ROTARY CUTTERS FOR FABRIC – Do they make you panic?

Put the shears away and get out your rotary cutters for fabric.get clean straight lines for your seams

Don’t let them intimidate you or make you panic.  After we go over some safety tips I am confident you will be using them with ease in no time at all.  I absolutely adore mine which is probably why I keep adding to my collection.

They may look like a pizza cutter but please don’t use them in that manner.  Keep your pizza cutter in the kitchen and your rotary cutter in with your sewing and quilting supplies.

It used to be that quilters would get out their sharp shears and begin to cut away…..for hours. While they ended up with the many pieces needed to sew a quilt top, they also had sore hands and blisters.

When you are ready to sew your cut pieces together you will certainly appreciate the precise cuts you get when using the rotary cutter.  Also, since they take so much time off of the cutting process, you will have more time for quilting!

Please use rotary cutters with caution!  the blades are blades are sharp, please use cautionextremely sharp.  Keep these simple safety rules in mind:

  • Always position safety cover over the blade when not in use.  I recommend getting the habit of doing this every time you lay them down between cuts.
  • Keep them up and away from the reach of Little ones.
  • Always cut away from yourself.
  • While holding the ruler, spread your palm to hold it steady, make your finger are not hanging over.

All of the above will become automatic.  The more you use your rotary tool, the more at ease you will feel.  You’ll wonder how anyone could ever do without it in quilting.

We are almost ready to start cutting quilt pieces!  But, first, there are a few items you will want to do to prep the fabric in order to get the most accurate pieces for your quilt.

Prepping your fabric:

  • Holding two corners of your fabric (letting it drape down)drop your left hand down and grab the bottom left corner while still holding the upper right corner and stretch lightly.  Repeat this holding upper left corner and grabbing the right bottom corner and stretch lightly.  This will line up the grains of the fabric.
  • Press your fabric with a hot iron, steam may be necessary for wrinkle removal.
  • match up selvage edges (finished edges, non-fraying) to create a folded fabric.
  • Line up folded edge on an outer straight line on your self-healing cutting mat and cut off the uneven edge with your rotary cutter.
  • Line up a straight line on your ruler with the folded edge to make sure your fabric is square.

You are coming along great! Give yourself a pat on the back.  These steps will all become old hat.

You are now ready to start cutting the first piece of your quilts top at the desired length.

I find that viewing all of the steps we have gone over helps to clear up any questions or concerns, so I have included the below video for your viewing pleasure.  Please enjoy


If you have comments, questions or would like to share some of your own ideas, please leave a message below.

Thank you,




  1. Rotary cutters are definitely a longer term solution compare to shears. Fingers and wrists get very tired after hours of cutting through material, especially flannels and the like.
    A definite time saver.
    Using the provided safety features, like the blade cover is an essential tip and reminder.
    As you say continual use of all tools gets you comfortable with them.

    • Hello Keith,

      It amazes me how using a rotary cutter can save one so much time in the cutting process. You are so very correct about tired fingers and wrists, they really can take a beating if you only use scissors.

      Since you are standing when cutting with a rotary cutter it takes the strain off of your back as well.

      Glad you picked up on “safely” using them. They are super sharp!

      Once you get used to them you will never go back to cutting fabric with scissors and it doesn’t take much time to adapt.

      Thank you,


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