If you are thinking about buying a rotary cutter but are not sure if it is the right tool for you, or if you want to know more about the differences between the different types of rotary cutter, then this is the blog post for you.
The most important things to remember when thinking about buying a rotary cutter are:
- You will need a cutting mat and a suitable ruler when using your rotary cutter– we recommend investing in a quilting ruler but to start with you could use any strong, straight edge with your cutting mat.
- Rotary cutters can be used to cut curves but it isn’t easy, most sewers use scissors for curves and keep their rotary cutter for cutting straight lines, quickly and more accurately than when using scissors.
- Rotary cutters can handle up to six layers of thin materials.
Types of Rotary Cutter
We stock market leader OLFA rotary cutters and so will be talking about the differences between their cutters in this post, but the principles hold true for all brands.
Features to Consider – Handle Type
The deluxe handle is ergonomically designed, with an anti-slip rubber grip to reduce or eliminate hand fatigue and stress, while the squeeze trigger allows the blade to self-retract for safety.
The standard handle is still easy to hold and use, but if you are planning on cutting a lot of shapes your hand will start to ache after a while!
Features to Consider – Blade Size
Olfa sell a range of blade sizes, from 28mm to 60mm. The smaller the blade the easier it will be to cut curves, the larger the blade the quicker you will be able to cut straight lines, as each turn of the wheel will travel further 🙂 They all cut upto 6 layers of fabric at a time.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER is that you CANNOT use different blade sizes in the same rotary cutter – if you want to use a 28mm blade and a 60mm blade you will need to buy two rotary cutters, a 28mm one and a 60mm one.
Features to Consider – Blade Types
You can get 3 different types of blade for your OLFA rotary cutter, a straight blade, pinking (zig zag) blade and a chenille blade. If you buy a 45mm deluxe rotary cutter you can use all three types of blade with your cutter, keeping them in their own little plastic cases when they are not in use.
Regardless of the brand or type of rotary cutter you buy, you will need to replace the blade from time to time, if it gets dented or loses its sharpness, so when considering which cutter to buy, remember to factor in the cost of replacement blades.
How to Choose
If you already use a rotary cutter, or know you will be using one regularly, it’s worth spending the extra money on the deluxe model. It is easier to use, you are less likely to ache from constant use during a long day or night of sewing and the cover shuts down to protect you, your family and the blade itself when out of use.
If you have never used a rotary cutter but are a committed quilter we would still recommend going for the deluxe model, you will be glad you did with all the binding and sashing strips you cut, let alone the quilting shapes.
If you are new to sewing and are not sure if you need a rotary cutter, we recommend starting with a good quality pair or scissors, remember, rotary cutters really only out perform scissors when you are cutting lots of straight lines, if you plan to sew clothing you won’t get a lot of use out of one. Until you have worked out what sort of sewer you are, we would recommend saving your money.
If you find you like to dip in and out of a range of sewing styles, clothing, homewares, quilting etc.. and sewing is a hobby not a business, we would recommend buying the standard model. It’s not that you wouldn’t notice the difference, but you may not get enough use out of the deluxe model to justify the extra expense. If you fall in love with quilting or are planning on cutting hundreds of bunting triangles with your rotary cutter – definitely go for the deluxe one – it will be kinder to your hands!
REMEMBER, if you want to ‘pink’ the edges of your fabrics (cut with a zig zag finish) you will need the deluxe version, for which you can buy straight and pinking blades.