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Rotary Cutters/Mats Advice, Please!

SeoulSearch | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello all,

I am a beginning to intermediate level sewer who is getting sick of the slow pins and scissors method of cutting out patterns. I would like to get a rotary cutter and mat. What do you recommend? I sew mostly apparel, so should I get the biggest mat available? I also sew knits and fabrics that dull sharp edges quickly, so what cutter and blades would be best for this type of work? Thank you so much.





  1. dpcoffin | | #1

    I'm pretty opinionated about rotary cutters and mats, having used 'em for years and having compared them all for a Threads article some years back. I've always used a mat called the Big Mat from 

    The Sewing Emporium

    1079 Third Ave., Suite B

    Chula Vista, CA 91910


    It's a solid white sheet (black, too, for bridal shops), available in lots of sizes up to 4x8ft., and can be cut to size easily, comes gridded on one side, and it's by far the best. I was amazed to discover that many others will actually allow some farbics to get shoved into the mat instead of cutting them. The Big Mat is very hard, and this never happens. It also doesn't dull blades.

    David Coffin

  2. dpcoffin | | #2

    PS. Yes, get as big a mat as possible, at least 32 in.  by the length of a pants leg pattern...or whatever you often sew that has the longest pattern piece. I prefer a mat that's exactly the size of my work table. I set my machine on it, and can do quick rotary trimming while sitting at the machine. I got a 4x8 ft sheet and cut it to size, and have found the left-over scraps very useful, too.

    I only use Olfa cutters, the bigger the better, altho a small one is handier for tight curves. This seems to be a product that was designed right to start with, and the follow-ups haven't improved on it.

    1. SeoulSearch | | #3

      Thank you so much for your advice on cutters and mats. I wound up purchasing Olfa products before I'd read your posts. I will look into the Big Mat though because I think I'd like a larger mat.

      With the Olfa mat, I've noticed it's tricky to cut the fabric. Perhaps this is what you mean when you say the fabric gets pressed into the mat? I'll use a ruler and cut along the line... and it takes a few tries in some areas (I've been cutting two layers at a time). Is this common or am I doing something wrong?

      Thanks for your advice.

      1. dpcoffin | | #4

        If you're getting regularly spaced uncut threads, like every 5 or 6 inches, then your balde is nicked and should be replaced.

        If you are actually pushing the fabric into the board here and there, which is most likely with a soft mat and thin fabrics (which board are you using now?), the Big Mat will help.

        If you're getting occasional uncut sections, maybe you just need to press down harder and more consistently...hope this helps!

        David Coffin

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