About a two years ago, I moved my long arm sewing machine into the smallest bedroom in our house. When setting up the room, I decided I wanted to stencil a phrase of encouragement on the wall. Looking on-line, I found that the custom stencil I was thinking about (“Dream it… Plan it… Do it!) would be expensive. Instead of ordering one, I thought I should check out options for a personal cutting machine to make my own stencil. While more expensive, I realized that if I purchased the cutter, I could use it for a lot of other ideas. So, I purchased a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, made my own stencil, and it turned out great.
Since then, I have used my Cameo for a few other projects – personalized cards, applique templates, and recently glass etching stencils. One of the things I never really thought I would try to cut with the Cameo was fabric – I just didn’t think that the blades would not be able to cut smoothly.
I thought that if I heavily starched the fabric prior to stabilizing on freezer paper, I may get a better result that must freezer paper alone.
I used my own starch spray recipe, to have control over the stiffness created.
2 cups distilled water
This recipe makes a fairly stiff starch spray (for normally pressing when I am quilting, I omit the Sta-Flo from the recipe). The starch in the Potato Vodka gives a very nice, soft feel to the fabric while pressing very smooth.
After starching, I fused freezer paper to the back of the fabric, attached it to the sticky cutting mat and loaded it into the Cameo cutter. The cut file that I had created included some basic shapes with straight lines and curved lines. I also included an intricate butterfly to see how well the details could be cut.
The Cameo cut the basic shapes really well. But, the details of the butterfly were less than impressive. The blade tended to pull the fabric when moving.
So, I thought – what if I load the Cameo with the fabric “sandwiched” between the cutting mat and the freezer paper? Would this keep the blade from pulling on the fabric?
Experiment #2 – Starched fabric with freezer paper above the fabric
After starching and fusing to freezer paper, the fabric was and loaded it into the Cameo cutter with the freezer paper facing upward. This configuration meant that the fabric was sandwiched between the sticky cutting mat and the freezer paper.
I was amazed to watch the Cameo cut the basic shapes and the details of the butterfly with great precision!