E is for Electronic Cutting Machine

A to Z of Machine Embroidery and Quilting

E is for Electronic Cutting MachineElectronic cutting machines have revolutionized the cutting of appliqué shapes.

8 short years ago, if you wanted to make a quilt featuring appliqué, you had to print a template, trace the template onto fusible webbing (making sure you remembered to mirror the template if it wasn’t already mirrored), apply the fusible webbing to the back of your appliqué fabric and then cut the shapes out using a pair of scissors. Definitely time to watch a good movie or get together with some friends for a good chat (and maybe a glass of wine!).

If there was any complexity in your quilt, preparing and cutting all the appliqué shapes could take hours – or even days! The Heather Feather (quilt which I created back in 2009) has a little over 600 appliqué shapes on it – it took about 24 hours to prepare and cut all of them.

Heather Feather

Stitched on a BERNINA 830

Electronic cutting machines, such as the Silhouette Cameo and the Brother Scan N Cut, use SVG files (provided with most, soon to be all, design collections from Sarah Vedeler Designs) and allow you to cut your appliqué shapes very precisely – and reasonably fast too. As a designer, I love the flexibility of being able to provide electronic cutting files. I can design something today and you can be cutting it out tomorrow (OK, maybe in an ideal world!). No manufacturing lead times. Best of all, no limits to the complexity of the design.

Electronic cutting machines were originally introduced into the crafting world to cut paper, but they do an excellent job of cutting fabric too. To learn how to use SVG files with a Silhouette Cameo click here. To learn how to use SVG files with a Brother Scan N Cut click here. The Silhouette Cameo has an easy way to do fussy cutting which can be used to create all sorts of secondary designs in your appliqué. Click here to learn how. For some best practice tips on how to prepare your appliqué fabric for cutting with an electronic cutting machine, click here.

Daily Deal

From 12:01am on June 27, 2017 until 11:59pm pm on June 29, 2017 enjoy 25% off Garden Party

Enter promo code “A2Z-E” at the checkout.

Add to Cart Garden Party $49.99
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)


What I love about this collection… The Garden Party designs were created long before Sarah Vedeler Designs came into existence. You could say it was during my first (mostly unsuccessful) attempt at being in business as a designer! Then one day, someone who I had sent a sample book to many years ago found that same sample book and said “Let’s do something with these designs, they’re super cute!”. Hence the rebirth of Garden Party. Incidentally, the rebirth of Garden Party was the first of my design collections to include SVG files for use with an electronic cutting machine!

Garden Party

I love the pots of flowers included in this design collection. Make your own arrangements from the individual designs, or use the preconfigured arrangements that can be stitched in a single hooping (if you have a big enough hoop for the larger ones!)

Garden Party


  1. My next dream is a cutting machine so I have started saving thank you for all the information loving it

  2. If we already bought any of your collections and you add an svg capability for the designs… will we be able to get an upgrade to our files?

  3. I would love to hve a cutter. I. Can see just how much easier to make things accurately and fast. The flowers are gorgeous.

  4. Cute design. I am not getting emails every day, and they are not in my spam folder. Missed B and D. 🤔. I did go back and read them but no points.

  5. thanks for the scan & cut information ,Brother doesn’t do much to promote understanding / use of its product

  6. I use my Scan n Cut for almost all my appliqué designs. Even if the design doesn’t have SVG files, the designs can be scanned into the machine, then cut out! It’s genius!!

  7. Sarah, I love my Cameo. I used it to cut all the letters in Express Yourself. What a beautiful quilt! I am now cutting The Happy Collection. Thank you for all your wonderful inspirations!

  8. Sarah, why did you not address the Go cutter with the other two, I purchasr your design dies for the Go, like heather feather, and love how it saves me a lot of time


    What do I do with the points I’m accumulating?

  10. I just bought a Cameo. I just have to figure out how to use it now 🙁

    • Hi Sharon,
      I have some blog posts that might help. Click on “Silhouette Cameo” under “Categories” on the right hand side at the top of this page and it will take you to them.

  11. Added to my wish list!

  12. Enjoying my Scan n Cut and NOW the V8 Bernina software will create the SVG files for cutting! Not every digitizer is as kind as Sarah to create the SVG or other cutting files for us. I have the Garden Party designs although I have not made anything with them as yet, too many projects in process and not enough time.

  13. Love the designs. I have the Janome Artistic Edge cutter. Works great for me.

  14. Thank you, thank you for all the great instructions on how to cut with the Silhouette. I have be reluctant to try it.

  15. Jennifer Swenson

    I appreciate that the cutting files are included!

  16. Bought the Cameo 3 last December. Have tried several times to cut fabric with no success and that is after watching Sarah’s tutorials. Need to understand how to load the sheet in order for the cutting to start in the right place. Would appreciate any help!😀

  17. I need to add it to my wish list. I have the Bernina CutWork Tool that I use.

  18. I want to get one of the electronic cutters. I need to investigate the different ones that are on the market. Thanks for your tutorials!

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