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Vendor Spotlight and Giveaway: Olfa Quick-Change Rotary Cutter

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.

The Quick Change Rotary Cutter has a split blade cover with two sliding mechanisms that pull back to cut left-handed or right-handed interchangeably.

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.

Time to change the blade! With the Quick-Change Rotary Cutter, this could not be easier. Just pull back the locking mechanism on the back and the blade pops right off.


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!

I love it! This is so easy! No more little washers and nuts to keep track of!

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..

Changing the blade on the Ergonomic Cutter requires a bit more care and organization. Don’t lose those little parts!

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.

You do not need to use a ruler when cutting with these blades, but you can. Note that the cut edge will be a little bit away from the edge of the ruler:


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.

Using these blades, I can make my own felt rick-rack!

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.


I made this baby quilt not long ago using shapes cut with my Olfa Rotary Cutter:


I have made countless projects with my rotary cutter: quilts, pillows, curtains, napkins, tablecloths… How about you?

GIVEAWAY!
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.



Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight and Giveaway: OLFA Deluxe Ergonomic Rotary Cutter

Reported by Christina Hammond

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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.

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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!
IMG_0637 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!
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A close up of the edges.  Look how pretty!
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Pros:

  • 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! 

Cons:

  • 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

GIVEAWAY!
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.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter

Reported by Donna Lannerd

Cutting circles in fabric sometimes just isn’t a whole lot of fun especially when you need more than one or need it to really look like a circle. Up to now the easiest way for me to make a circle was to get out a plate or cup and draw around it on my fabric or fusible web paper (if using) and cut it out by hand with scissors. This method is not too bad if you just need one but what about several? This is where this little gadget comes in handy.

The Rotary Circle Cutter is easy to use once you get used to the way it moves around. It uses a rotary blade which makes it easy to cut on fabric. The blade pivots around a sharp tack-like point Olfa calls a spike. The directions on the package don’t tell you how to cut but you can either grasp the black handle and move it around or you can move the back end of the tool. It really depends on what feels comfortable and what size circle you are cutting. I discovered that I like to cut small circles differently than large circles. I also found that large circles are easier to cut than small circles. Price on Olfa site is listed retail $23.29, selling price $18.40

Pros of the cutter:

  • Easy to use though it does take a little practice to keep yourself steady and to feel comfortable
  • Cuts through 4 thicknesses of cotton fabric easily – could of done more but I felt comfortable with the 4
  • Ratchet handle makes turning the cutter easy
  • Cuts acrylic felt very well
  • Blade is very sharp and replaceable

Cons of the cutter:

  • Ruler portion has no markings – you have to measure the distance of the spike to the blade on a ruler to know the size of your circle
  • Largest size is 8 1/2″ – I would have liked to cut placemat size circles
  • You may notice a hole from the spike in the center of your circle (depends on fabric and this can usually just be pressed out with a pin or your fingernail) but if you want to cut paper it will be noticeable.
  • Package instructions don’t really tell you how to cut except for how to measure for the size circle you need.

Hints:

  • Tighten the spike positioner well or it will slip while turning and the cut will be off
  • Don’t rush when cutting. Slow and steady make a more precise cut especially when first beginning.
  • Remember that when you measure from the blade to the spike it is only 1/2 the size of the finished circle
  • The handle also moves (I guess for comfort of position) but if left in the spot farthest from the blade you will not get the smallest circle possible
  • When a blade starts to dull replace ASAP especially if you like to cut several layers. Old blades can be used for cutting paper.

Below are samples of circles I cut. The first photo shows the largest circle (red) it can cut which is 8 1/2″, the smallest circle (in the center) which is 1 7/8″ and the large ring. I cut the ring by first cutting a circle. I folded the circle in half twice to find the center and then after reducing the measurement of the cutter I placed the spike in the center of the cut circle and cut a smaller circle out. (FYI – Target is one of my favorite stores but I did not intentionally make a bullseye.)



This next photo is acrylic felt that I cut out. I really like this tool for cutting felt.


This last photo is from the 4 layers of fabric I cut and then started to make yo-yo circles out of them.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!