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The Spin on the Rotary Cutter

Options and accessories keep you on the cutting edge
Threads #197, June/July 2018
Fiskars self-healing rotary cutting mat, 18 inches by 24 inches, $19.99; shown with Fiskars heavy-duty Ergo Control rotary cutter, 60 mm, $33.39 (Fiskars.com). For more on blade sizes, turn to p. 68.

In 1979, Yoshio Okada, founder of the Olfa Corporation, introduced a cutting tool that revolutionized the sewing and quilting worlds. His invention, the rotary cutter, made cutting fabrics more efficient with its single rolling blade. Since then, blades, handles, and other tools have been developed to enhance rotary cutters’ speed and accuracy.

Today, companies worldwide have improved blade sharpness and made a variety of sizes available for different uses. They have added easier and safer ways to change blades and protect fingers. The handles also have been improved for ergonomics, with blade-locking features and a variety of handle materials. The addition of cutting mats and companion devices make rotary-cutting narrow strips and circles foolproof for sewers.

Remember, however, that a rotary cutter does not replace scissors (and vice versa). Each is a tool with its own specific purpose. Any well-appointed sewing room has both tools.

Rotary Cutter Accessories

Rulers and mats are necessary for working with rotary cutters. Rulers offer a guiding edge, and mats protect surfaces from the sharp blade. Here are some recent updates to these companion products.

Visibly different

Dark and light gray rotary cutting mats are designed for maximum legibility without eye-strain. The mats are reversible, so that you can work on a dark gray ground with light gray measurement grid and bias lines, or the reverse, dark gray markings on a light gray ground. Both sides are self-healing, which means blade cuts in the surface reseal after use.

More portability

Fiskars rotating self healing cutting mat.
Fiskars rotating mat, part of a set with an 18-mm cutter and small rulers (not shown), $34.99 (JoAnn.com).

Folding mats: Expend less effort and devote less space to transporting and storing rotary cutter accessories. Large mats are cumbersome to carry and store. Rolling or leaning them against a wall can damage them and cause a permanent…

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