Reported by Susie Ziegler
I can’t imagine sewing without an Olfa Rotary Cutter, especially since I prefer sewing in straight lines and rectangles. If you sew and you don’t already own a rotary cutter, you really need to go and get one. You will hardly believe you sewed without it! Olfa first introduced this innovative tool in 1979, revolutionizing the quilting industry. If you can even imagine this, quilting was a dying art in the 1970’s and 80’s until the Olfa rotary cutter caught on. I’d say that as a quilter, I use my rotary cutter more than my scissors. It’s so convenient! With an accurate ruler and a cutting mat, I can cut a whole stack of fabric neatly and evenly into any shape I like.
I tested the Olfa Quick-Change Rotary Cutter and I got to try out the specialty blades on the Olfa Ergonomic Rotary cutter. A rotary cutter works like a pizza cutter; the blade is basically a rolling razor blade.
Olfa rotary cutter blades are made of high quality tungsten steel. They can cut up to 6 layers of fabric and used with care, they will last and retain their sharpness for a long time. Eventually, with time and use, the blade will need to be replaced. You will notice that the blade skips threads or requires increasing pressure to cut successfully.
This blade has only two parts that come off. All I need to do is pop on the new blade, insert the little bolt thingy through the hole onto the cutter (bolt thingy is a technical term) and slide up the lock mechanism and you are ready to go!
Store and dispose of blades in the convenient container provided.
Listen though, if you are using a rotary cutter, you absolutely MUST have a cutting mat underneath. My husband used mine to cut some papers for his work and sliced right through the tablecloth and into the dining room table. He actually let the kids take the blame for this mishap until fessing up. My kids know not to use the rotary cutter.
You should also get into the habit of locking your blade after every cut. Apart from being very dangerous, you will greatly shorten the life of the blade if you leave it exposed to knocking about.
The Quick-Change Cutter feels great in the hand and its small profile stores easily. Olfa also offers the Ergonomic Rotary Cutter which uses the same 45mm blade, but it also has a safety button to lock the blade closed between cuts..
I have some Olfa specialty blades to try out. Olfa has a Pinking blade, a Scallop & Peak blade, and a Wave blade. None of these will fit the Quick-Change Cutter, I have to use the Ergonomic one. That’s okay, I’ll keep one cutter for straight cutting and another for pinking and decorative edges.
See that yellow washer? It is a spacer that goes on the underside when using a straight blade, but move it right underneath the blade when using the decorative edge blade.
I used the Pinking Blade on these fabrics and then laundered them. You can see how well the edge held up! I cut them lickety-split. Who needs pinking shears? This is so much easier on my hands!
Here are some felt strips I cut with the Wave Rotary Blade and the Scallop & Peak Rotary Blade. Can you tell the difference? I really can’t. The Wave is more gentle, and the Scallop & Peak is more peaked. The differences might show up more clearly if you use the rotary cutter on paper.
I used the wave blade on some felt to make a scalloped edge for this flower. It was so quick and easy. The blade zips right through felt.
- Blades are very sharp, high quality, and durable. Used correctly, Olfa blades and Rotary Cutters last a long time.
- Quick-Change Cutter is comfortable in the hand and is not bulky for storage.
- Equally useful right-handed or left-handed.
- Very easy to change the blade with the Quick-Change Cutter.
- An essential sewing tool that makes cutting quick, comfortable, and accurate.
- Safety mechanism is easily engaged.
- Quick-Change Cutter only uses straight blades. It would be great if the specialty blades can be used with this tool. You’ll need to get the bulkier Ergonomic Rotary Cutter to use the decorative specialty blades.
- Now that you know you have to have a rotary cutter in your tool kit, you are going to have to get a cutting mat too. This starts to get pricey.
- Be careful! You can get cut pretty badly if your fingers get under the blade. Always engage the safety cover when the blade is not in use, preferably between every single cut.
Check out the reusable bags I made using fabrics cut with my Olfa Quick-Change Rotary Cutter. My husband agreed to model them even though I outed him for ruining my tablecloth.
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:
What would you use the Olfa specialty blades for?
One comment per person per article (this is the second of four, over a two-day span), please. Winners will be chosen on Saturday, July 9, 2011.