Quilting rotary cutters--every quilter's best friend. Nothing slices and dices our favorite fabric like these nifty little tools.
But not all rotary cutters are created equal; there are a variety of handles, blades, and sizes to choose from. So what gives? Why would anyone need to own more than one rotary cutter? Is it possible they have different purposes? Let's dive in!
45mm Quilting Rotary Cutters
When it comes to quilting rotary cutters, the 45mm is the gold standard. It is the perfect size to make all of your basic quilting cuts and is comfortable to hold.
Even the 45mm quilting rotary cutter has different styles and options, though. In the photo below, you'll see two popular versions of the 45mm rotary cutter. On the left is a standard straight handle and on the right is an ergonomic handle.
One of these is not superior to the other; it's completely personal preference. For a lot of people (myself included), it seems like whichever rotary cutter handle you start quilting with becomes your favorite.
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45mm Rotary Cutter Uses
This quilting rotary cutter is perfect for cutting all fabric during the quilt piecing process. With a sharp blade, these rotary cutters can cut up to 6-8 layers of cotton fabric at once.
Quilting Rotary Cutter Blade Options
While we're talking about 45mm rotary cutters, let's also discuss the blade options you often see for this size.
These standard 45mm rotary cutter blades are great and can be found at most quilting shops, online retailers, and big box stores. The types of fabric you're cutting with these blades as well as how often you're using your rotary cutter will dictate how long these last before going dull.
There are sharpeners for rotary cutter blades which can be used to extend the life of each blade, but I've personally not had much luck with them. I've found that using the endurance blades is the best fit for me.
These endurance blades claim to cut twice as long as traditional 45mm blades, and it's seriously true! I was a bit skeptical when I first learned about them, but these are the blades you'll find on my 45mm rotary cutter. They're amazing!
Much like pinking shears, these pinking rotary cutter blades can be used to prevent fabric from fraying. These blades are used often in crafting (think decorative bunting banners, fabric bookmarks, etc.)
A pinking blade is also useful to cut along the perimeter of a project that will be handled a lot, such as an appliqué or hand quilting project. This prevents fraying while the project is being worked on.
While the pinking blade is useful for certain things, it should not be used along rulers to make quilting cuts for a couple of reasons.
- First, the pinking blade makes a wavy cut, so it's not meant for precision. And we all know precision is important in the quilt piecing process!
- Second, the "wavy cut" aspect can cause the pinking blade to jump over your quilting ruler and bite you! Those who have suffered rotary blade injuries know this is no laughing matter. Emergency room visits and stitches are often involved. As a side note, these Klutz gloves are excellent to protect your hand while using your rotary cutter.
Alternate 45mm Rotary Cutter Uses
If you were wondering why I own two 45mm rotary cutters, I'll tell you why. Much like having paper and fabric scissors, I have fabric and paper rotary cutters.
Every time I notice my blade getting dull in my fabric rotary cutter, I switch it over to my "paper blade" container and pull from that stack each time my paper blade gets dull.
Paper blades are great to cut certain templates and to cut apart fabric color swatch chips. It can be very helpful having color chips separated to allow for mixing and matching when planning a quilt.
18mm and 28mm Quilting Rotary Cutters
These pint-sized rotary cutters pack a big punch when paired with the right project. Both sizes are geared towards smaller projects and can be used interchangeably.
The 18mm rotary cutter is the perfect tool for those small cuts that accompany small projects, such as English paper piecing and hexies. Any small hand stitching project is perfectly paired with this cutter.
The 28mm rotary cutter is also geared toward small projects. This size is perfect for cutting fabric template shapes for curved piecing.
60mm Quilting Rotary Cutters
The 60mm rotary cutter features a larger blade that cuts through thicker materials and more layers than its smaller counterparts.
When it comes to quilting, this size is perfect for squaring up quilts after they have been quilted. It cuts through the fabric and batting with ease, making the squaring up process a snap!
The adorable bird print in the photo below has been matched perfectly along the quilt backing seam. To learn how to easily do this, check out this post.
I hope you've enjoyed this guide on quilting rotary cutters! What is your preferred rotary cutter? Let us know in the comments below!