Choosing and Using Rotary Cutters and Mats
Scissors are essential to every sewer, but for cutting a pattern, I prefer a rotary cutter. Unlike scissors, a rotary cutter cuts through multiple layers of fabric and a pattern without lifting the stack off the table. A scissor blade can shift layers when it slides under them.
Cutting a seam with a rotary cutter’s razor-sharp circular blade is often as easy as a wave of your arm. And because they cause much less arm and hand strain than scissors, rotary cutters are ideal for arthritis sufferers. Most cutters work for either the right or left hand.
Using a rotary cutter requires a special mat underneath the fabric to protect your table and the cutter’s blade. Large mats are expensive—the main drawback to rotary cutting. I’ll tell you how to ease that expense below.
Rotary cutters come in a variety of sizes and shapes
Blade diameters determine the handle size and range from 18 mm to 65 mm (approximately 3/4 inch to 2 1/2 inches). Smaller cutters navigate tight curves such as armholes or necklines. Larger ones cut through heavier fabrics, loftier thicknesses, and more layers, and they move effortlessly along a straight or moderately curved seam.
Alternative cutting edges include blades for pinking or scalloping, which are interchangeable and far less expensive than their corresponding shears. Circle and point cutters provide unique cutting for specialized use.
All brands offer replacement blades, but you can extend…