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The rotary cutter has made a big difference in fabric cutting, especially for quilting. Although I still use scissors to cut curves, I will always use my rotary cutter to cut straight lines.

The beauty of this is that you can cut up to 4 layers of fabric at a time. This not only saves time, but is sure knowing that the squares or triangles you have cut are exactly the same size as the other.

If you decide to buy a rotary cutter, then you really have to buy a mat and a ruler at the same time. The cutter blade is very sharp and can only be used on a mat, never on a table.

The mat I use is 24 “x 18” and is marked with a 1 “square grid. The mats with imperial measurements are by far the most common, but it is also possible to obtain them with metric grids. They usually have triangle marks too so you can use them to cut triangles in different ways.

The choice of rulers is unbelievable. Again, they are available in metric or imperial units. They are made of sturdy plastic and guide the rotating cutter along the line you want to cut. The color of the brands varies and this can influence your choice to buy. Some people may find clearer yellow marks for work, while others may find the black marks clearer.

Which eventually leads us to the rotary cutter. These vary in sheet size, handle type, quality, color, etc. All have shields to protect the blade but do not let your fingers get in the way while you cut them: keep them firmly in the ruler.

After deciding the cutting width you need to make on your fabric, align the edge of the fabric along one of the carpet lines. It is almost certain that you will have to make a cut to trim the edge to make sure all the edges are straight.

Keep the ruler down firmly with your left hand (keeping your fingers on the ruler) and align the swivel blade against the ruler just before the edge of the fabric closest to you. Keeping the blade against the ruler, cut the length of the fabric in the direction that moves you away.

Move the fabric strip you just cut before moving the ruler, because sometimes there are strange sections that may not have cut well. It’s easier to cut them while the rule is still in place

Cutting half-square triangles is easy with a rotary cutter to see the images above.

Additional tips for using a rotary cutter:

* The edge of the fabric usually needs straightening before starting.

* Align the ruler with the cutting board lines and be sure to cut to avoid accidents.

* Be sure to place the padlock on the blade when not in use.

* If you find that the ruler slides over your fabric, you can get the tweezers to adhere to your ruler.

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