So as a newbie you quickly realise that everyone uses rotary cutters and mats it is MUST. But how do you use them?
Firstly you must keep in mind that it is basically a rolling razor cutter and it is therefore extremely sharp. I have seen a few injuries through the hospital involving rotary cutters and they are not pretty. So when not in use keep the blade covered. Get into the habit of keeping it in the closed position when it is not in use. So EVERY time you put it down you push that little slide and you close the protective cap. Often as you reach across the blade to get the next fabric is when you will cut yourself.
Work on a hard flat surface that is stable. It is best for ergonomics if you can cut at counter height and bend from the hip rather than at the waist. Always cut away from yourself and use a constant even pressure. Press the blade against the edge of the ruler before you start cutting. If you don’t line it up properly your cuts will be wonky and uneven. It is also important to grip the ruler firmly so it doesn’t slip causing injury.
My biggest tip – buy the biggest mat you can afford and a little mat for travel. The bigger mats just make it so easy and you can never have a mat that is too big. If it covers and protects your whole table it is a bonus. The rotary cutter itself should feel good in your hand try a few different handles/styles out. The blade quality is important. I think olfa do the best blades and once they start to dull you can tell because you have to press harder to cut through the layers of fabric. I have a 45mm for most of my cutting, but I use a 28mm for my EPP as it is smaller and more manoeuvrable.
Squaring the fabric up
The fabric must be squared up before you cut it into strips or squares.
Fold the fabric in half with the selvage away from you, wrong sides together. Position the fabric with the fold to the left. Align the grid line on the mat with the fold line. Line up the ruler with another grid line, anchor firmly and cut. Don’t pick up the fabric once you have cut it – you will distort the edges. Now you can cut strips lining up with the now squared edges.
I really enjoy the precision of cutting fabric. I can get on a real roll and cut heaps of fabric for a project. Then you just need to think about how you will store it all together till you can finish your project! Not too many WIPs on the go at one time….