Everything you need to know about the Madam Sew Rotary Cutter

image of 45mm rotary cutter

Using a Rotary Cutter is a time saver for all sewing projects. Period. The cuts you make are quick, clean and accurate. You can cut multiple layers at the same time, and your hand won’t get as tired as with scissors.

If you have never used a rotary cutter before, it can be a bit intimidating. These instructions will give newbies a head start but even experienced users will find value in these tips and tricks.

The larger the blade size, the more fabric you can cut and the faster you can cut it. If you know you'll be cutting yards and yards of fabric, you'll want to reach for a 60 mm rotary cutter. A 28 mm rotary cutter is used mainly for making small cuts or for cutting curves. If you want to have one rotary cutter that will be sufficient for nearly all projects, your best bet is the 45 mm. This is large enough to do a lot of cutting, but still manageable when you're trying to do more intricate work.

image of Rotary Cutter being used with a right hand
image of Rotary Cutter being used with a left hand

The symmetrical design of our Rotary Cutters provides comfortable use and control for right- or left-handed users. A sliding button extends the blade guard/shield for safety when not in use. Additionally, it has an easy grip handle with ridges on the edge to grip your index finger while cutting.


The one thing that is absolutely necessary to use with a rotary cutter is a cutting mat. A cutting mat will protect your surfaces (like your sewing table) from being nicked or cut by the sharp blades.

You can go ahead and start cutting with just a rotary cutter and a mat, but there are a few optional aids that will make your cutting life easier and safer.

1. Rulers come in various sizes, brands, straight, or curved

A 24” x 6” ruler is a good allround size. You can also get a non-slip one.

You can also get a handle for your ruler. With this Ruler Grip you can grab your ruler quickly, move it around easily, and put it in the exact position needed for marking and cutting.

image of different sized rulers and ruler grip

2. Pattern Weights can be used to hold fabric in place and further increase the accuracy of your cutting. You can buy them in your sewing store or you can look for heavy items that you have on hand.

Here’s an easy tutorial to make pattern weights yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO6Ji0tMTeY

image of homemade pattern weights keeping a pattern piece in plac

3. Safety gloves A rotary cutter is basically a razor blade wheel. So you must be extremely careful when handling it. Rotary cutter safety gloves can be worn on one or both hands to protect your fingers from any accidental cuts.

image of a hand wearing a pink rotary cutter safety glove while using a rotary cutter and ruler

4. Spare blades Just like with machine needles, you need to have a little stock of blades. If a blade turns out to be too dull for your project, you want to have a new one at hand.

image of three different sizes for replacement blades for the rotary cutter under image of rotary cutter cutting blue piece of fabric with red apples using a ruler and ruler grip


If you use your cutter the right way, think about your hand position, and use the right tools, there is nothing to be afraid about.

image of rotary cutter with the safety guard down

Most rotary cutters have safety mechanisms. Ours have a plastic safety shield that you can pull back when you want to cut. If you stop, you just push back the protective blade guard.

Get into the habit of closing the safety shield after each and every cut so that the blade is protected by the plastic cover. As you pull the Rotary Cutter up from the fabric, close it right then and there to prevent any accidental cuts in your project or your skin. Keep the rotary cutter away from and out of the reach of children at all times, and store it safely.

Use a sharp blade. Anything sharp can dull with use and it becomes a much more dangerous tool. You will need to apply more pressure and lose control.

Change the blade as soon as it shows signs of becoming dull. You can tell when it's time to replace the blade because it will slowly show less clean cuts.


Your hand and wrist should make a nice straight line with your index finger pressing against the nonstop section on the top. It’s important to keep your wrist straight to prevent a repetitive motion injury.

image of a rotary cutter being pushed away from the body with fingers in the correct placewhile cutting
image of a rotary cutter being pushed toward the body while cutting with WRONG in red across the bottom

Always "cut away from your body”, so your Rotary Cutter should only move away from you, never towards you.

image of a rotary cutter being pushed away from the body while cutting
image of a rotary cutter being pushed with a finger close to the blade and the word WRONG in red across the bottom

Stand up while cutting. This way you can put your body weight into the cut and you can see where the blade is going.

image of a rotary cutter being used while standing up
image of a rotary cutter being used while sitting down the word WRONG in red across the bottom

If you are left handed, be sure to set up your cutter for left-handed cutting. Unlike scissors, you don’t need to purchase a special right-handed or left-handed version, since all cutters convert to either easily. As they has a symmetrical design, you don’t need to convert it.

Always make sure the blade is facing towards you. Keep your head directly over your cutter as you roll it forward in order to clearly see your cutting line

Image of the rotary cutter being used with the blade facing toward the used
Image of the rotary cutter being used with the blade facing away from the user the word WRONG in red across the bottom


image of rotary cutter rolling along the edge of a ruler

Blade position: Place the blade against the edge of the ruler before you start cutting. If the blade is too far away, the cut will be uncontrolled and wobbly.

Be mindful of your finger placement while cutting, be sure to keep your fingers away from the blade.

Always apply a constant and even pressure both on your ruler and on your rotary cutter while cutting. Don’t push super hard on your cutter or you will lose control, but you do have to apply some pressure to ensure a clean slice.

If you don’t have a non-slip ruler, you can put your pinky on the mat, behind the ruler, to stabilize.

You can cut through more than one layer, but it is not recommended to cut through more than 3 or 4 layers at a time.

image of rotary cutter rolling along the edge of a ruler

Align your ruler so that the left edge of the fabric lines up with the ruler’s marks along the entire length of the fabric. If you want to cut a 2” strip. Place the 2” line ON TOP of the fabric and cut. If this line is just OFF the fabric you will miss a thread or two.

For long strips, move your hand up the ruler as you cut.


If you’re using your rotary cutter for garment sewing, you won’t always need a ruler.

A rotary cutter can handle different types of fabric without causing shifting or distortion in pattern lines, which can occur with scissors. Cutting with a rotary cutter significantly reduces fraying while cutting. Plus, the rotary cutter rolls right through slippery or stretchy fabrics like silk, satin and knits more smoothly than sewing shears, which can hack at the material and leave behind jagged edges. I find that I have much greater control and go faster than with scissors.

The rotary cutter cuts without shifting things around, so it's easy to get a perfect edge. I hate pinning and cutting with scissors (I even got a blister once from cutting, and my hand ached). Cutting is my least favorite step in sewing, so anything that makes it easier is a plus. A rotary cutter allows me to simply lay out my pattern, put down some pattern weights, then cut cut cut!

Use medium sized or small rotary cutters like the 18 or 28mm for curved cuts, tight corners, and trimming seams.

Image of rotary cutter being used to cut out pattern piece
Image of rotary cutter being used to cut out pattern piece

For pattern cutting, you have 2 options: You copy the pattern pieces with your fabric marker and go over the lines with your rotary cutter, or you put the pattern pieces on your fabric with fabric weights, and you have to know you’re taking a risk when you cut directly along the edges of your pattern. You can accidentally cut the pattern, and if you want to use your pattern several times, it might degrade.

This might be worth the risk if:
1. You don’t often use patterns twice
2. You never cut the original patterns up and copy the patterns onto pattern paper first
3. You add additional seam allowance to your pattern


Change your blades regularly!

Blade sizes: The most common sizes of blades are 18mm, 28mm, 45mm, and 60mm. Remember that each rotary cutter is created for a specific blade size. So when you are looking for extra blades, be sure to get those that correspond to the size of your cutter.

To replace the blade: turn the rotary cutter over in the palm of your hand and remove the nut from the back. Then remove the washer and put it on your mat in a cowboy hat position. Pull the metal bolt from the center of the rotary cutter and remove the plastic ring.

Replace it with a new, sharper blade. Put the ring and the bolt back in the handle. Replace the washer, making sure that it is seated properly. Replace the nut, and screw it in fingertight. Now you’re ready to begin your next project.



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value pack for 5 universal rotary cutter blades that fit all rotary cutters

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