Rotary blades and cutters are a way of making cutting projects easier to complete. There are several different sizes of blades ranging from 18mm up to 60mm. Each has its specific use.

  • 18mm rotary blades
    The 18mm blades are ideal for smaller and more intricate cutting, especially around curved pieces. They are useful for cutting small pieces, appliqués, and trimming seams.
  • 28mm rotary blades
    The 28mm blades are better for smaller projects. They are best for cutting through only a few layers of fabric.
  • 45mm rotary blades
    The 45mm blade is the “standard” size that is used by most seamstresses and quilters. It is ideal for straight cuts through 4-8 layers of fabric.
  • 60mm rotary blades
    The 60mm blade is largely used for cutting heavier or thicker materials such as batting and flannels.

The larger the blade, you will find that it lasts a little longer because there is more surface cutting the fabric and more area to damage before it stops working. Cutting fabric inevitably will dull the blades over time. The life of the blade depends on the types of fabrics and how much you are cutting.

Cutting in the Shop at Elegant Annswers

Here at Elegant Annswers, I use 45mm rotary blades as the standard. I have 28mm blades for some of the smaller curves that I cut. 

Sometimes I only get one client’s order cut out with a single blade. As a small-run manufacturer, I can cut upwards of 80-100 pieces of children’s wear in one cutting with a single blade. 

Rotary Blade Variations

They have two main types of blades intended for sewing. 

  1. Straight-edge knife blades
  2. Scalloped edge blades (aka. pinking blades)

Blades also come in a variety of different materials as well as coated or uncoated. The titanium-coated tungsten steel blades offer a greater lifespan than the uncoated steel blades. 

I will tell you from experience that running over a pin will nick either of these types of blades. Knicked blades are less effective cutting blades. If you are cutting and it appears to skip threads, it is time to replace the blade.

The titanium blades do last a little longer but I do not find them as cost-effective for regular use in the shop at Elegant Annswers. Due to the manufacturing costs extended to clients and the wide range of fabrics cut for them, I use regular steel blades to keep costs low. 

Purchasing a Rotary Cutter

If you are purchasing a rotary cutter for the first time, it is important to also purchase a cutting mat specifically designed for rotary cutting. This mat goes under your fabric to protect your cutting table surface. These mats are designed to prolong the lifespan of the rotary blades.

Rotary Blade Safety

These blades are very sharp! You can cut out chunks of your finger if you are not careful. Severe cuts have happened to even the most experienced seamstresses. 

Always use the cutter guard when not in use. If the blade is not being used, the blade should not be engaged. 

Put your cutters away from small hands when not in use and be mindful of any children when they are in use. 

Always cut away from yourself when using your cutter. 

Change your rotary blades as needed because a dull blade can be more dangerous than a sharp blade due to the amount of pressure required to complete the cuts.

  • Ann Walmsley

    Owner & Master Seamstress

    As the owner, master seamstress, designer, and instructor of elegant Annswers, she has been sewing for over 30 years. Always learning and taking classes to stay up to date on new techniques in the sewing world to be able to offer new services to better serve my clients.