Cutting Fabric using a Cutting Mat & Rotary Cutter


Before you use your Rotary Cutter to cut fabric a quick word about them. The Rotary is a fantatic tool as it enables quilters to cut fabric accurately and it is used alot in Quilting. They come in various sizes, I find that a 'medium' sized Rotary Cutter works best. 


'Saftey' is so important when you are using the Rotary Cutter. All Cutters comes with a saftey mecanism a 'plastic cover'. Some have a plastic cover which cover the blade automatically when it is not in use, most require you to slide the plastic cover over the blade. Please get used to sliding the cover over the blade when you are not cutting. It will become something you will learn do automatically eventually. Lastly, always keep it up high away from 'little fingers',and always be aware of where your 'own' fingers are before you cut with it.  


Before you cut your fabric for your Project.

When you buy fabric in a store the raw edge of the fabric can be cut uneven. You will need to 'even it up' so that it is nice and straight before you cut your fabric.


Fold your fabric so that the selvage seams are together. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying. On the selvage you can see the name of the fabric designer and company printed along it.


Give give the end of the fabric where you are going to cut a press with the iron before cutting. We want the fabric to sit completely flat on the cutting mat before cutting. Image 1 & 2, below show you how to cut off the raw-edge of your fabric. 

Image 1

Uneven Edge

With the fabric folded and the selvage seams together, place the fabric on the cutting mat. See the uneven edge. Using 'any' of the straight grid lines on the mat as a guide, line up the edge of the fabric with a line so that a small amout the fabric sits to the left of the line.

Image 3

Now you have a nice neat edge on your fabric you can cut your fabric to the desired size. In this image the fabric is going to be cut into 5 inch width.


Using your ruler (not the grid on the mat), measure the width of the strip. Place the ruler over the fabric at 5 inches, and cut using your rotary cutter.

Image 5

To cut a 5 inch sqaure, turn your fabric and line it up with one of the horizontal line on the mat. The edge of the fabric may need to be trimed (as seen in Image 2), so that it sits square. Place your ruler over the top of the fabric and measure 5 inches along.

Image 2

Place the edge of your ruler over the top of the edge of the fabric. Your ruler needs to sits directly ontop of the stright lines on the cutting mat.


When using the ruler and rotary cutter, hold the ruler in place with a steady hand. With your fingers out of the way, slide the rotary cutter blade alone the lengh of the ruler. If you cut while standing up it will give you more control.

Image 4

Here you can see the width of the fabric cut to 5 inches.

Image 6

Cut, and you ahve a 5 inch square.


Cutting Mastered!

Sew Handmade

for the love of handmade