Tuesday’s Tips, Tricks & Tools #2

One of the most useful tools a sewer can have is a rotary cutter. These are great for cutting out fabric quickly and many layers at once. They are basically super sharp pizza cutters for fabric. You don’t have to be a quilter to have one. I even use mine to cut out clothing patterns.

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Rotary cutters come in three sizes, 18mm, 45mm, 60mm in diameter. The 45mm is a great size to start with because it’s the most versatile. The smallest blade is good for cutting around curves and tight corners. The largest is awesome for cutting through many layers and thick fabrics. You’ll find after you’ve used a rotary cutter you’ll end up buying multiples and all sizes.

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You’ll find many different handle styles for rotary cutters. Straight handles, curved, and even ergonomic. The best way to see what handle you like is to go to a quilt shop to try them out. I find I like my curve Olfa handles and my ergonomic Martelli.

One thing you should get in the habit of doing when owning a rotary cutter is to make sure to always close the blade when not in use. Many cutters have safety latches or automatic closures to aid in this but it’s must to do.

Two tools you will need to utilize your rotary cutter is a cutting mat to protect the blade and sewing surface and a rigid acrylic ruler which aids in making straight cuts. These are essential partners for your rotary cutter.IMG_2587

You will find that rotary blades can add up fast in cost. Depending on how much you use it, you will quickly go through blades. Another tool that is nice but optional is a blade sharpener. I have found the in store hand held sharpeners not to do a very good job. The best sharpener on the market is the TrueCut Power Sharpener from The Grace Company. It can sharpen any blade size with just the push of a button. It can also sharpen a blade no matter how dull it is. It runs anywhere from $50-65 but you will find it’s worth it if you can continue reusing blades.

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Safe cutting,

Kyle