Moda Bake Shop Basics: Rotary Cutting

Join Oda May today with a few tips for rotary cutting!
Rotary cutting is an essential part of quilting (thank goodness! I would hardly get anything done if I had to cut everything out with scissors. Patience is not my strong point.) Rotary cutters are also probably the most dangerous part of quilting. I personally have the quilter’s trademark squared off index finger so I’ve come by these tips honestly.


  • Always cover the blade with the built-in cover when you set it down. Every single time – even if you’re just setting it down for a second. Make it a habit.
  • Always cut away from your body.
  • Replace your blade when it stops cutting well. Working with a dull or damaged blade can cause you to cut in an unsafe manner – using excess pressure to cut through your fabric, etc. and that’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Only use the rotary cutter for its intended use.
  • Keep your fingers well away from the edges of templates and rulers while cutting. You don’t want a squared off index finger like me. (Plus blood stains can ruin your beautiful fabric.)


  • Plan your cutting before you start to minimize waste.
  • Press and starch fabric before cutting.
  • Square up fabric edges before you start cutting.
  • Use the lines on your ruler or template for a straight edge, not the lines on the mat.
  • Save yourself some back pain by cutting on a counter-height surface.

Did I leave anything out? Let us all know your safety and cutting tips in the comments!

Safely Sewing,

Oda May