Cutting Applique Shapes for Machine Embroidery

It really is easy to cut applique shapes with a die cutter or to cut applique shapes with the newer electronic cutters. And some like to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. But, what if you don’t have either of those and you want an easy way to cut the shapes? I had a “bright” idea the other day and wrote about it on the Craftsy blog post for this week. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this, but feel that I need to share it with the world. So, here are the instructions. I have made them into a pdf and added them to a link in my list of how-to’s so that you can always find them here.

Instructions for cutting appliqué shapes with scissors

All machine embroidery appliqué designs come with a file that has the outline of the shapes / templates that can be stitched on the embroidery machine. Rather than making a paper pattern from this file, the most efficient way to cut the appliqué fabric using those stitching lines is as follows:

  1. Prepare fabric by fusing a fusible web onto the wrong side of the appliqué fabric. This should be slightly larger than your appliqué shape. Do NOT remove the paper.
  2. Work with an unthreaded needle in your embroidery machine.
  3. Hoop stabilizer.
  4. Mount hoop onto machine and stitch the shape outline onto the stabilizer with the unthreaded needle.
  5. Lay the prepared fabric (with fusible and paper attached), right side up, over the stitch holes made in the stabilizer. Use tape if needed to hold the prepared fabric in place.
  6. Stitch the shape again onto this prepared fabric.
  7. Remove the fabric from the hoop and turn it over. On the paper side, you will see the stitch holes showing through the paper.

 IMG_36868. Use this line for cutting your shape.

9. Trim just outside the stitching line so that the finished appliqué will be held securely without fabric threads showing on the outside of the decorative appliqué stitch. Before starting a project, try a sample first, to be sure your cutting line fits perfectly with your stitching line.

10. To remove the paper, use a straight pin to score the paper and it will peel off easily.


Author: Marjorie Busby

My blog is about helping other quilters learn to use great tools in their quilting through what I can teach and through finding other bloggers who have good information. In addition, I am a mother and grandmother. Other hobbies include any other stitchery which makes me happy at the moment. I worked in clinical research for most of my career. I am now retired and enjoying every minute.

7 thoughts on “Cutting Applique Shapes for Machine Embroidery”

  1. Marjorie, this is sheer genius. It seems so obvious, But are the greatest ideas easy and ” why didn’t I think of that?” type ideas?

  2. Hi Marjorie,

    fantastic idea!
    Although I have an accuquilt-cutter,is this a really good idea!
    Thanks for sharing!

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