After observing how hard I worked hand-cutting stencils for Christmas pillow gifts last year, my Semper Stylish partner, Janice, with a lot of urging from my sister Kathy, suggested I purchase the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine (no doubt they were thinking of other pillows I would hopefully be making for them!).  Our first project with the Cameo was to create the 3-D hearts used for Zoe Boutique’s Valentine’s Day window display (see post here).  Now I want to share a few stenciled pillow projects my sister Kathy and I completed during her recent visit.

The best way to describe the Silhouette Cameo is to think of it as a printer, where the ink cartridge has been replaced with an Exacto knife.  You design a stencil using the included software, load up the vinyl, then tell the Cameo to cut your pattern out.  The vinyl moves back and forth while the Cameo emits strange robotic sounds.  A few minutes later – voila – a perfectly cut stencil.  I can honestly say I will never cut a stencil by hand again!!!  Here is a video showing my pattern on the computer, and the Cameo starting to cut it out.

“Sit – Stay” pillow
Our dogs wanted to get into the act, so we decided to start with a pillow that would appeal to dog lovers.

Finished stencil cut by Cameo

Cut one fabric piece for the pillow front, 2 overlapping pieces for the pillow back

I always test the color and layout first on paper

Then use stencil adhesive on the back of the stencil to adhere it to the fabric

I cut long strips of fabric and sewed around cording to create my own piping for the pillow

Baste the piping around the pillow front

Then stitch the pillow front and overlapping back pieces together

Here's the finished product. Our dogs are very familiar with these words.

“C’est la Vie” pillow
We used the same font (Curlz MT) on the Cameo to create this french-style C’est La Vie (‘Such is Life’) neck roll pillow.  The red stripes on either end were done by laying strips of 1/4″ sewing tape either 1/4″ or 1/8″ apart, then stenciling with red paint between the tape strips.  I always heat-set the paint using a dry iron.

“Bird & Cage” Pillow
The Bird & Cage stencil is the most difficult we have done so far.  The pattern is one of thousands available from the Silhouette store, usually for 99 cents or less.  We had to use transfer paper (more on that in a future post) to transfer this intricate design onto the fabric.  This will be a simple square pillow with the back featuring a button closure.

The pillow was stenciled with Annie Sloan Barcelona orange and Provence blue.

Pin the pillow pieces together right sides together. Three button holes have been made on the top back piece.

Stitch around the pillow edges

Turn right side out

I use a chopstick to push out the corners

Pick some coordinating buttons for the back closure. I like to use 3 different vintage buttons.

And hand sew them on

Storage hint: Use a holiday pillow as a filler to save space and make it useful year round!

Here’s the pillow in my guest bedroom. I chose this pattern because it highlights the bird resting on the Ballard Designs headboard.

Hope you enjoyed finding out more about the Silhouette Cameo as a stencil maker and some of the pillows we made.  Thanks for joining us on our journey to Luckett’s Spring Market – only 67 days to go.  We’ll see you there – where you will find more of our pillows for sale.

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