Rotary Cutting Nerves Soothed

Rotary Cutting Nerves Soothed

Dear Geraldine,
Using a rotary cutter makes me SO nervous.
What can I do to keep my cool about rotary cutting??
-Chicken in Charleston

Dear 'Chicken,'

completely understand your trepidation! A rotary cutter is essentially a round razor blade and must be treated with respect...

(That said, it is SUCH a timesaver and makes precise cuts that scissors just can't match.)

There are lots of things you can do to protect your hands and calm your fears:

  • Measure twice, cut once. A confident cut is a safer cut.

  • If you are a beginner, try marking out your cuts first so you can cut more confidently.

  • Use a sharp rotary blade. Try titanium blades that stay sharp longer! A sharp blade won't skip, and requires less pressure to make the cut.

  • Use only enough pressure to make your cut. That way if you stray, the damage is minimized.

  • Use your quilting ruler to protect the piece you are cutting. I always picture that I am cutting away the margins of my desired finished cut piece.

  • For the love of all things holy, ALWAYS cut away from yourself.

  • Use a handle on your ruler to keep your hands out of the way. I recommend this one called The Ruler Grip.

  • If you are cutting strips, rectangles, or squares, use a slotted ruler. Your blade stays in a 'guide' and away from your hands.

These are the tips that helped me become confident with rotary cutting. Perhaps our dear readers have additional tips to share? Please comment below!

Love and happy sewing,

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I would love to see tips from the very beginning of preparing fabric, how to straighten your yardage, which end to cut, leave selvages on or cut off etc. I’m always confused because I forget. A tips sheet would be wonderful.

Debbie Sandlin

Any rotary cutters I’ve used go dull after just one project – for instance, after cutting out one pants pattern. And I’m always concerned about recycling something so sharp. I’d love to use a rotary cutter more frequently, but these two objections stop me.

Romelda Giles

Always remember to use the safety guard on your cutter after each cut. It is an absolute must. I didn’t once, and reaching across for another piece of fabric I brushed against the open blade….3 stitches. Always engage the safety guard every time you put the cutter down!


Don’t go barefeet. I did and had to go to the emergency room and had 8 stitches I & around my big toe as the open cutter fell off the table & on my toe. Of course I always close my cutter but didn’t. Also on a blood thinner so that was not good.

Sandra Hart

I also use a cut resistant glove on the holding the ruler hand. I got mine at Walmart for $10. It was well worth it. You can also use it in the kitchen, although I have one specifically for cutting fabric.

Mary-Ann Mayer

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