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How to Use a Rotary Cutter When Quilting

Learn how to use a rotary cutter from quilting expert Cathy Izzo in this Howcast video.


Now we're going to talk about rotary cutters. They're a wonderful invention. They really speed up the quilting process and make everything much more precise. It's a great tool.

This is my favorite rotary cutter. It has an ergonomic handle. The blade isn't exposed unless you squeeze the handle. It also has a lock on the blade. I would say if you have small children in the house, you definitely want to get one of these. It's a really good idea.

The other thing I want to say is the blades are incredibly sharp. They're like razors. So, you really have to be careful when you use them. Having said that, I couldn't live without it.

They make a lot of different brands. They also come in different sizes. The small size is nice and easy for cutting curves. It slides around curved rulers really well. The extra large size, 60 millimeters, is good for cutting a lot of layers. If you need to cut a lot of things quickly, this is the rotary cutter that you would want.

This is the original straight handle rotary cutter. The blade is only exposed once you pull down the cutter, so you have to remember to do that. That's why I like this one, no memory involved. Just squeeze and its exposed. Let go and it's back in its place.

They also do have different kinds of blades for rotary cutters. You can make different shapes. This is scallop, if you have a pinking blade. The blades are really easy to replace. You just unscrew the little nut in the back. Take the pieces off. Pop in a new blade and you have a new blade that's sharp and ready to go.

To use a rotary cutter, I usually line up my fabric on the mat. I take my ruler and figure out how big I want my strip to be. Gently, but firmly press and cut away from you. You always want to cut away from you.

Those are the basics of using a rotary cutter.

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