Although scissors are still often used for cutting fabric, the rotary cutter and mat board have revolutionized the industry and streamlined the process. To rotary-cut fabrics you need a ruler, mat, and rotary cutter.
Rotary cutters have round blades that enable you to cut straight-edge shapes more quickly and accurately than scissors can. Rotary cutters come with different types and sizes of blades and a variety of handle sizes. Experiment with handle styles to see which you prefer. Try out the cutters before buying to find the grip and size that work for you. A rotary cutter will cut through several layers of fabric at one time. Because the blade is sharp, be sure to purchase a cutter with a safety guard and keep the guard over the blade when you’re not cutting.
Rotary cutters are commonly available in three sizes--28 mm, 45 mm, and 60 mm. A good first blade is 45 mm. The 28-mm size is good for small-scale projects, miniatures, and corners. The 60-mm cutter can easily and accurately cut up to six layers of cotton fabrics. Specialty blades, such as the 18-mm size, are used for trimming seams and cutting templates, curves, miniatures, and appliqués. Pinking and wave blades are used for novelty effects.
Rotary-cutter blades are extremely sharp. Develop a habit of retracting the blade after each cut. Just brushing your hand against an open blade can cause serious injury, as can dropping a rotary cutter with an open blade and striking your foot.