How to cut appliqué shapes using the BERNINA Cutwork Tool

So you’ve got a BERNINA Cutwork tool – but you have no idea how to go about using it to cut your appliqué shapes.

The steps you need to take fall into two categories – preparation and cutting.


Step 1: Load the cutwork design into your BERNINA embroidery machine

Step 2: Load a piece of crisp tearaway stabilizer into your hoop. This could be OESD Heavyweight Tearaway or Floriani Medium Tearaway.

Step 3: Stitch color #1 – a placement line showing you where to position the appliqué fabric


Step 4: Place your fusible webbing backed appliqué fabric right side up on the stabilizer in the hoop so that it covers the placement line. Hold in place with Scotch Magic Tape. To cut multiple layers at the same time, hold each layer in place with Scotch Magic Tape to minimize slipping. Leave the backing paper on the fusible webbing to prevent the layers sticking together.


Step 5: Stitch color #2 – a basting line to hold the appliqué fabric in place.

BERNINA-Cutwork03The machine is now ready for “Cut 1”, as indicated on the screen of your embroidery machine.


Step 6: Remove the needle, embroidery foot and stitch plate from your machine. Replace with the #44 foot, the cutwork stitch plate and the cutwork tool set to position 1. Remove the top thread from your machine.


If you try to cut at this point, you will get a warning on the screen. You need to tell the machine that you have installed the cutwork stitch plate and the #44 foot – and the machine won’t cut until you do!


Touch the green checkmark to hide the warning. Then touch the hazard triangle and click on the cutwork stitch plate. Touch the green checkmark.


Touch the foot button (just above the hazard triangle) to tell the machine that you have installed the #44 foot.



Step 7: Go ahead and perform Cut 1. When complete, the screen will tell you that it is now ready for Cut 2.


Step 8: Rotate the white dial on the cutwork tool to show position #2.


Step 9: Go ahead and perform Cut 2. When complete, the screen will tell you that it is now ready for Cut 3.


Step 10: Rotate the white dial on the cutwork tool to show position #3.


Step 11: Go ahead and perform Cut 3. When complete, the screen will tell you that it is now ready for Cut 4.


Step 12: Rotate the white dial on the cutwork tool to show position #4.

BERNINA-Cutwork14Step 13: Go ahead and perform Cut 4. When complete, the screen will tell you that the design is finished!


When you remove the hoop from the machine, you can see that the cuts have been performed…


But the appliqué shapes are still looking like they are attached to the stabilizer in the hoop.


From the back:


Push the appliqué shape out from the back. Clip any threads that didn’t cut with a pair of scissors.


You now have appliqué shapes that are ready to use!



  1. A couple questions —
    1. What is the filename extension of Bernina Cutwork files? Can we use EXP files? I converted my original Cutwork software to the version that is now part of DesignWorks but have not used it yet.

    2. Have you used Bernina’s Cutwork tool to cut appliques from Kimberbell glitter sheets? I am wondering if the glitter sheets are too thick. I don’t have an electronic cutting machine–am considering the new Brother Scan n Cut announced in August.

    It’s been quite a while since I last used Cutwork. Many thanks for putting together these instructions.

    • Hi Cheryl,
      the files that DesignWorks (and the original cutwork software) generates are .DRAW files. The files that can be used in your embroidery machine are .EXP files. For all of my design collections that include cutwork, you should be able to find both file types.
      I don’t use my cutwork tool very much at all – I much prefer to use my Brother ScanNCut or the Silhouette Cameo. It looks like the Kimberbell glitter sheets are iron on vinyl. You probably don’t want to cut them with your cutwork tool – when you’re cutting vinyl it comes on a backing paper (one side of the vinyl is sticky!). You only want to cut through the top layer of vinyl and leave the backing paper intact. The cutwork tool would cut through everything.

  2. This is a great tutorial for using the cutwork tool when there is a cutwork file. Some of the newer designs have the SVG files but not the cutwork files. Is there a way to convert the SVG file into a cutwork file? I do not have any of the Scan and Cut machines and would rather continue to use my cutwork tool.

  3. great instructions but I would like to have a printable version

  4. My printer has an option to “Save as pdf” when you select “print” in the browser. (Thanks for this great tutorial!)

  5. Thank you so much! You make it sound so easy!

  6. Thanks for a great tutorial. Is this available any where as a pdf file that can be downloaded and printed?

    • Hi Susan,
      Hmmm… it does generate a lot of pages when you try to print it. Simple answer right now is no. I may have to get the girls onto creating a printable version!

      • That would be a good idea as a PDF can easily be stored on tablets, so it might not be necessary to print it out.

      • Katherine Ettinger

        My printer allows me to print to a .pdf file which I can save in my documents. I think this is more of a Microsoft thing than a printer thing….go to print, choose to print to .pdf and then save where you want on the computer…saves a lot of paper.

  7. Thank you so much. I’ve finally started learning and using my cut works, purchased with the specific intention to use with your designs. It’s an exciting world when you can cut several layers away once and not have to purchase a die for each shape 🙂

  8. Do all your products have cut files?

  9. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for this step by step instructions on how to use the cut work tool.
    I have not purchased however I will now. Have you used the jewel applicator?
    Thanks a million. Janet

  10. Thanks so much for these precise instructions for the cutwork tool. I have a Bernina 830 and the cutwork tool but never seemed to be able to get them to work properly. This will help tremendously.

  11. Thank you so much for this easy to follow tutorial!

  12. Thank you.

  13. Your designs are not cutwork ready. Before I can cut this design!, it needs to be converted to cutwork from your embroidery design. This will have to be converted in Designworks software.

    • Hi Barbara,
      For my designs which have cutwork provided – it is ready to be used to cut. There’s no need to go to any software or to do any converting 🙂

  14. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try this with my Bernina cutwork tool.

  15. Merci pour tous ses informations.

  16. liesbeth Ouwerkerk

    Dear Sarah

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorialfor the cutwork tool, I have used it a lot, although now I am also using the ScanNcut. You reminded on the great advantage that you can cut more layers at the same time. Thanks a lot.

  17. Thanks for the great tutorial. I don’t use cut works very often so it is great to have this tutorial as a quick reference.


Comments are closed