Everything You Need To Know About Rotary Cutters

There are a lot of tools you might be looking at getting to make your sewing process faster and more efficient or you have just got started with sewing and you are wondering what some of the tools are.

I worked for years on many different sewing projects without using a rotary cutter. It was only when I took an interest in patchwork and quilting that I took note of what it was and what it did.

I decided to put this handy guide together for anyone looking at buying or using a rotary cutter and wants to know more.

What Is Rotary Cutter?

A rotary cutter is a round blade attached the a handle that is very similar to a pizza cutter.

what size rotary cutter do I need.

The rotary blade is perfect for continuous cutting and create streamline cuts. They can be used for a number of different crafts such as paper crafts and sewing including patchwork and quilting.

A rotary cutter is used to create the cutting process in projects such as patchwork and quilting quicker and more accurate.

How To Use A Rotary Cutter

Each rotary cutter will come with a safety button or catch. That is to keep you and your family safe especially children. It also helps to protect the blade while it is being stored.

When you are using a rotary cutter it is best to use a self-healing cutting mat to protect your work surface.

I love using my rotary cutter with my quilting ruler and it helps create really crisp lines. You can use other shapes to use as a guide like triangles, diamonds, and more.

To use a rotary cutter place it on the fabric where you want to start cutting and press down. Roll forward following the line you have drawn or next to your ruler.

Make sure you keep a fair amount of pressure on the rotary cutter while you roll forward.

Tips For Using A Rotary Cutter

  • Always roll the blade away from yourself
  • Only use a rotary cutter with a cutting mat underneath
  • Always release the safety latch after using the rotary cutter
  • Thin and slippy fabrics are harder to cut – consider using spray starch to stiffen the fabric
  • Cutting more than 2 layers may reduce the accuracy of the cut but does speed up time.
  • Use a quilting ruler to create crisp clean straight edges.

Be sure to make sure you have a clear area and you don’t roll the blade too fast as you may loose control and cut a wobbly line.

What Size Rotary Cutter Do I Need

There are a couple different size rotary cutters on the market. They come in four main sizes, 60mm, 45mm, 28mm and 18mm.

There is no set size which you should have and should use. Rotary cutters are an extension of scissors in the sewing room and are a personal preference. Not everyone likes to use them or agrees on what size is best for what project.

The smaller blade rotary cutters are great for creating smaller designs, cutting small intricate cuts and tighter corners. As the blade is smaller it can handle the small cuts that a larger blade would struggle to do.

The largest rotary cutter size is 60mm which is perfect for bulky fabrics like wool and canvas. It is also really great for cutting wadding and batting for quilting projects. It is also a great all round rotary cutter if you prefer to use scissors for the smaller areas.

How To Sharpen Rotarty Cutter Blades

If you feel your rotary cutter blade is getting a little dull there are a couple of things you can do before changing blades.

Take a folded piece of tin foil and place it on your cutting mat. Simply roll over the tin foil with your rotary blade, repeat for 20 times until you can feel a difference.

Another way it to sharpen rotary cutter blades is to remove the blade and sharpen with an industrial tool.

Tip: If you have a spare rotary cutter use your dull blades for cutting paper and paper sewing patterns.

Label them with coloured tape or keep in a separate container so you don’t get confused.

How To Change A Blade On A Rotary Cutter

Each brand and model has different way of changing the blades. Though each one is fairly simple and straight forward. Many of them will come with directions on how to change the blades in a instruction manual.

If not the middle section of the blade usually unclips of unscrews to release the blade. Once the middle section has been removed you can then remove the blade.

Tip: Where gloves or something to protect your hand while removing the blade in case you catch yourself.

Place the blade in a safe container to dispose of or use in another cutter to use on papercrafts.

Where To Buy A Rotary Cutter

There are a whole host of places you can buy rotary cutters. Whether you are looking to buy for yourself, a friend or as a gift you can find them in a whole range of stores and online.

Places such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy are the most popular online platforms.

The bonus of using a platform such as Amazon is that you can often read reviews other people have left and find out more about the particular product you are looking at.

You can also shop in stores such as The Range and Hobby Craft if you are in the UK. If you are in the USA you might want to look at Hobby Lobby and Joann’s.

You can also buy replacement blades in packs in all of these place both online and in stores.

Tip: Make sure you buy the right size blade for your rotary cutter, meausre your existing blade to ensure you are buying the right size.

You can also buy blades that are like pinking shears scissors, they have a crinkle style shape which creates the crinkle-cut which helps to stop fabrics from fraying.

Can You Get Left Handed Rotary Cutters?

Yes, you can. You can buy specialist rotary cutters made for left-handed people. Or some brands have developed rotary cutters which are universal and can be used by both left and right-handed people.

I hope you have found this helpful and made you feel more confident about choosing and using a rotary cutter.