If you've spent time sewing or quilting, you're probably familiar with one of the trade's best tools, a rotary cutter. These nifty cutters make sewing life a breeze and shave off a ton of time preparing material and projects. Most people see rotary cutters as completely separate tools with nothing to do with the sewing machine they're using. But deep down, we know that all of our tiny parts make up the whole of a sewer's haven.
Not all rotary cutter options are made equal. What you're using your rotary cutter for can drastically change which tool is best for you and your machine. Your sewing machine already puts up with quite a lot, but with the right tools and adequately prepared material, you can reduce the strain on your trusty machine.
To find the best rotary cutter for you, consider these elements:
Handle size always comes down to comfort. Can you comfortably handle the tool? Does your hand cramp? When you're in the store, it can be hard to judge. But whether you're buying in-store, or online you can size up the handle and estimate how it will fit your hand. You should have no problem comfortably closing your hand around the handle, without squeezing.
Blade size is a bit more technical. Blades come in 60, 45, 28, and 18 mm sizes. Not every rotary cutter can handle different blade sizes. The 18 and 28 mm are great for curves, tight corners, and more precise details.
The 45 mm is the all-purpose blade that can slice through multiple layers of cotton and vinyl, felt, and leather. It's suitable for the larger pieces but not so much for detailed work. Finally, the 60 mm works best for all your upholstery fabric use.
You always want to make sure there is a safety feature on the blade, usually a simple slide or button. The slide or button will push a piece of plastic up, and it will go slightly beyond the edge of the blade. Safety is important when working with sharp objects. It is important to slide the safety feature up before setting your tool down so that no one gets cut.
With electric rotary cutters, you want to ensure that you're following all the safety standards, including unplugging it when it’s not in use.
Ease of use is not only an element of buying a rotary cutter but is also a part of continued use. For example, you don’t want to apply too much pressure, but that also tracks back to over-tightening the blade. If you can't feel where your blade safely locks into place, you will over tighten it. Then you're going to force more pressure onto the fabric, and that will not only dull your blade but also take down the quality of the material. Frayed and uneven edges can strain you as you work and your machine to accommodate for those edge issues.
For even better ease of use, rely on a ruler. A ruler will change how much time and effort you put into lining up edges and making sure that pieces have an accurate cut. Don’t just rely on those drawn lines. Rulers improve the ease of use, and although this bit isn’t necessarily about choosing the right rotary cutter, it addresses an important tool.
Your rotary cutter is only as good the hand that's holding it. Well, and the eyes that guide it, which brings us to our first tip: keep your cutting line visible. Always cut away from yourself, but don't cut at an angle that you can't see. Move your body, the fabric, or the table to ensure that you can always see where the blade is heading.
For lefties, don't settle for an "ambidextrous" option. We all know they aren't comfortable. Instead, find a left-handed fit. There are a ton available!
Are you cutting over a pattern? Use pattern weights, or create pattern weights by filling small squares of fabric with sand or rice.
A rotary cutter is convenient, but once you have one, it's hard to go without. They're great tools for decreasing the time spent doing the frustrating work like cutting. Get your rotary cutter right here at GoldStar Tool. Our customer service representatives are here to answer any remaining questions you may have about rotary cutting or any sewing product.