Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cutting Felt with Cameo 3 - Cactus Cushion Cover

Janet here with a post on cutting felt on the Silhouette CAMEO® 3.  I've added tips throughout these instructions for decorating a blank cushion cover using a cute cactus design by Doodlebug Designs.

In a previous post I used my Silhouette Curio™ to cut felt without stabiliser.  That technique (which can be used on Cameo cutting machines too, but only where the felt is quite thin) is only necessary where both sides of the felt are visible.  I made a booklet-style needle case where both sides of the 'pages' were used for storage or decoration. However, for this cushion cover decoration I used a double-sided iron-on interfacing; the Silhouette Clean Cut Fusible Fabric Stabiliser. The stabiliser adds a thick adhesive to the felt, making it easier to cut and also helps to protect the mat from felt fibres too.
You can read the Needle Case post here.

Clean Cut or Cut & Sew?
Silhouette make two types of stabiliser; Clean Cut and Cut & Sew. Cut and Sew has a thinner adhesive better used in applique type projects where machine sewing or heat transfer vinyl edging is used to neaten and secure the fabric edges. Clean Cut has a thicker adhesive and is better for projects where the fabric edges will be on view and there is minimal machine stitching.


Felt Sheets (I used a 30% wool acrylic viscose blend)
Embroidery Thread and Needle
Iron (on a non-steam setting)
Brayer (optional)
Downloaded Cactus File by Doodlebug Designs (#160411)


Open the downloaded design in the Silhouette Studio® software and resize the design to suit the size of your cushion cover.

Duplicate the flower and flower centres and resize two of them, making them different sizes and smaller than the original.

Prepare a printing sheet to act as a template for the hand-stitched decoration and print out. I removed the fill colours and changed the lines to black before printing. You could put these on separate sheets with print and cut marks, but I just trimmed mine roughly by hand.

Make the lower part of the flower pot cuttable in one piece by aligning the white part with the dark pink piece and welding the two pieces together (Object > Modify > Weld).

Delete the large background piece (or move aside) and arrange the other pieces with space around them for cutting.


Group elements of the same colour together and then click on each group in turn to ascertain it's size. Cut out rectangular pieces of interfacing an inch or so bigger than each group and iron it onto the felt using a wool/synthetic setting to match the felt mix.  The interfacing is applied with the rough side to the felt and needs a firm pressure for only a few seconds. Full instructions are included with the product.
TIP: I found it useful to round the size up to the nearest inch (or half inch for smaller pieces) to match the markings on my cutting mat.

Once the felt is firmly adhered, trim your felt piece to size and peel off the paper backing.

Set your Design Page Settings to match the size of your mat and move the slider in Reveal to a point where the mat and numbers are just visible.

When all the colours are prepared, arrange them on the cutting mat aligned to the inch markings with the interfacing side to the mat, ensuring they are all firmly attached. You can roll a clean brayer across the felt a few times to be sure. Rearrange the elements on your mat in the software to match your actual felt pieces on the cutting mat. I added a box around each group of elements to match the size of each felt piece and centred the elements within the box (ensuring that the boxes were set to No Cut).
TIP: Use a little painter's tape to secure any edges where cut lines are close to the edge of the felt piece.


In Cut Settings choose the Fabric (Thick like canvas) setting.

Click on the chosen setting in Material Type (Tool 1) so it displays the Editing Fabric part. Select your chosen blade and adjust the settings. (I changed the blade to AutoBlade and reduced the blade depth to 4 and the thickness to 31).

Felt can vary in thickness, so you'll need to work out what settings suit your felt best. Although I'd usually recommend a test cut first, with felt (as the Test cut function is so close to the mat edge) I skipped the test cut and reduced the blade depth a little on the first cut, with the intention of cutting again if it proved necessary.

All the pieces cut beautifully with the first cut however,  but some colours (even with the same brand of felt) can be more dense or fibrous and require a second pass. Really obstinate pieces may require some clear tape on top of the felt to improve the cleanness of the cuts (see my needle case post) but I found it unnecessary for this felt.

Some of the pieces may require some minimal trimming with scissors to neaten the cut edge (see the top of the darker pink pot rim).


Once all the pieces are cut it's just a case of ironing them on to the cushion cover following the instructions on your pack.


Once the pieces are ironed on you can embroider the design as you please. I used a plain stitch with 2 strands of embroidery thread, using my template for placement of the cactus spines and pot detail.

When you've finished, just pop a cushion form inside the cover and you're done!

Here are some of the details on my finished cushion cover.

I hope you have as much fun cutting felt on your Silhouette CAMEO® 3 as I did.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

CORRECTION: I have amended the felt composition - it is 30% Wool, 70% Viscose. 
Following a query in one of the Facebook groups I have tried cutting a similarly-sized design in 100% synthetic felt and the cut settings need to be very much higher with less satisfactory results, so I do recomend that you use a wool blend if at all possible.

Bye for now,

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