can find a great deal on a Silhouette. Do your homework and wait for the best sale! That’s what I did.

  7. emily says

    SO.Super.CUTE!!! I want one NOW!!! AHHHH :o) You guys all make me so jealous {in a good way of course!!} I live in Hong Kong , so I get all worried about plugging it in if I bought in in the USA…I’ve never seen one there… Emily @ nap-timecreations.com

  8. says

    Those are super cute burp clothes! I have yet to use my Silhouette to cut fabric even though I have been wanting too for some time!
    Thanks so much for linking up to this week’s Catch a Glimpse party. I’ll be featuring this tomorrow! :)

  9. says

    Hi Leslie! Great tutorial and love the finished project! Thanks for joining us and sharing at Best of the Weekend. Pinning to our party board! Have a fantastic weekend and please join us next Friday!

  10. says

    I haven’t been using my Silhouette in a while because I need to buy new blades. I haven’t tried using it on fabric though. Thank you for this great tutorial!

  11. says

    What a lovely project Leslie. I have a Cameo myself but I just hadn’t have the motivation or inspiration to try fabrics on it. This is such a wonderful inspiration I can tell is so cute that makes me want to make something for my girl!!!

    • Leslie says

      Always happy to share a little with friends. Today, I was working on some more fabric cutting with a Silhouette. I’ll be sharing the pieces soon.

  12. Dez says

    So cute. thanks for sharing.
    I was wondering if you could explain the top stitching? I’m an amateur with the sewing machine. 😛

    • Leslie says

      Absolutely. Top stitching is when you stitch on top of a seam. Check my tutorials on Sewing Machine Feet. There is a post about the Edge Stitch Foot which explains this best.

  13. says

    Seriously? Oh my, I’ve been eyeing the Silhouette Cameo for awhile. MUST GET. I’m heading over to your post about the Silhouette right now …

  14. says

    Great tutorial! I love my silhouette. I’ve never used it to cut fabric though. Going to have to try that one out..then I will need to learn how to top stitch

  15. says

    Hi Leslie, great tutorial – thanks. Do you use Silhouette’s fusing/interfacing or buy your own? I tried using some from our local craft store and it didn’t work well at all.

    • Leslie says

      I use Steam A Seam2 or WonderUnder and set my Silhouette on the setting for cutting fabric with interfacing. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for applying the fusible web.

  16. Sara Feilmeier says

    Hi Leslie,
    These are adorable. How did you do the stitching? With a regular sewing machine? This is the part that might trip me up? Can you tell me what you set your sewing machine at?
    Thank you!
    Sara

  17. Teresa says

    I actually have the Portrait and am looking into using the fabric blade and I love how descriptive you were with this one. I use mine for cutting stencils for spray painting shirts and just started looking into how to cut and attach a white knit fabric to a dark colored shirt, this is a great help. And Silhouette does frown on using things other than their products with the cutters but they ARE expensive and the cutters can really handle a lot more material types then you’d think – I should know, you wouldn’t believe some of the things I put in mine. The best part of the cutter is that you can use your own images and there are so many free ones online though I do use my Paint Shop Pro program to edit them since it does tie up the Silhouette program too much.

  18. Vicki says

    After viewing this I will give cutting material another try…I was so frustrated I wanted to throw my machine in the fireplace..I have no problem cutting vinyl

  19. says

    Thank you! I’ve been frustrated with the ragged edges when I cut fabric with my Silhouette, but I think some adhesive spray and Ellen’s on my fabric may help with that. Also, I had tried the “3” blade setting, and “5”, but not “4” for some reason…

  20. KChu says

    Leslie thank you so much for this tutorial! I can’t wait to use my cameo (coming in the mail in 3 days) especially with fabric. I too do a lot of baby items. I got my cutting machine at Costco and for a great price. It’s a bundle which includes all kinds of extras ie: vinyl, transfer paper, etc. Great thing about Costco, it can be returned with no time restraint. Thank you again!

  21. Julie says

    Hi!! I loved your tutuorial! I looove your design. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get the embroidered edge around the fabric design?? I’m new to all of this stuff and I’m always looking to learn new stuff! Thanks in advance!!

  22. Trina says

    I know this is an old post… but is the fat free font in silhouette online store because I couldn’t locate it. Please advise. Thanks, T

    • Leslie says

      Fat Free is installed in my fonts. I don’t know if this font was already installed on my computer (MacBook Pro) or one I had. Wish I could be of more help…

  23. Gail says

    Great tutorial…. Just getting started with my Silhouette and loving it….. I am reading and watching a lot of tutorials so as to not be wasteful. Did you do the top stitching on the burp clothes with a sewing machine or by hand?

  24. Phyllis says

    This is an awesome tutorial. I just wish I could sew in order to get that finished look. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Ragestarshine says

    I’ve wanted to make quilt for the longest time but I honestly don’t have the patience to cut and measure all the squares yneeded. I thought I’d use my Cameo for it, but does using the fuse paper make the fabric stiffer? Like, is there anyway to get the fuse paper OFF the fabric once you’ve cut it? I just don’t want to make an uncomfortable quilt.

    Thanks for the post, btw – it looks so cool!!

    • Leslie says

      The Silhouette is best for cutting appliqué. Check the Applique drop down under sewing on the Nav. Bar for tutorials on this. If you want a way to save time cutting out quilts then I recommend the Accuquilt cutter. You can cut out an entire quilt in about an hour – I know, I’ve done this before. (affiliate link)

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