The invention of the rotary cutter changed quilting!

Handy rotary cutter in use.

I learned to sew in the 1960’s, and we cut fabric with heavy steel scissors.  Nice for cutting the curves of armholes in patterns, but tricky for making lovely straight edges that quilters seek.  Often, when I am slicing away with my rotary cutter, I get curious about how this nifty gadget came to be marketed to quilters.

Olfa Corporation is credited with the invention of the standard rotary cutter quilters use today.  They first began marketing the cutter, mat, and rulers in 1979.  Before that, many in the clothing manufacturing industry had been using large rotary cutters to cut through stacks of items at once.  These were often 12-20 ” across!

I think of it as the circular saw of the sewing world.  I still use my scissors, but for straight lines, cutting layers, and trimming/squaring off finished blocks, the rotary cutter is wonderful.  So many styles are now available, from many manufacturers. 

I have some lovely old quilts made by my Great Aunt Ebba. Some are handpieced, many are machine quilted.  I wonder, as I cut my almost perfect squares with a rotary cutter and ruler, what she would think of this nifty tool!


About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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One Response to The invention of the rotary cutter changed quilting!

  1. Pingback: Worn Out Rotary Cutting Mats and Rulers | The Curious Quilter

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