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How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué

A couple weeks ago, I shared a DIY shirt I made for my son’s second birthday.  I personalized it with some heat transfer vinyl and a fabric appliqué….and the cool thing about the appliqué is that it is NO SEW!  Yep, I wasn’t limited by my lack of sewing skills, knowledge, or even machine.

All I needed was a little special{ish} interfacing and household iron and wham-o!  Instant appliqué that remains permanently attached to the fabric, even after washing and drying.  How cool is that??

Here I’ll show you how to cut fabric and make a no-sew appliqué for your own project!

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been

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How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué


Here’s what I used:


Sizing My Design

The first thing I did, of course, was create my design.  I then cut out all the elements on some scrapbook paper with my Silhouette Cameo just to make sure I had the correct sizes and proportions.  That way I wouldn’t be wasting any precious fabric and (especially) HTV with wrong cuts….wasting money hurts my heart.

[Sorry about these poor photos….I completed this project after my son had gone to bed, so I lost all the precious natural light….boo!]

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


The Interfacing

Now that I had my correct cut sizes, I got to prepping my supplies.

Like I mentioned, I used some special{ish} interfacing for this project which allowed it to be a no-sew appliqué: Wonder Under 805R by Pellon.  This style is apparently the original and they also have a Heavy Duty version too (that may be replacing the original…?) but I haven’t tried it personally.

I freely admit that I know next to nothing about sewing, quilting, or anything related to fabric crafts (I still feel like a fish out of water walking into the fabric department at Joann’s!).  However, from what I’ve read, some other fabric interfacings like the Silhouette brand require the newly-cut fabric appliqué to be sewn on in order for it to become attached to a shirt or other article…..that’s a bummer if you’re like me and don’t sew.

This Wonder Under 805R does not require sewing….all you need is an iron.  Yep, it’s heat-activated and becomes fused with whatever it’s ironed onto….even wood or cardboard!  It’s also sold by the yard if you’ll be needing a lot of it (and it looks like it might be more cost-effective too, even if you don’t need much).

Now I’m sure there are other types/brands of interfacing out there that work the same way as this Wonder Under.  Like I said, I’m a fabric novice….all I know is this specific interfacing worked awesome for me!

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


Here’s how to use it in a nutshell, and I explain everything in more detail (with pictures!) below:

  1. Cut a piece of interfacing and place rough side onto the back of your fabric.
  2. Press for 5-8 seconds with a hot, dry iron until entire piece of interfacing is adhered.
  3. Remove paper backing.
  4. Cut out appliqué (for some projects you might need/want to do this step before removing the paper backing).
  5. Place appliqué onto shirt with the interfacing-side down.
  6. Lay a damp cloth across shirt.
  7. Press for 10-15 seconds with iron, lifting and replacing over the entire appliqué.
  8. Once applique is fully adhered, remove damp cloth and iron appliqué/shirt to remove any moisture.


Sizing the Pieces

First I cut out my piece of interfacing from the roll with a pair of scissors….

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been

….then I placed it rough-side down onto my fabric piece that I had already cut.

Make sure the interfacing is slightly smaller than your fabric piece, but slightly larger than your final appliqué….this will ensure it gets fully adhered to the fabric (as opposed to your ironing board) and also that it cuts well.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


Applying the Interfacing to the Fabric

I removed my scrapbook paper sizing guide then pre-heated my iron to the Cotton setting.  Without using any steam, I then pressed my iron directly down onto the interfacing and held it in place for 5-8 seconds, then moved it over a bit before repeating this process.  It’s basically just like how you iron a shirt….really easy.

I would periodically run my finger around the edge (careful, it’s hot!) to check how it was adhering.  If any spots pulled up, they got hit with another round of the hot iron.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


A minute or so later, my interfacing was fused with the fabric!  I then peeled away the paper backing and tossed it in the garbage.  It pulls off really easily and you can see a slight matte shine where the interfacing remains on the fabric.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


Cutting the Fabric Appliqué

This part can be done with good old fashioned scissors, but since I have a Silhouette Cameo and am completely obsessed with it (just check out all these things I’ve been able to make with it!), that’s what I used.  A Silhouette Portrait can of course do the job too and probably any other cutting machine, like a Cricut.

If using scissors, just trace or use a cutout/stencil and snip out your design by hand.

Here’s how to cut a fabric appliqué with a Silhouette:

First off, you DO NOT NEED to buy the special fabric blade.  That’s just sold separately and labeled as such since it’s best to have a different blade for each medium being cut (i.e. one for vinyl, one for chipboard, one for paper, etc.).  The blue base makes it easily identifiable, but you can use a regular replacement blade, which is what I did.

  1. Place your fabric piece on the cutting mat with the fabric-side up (interfacing towards the mat).
  2. Load mat into the Silhouette Cameo with the Load Cutting Mat option.
  3. Double-check cut lines, adjust cut settings & blade, and make sure Cutting Mat is checked in your settings.
    1. There are two default Fabric options, and for my fabric, I selected the one for Thin fabrics like cotton prints.
      1. Speed: 5
      2. Thickness: 33
      3. Blade: 3
        1. Do a test cut if you need to.
  4. Hit Cut and watch the magic happen!

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


A few moments later, my fabric appliqué was cut!  Well, pretty much cut.  There were a few places that still had some threads attached, but that was easily remedied with some snips of my craft scissors.  No biggie.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


And here is it….now it just needs to be applied to the shirt!

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


Adhering the Fabric Appliqué

I then went back to my ironing board and pre-heated my iron to the Wool setting.  While that was heating up, I positioned my appliqué onto the shirt, then covered it with a clean kitchen towel that I had slightly dampened.

Then using an up-and-down pattern, I applied the hot iron over the appliqué for about 10-15 seconds before moving it to a new area.  Periodically, I’d pull back the damp towel and check how well the appliqué was adhering.  If there were parts that were still loose, I’d just lay the towel back down and re-iron that area.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


Once the entire appliqué was adhered to the shirt, I removed the damp towel and ran the iron over the entire front to remove any remaining moisture.

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


The Final No-Sew Fabric Appliqué!

And here’s my fabric appliqué once it’s applied to the shirt!  Not too hard, huh?

How to Cut Fabric and Make a No-Sew Appliqué| Where The Smiles Have Been


From here you can leave it as is, use a sewing/embroidery machine and add some edging with thread (yes, even if it is a no-sew appliqué you can still jazz it up), or do what I did and add a decorative border with some HTV….stay tuned for a post on that!

If you’d like more details on this birthday shirt, check this out!

DIY Toddler Birthday Shirt with HTV and Fabric Appliqué | Where The Smiles Have Been




I’m certain this is going to come in handy often when Rowan gets older.  I can just envision Halloween costumes and last-minute creations for school being saved by this wonderful no-sew interfacing:

“Mom, I need to wear something for Dr. Seuss Day tomorrow!!”  Yeah, I’ve got ya covered, Buddy….let me just raid my fabric stash and see what we can do. ;)


Thanks so much for stopping by!


M. Ongerth

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Hi— You make it so easy.....but I have an detail question. Is it possible to make 1/4 inch lines like a maze with fabric that has Wonder Under (and freezer paper) with the silhouette Cameo? Thanks in advance.

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Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Thank you so much for your tutorial! I just made my first no-sew appliqué for an Easter shirt for my daughter. Your directions and pictures were very helpful!

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How did you get your fabric pattern to show up in your Silhouette design studio program?


Thursday 21st of January 2016

I have the same question! :)