Stitch cutwork to fill various shapes. A leaf shape is particularly good to practice with. Cutwork may be stitched straight onto the fabric (so that it appears flat), over layers of felt padding (to give slightly raised areas) or over soft string padding (to give highly raised areas).


For many shapes, including a standard leaf shape, cutwork is stitched much like satin stitch would be with embroidery thread.

Using a double length of waxed machine thread, bring the needle up to begin partway along one side.

Cut a section of smooth or rough purl long enough to reach the other side of the shape at approximately a 45-degree angle.

Thread this onto the needle and slide it down to the surface of the fabric. Take the needle down at the end of the chip on the other side of the shape and gently ease the thread through to the back.

Bring the needle up on the first side again, a purl’s width from the first chip. Cut and thread on another chip and repeat the process.

If the chips are too long they will be crushed slightly and lose their shine, if they are too short they will not fill the gap neatly. This can take some practice so be patient – never throw away your wrong size chips, they may be useful later.

When you have filled the first half of the shape, return to the middle and begin again.  Bring the needle up on the other side this time, so that you take the needle down angling towards an existing chip at an acute angle.

The exception to this rule is very pointy shapes such as the one in diagram 3; where it is much easier to begin in the tip of the point.