Quilting and Sewing With Rotary Cutters
Rotary cutters aren’t exactly a new tool when it comes to quilting and sewing. They’ve been around for almost forty years. They’re an essential part of any quilter’s toolbox, but as an original concept, there was little to choose from and only one company of note, (Olfa), that made them.
When they were first introduced onto the market in 1979 they were initially used in the fashion industry to accurately cut fabrics for garments and quilting fabric. However, they quickly became adopted by quilt makers as a tool for cutting intricate shapes when creating patchworks.
Rotary Cutters explained
The rotary cutter’s name basically (and succinctly) explains what it does. It’s a handle with a small circular blade that is used to cut small curves in fabrics. A smaller blade will afford greater control over how the fabric is cut, and means that the person using it will be able to navigate around the corners or shapes of fabric more easily, and especially helpful with quilting patterns.
Larger circular rotary cutter blades can be purchased and these are more often used to cut large curves in fabric, as well as straight lines. Most quilters will opt for these blades, even though a smaller blade will offer greater control.
They are a handy tool to use to cut through multiple layers of fabric without shredding or tearing at fibres, which make them ideal to use for crafts such as patchwork, that often require large volumes of cut out shapes needing to be the same size. This can sometimes be difficult to achieve accurately with scissors, so a rotary cutter is an ideal tool for this type of handicraft.
Over the years, many other companies have noted the trend in rotary cutters and have made their own versions. This means that quilters now have many different options to choose from and a rotary cutting blade that will suit a variety of different needs.
From the quilting supplies and accessory front, there are several different rotary cutter blade sizes available for quilters to use. Typically, the most popular are 18mm, 45mm and 60mm in diameter. Rotary Cutter Blades 45mm size, is more than likely the most popular size.
The greatest variations and differentials occur when the topic of handles for rotary cutter blades is discussed. Every manufacturer will have their own way of creating a handle - whether it’s designed for comfort or for ergonomics, it’s really down to personal preference. When choosing a rotary cutter for the first time, it’s recommended you visit a crafting or sewing supply shop to get a feel for a few different styles, to see which will be the best fit.
Safety and security
They’re a safe tool to use and always have a safety latch on them to prevent any accidents and to keep the blade covered up. Make sure that the rotary cutter you choose is easy to operate and that you can open and shut the latch as efficiently as possible. Always make sure to retract the blade after it has been used and only ever operate a rotary cutter on a specially designed cutting mat.
It’s worth noting that most quilters and sewers have more than one of these handy tools. Once a seasoned user of a rotary cutter gets the hang of it, they may find that they need several of them to suit a wider variety of handicraft project needs.