Because cutwork is unique, even a historical
technique, we will ramble a little about it, before moving to the actual instructions.
Cutwork was born ages ago in Italy, and rapidly spread all over the world.
It had a good reason to spread, because of to it's charming beauty.
In cutwork, as the name suggests, holes are cut out into certain spots of embroidered fabrics,
creating intriguing "see through" effect.
What we will show in this tutorial will cover the creation of machine embroidery
cutwork, using special designs digitized for "easy & clean hole cutting". We
don't recommend using simplistic zigzag designs for cutwork, because you will
definitely suffer all along the way, and eventually get poor results.
After reading the instruction, you will be able to
create most professionally looking cutworks using your machine, in minutes. Not
just any cutworksÑgood looking ones, with smooth edges, without ugly fabric
Make sure you have the following items at your disposal:
1. Sharp appliqué scissors (with curved handles, for easily cutting close to edges of stitching).
2. Small scissors with sharp, curved edges (see photos of both scissors here):
3. Heavy duty
4. Light to medium weight fabric and cutwork designs.
Materials & Colors:
Traditionally, cutwork is embroidered on natural linens
and cottons, white on white. Now, the modern variations are much wider. You may
embroider the letters on practically any light to medium weight fabric, in
darker or lighter thread, or even using metallic thread. Of course, contrast
thread color should be used with care.
Basic Steps (Short Summary):
- Hoop fabric & heavy-duty water-soluble stabilizer together.
- Embroider the first thread, and remove the hoop (without unhooping).
- Using your very sharp appliqué scissors, cut out only the fabric holes (the stabilizer shouldn't be cut - it stays).
Use tiny scissors with curved edges in order to "catch" the fabric layer at first, without damaging the water-soluble backing.
- Embroider the rest of design (it will cover all edges nicely).
- Wash away the water soluble in warm water. Cutwork ready!
Hooping the background fabric & water-soluble stabilizer:
Make sure you've pre-shrinked the fabric. When hooping - be sure there are nothing stretched, and nothing is puckering/bubbling.
Large hoops sometimes don't hold the fabric well enough. If your hoop has such tendency, insert a piece of paper towel between rings of all 4-hoop sides, when hoping your future cutwork.
Don't forget to hoop the water-soluble backing - it should go under the fabric, as 2-nd fabric layer.
Embroider the first thread. For the first thread, any light color will do, because it will be hidden under
the main design later. Finished result should look like this:
When machine stops (first color change), remove the hoop from the machine (do NOT unhoop).
Using your sharp appliqué scissors cut out only the areas designed to be holes.
The stabilizer shouldn't be cut - it stays. Use tiny scissors with curved edges in order to "catch" the
fabric layer at first, without damaging the water-soluble backing. Then, continue cutting with appliqué
The cutting should be done to the very edge of embroidered area. Cut to the point you can possibly cut,
without damaging the stitches. Here is how the results of this step should look like:
Embroider the rest of design (it will cover all edges nicely). See photo in process:
Wash away the water soluble, following manufacturer instructions.
Cutwork ready! Here's how lovely the finished butterfly looks:
And here's a photo of ready projects - all constructed and photographed by Bobbie Berry.
The photo shows food tray cover, napkin and neck relaxation pillow, embroidered using
You may find these cutwork designs, and many others, in Cutwork Designs category of our web site.
If you'd like to get cutwork designs, stabilizer or thread used in this project -
please visit these links:
Machine Embroidery Thread