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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Is it worth getting a rotary cutter? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Is it worth getting a rotary cutter?
tg33

tg33
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Date: 9/17/12 6:47 AM

I have been sewing slowly for a while, but I took on a project to make 10 pyjama bottoms for my DD2s birthday party, and made most of them this weekend.

I cut out the (jersey) material using scissors, but depending on how I angle the scissors the two pieces of fabric are not always the same. I have been finding this all the time when I sew, but it was more obvious as I was doing a lot of sewing at once. I find I have to lift up the fabric to get the scissors into the material, and that can distort the fabric.

Would a rotary cutter be better? How hard is it to learn how to use it? All experiances welcome

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Changma
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Changma  Friend of PR
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In reply to tg33 <<


Date: 9/17/12 7:25 AM

I love, love, love scissors...all types, all uses.But, most of my patterns I cut with one of my 3 rotary cutters (28, 45, & 60mm) (and they're not even a fantastic brand) for the very reason you mention-fabric slipping. Except for safety issues such as keeping your fingers away from the blade, closing the cutter when you are done, and keeping it away from the edge of the table so it doesn't land on your toe, the cutters are easy to use. For straight edges, a ruler helps place the blade so that you don't slice off the edge of your pattern-been there, done that. And I always take corners and sharp curves slow so I don't mess up. I do use scissors for the really tiny details- when I have to. I get a lot of use out of my cutters

minggiddylooloo
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Date: 9/17/12 7:48 AM

Cutting with a rotary cutter should probably be very easy to learn on the long straight or slightly curved edge. On the smaller areas it might take you a bit longer to perfect the technique but overall it should make cutting faster. Just be sure to mind where your other hand is and always cut away from you and engage the blade safety mechanism anytime you are not using it.

Get yourself a large self healing mat to go along with your rotary cutter. Wawak/Cleaner Supply has the best prices around on these. You can get replacement blades pretty cheaply on Ebay if you are patient to hunt for the good deals. You may want to get a couple of different sized cutters so you can use the larger one for the straight areas and the smaller ones to get into the little grooves.

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stirwatersblue
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In reply to tg33 <<


Date: 9/17/12 8:04 AM

Have you read this thread, started two days ago in this forum? It might be helpful.

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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to tg33 <<


Date: 9/17/12 8:12 AM

I couldn't have made four items of clothing in 10 days had I not had my rotary cutter, and a few other sewing tips.

When I was first using them for sewing, I bought the 28mm size. That was the one size that gave me the most control around curved edges. Now I use the 45 mm size. I'd suggest you also purchase a French curve to use as your cutting ruler because the curves on a French curve are similar to those in patterns.

The other tips here, such as close your cutter before you put it down, where you can get blades, are timely. Keep in mind that when you are starting out, you will probably nick the blade and have to get new ones.

While cutting, practice curves on scraps. You'll have lots of those left over and allow your mind to "freehand" curves to give you a feel of what you are doing.

From your post it seems that you aren't pinning close to where you are sewing, Jersey is slippery and can shift while cutting. For the times I use scissors, I also use pattern weights. You can purchase them just about anywhere, or you can make your own out of large 3" flat washers covered with fabric, or you can use tuna or soup cans. The weight of the pattern weight keeps the fabric down, so you don't have to pin as much and you can get pretty close to a seamline, without the fabric shifting.

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tg33

tg33
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Date: 9/17/12 9:35 AM

OK, thanks for all the feedback!

I saw that thread, I was wondering if anyone switched from scissors to rotary cutters because of the issues I was facing?

On the pattern weights, I use these when tracing patterns, but not when cutting out as I have to lift the fabric to get the scissors under it, and the pattern weights just shift around, or distort the fabric if I use them.

I have pinned close to the edge, but I was rushing and using the minimum amount of pins...

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minggiddylooloo
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Date: 9/17/12 10:00 AM

Heavy pattern weights + rotary cutters + large cutting mat + a little bit of practice = faster cutting of fabric.

I hate the whole prep part of sewing so anything that I can do to get it over with quickly, I will.

If your weights are shifting on the fabric, try to get some bigger ones or you can use items in your pantry like some canned food.

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tg33

tg33
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Date: 9/17/12 11:04 AM

I'm afriad the weights are already canned food! They shift when I'm cutting out, but work very well with a tracing wheel when I am tracing patterns.

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minggiddylooloo
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Date: 9/17/12 11:13 AM

LOL, your fabric must be quite squirmy! Do you have anything else in your house that might be heavier than the cans? My pattern weights are heavy round disks but I love the ones that look like bacon presses. Maybe you can look around your home for something that has a wider surface area and is heavy. Are you cutting on a slick surface by any chance?

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tg33

tg33
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Date: 9/17/12 11:37 AM

The fabric is a very drapy knit, it isn't shiny but it is very squirmy! All the cutting out is done now, be it done well or badly it's done! But I am wondering if a rotary cutter is something that would make this task easier and more accurate in the future. I have sewn quite a bit with knits as opposed to anything else, as it happens, so I am interested in other peoples experiances with rotary cutters. If I am getting one, it may not be for a while. I think I may need a new sewing machine first, but that's subject for another thread.

The pj pants I was cutting out were for mainly 6 or 7 year olds, so the pattern pieces were small.

FWIW, I have found that taking on a project that means I HAVE to get a lot of sewing done in a short time, does mean that I do it poorly, but also I get better because I have to DO it, and not second guess myself all the time. Since I was doing 10 of these, it got me thinking about better ways to carry out tasks, such as cutting out!

ETA, I guess what I would like to do is borrow a rotary cutter and mat, and spend some time cutting out with a scissors and rotary cutter and see which suits me best. Since that is unlikely to work, the next best thing is to ask here!! Such an experiment would also mean having the time to carry out these test cuttings....

ETA again, I meant to say thanks very much to everyone who has taken the time to reply to me, I really appreciate it. I am kind of 'thinking' out loud here...
-- Edited on 9/17/12 11:40 AM --
-- Edited on 9/17/12 11:43 AM --

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