A Guide To Rotary Cutting

Rotary cutting is a method to cut a large number of fabric pieces quickly and accurately. Rotary cutters are available in two sizes. The bigger rotary cutters are preferred for all rotary cutting. The smaller rotary cutters are used for cutting and trimming.

What are the tools needed?

Rotary cutting requires a rotary cutter, a mat specially made for using with rotary cutters, and a heavy plastic ruler. Though the mats used in rotary cutting are available in more than one size, the quilter is advised to use the largest size that can be afforded for best quilting. The 18"x24" mat size gives the best results. These mats have 1" grid marks on one side and, the other side being blank. Before using the mats, the grid dimensions should be checked by the heavy plastic ruler. Plastic rulers also come in many sizes but the 6” by 24” ruler is best suited for quilting. Squares, diamonds, and wedges are also used for measurements in rotary cutter.

Rotary cutters are used to cut mainly four shapes from the fabric. These are strips, squares, right triangles and quarter triangles.

Fabric preparation

Good quality rotary cutting needs adequate preparation. Before cutting all fabrics meant for rotary cutting are first well ironed. The fabric is then folded in half taking care that the selvedge edges are aligned. The fold should run along the lengthwise grain of the fabric.

Safety measures

Since rotary cutters have very sharp blades proper precautions must be taken when the cutter is being used. Serious injuries to rotary cutter operators are not all that rare. The rotary blades must be closed or the blade guards in place when the machine is put down. The rotary cutter must be used with only a specially designed rotary cutter mat. Any other mat would damage the rotary cutter and cause it to slip while cutting. You should give 100% attention to the rotary cutter when it is running. Distractions could cause injuries.

A clean rotary cutter is a safer cutter, all other things remaining the same. Dirt under the blade can prevent smooth rotation. The blades should be changed as soon as they lose their sharpness. Instructions that come with the rotary cutter must be strictly followed. Finally, extra precautions must be taken when children are around.


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