6 years agoJenny @Jenny
I would like to step up my game a bit and am thinking that it might be time to get a cutting mat. We live in a small-by-the-rest-of-the-nation’s-standards-outside-of-NYC apartment so up until now I’ve tended to save up my fabric and patterns to cut them out at my parents’ house, but I wind up 1) biting off way more than I can chew in a size range before my daughter grows out of them and 2) rushing to get through a whole pile and doing a really bad job of transferring markings and such. Anyhow, if there are others out there who use cutting mats preferentially and effectively, could you please let me know what you think I should go with? Feel free to get granular–do you use rotary cutters? what kind of pattern marking tools do you use? Are there any types/sizes easier to store than others? I’m really clueless here.6 years agoroundtheworldgirl @roundtheworldgirl
I love my cutting mat + rotary cutter + clear quilting ruler. They have changed my sewing life. I have an 18×24″ one which is adequate for sewing for my 2- and 3-year-old daughters. I think it’s an Olfa brand, but I’m not sure and am currently holed up in bed with the flu, so I can’t go check. The few times I’ve made clothing for myself, I’ve gnashed my teeth a bit at the size of the mat. I’d love a larger one but they are so expensive! I now have a cutting area where the mat resides permanently, but in our last home my sewing space was smaller, so the mat just lived behind my sewing desk and I took it out and put it on the dining room floor when I needed to cut things. I have one of those blue disappearing-ink pens, but I will also sometimes just use a plain pencil to mark, depending on where the mark needs to go.6 years agodkbnyc @dkbnyc
i live in the smallest of nyc apts and have a large cutting mat 36×24 (i think, im not home) for cutting garments i wouldnt want anything smaller. i use it with a rotary cutter and have to do it on the floor. its hard on my old knees, but we dont have any tables in the house so there is no other option.6 years agoDeb @Mynorth
I too have a small space. I set up a card table and use a green ‘self healing’ mat that’s roughly 3′ X 2′ and an Olfa rotary cutter. (I found the white/semi-opaque hard plastic mats wore out the rotary blade quickly.) The card table with mat is light enough to quickly pick up and tuck into a corner and get it out of the way to make room for another activity. When I have to put it all away, the card table and mat goes under the bed. For tracing, I use a red dot tracing medium available from fabric stores along with a coloured pencil (Laurentien brand) to trace. Sometimes I’ll use pins and a pair of scissors to cut the pattern pieces if there are a lot of corners and curves. For straight pieces, a clear ruler and cutter works best for me. Good luck and happy sewing Jenny!
Deb6 years agoscgoble @scgoble
Another small-spacer here. I have the mid-range size mat…18×24 I guess…but really need a bigger one. Even with children’s clothes, it’s sometimes not quite long enough. I would strongly suggest that you get the largest one you can afford. Shifting the fabric/pattern pieces to get those last inches is a real pain. Even the large ones are pretty unobtrusive; they can hide under beds, behind a chest of drawers, etc.6 years agoKellyNYC @KellyNYC
I second the recommendation to get the biggest you can afford. I very quickly upgraded from an 18×24 to a 24×36 and it makes my life so much easier. I waited until I got a 40 or 50% off coupon for Michaels and saved a bundle. I kept it tucked behind my kitchen table, leaning up against a wall when we lived in a small NYC apartment. I only use the rotary cutter and ruler for cutting straight edges such as pillows. For clothes, I use pins and dressmaking shears. I never had good enough control to cut curves with a rotary.6 years agoroundtheworldgirl @roundtheworldgirl
Those of you who use pins to cut fabric – what do you mean? Do you mark the cutting line with pins and then cut around it? I ask because I, too, have trouble doing curves with my rotary cutter. I usually do as much as I can with it and then cut the tricky bits with my shears. Seems like the pin method might be more accurate.6 years agoKellyNYC @KellyNYC
I pin the pattern (traced on to Swedish tracing paper I order from Amazon) to the fabric and then cut around it.6 years agoJane @jesims
I started with a smaller mat and quickly upgraded to a larger one (24×36). The small one just isn’t enough sometimes.
I use a Fiskar rotary cutter and clear quilt ruler for straight lines. I use dress maker shears for curves.
I trace my patterns onto Pellon TruGrid, pin to the fabric (placing pins parallel to pattern edge), cut. You can get an entire bolt (10 yds) of TruGrid from Overstock.com for $25. The TruGrid “grips” to the fabric a little which is nice, plus it can be laundered and ironed. I am able to put all the pieces into a Baggie for storing and then iron and reuse.
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