Ashley Hough

All About Rotary Cutters

Ashley Hough
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Duration:   6  mins

Rotary cutters are one of the most commonly used tools when it comes to quilting. While many quilters have their favorite size, style, or even brand of rotary cutter, we’ll go over some of the various types of rotary cutters and see some of the different blade sizes and types that can be used with each.

Types of Rotary Cutters

Blade Sizes

Ashley Hough begins by talking about the different rotary cutter blade sizes. She explains that most quilters will generally use a 45 mm blade when cutting through two to four layers of standard quilting cotton fabric. If a project calls for thicker fabric, like a fleece or flannel, a 60 mm blade can be helpful. Smaller blade sizes, like 28 mm or 18 mm, are helpful when doing more detailed or curved cuts, like when cutting out around template pieces.

Rotary Cutter Safety

When using any size of blade, rotary cutter safety should always be practiced. Ashley shows some of the different styles of blade guards that the different types of rotary cutters have. Some allow the blade to be exposed when the handle is squeezed after a lock has been disengaged, while others require you to pull down on the blade guard prior to cutting. Depending on the blade guard mechanism, some rotary cutters can be used right or left-handed.

How to Change Rotary Blades

Next, Ashley discusses some of the different ways to change rotary blades on several cutters and then demonstrates how to change a rotary cutter blade. Even though the blade is starting to dull in terms of cutting fabric, they are still very sharp and should be handled carefully and disposed of properly. Ashley shows not only how to put in a standard blade, but shows some of the different types of specialty blades available as well, like pinking blades or scalloped edge blades.

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4 Responses to “All About Rotary Cutters”

    • Customer Service

      Thanks for contacting the National Quilters Circle with your question. Having quilting tools in good condition makes the whole process more enjoyable. Rotary cutter blades do dull over time. And then there is always that moment when we hit something with the blade, that we shouldn’t. I’m guilty of it and it makes your heart sink when you have a nick in the blade that causes it to skip threads when cutting. There are a couple of methods you can try. (1) Cutting through a few layers of aluminum foil can help the blade somewhat. (2) But for the blade that has made hundreds of cuts you can purchase blade sharpeners and can lengthen the life of your blades. The Grace Company makes one called the TrueSharp2. It won’t return the blade to the ultimate sharpness of a new blade but can help. I also found these in a google search. I haven’t used them or reviewed them, but they might be worth investigating. (3) Omnigrid makes a sharpener and one made by (4) Colonial Needle Turn-sharp Rotary Blade Sharpener is also on the market. Tools in working order makes quilting fun. I’ve come to understand that replacing blades is just part of the process.
      Happy Quilting
      Colleen Tauke
      Managing Editor NQC

  1. Debi Mishael

    I’m surprised that Martelli rotary cutters were completely left out of this discussion. They are ergonomically designed and significantly change the quality and hand stress of using a traditional rotary cutter. If you’re going to do a video that describes the variety of styles, you should include different styles.

    The Martelli rotary cutter is so different. I purchased a left-handed cutter when I had shoulder surgery on my right shoulder. It allowed me to get back to sewing much faster

    • Customer Service

      Hello Debi,

      Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

      If you have any other questions, please chat, email, or call Customer Service. 


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