In my opinion, one of the most underutilized features of the Silhouette is the ability to cut fabric. Whether you’re making a quilt, creating an appliqué, or working on a 3-D project, your Cameo/Portrait can not only speed up the process but also provide a degree of accuracy that can’t be achieved when cutting materials by hand.
The first step to fabric cutting on the Silhouette is to stabilize your material. Fabric can be stabilized in a variety of ways, but my preferred method is a product called Terial Magic. Terial Magic is a spray-on, liquid stabilizer that turns fabric into a fray-free, paper-like material. Unlike starch, Terial Magic is made from an organic compound that bugs do not eat. It soaks into the fabric and fuses the fibers together and will not turn white or flaky. Once your fabric is cut, Terial Magic can be left in or washed out if desired.
Once stabilized, fabric can be cut just like paper, vinyl, or any other media. However, just as you wouldn’t use your good fabric scissors to cut paper, you should also use a separate blade for cutting fabric on the Silhouette. The blue housing of the Silhouette fabric blade allows you to easily distinguish it from the regular ratchet blade, but in all other ways they are identical. If you use the regular ratchet blade to cut fabric, just be sure to mark it in some way so that you don’t dull it by cutting paper or vinyl. A sharp blade can make all the difference in the world when cutting fabric!
I have used the Silhouette to cut fabric for several different projects including this cute butterfly pillow made from reproduction feedsack prints. (“All A Flutter” pattern available from Chitter Chatter Designs.) Using my Cameo and the regular 12” x 12” cutting mat, I was able to quickly and easily cut 16 different butterflies at once, each from a different fabric print.
The Silhouette is such an amazing machine and can be used in a variety of ways. If you haven’t already tried cutting fabric, I hope you will soon. I’ll be demonstrating this technique at the Piney Woods Quilt Festival in Carthage, Texas on April 21 & 22 so stop by if you’re in the area. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll be glad to help. And if you have a project you’ve completed using the Silhouette, feel free to share it on my Facebook page to inspire others!