The Beauty of Machine Embroidered Cutwork

You may think cutwork is incredibly difficult. In the days before embroidery machines, it was. Now, cutwork is extremely easy to do and I will show you how it’s done!

You may have been intimidated by applique the first time you tried it. With todays machine embroidery designs, applique is really quite easy.

Cutwork is just as easy as applique, but in reverse. Instead of adding fabric, you cut it away.


This design from the Heirloom Cutwork 3 collection by Ace Points, combines standard machine embroidery with cutwork.

Start by hooping a water-soluble, fabric-type stabilizer. I embroidered this design on a hand towel and floated it in the hoop.

Just like with applique designs, cutwork designs stitch a type of placement line. This shows the area that needs to be cut away.

Carefully cut away the towel fabric inside the stitch lines. Try to not cut through the water-soluble stabilizer. If you do, don’t worry. Add a stabilizer patch.

Normally, when stitching on a towel, a topper would be used. This towel was very thin, like a flour sack towel, so it did not need a topper. I would also use matching threads in the bobbin so that the back would look pretty too. The back of this towel was white so I stayed with a white bobbin.

When done, the cutout area stitches right over the water-soluble stabilizer. Just wash or rinse, air dry, and press.


Cutwork designs make gorgeous projects that are super easy to stitch and the “wow factor” makes a big impression!