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Sewing Adjustment Periods: How to Get Used to Rotary Cutters and Tracing Patterns

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station description Sewing Education
Sewing Out Loud
Duration: 50:44
This post may contain affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase, SewHere receives a commission at no cost to you. You buy the right stuff and we continue to make AWESOME sewing media- wahoo!Using a rotary cutter and tracing sewing patterns are things Zede and Mallory do almost ever
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This post may contain affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase, SewHere receives a commission at no cost to you. You buy the right stuff and we continue to make AWESOME sewing media- wahoo!Using a rotary cutter and tracing sewing patterns are things Zede and Mallory do almost every time they are in the studio. These are non-negotiable processes for us- but they take some getting used to!As we mentioned in our "Adjustment Periods: Knee Lift and Serger" episode, sew however you like and do what makes you happy, but after decades and decades of sewing and teaching others, we're confident that these two things can make your sewing life better! So, let's get started!How to Get Used to Using a Rotary CutterRotary cutters are fast and accurate. If you're afraid of cutting incorrectly or cutting yourself- let us put your mind at ease!What you need to use a rotary cutterIn order to successfully use a rotary cutter, you must have a cutting mat and a place large enough to accommodate it! If you've got the space, we think this is one of the biggest time savers you will implement while cutting out garments- and we find it to be more accurate!We don't pin our pattern pieces to our fabric, we use pattern weights- and this is preferable when rotary cutting, because you don't want to roll over a pin!Advantages to using a rotary cutting instead of scissorsThe biggest advantage of using a rotary cutter instead of scissors is accuracy and lack of distortion. When you use scissors to cut garment pieces, you distort the yardage as the lower blade goes underneath the fabric. You just do! so, we find it so much more accurate and simple to keep our fabric in contact with the table as we cut with our rotary cutters.Rotary blades are cheap and easy to replace. It's easier to keep your cutting equipment super sharp when you use a rotary cutter, because you don't have to go to a special place to get them sharpened, and you can replace the blade yourself if you do make some kind of mistake (going over a pin or bead) or you gut through a bunch of carpeting (Zede).In order to be successful, secure your fabric and pattern pieces with weights or tape- that's right, tape! If you have a particularly slippy fabric, you can tape it to your cutting table. And don't underestimate weighting the yardage outside of your pattern pieces, it can help keep things stable as you progress through the cutting process.How to practice with a rotary cutterIn general, there are two ways to use a rotary cutter- with a ruler and without. If you are cutting a long strip of fabric or a pattern piece with a straight edge- get out a ruler!Hold the ruler in place with your non-dominant hand, and attempt to keep this hand behind the rotary cutter as you cut. Keep the rotary cutter close to the ruler. The ruler should be place on top of the pattern piece and the fabric that is uncovered should be the fabric you are cutting away from the pattern piece- so, just in case you do mess up and veer away from the ruler, you aren't cutting into your pattern piece.Get out some pattern pieces with gentle curves and cut them out of one layer of stable fabric. See how it goes. Theoretically, it should be easier to cut curves with the curved blade of your rotary cutter than with the straight blade of your scissors. Practice keeping your non-dominant hand behind the cutter and out of its path.Find the right rotary cutter for youWe love the Olfa ergonomic handle, and own several. You may try out a few different kinds before you find the right one for you.You can also buy different sizes. We use the 45mm rotary cutter most often, but the size 60mm is popular with quilters cutting big strips and the size 28mm or 28mm is popular with people cutting small, curvy pieces for lingerie or doll clothes.How to use a rotary cutter safelyRotary cutters are sharp! That's why we like them and that's why they can be intimidating. A lot of people feel that rulers keep them safe, and only rotary cut with a ruler- ruling out curved garment pattern pieces. However, I have seen overzealous cutter jump the ruler!There are protective gloves you can buy and use while rotary cutting, and some people swear by them! In fact, I learned on the set of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting that they always use a glove, because when they didn't wear one, they got lots of emails from nervous viewers!I have to be honest and say that I injure myself more in the kitchen that the sewing room, and I don't feel the need to wear the glove, personally.Always keep your hand behind the rotary cutter, whether you're using a ruler or not (see paragraph above). You will use your
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