When learning to quilt, one of the best skills you can master is how to use a rotary cutter properly. It saves time and means that you can easily mark and cut single pieces of fabric, quickly and easily.
Over time and as you become more adept it’ll improve your accuracy and mean that you can assemble quilts in double quick time!
Think about a rotary cutter as being like a super sharp pizza cutter. The blade needs to be so sharp to maintain accuracy and to slice through the fabric without tearing it.
Rotary cutting technology has advanced a lot over the years and there are now many different types of blades and handles on the market to suit every quilter’s needs.
Larger rotary cutter blades will mean you can cut through more layers of fabric at once, but are better if you’re more adept and skilled so probably not the best tool if you’re a beginner.
You should always replace the rotary blade when it no longer makes a swift, clean cut through the cloth. However, remember it will still be very sharp indeed and could still cut you, so take care to wrap it up in its original packaging and parcel tape it tightly before you dispose of it.
You must always quilt and cut on a proper protective mat. They’re always slightly rough in texture mats so that they can help grip the fabric and are made of a material that protects the rotary blade and keeps it from becoming blunt too quickly.
Some rotary mats are reversible and have two coloured sides so you can contrast according to the colour of the fabric you are cutting. You’ll also find that any nicks that happen to the mat as you cut won’t be permanent as rotary mats are ‘self-healing’.
Many mats have a grid marked on to them which will help you line up and place your fabric more accurately. However, it isn’t accurate enough to measure strips of fabric on it.
Buy the biggest mat you can afford and can accommodate in your sewing space. You’ll find it much easier to cut fabric into strips then.
Keep mats out of direct sunlight and heat sources.
Rotary rulers are usually made from acrylic and are see through to help aid you in aligning your fabric.
It’s better to choose a ruler that has thin lines on it as this will help you align the fabric more easily.
There is a lot of choice in terms of rotary rulers. Start with something basic and as you become more adept and confident then add to your collection.
Rotary Rulers for Beginners
You’ll need a 6" x 24" rotary ruler. This will enable you to make nearly any type of cut. It should be marked with 30, 45, and 60-degree lines and its increments should be ⅛ of an inch.
You’ll need a 6.5" x 6.5" square ruler. This is perfect for cutting squares and triangle-squares. Its measurements are doubled up along two adjoining sides and there’ll be a diagonal guideline running through them. Again, its increments should be ⅛ of an inch
You’ll need a 12.5" x 12.5" square ruler helps you make sure blocks are square.
Equip yourself with the right rotary cutting basics and you’ll go far.