Using Cutting Machines With Machine Embroidery

Cutting Machines for Machine Embroidery

Originally, cutting machines were used for scrapbooking and shirt heat transfers and what-have-you. Then, quilters discovered how to cut out multiple pieces of the same size fabric for piecing blocks and applique. Now, cutting machines are becoming more and more popular in the machine embroidery arena.

Bunny Buddies 6

Every tool has its strengths and weaknesses in the sewing room. Where the Silhouette Cameo or Brother ScanNCut cutting machines excel is when you have a really intricate shape, like an applique, and you don't want to spend the time cutting it out when it's still in the hoop. Like, for instance, the body and egg appliques from Bunny Buddies 6 design.

There are die-cutting machines, namely AccuQuilt and Sizzix, that work well but are limited to one shape per die. Cutting machines work with any applique as long as you can create an SVG file of the shape.

SVG Files

SVG files

I include SVG files with my applique designs, a lot of designers do these days so be sure to check. There may be more than one SVG file for a design if the design has multiple appliqued sections.

SVG cutting files for applique

For Bunny Buddies 6, there is an SVG cutting file included for the body

SVG cutting files for applique

and for the egg.

If you want to use an applique design multiple times, that's where your cutting machine is really going to have an advantage over the old-fashioned way of applique: Stitching the placement line, putting your applique fabric down, tacking the fabric down, and then trimming around the fabric.

Get a refresher on applique techniques here

If you have purchased an applique design elsewhere and it does not include an SVG file, you can create one. Several software companies out there that create SVG files for your cutting machines. Floriani Total ControlEmbrilliance, and Embroidery Works are a few examples. Single out the applique placement line and you can create an SVG file to use with your Silhouette Cameo or Brother ScanNCut cutting machines.

Preparing Fabric for Cutting

Both the Cameo and ScanNCut work well when cutting GlitterFlex. No special preparations are needed. Keeping the plastic carrier attached helps provide a more solid medium. Place the carrier face down and remember to mirror image your applique section.

 Cutting Machines for Machine Embroidery

However, you want your cotton applique fabrics to be as stiff as a piece of paper. A good friend named Mitzi did a bunch of testing and found using Terial Magic worked best to stiffen fabric prior to cutting. I've actually heard this from more than one source. (I hate to admit it, but I haven't tried the Terial Magic method yet. I DO have the product just waiting for me to have the time.) The instructions state to spray Terial Magic on the fabric and let it dry. I imagine you could use a hairdryer to speed up the process. Once your fabric is nice and stiff, you use it on your cutting machine.

Cutting Machines for Machine Embroidery

What I have tried is fusing HeatnBond Lite (for sewing) to the back of the applique fabric. This, too, works very well although I did notice in the more intricate areas a little bit of thread whiskers. 

To cut multiple pieces at once, cut squares of fabric slightly larger than the finished size and position them (single layer) appropriately on your cutting machine grid. Line that up with the grid that's on your computer screen (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and cut the shapes all at one time.

Your applique pieces are now ready to go to the embroidery machine!

See the entire video here.

May your day be blessed with perfect stitches and GlitterFlex!!


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  • Bonnie Welsh - July 04, 2019

    Suzanne—I’m not familiar with how the Cricut Maker works but I do know that not all SVG files are created the same. Make sure that you don’t have any settings that are automatically changing the size of a graphic you bring in to cut. The display of the SVG file might look different than what’s actually cut as well. What does the manual say for your cutting machine with regard to SVG files?

  • Suzanne Jerin - July 04, 2019

    Can I use by Cricut Maker with the SVG Files? I have tried this but they were not the correct size.

  • Bonnie Welsh - July 03, 2019

    Lylian—You’re most welcome! I miss talking/sharing with everyone. Right now I’m in the middle of moving—boxes everywhere need unpacked. Haven’t even started unpacking my sewing room. Yikes! LOL

  • Lylian - July 03, 2019

    Thanks for this info. I miss your u Tube videos

  • Bonnie Welsh - July 02, 2019

    Linette—You’re most welcome!

  • Linette Dorsey - July 02, 2019

    Thank you for this valuable info

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