A rotating cutting mat spins so you can cut fabric on all sides. Does it really make cutting easier? Here are my thoughts on the pros and cons.
Hey y’all, today we’re going to talk about whether you need a rotating cutting mat. This is part of a series I’m doing on some more unusual sewing notions and whether I think they’re worth your money. So technically, you don’t need any of these notions. In fact, here are the sewing notions I think you actually need. Any sewing tools beyond that are extra and can make your life easier, but aren’t strictly necessary.
This cutting mat type spins so that you can rotate your fabric to cut instead of having to change your own position if you need to cut more than one side of the fabric. It’s convenient for several types of cutting.
Rotating Cutting Mats
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This is the rotating cutting mat I have (affiliate link). It is not cheap – at the time of this publication it was $53 dollars at that link. Note that there is also a 10 inch version of this mat that is less expensive, but my notes about the size of the mat would apply even more to the smaller version and I don’t think that one would be worth it at all for myself.
In the video below you can see my rotating cutting mat, how it works, what I use it for and whether I recommend buying it. You can also watch the video on YouTube here.
How To Use A Rotating Cutting Mat
The primary draw of a cutting mat that spins is that you can stay in one place – even seated – and spin the mat and your fabric to be able to keep your rotary cutter on the side of your dominant hand. So I like to cut my patterns out right handed, which means I prefer to cut with my hand to the right of the pattern I’m trimming. To use the mat I put my fabric on it, making sure it doesn’t fall over the edges, and add my pattern held down with pattern weights.
After cutting one side, you apply a little hand pressure to the mat to spin it so you can position your hand to cut the next side. The mat also has a grid on it you can align your rulers and/or fabric to. It does not have angled or bias lines on it for cutting pieces with angles besides 90 degrees.
Is A Rotating Cutting Mat Worth It?
This tool was designed first and foremost to cut out quilt pieces. Since I primarily sew garments, I only get my rotating mat out when I am cutting swimwear or lingerie. Most other garment pieces are too large to fit on a 16 inch mat. In fact, this is why I generally prefer my dressmaking shears instead of a rotary cutter and rotary cutting mat for clothing.
If you mostly sew items made from larger pieces like adult clothing and upholstery, this is not a notion you need. If you spend a lot of time with smaller pieces of fabric, like quilters do, this might be very useful. I could see using quilting templates and setting this next to your sewing machine and easily cutting fabric without having to move. If you, like me, sew a lot of swimwear or lingerie with small pieces, this also might be a nice addition to your sewing room.
If you mostly use a mat to cut paper for crafts, this type of mat might also be useful. As that isn’t my hobby I can’t say much more about whether I would recommend it. The rotary cutting mat is also not as lightweight as my plain cutting mat. It has to have a heavier base so it stays in place while you spin the top.