Using Silhouette Studio Designer Edition to cut applique shapes

The Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software is the key to using your Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to cut appliqué shapes using SVG files. The basic Silhouette Studio software is a free download from Designer Edition is an upgrade which is well worth the additional $49.99 (but check the box your machine came in – some of them have an upgrade card included in the package).

This tutorial will give you step-by-step instructions for using your Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software to open an SVG file and cut your appliqué shapes.

How to import an SVG file into the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software to cut an appliqué shape

For this tutorial, I am using the Express Yourself designs to start cutting the letters needed to spell “Sarah”. Click on any image to view a larger version.

Step 1

Open the SVG file containing the shape(s) to be cut. For Express Yourself, the SVG file name tells which letters are in each SVG file.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

When the SVG file is first opened, you can’t see a whole lot as the outlines are very faint.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

Step 2

Click on Cut Settings.

Under Cut Mode, choose Advanced.

Under Cut Order, choose Line Color.

Now the shapes are very easy to see as all of them are now selected (by default).

As in most of my SVG cutting files, I’ve included fabric placement lines for each letter, shown in black. These should never be cut, but they will show you how big your piece of appliqué fabric needs to be for each letter and where to place it on the cutting mat.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

Step 3

Ungroup the designs – click on any outline to select the shapes then right click and choose Ungroup.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

If you click on a black outline to select it, the dimensions of the shape will be displayed.

Silhouette Cameo Designer Edition

Step 4

Under Cut Order, uncheck the color for all letters you don’t want to cut, including black for the placement outlines. You will now see only outlines for the shapes you want to cut.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

Step 5

For each shape that you do want to cut, click on the color under Cut Order. In the Material Type list, highlight the material type that you will be cutting. For appliqué fabric backed with Heat N Bond Lite (fusible webbing), this will usually be Fabric Thin fabrics like cotton prints.

Having selected the material type, the lower half of the Cut Settings panel will show you the default settings for that material type. For Fabric (thin fabrics like cotton prints) the default blade depth is 3. Set your blade to this depth. All other settings can remain unchanged.

Note: Depending on the size of your screen, you may need to scroll down to see the material type settings.

Note: To get more use out of a blade, when you start to notice a slight deterioration in the quality of the cut, let out more blade – i.e. change your blade depth to 4, then 5 etc.

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

Step 6

With your appliqué fabric in place on the cutting mat, load the mat into your Cameo. Click Send to Silhouette and watch your machine make some beautiful cuts!

For more details on what happens at the machine (rather than in the software as described here), read How to Cut Appliqué Shapes With A Silhouette Cameo.

For more details on how to prepare your appliqué fabric to ensure the best cut, read How to Get the Best Fabric Cut from your Silhouette Cameo.


  1. Hi Sarah,
    I love all your emails, designs and creativity!! Also love hearing about Heather’s progress. I am so happy for you in this regard.
    I do not have a Silhouette or Brother cutter. I do have DesignWorks and have been able to cut out the appliques with ‘CutWorks.’ However, in your ‘spare’ time, I would appreciate a tutorial on this. So far I have been managing, but I’d like to think that I am doing it the simplest way.
    Thank you, and good luck with your new home, Heather’s continuing rehab, and keep up the beautiful designs!

  2. Elisabeth Duell-Branly

    I have just joined the Cameo Club at Once Upon a Quilt in Ft. Lauderdale, We had our first class last Saturday. Thank you so much for this tutorial it is so timely!

  3. I have the artistic edge ….have been successful cutting and using your designs (fabulous). Good results….but maybe you. Have a few tricks. Any tutorial helps. Thanks, Sally

  4. When you open an svg file and load it into the silhouette software does it load the size it is supposed to be? I have a cricket explore and when I upload an svg file from an embroidery cd it comes in huge like 65 inches and larger. I’m trying to find out what I’m doing wrong but I’m thinking of changing cutters because resizing it doesn’t seem like an option which is the advice I’ve received so far from the group I belong to.

    • Linda – yes! The Silhouette software will open the SVG file at the correct size. The Brother Scan N Cut software will shrink to fit so beware of that. I typically put placement lines in my SVG files that help you to make sure everything is the correct size.

  5. Have not tried to cut fabric with my Brother Scan N Cut yet. I am going to try this weekend! wish me luck!

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