Fabric Scissors Vs. Rotary Cutter

Fabric cutting supplies

Why you really want a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and acrylic rulers.

When you are cutting 1 inch squares for a Queen size quilt you will quickly realize that the faster you can cut those blocks with perfect accuracy the less frustrated you will be. And THAT matters. You don’t want to be frustrated while doing something that is supposed to be FUN!

In my last blog post, about different quilting supplies, I discussed a few different fabric cutting supplies. Why should you get more things when you can just use a $10.00 or less pair of fabric scissors?

Link for fabric scissors

Link for a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and acrylic ruler. Perfect for beginners.

When you are just starting, you can get a perfectly good set of fabric cutting supplies that includes a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and cutting mat for under $30. Click the link above or the image of the set below to view the specifics.

So, when you really look at the cost for a set with a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler it really isn’t a lot more, but I understand budgets. If you want to see if there really is a value in purchasing these extra items then continue reading.

Using a rotary cutter is faster.

If you replace your rotary blade when it dulls, you can cut through four layers of fabric at a time…. and maybe more. Four is just the most I have personally tried. So, keeping that in mind, just think of how fast you can cut the shape you need for your project! With scissors, you will need to use a template and you can only cut one piece at a time or your fabric will shift and you won’t get accurate cuts.

Using a rotary cutter is much more accurate.

Since your fabric isn’t able to stay on a flat surface while you cut, and since you are using a template, you won’t be as accurate with scissors. There will be more error in your cuts and the likelihood that each of your shapes is slightly off will be much higher. Why is this important? The more variation there is between each of your fabric blocks the harder it will be to match your seams. This may not matter to you, especially if you are just creating quilts for fun! But if it does matter, then seams that don’t match will cause you a lot of frustration and cutting with scissors may not be the choice for you.

So, lets take a closer look at each cutting option and cut some squares!

If you would like to see each process in video form, then scroll to the bottom of the page!

First, we will cut some squares with fabric scissors

Let’s see how accurate our quilt block is when using fabric scissors.

You can see that the lower right side of the block peeks out from the acrylic ruler as well as the top right. Now, the amount of inaccuracy isn’t awful. You could still make a beautiful quilt with these blocks.

But, with that said, you also need to keep in mind that these are 6inx6in blocks. The smaller the blocks, the more the small amounts of inaccuracy will stand out and possibly affect the way your quilt comes together.

Now let’s take a look at cutting with a rotary cutter, acrylic rulers and a mat.

When I am cutting fabric with my rotary cutter I almost always fold my fabric so it is doubled. After I line up my fabric with a line on my cutting mat and make my first cut I try not to move the fabric again. I do this because if you move the fabric then your doubled up fabric may not be perfectly even anymore. So, to get my cuts you will see that I often rotate my cutting mat! I will note when I turn the mat in the pictures below.

Wow that was fast! I cut 6 squares with my rotary cutter in the time it took me to cut two with fabric scissors. And, I didn’t need to prep and templates or use pins!

But, was this method accurate?

As you can see, both methods for cutting fabric will work. I prefer using a rotary cutter whenever possible, but hopefully this demo was helpful in helping you decide what may be best for you.

If you prefer seeing this process in video form then here you go! Keep in mind I made a sizing mistake! But, you will better see how fast it is cutting with a rotary cutter!

This video will give you a better idea of how fast each tool takes.

Thank you again for stopping by my blog!

I would love to know what your preferred quilt block cutting method is! Comment below!

Bye for now.

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2 responses to “Fabric Scissors Vs. Rotary Cutter”

    • They are much easier for cutting quilt blocks. But fabric scissors are still a must for some patterns. Thanks for reading!


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