Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Product Review: Olfa Rotary Cutter

For Christmas I asked for a bunch of sewing things including a rotary cutter.  I received a Fiskars Rotary Cutter and got started using it.  The first couple cuts were fine, but after a few uses, I started having to press harder and harder to cut through the fabric.  Even then, the blade often skipped across the fabric, leaving it joined in a few places across the cut.  With a sore hand and crappily cut fabric I gave up on using the rotary cutter.  I purchased a pair of inexpensive scissors at the fabric store and vowed to use them only for fabric.

My fabric store has a club membership that you pay $15 a year to be part of.  That gives you discounts all the time (on almost everything) of 25-35 % and allows you to shop on their member days every couple of months (when everything is 50% off).

On one recent trip to the fabric store with my husband, I left him looking at the "tools" while I shopped for fabric.  He carefully reviewed their selection, including the rotary cutters and was surprised to see one of his favourite brands there - Olfa.  He has an Olfa Exacto Knife that he loves (as much as anyone can love an exacto knife I suppose...).  When I returned to him, he showed me the rotary cutter and suggested that maybe a different brand - like Olfa - would work better for my rotary cutting needs (those aren't his exact works, haha).

He showed me that the 45 mm Olfa rotary cutter had decorative blades you could buy including a pinking blade (I had previously mentioned buying pinking shears).  The other sizes don't have the option of trading out for different types of blades later.  He thought that if I was going to get another rotary cutter, this should be the one! 

The cutters were around $50 so I didn't purchase right away.  I waited for the member sale of course!  Based on online reviews I chose the ergonomic cutter which has a self-retracting blade and a safety button that keeps the blade locked. I like the retracting blade feature because that blade is sharp but I don't want to have to worry about losing a cap for it.  The handle is curved and feels good in my hand.

I haven't bought any additional decorative blades yet, although I have plans to in the future.  Most of the OLFA rotary cutters now have a quick-change blade system to make changing the blade easy.

So far, the Olfa Rotary Cutter is working very well.  It is making quick work of making straight cuts although  I am not skilled enough to use it for curves yet.  I use it in conjunction with a gridded self-healing cutting mat (also Olfa brand) which allows me to measure easily and protects my cutting surface and the blade.  I also use my husband's triangle ruler (it looks like a big L) from the workshop.  His is new, so it's clean, but I'll likely get some quilting rulers or my own triangle in the future.

The cutter easily cuts through 4 layers of quilting cotton or several layers of towel without any skipping.  I do not have to press down hard for a proper cut and I find this cutting easier to control than the Fiskars.  I can quickly cut, without a sore hand!  I am incredibly happy with this rotary cutter!

***I think I am supposed to have a disclaimer when I do a product review, so here it goes... I have not been paid or compensated for reviewing the products listed in this post.***


  1. Thanks for the review! I havan't had much luck with rotary cutters, but my husband has.

    The disclaimer is because of a new law or bill(?) that was passed to keep bloggers from endorsing an inferior product. Basically, you get punished for lying. Blogging has become an increasingly popular way for companies to get cheap advertising/ endorsements. All they have to exchange for a good review is their product. I hope that made sense.

  2. Thanks for the information! I'm not sure that I legally have to do this here in Canada, but I agree that if you are being offered goods or services for your good opinion, that should be noted along with any sort of review. I think it's a good practice to get into.

  3. Thanks for the review, Melissa! I have a cheap rotary cutter from Fabricland, and while it is better than scissors, I have similar problems to the ones you describe. I may have to think about investing in one of these!

    -scrumhalfgirl on ravelry

  4. Fabricland is my source too. I really recommend paying for the membership if you haven't already. I have noticed that the replacement blades for the Olfa Rotary Cutter are overpriced there though, I might have to order them online.

    Glad you found the review helpful! I added you as a friend in Ravelry!