Rotary Cutters and Mats

I just love my rotary cutter.

Do you have one?

rotary cutter and mat, 291

They are so sweet.

They make your sewing life a breeze.

Also your quilting life.

They are like a pizza cutter, except that they cut fabric.

rotary cutter up close, 292

They are easy to operate.

This model is made by a company called Olfa. Dritz and Omnigrid also make these cutters.

To open the blade, you just pull down on the black plastic gizmo, where the arrow is in the bottom of the photo below, and the blade is revealed:

roatry cutter with the blade open, 293

The blade is super sharp… razor sharp.

So, get in the habit of closing the blade after each cut.

Sorry, I’m a mom. Moms always say “mom things” to everybody no matter who they are.

The beauty of the rotary cutter is how precise the cuts are.

You can use these on virtually any sewing or quilting project.

Besides the rotary cutter, you’ll need a cutting mat specifically designed for this cutter.

Omnigrid makes this particular one and you can find it at JoAnn Fabrics here.

Don’t try to cut directly on your countertop, tabletop or workbench.

It will leave permanent cuts in them…ugly ones.

You’ll also need a see through ruler. They come in various lengths.

I like the 6″ x 24″ ones myself.

But I also have a 6″ x 6″ one for small projects.

cutting mat ready to go, 294

Another beauty of the cutting mat is the measured markings on it.

They allow you to line up the fabric on a solid yellow line and then move the ruler to the designated measurement before you cut.

This scarf material was extremely slippery and hard to manage. There’s no way I would have attempted to cut this fabric with a pair of scissors.

cutting mat ready to cut, 295

As you can see, I lined up the ruler perpendicular to the fabric.

Put a little pressure on the ruler so it doesn’t slip while you cut. Some people put sand paper dots on the back of the ruler to keep it from slipping. 

When you have a long item to cut, you may have to move your hand once or twice along the ruler as you cut. Just be sure you don’t disturb the fabric while you are doing that.

Hold the cutter like I am in the photo.

It looks like my right index finger is next to the blade, but it is not, I assure you! My finger is resting on the yellow plastic handle.

rotary cutter cutting fabric, 296

Don’t ever cut with the cutter vertical to the mat. Always have the cutter out in front of you, as you see in the photo above.

If you work standing over a table, make sure you are not handling the cutter near the table edge.

I have a friend who accidentally dropped the cutter and it cut into the top of her foot and I won’t tell you how much time it has taken to heal.

Not to scare you…just be careful! (More “mom” advice).

I always do my cutting on the floor or the island in my kitchen so that doesn’t happen.

There are gloves you can buy and wear that keep the blade from cutting you.

All of these items: Rotary Cutter, Cutting Mat, See Through Ruler, and Protective Gloves are available at your local fabric store.

If you don’t live near a fabric store, you can always buy them at Joann Fabrics, Annie’s Craft Store, or Nancy’s Notions online.

I think once you have these, you’ll never go back to scissor-cutting again!