Thursday, July 20, 2023

Quilting 101 - What is Best? - Scissors or Rotary Cutters

Rotary Cutter or Scissors - Which is Best?


Rotary Cutter or Scissors - Which is Best?

Accurate cutting is so important! Without accurate cutting, you can't have accurate blocks. We usually hear quilters say that cutting is their least favorite part of making a quilt, but the right tools can make all the difference!

Right Tool for the project

I was lucky in that my hubby understood that having the right tool for the job is important.  Sure, when we first got married, we didn't have much money, and the things we purchased weren't the highest quality.   I think it was 1991, when I was looking for a new sewing machine.  OMG, the price of the machine was $2,500!!!   In 1991 - that is probably like $15,000 in today dollars (just kidding). But, to us, it was a huge amount.  I remember telling hubby I would NEVER need another machine- ever.  Okay, so today, I still have that machine, it is a workhorse.  My only regret is that is does not have a scissor cutter, which I insist on my machines today.

Scissors or Rotary Cutter?


Scissors are an entire topic in itself.  For this discussion, my only advice to purchase the best that you can afford.  Try to have a NICE pair of Gingher 8” Knife-blade Scissors.  I have had two pairs since the early - 90’s that are still my best scissors.  Do Regular maintenance (like if you drop them with blades open or just need sharpening).  I have never used the ‘local guys’ for sharpening, but always have sent my scissors to Gingher (now Favorson**) for maintenance.  (Do a Google Search).

  • I had one pair of scissors that the screw would not stay tight.  They replaced the scissors.
  • Another pair had been dropped while OPEN.  The blades were bent, they replaced the scissors.
  • Your ‘local guy’ won’t do this.

I use my 8” Gingher for cutting threads, cutting HST and general snipping of fabric.  Snips, 4” scissors and other scissors will all work.  This is what works for me and what type of project that I am working on.

I had some four inch applique'/embroidery scissors that I used while doing applique.  My daughter thought those scissors were the BEST for clipping her cuticles  (yeah, they were awesome on cuticles, but I had a RULE)  Wish I could have put a lock on them.  Make sure everyone knows that there are NOT for paper (or cuticles)!

Rotary Cutters

Again this can be an entire topic.  I was inspired by my grandmother to make quilts.  She passed in 1985, about the time that rotary cutters were coming in to practice.  I promise, she would have loved a rotary cutter.   She loved trying new things.

I have to confess, that when my Dad was going through Chemo back in the early 90’s (he passed in 1992), my Mom had him cutting four inch squares of DOUBLE POLYESTER (for the Missionary Society to send to Burundi Africa).  He used a METAL Yardstick, and complained that "those darned blades just didn’t last very long".  Hmmm.  Wonder why?  

Once you've started using a rotary cutter, you can never go back to tracing around those cardboard templates and cutting fabric with scissors like your mom/grandmother/great-grand-mother did.  Unfortunately, my grandmother who was my inspiration for quilting, died before she ever got to experience a rotary cutter.   She would have absolutely loved that tool. 

Rotary cutters can zip through several layers of fabric at once and, when combined with the myriad of acrylic rulers, can also help you to cut our quilt projects in minutes.

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** See web page for pricing and packing instructions.

Forveson Repair Department
322 S. Edwardia Drive
Suite D
Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 292-6237

Note-Thank you so much to MaryAnn P. for filling in for me while I had a fur-baby emergency.  Here is a link to the video for Mulberry members.   Scissors vs Rotary Must be a member of QGOTV & Mulberry Chapter to view.  Otherwise, this post gives the basics of the presentation.  MaryAnn, you are awesome!

This Quilting 101 series is a compilation of the demonstrations and lectures that we have been providing to the Mulberry Chapter of the Quilt Guild Of The Villages. (QGOTV) in Florida. We began this series with various speakers. Many thanks to Barb, Dale, and MaryAnn and Betty B. for their contributions. I have been taking the notes and turning them into blog posts to share with other quilters.

At Shadywood Quilts, we have been providing professional machine quilting for over 20 years. We use a computerized quilting system that gives you the highest quality stitch and pleasing patterns across your quilt.

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