Reported by Christina Hammond
When you work with fabric, one of the most indispensible tools you can own is the rotary cutter. And let me tell you, they are not all created alike! For years I have been working an “el cheapo” model I bought at WalMart the day my Great-Grandma gave me her 50’s era Singer sewing machine. I didn’t own a single pair of fabric scissors, so I ran to the store and asked the lady there for help. She tossed that foreign-to-me cutter in my basket along with a little self-healing mat and plastic ruler, saying “Trust me, you need these!”
Boy, what was she right! That rotary cutter had become almost an extension on my right arm. I used it everyday, but when faced with a large project like a large quilt to cut, I had begun to dread picking it up because it would, honestly, start to hurt.
Olfa sent me the Deluxe Ergonomic Rotary Cutter and it has become the new extension to my right arm. I am very pleased with how comfortable it is to use. In addition to being ergonomic and easy on the wrist – it has a dual action safety switch. I can use the switch to lock the blade closed for storage, or to lock it open so I don’t have to squeeze the handle to keep the blade out. The deluxe system comes in both a 45mm and 60mm size, perfect for most cutting needs.
The blades are sharp and stable. There is a small Belleville Disc Spring* under the thumb screw that helps maintain pressure. Even after having used the cutter for a while, the blade doesn’t have a wiggle to it at all.
*admittedly, I had to ask my husband what this was called because I didn’t want to type “curvy washer thingy” for y’all. (Editor’s Note: “curvy washer thingy” is perfectly acceptable).
Olfa has a great video right on the site – it’s not hard at all.
To test the comfort of the cutter, I put myself to work on something that needed tons of repetitive slices. I have so many quilts in progress, so I decided to try a knock-off of all those ruffley pillows I am seeing everywhere.
This pillow was made with a fairly thick shantung, and I cut about 10 layers at a time with no problems at all. I used the pinking blade to reduce the fraying. I *really* like this blade. Alot. I made a couple of this style pillow, each taking about 200 3″x5” rectangles. I didn’t have any pain at all and not a single complaint about the cutting. YAY!
While I was sewing, I switched back to the straight (AND VERY SHARP, oops!) blade and whipped out this cute giant bow pillow in no time at all.
Finally, I changed the blade over to the “Wave” blade and cut out 22 pennants for our all purpose “CELEBRATE” banner. I used this blade because it looks fancy, a bit different than a standard pinking blade and I wanted to make this quick-n-easy. We’ve used this banner for so many things already, I think I might just leave it up!
A close up of the edges. Look how pretty!
- ergonomic claim is true! So comfy to use.
- can be used Righty/Lefty
- readily available
- decorative cutting blade available
- safety lock
- the handle is guaranteed forever!
- initially pricey
- blade replacements are slightly expensive, and the decorative ones only come in one blade packages.
- a bit fiddly replacing the blades, but easy enough to do if you pay attention
Our friends at Olfa have given us gift pack to give to two lucky readers. Leave a comment answering the following question to be entered:
Have you ever noticed pain/discomfort when using a standard rotary cutter? Do you think you’d benefit from this Deluxe Ergonomic cutter?
One comment per person per article (this is the first of four, over a two-day span), please. Winners will be chosen on Saturday, July 9, 2011.