One of the best advances (in my opinion) in sewing tools over the last few decades has been rotary cutting tools. Hi, I’m Susan with Sewfeet.com and in this post, I’m showing you the cutting tools I use plus my favorite way to cut bias binding. These tools are from Quilters Select tools from RNK Distributing.
Why Use a Rotary Cutter?
Scissors have been around for about 2,000 years and sewers exclusively used them to cut fabrics for making garments. In 1979, a new tool was introduced for fabric cutting and sewists everywhere (especially quilters) embraced this new way to cut fabric. So, what’s the big deal? Why is rotary cutting so popular and what does it add to the sewing and quilting processes? Here are a few reasons:
The rotary cutter has a round blade that rolls over the fabric, leaving a cleaner cut than scissors.
It is easier to cut a perfectly straight edge with a rotary cutter.
Cutting is faster and easier on the hands when using a rotary cutter instead of scissors.
You can cut multiple layers of fabric with a rotary cutter. The number of layers depends on the type of fabric you are using, the size of your cutter, and the sharpness of the blade.
Rotary cutting for quilting projects is much easier and far more accurate than it is when using scissors. This means it is easier to sew your patterns together, resulting in a perfect patchwork pattern and the exact size block you want.
Three Tools for Rotary Cutting
The cutter is only one piece that you need for rotary cutting. You will also need a cutting mat to protect your table surface as you cut, and a straight edge ruler to cut against, so your edges are clean and straight. I’ve used several different types of cutters, mats, and rulers over the years, but I finally found ones that always give me great cutting results. The Quilters Select cutting tools are high-quality and have some unique features. They are sold wholesale to retail sewing and quilting businesses. To find a Quilters Select retailer near you, go to:
Select Dual Side Cutting Mats
These mats are multilayer, and you can use either side, so it’s like you are getting two mats in one! It has ⅛”, ¼”, ½” ¾” and 1” markings on each side, so you can measure as accurately as you need. The one-inch lines have two sets of corresponding numbers that are placed around the perimeter of the mat. You can read them left to right and right to left so you never lose your place or have to count backwards! Even with all those markings, the surface of the mat is not busy. These markings are easy to see and simple to read. One side of the mat is dark with white markings and the other is light with dark markings.
The Select Rotary Cutter is the best one I have ever used! You’ll notice a difference from other cutters the second you pick it up. It is weighted and this makes it easier to cut single layers as well as multiple layers. The weight helps you cut with less effort, so it is easier on your hands. The Select Rotary Cutter has an innovative ambidextrous design that lets you precisely cut from the left or right side. It is available in 45mm or 60mm blade sizes, with replacement blade packs for both!
The blade on the Select Rotary Cutter is simple to change because it is magnetized. CLICK HERE to watch Alex Anderson as she shows you how to easily use the cutter and change the blade.
There are two things I like best about QS rulers. One is the non-skid coating on the back. It keeps your ruler flat against the fabric with no slipping or sliding as you cut. The second is how easy it is to read the markings. Just like the dual-sided mats, the surface is markings are clean and clear, making them easy to read.
Cutting Bias Binding
Using the ruler to cut bias strips using the 45-degree line is simple to do. If you haven’t learned this way of cutting bias strips, I encourage to give it a try because it is easier and more accurate than any other method. First of all, I used the QS ruler that is 2 ½” x 36”. This is the perfect ruler to use because it is the exact width I need to make binding. Because it is 36”, I can cut long strips and have less piecing. Cut the amount of fabric you need, just like it comes off the bolt with selvedge edges together. Make sure it is folded evenly. Find the 45-degree line on your ruler. The ruler I’m using has the line at one end. Place the 45-degree line on the fold of the fabric. The places the long edge of the ruler exactly where it needs to be to cut on the bias.
Once you have the ruler placed, cut along the edge of the ruler, which is the true bias grain of the fabric. Continue cutting the fabric the width of the ruler until you have the number of strips you need.
For more information about the QS rulers, CLICK HERE to see a previous blog post about which to select for a beginner and how to organize them so they are easy to find them when you need them.
For more information from and about Susan, visit her at Sewfeet.com.