So in my posts about making napkins and coasters I mentioned that types of projects like those would be a lot easier if you had a rotary cutter and self-healing mat. Then I put something to the effect of “dear Santa” as a joke.
Since it was never something I had specifically told Mr. Canada that I wanted for Christmas, I didn’t think anything about those tools when I was eyeing my wrapped presents and brainstorming what they could be.
But to my surprise and great joy (I might have squealed little bit), there was a rotary cutter and self-healing mat under the tree for me from Mr. Canada!
What to make first!? And maybe more importantly, how do I use this thing!?
It seemed pretty simple, based on what I had read, but it seemed too good to be true.
IT WASN’T. It was wonderful.
And really, it’s just as easy as it seems.
Lay your mat out on a hard surface. I use the dining room table (who am I kidding… It’s a craft table now).
Lay your fabric out flat lining it up at the corner where the ruler starts (be careful to set the corner of the fabric at 0 and not 1 – I seem to have that problem).
Decide what your fabric measurements need to be, find that number on the ruler of the mat. Line your straight edge up on those lines being careful to get it straight.
Use the hand that isn’t holding the cutter to hold the straight edge VERY still. Roll your rotary cutter along the straight edge, moving your “holding” hand as you go so that your edge doesn’t accidentally get tilted.
Turn fabric, lining it up as before, in order to cut the other side.
This will be all you need to cut a square/rectangle.
I have also used the rotary cutter to cut around a pattern. Basically use the pattern in leiu of a straight edge that we used above. You can either use a fabric pencil to trace the pattern then cut, or just hold the pattern while you cut.
Depending on the size of the pattern, you may want to have someone help hold it still – especially if you have a Moose that thinks he wants to help you with your sewing.
The rotary cutter isn’t the best on curves, but in my experience, it does the job. Ultimately, it’s your sewing project – you decide.
I think the rotary cutter was one of the best investments as far as sewing tools is concerned.
Note: please know that rotary cutters are VERY sharp. It seems like an obvious reminder, but one that I think needs to be emphasized. This is even more important it you have children or pets who may not be able to understand what you are doing.
Be careful, also, because some mats have certain storage instructions. The particular one I have says not to roll it or get it wet.