Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon
Tools & Supplies

A Cut Above: Handy Accessories for Rotary Cutters

A frosted ruler, special blades, and a circular template aid in cutting.

Threads #197, June/July 2018 Issue
Article Image

Rulers, templates, and blade options improve and expand the ways garment sewers can use rotary cutters. Circular cutting guides and circle rotary cutters make it fast and easy to cut flawless fabric circles. A ruler designed for visibility over different fabrics is an excellent rotary cutter guide, and with the correct rotary cutter blade, you can cut pinked or decorative edges on fabric.

In general, rotary cutters make the process of cutting fabrics faster and more efficient. Since the fabric remains flush with the cutting surface, garment sewers can use pattern weights instead of pins. Quilters can make perfect squares with a ruler and rotary cutter, and no extra marking is required.

A few handy rotary cutter accessories available are described in “Essential Techniques: The spin on rotary cutters,” Threads #197, June/July 2018. More are listed below.

No matter which way you roll, always be careful when handling rotary cutters and blades. Because rotary cutter blades are sharp, always engage the blade guard or safety whenever your rotary cutter is not in use. Also keep rotary cutters and spare blades away from children. In addition, be sure to use a cutting mat to protect your worksurface and prolong the life of the rotary cutter blade.

The following accessories and blade options can enhance your rotary cutting.

Frosty cutting guidance

Olfa Frosted Advantage rulers are easy to read over light or dark surfaces. The one pictured above is an Olfa Frosted Advantage 1-inch by 12-inch ruler.

A clear ruler often is used in combination with a rotary cutter to measure and guide accurate cuts. Ruler measurement markings can be difficult to see when working with dark fabrics, however. Olfa Frosted Advantage rulers are easier to read with dark- and light-colored fabrics. Thanks to a translucent white coating on the underside of the clear acrylic rulers, black measurement markings, at 1/8-inch intervals, are visible over dark fabrics. The coating also gives the Frosted Advantage rulers a nonslip surface.

Marathon blades

Olfa Endurance Blade for Olfa Rotary Cutters
The long-lasting Olfa Endurance Blade is made of special steel.

The Olfa Endurance Blade is made of tungsten-blend steel. A rigorous forging and honing process means the blade stays sharp for twice as many cuts as a regular rotary cutter blade. If you like to save time and change rotary cutter blades less frequently, these are the blades for you. Be aware, though, that endurance blades cost more than ordinary blades.

Olfa Endurance Blade, 45 mm, is available on Amazon.com.

 

Alternative blades for rotary cutters

Olfa wave, scallop and peak, and pinking blades for rotary cutters
Left to right, cuts were made by the Olfa wave, scallop and peak, and pinking rotary cutter blades; shown with the Olfa 45-mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter and Fiskars 18-inch-by-24-inch cutting mat.

Wave, scallop and peak, and pinking rotary cutter blades cut a decorative or practical edge on fabric and paper. They cost a fraction of the price of comparable shears. Also, if you’re a perfectionist, you know how difficult it is to accurately line up successive cuts with pinking shears. With a specialty rotary cutter blade, just stay on a roll and you’ll cut each edge cleanly, without visible stops and starts. Note, however, that these alternative cutting edge blades do not work with all rotary cutters, due to differences in blade shields and blade-changing mechanisms. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility with your cutter.

Available on Amazon.com:

Olfa 45-mm Wave Rotary Blade 9457

Olfa 45-mm Scallop & Peak Rotary Blade 1061410

Olfa 45-mm Pinking Rotary Blade 9456

A template for cutting circles

Fiskars Fabric Circle Cutter kit
Cut circles and rings rapidly with the Fiskars Fabric Circle Cutter kit. It includes the clear cutting template and a push-down cutter.

The Fiskars Fabric Circle Cutter enables you to cut consistent fabric circles quickly. The two-part kit includes a clear acrylic cutting template and a push cutter with a retractable 18-mm blade. The template has rubber feet for stability and 11 cutting channels. It creates circles from 2 inches to 12 inches in diameter, including 1/4-inch seam allowances. To use, fold the fabric, align the template over the fabric, and hold down both securely. Place the push cutter into the chosen cutting channel, push down firmly, and move the cutter along the channel. The small blade rotates as you cut, for a perfect circle. The cutter comes equipped with a cover for when it is not in use, and it features a quick-change system for blade replacement.

Fiskars Fabric Circle Cutter is available on Amazon.com.

 

A pivoting blade

Olfa Circle Rotary Cutter
The Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter has an 18-mm blade. The cutter pivots on a small spike to cut perfect circles.

For precision control over the diameter of each circle, try the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter. The cutter works like a pencil compass, and it cuts circles with an 18-mm replaceable rotary cutter blade. It is useful for cutting paper, fabric, leather, wallpaper, and other materials. An adjustable pivot spike positions the cutter on the material and the cutting mat. The Rotary Circle Cutter creates fabric circles from 1 1/4 inches to 8 3/4 inches in diameter, not including seam allowances. The pivot spike comes with a screw-on cap. The rotary cutter blade has a retractable cover and a quick-change mechanism. The handle’s ratchet feature means that the blade angle adjusts as you cut, for a smooth circle circumference. The ratchet feature is reversible for left- or right-handed use.

Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter is available on Amazon.com.

 

A parting tip for rotary cutter users

Rotary blade encased in duct tape
Seal a used rotary blade in duct tape before you throw it away.

Dispose of blades thoughtfully. Because the blades are sharp, even after prolonged use, don’t throw a loose rotary cutter blade into the trash. Instead, fold and seal it within a length of duct or packing tape. The sharp edge will be rendered harmless.

If you purchased single rotary cutter blades and saved the cases, it is a good idea to throw out each rotary cutter blade in its original case.

Consider several fabric-cutting tips for garments, whether you are using a rotary cutter or scissors, from Threads #85, Oct./Nov. 1999.

Do you rely on rotary cutters in your sewing? What are your favorite rotary cutter features and accessories?

 

Sign up for the Threads eletter

Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

Sign Up
×
Discuss

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Subscribe to Threads today

Save up to 37% and get a free gift

Subscribe

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

More From Threads

Most Popular

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All

Highlights

  • Sign up for the Threads eletter

    Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

    Sign Up
  • SewStylish

    SewStylish

    Take a look inside the pages of SewStylish Spring 2017.

  • CraftStylish

    CraftStylish

    Expert craft tutorials, news, and tips for sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting, paper crafts, embroidery, jewelry making, and more!