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Topic: Rotary Cutters and/or Pinking Shears  (Read 1588 times)
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fake_moustache
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« on: December 29, 2008 03:49:29 AM »

Hey guys. So, with my holiday money, I'm planning to invest in a few much-longed-for sewing tools. I'd really like a rotary cutter and a pair of pinking shears. My question is... do I really need both? It seems they're both good for cutting fabric cleanly so it won't fray, be jagged, or choppy at the ends. What do you think? And also, could you suggest which brand or model for either that you like best?

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008 03:50:56 AM by fake_moustache » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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elijor
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008 08:47:36 AM »

Wow those are really two totally different tools. Which would be more useful depends on what type of sewing you do.

I can't imagine making quilts without a rotary cutter (which also requires a rotary cutting mat and most of the time a rotary cutting ruler). It is most useful if you cut lots of straight cuts in multiple layers. It can also be used to cut out patterns but you have to have a very large mat, small pattern pieces, or carefully move the may along as you cut. About the extra stuff (mat & ruler) you can often get them all together in a kit but the mat will probably be kinda small. JoAnn's has them and they often go on sale or you could use a coupon. I really like Fiskars brand cutter & mat. The cutter "fits" in my hand better. The mat is grey instead of green which I like better. Rulers - whatever brand is on sale.

Oh - a rotary cutter makes very clean cuts but it doesn't reduce or eliminate fraying.

Pinking shears would probably serve you better if you do a lot of garment sewing. Pinking shears do reduce or eliminate fraying so you do not have to finish the raw edges on many fabrics. I never really trust the pinking shears and was so well trained to zigzag the edges of the fabric on garments that using pinking shears was sort of a waste. Now I have a serger so they would be even more pointless. Brands - Gingher is the only brand I've tried and they are great. I think it is even more important to get a "quality brand" when buying pinking shears than regular scissors.
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gerbilfreak2
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008 01:16:20 PM »

Oh - a rotary cutter makes very clean cuts but it doesn't reduce or eliminate fraying.
True Dat!
I have both and only use my rotary cutter to cut large things. I hate having to buy replacement blades for the darned thing.

My pinking shears I got at Jo-Anns for $20 just before Christmas. They were the cheapest I found there. But they have been put to good use since.
I got the Fiskars Coastal Pinker Scissors and with the 40% off coupon came up to like $16!!
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2009 09:08:20 AM »

Yes those tools have very different purposes. I hardly ever use either. I think I don't use my rotary cutter very much because my mat is really small, I originally bought it for scrapbooking to use with my X-Acto knife. Otherwise it would be great. I do use the ruler all the time though because otherwise I can never get square corners, mine's 6"x12". I also cut a lot of curved pieces (I mostly make bags) and I don't like to switch tools often so I just go with my scissors. If you quilt or cut a lot of pieces with straight edges it would be an indispensable tool.

Actually I just bought a pair of pinking shears and used them once to make fabric covered Christmas ornaments. I'd really only use them if I didn't want to hem on something that doesn't get a lot of wear and tear (like ornaments) or if I was sewing clothing and didn't have a serger. Make sure you get a nice brand like Fiskars. I got mine towards the end of a sale and there wasn't much selection, they stick together a lot and it was really hard to cut for the ornaments.

If I were you, I'd invest in a really nice pair of regular shears, like Fiskars forged steel scissors. They're the best scissors I've ever used, and my grandma won't buy anything else. I bought a pair of Singer forged steel scissors for my sister to help me cut fabric and I am really disappointed, I only use them to cut threads now (although my sister doesn't mind them). They're really tight even after months of use, and I like the Fiskars ones because they're looser. Does that make sense?
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ohsaysaysay
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2009 05:12:43 PM »

I have a pinking blade for my rotary cutter!  It's for my Olfa rotary cutter!  I can interchange a regular blade and my pinking one.
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009 09:38:04 AM »

Yes those tools have very different purposes. I hardly ever use either. I think I don't use my rotary cutter very much because my mat is really small, I originally bought it for scrapbooking to use with my X-Acto knife. Otherwise it would be great.

I didn't like using mine until I got a bigger mat.  It was so worth it! I just used a Joann 50% off coupon and it was completely reasonable.
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Mollfie
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2009 11:59:42 AM »

I've only ever used pinking shears because I make/alter clothing and make plushies. So like others have said, it depends on what you use them for. I personally would get a good pair of pinking shears.
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009 05:27:54 AM »

It is extremely rare that I disagree with Elijor, but I do on the cutting mat.

I just recently replaced my more-than-ten-years-old Olfa (green) mat with a larger and pink Fiskars mat. I do not like it Sad It is significantly less dense than the Olfa. Cutting silk actually resulted in the silk sticking to the mat along the cutting line & leaving bits of lint in/ on the mat, with which I was very displeased. I have done the cutting for one adult twirly skirt and can already see the marks showing up on the mat. There is no way this mat will last the ten years my Olfa did. I will concede that buying the pink one might have been a mistake, the grey mats may be significantly better, but they carry the same name so I expect the same quality out of them.

I do agree that mat & rotary cutter will be more useful earlier than pinking shears.
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elijor
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009 06:02:52 AM »

It is extremely rare that I disagree with Elijor, but I do on the cutting mat.

 Grin Grin Grin It's OK.

I wonder though if the Fiskar's quality has gone downhill, if the pink ones are just not as good, or if you got a bad batch? I have had my grey Fiskar's mat for 12 years and I'm not seeing any problems.

I do have several at school and one of them is not fairing as well. Of course I think that is mainly because I had a student that wouldn't listen to me (she was banned from using the cutter/mat). She kept putting the mat in the floor (very dense, tight, looped carpet) and when it wouldn't cut the first pass she would just roll the cutter back and forth, back and forth, back and forth over the same spot. Quite a groove in the mat now. We flip it over and use the other side.

Oh, thought of something else - I have noticed that when my blade gets dull I sometimes get the fuzz in the cutting line. Usually this is at school because I tend to notice when it is harder to cut so I change the blade where as the students do not.

Slightly off topic rant - I am continually amazed at how I can hear or see things, even from across the room, and know there is something wrong but the student (high school and adult) is clueless. Mind you this is even after I have explained that "paying attention" goes a long way in successful crafting/sewing.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009 06:53:06 AM by elijor » THIS ROCKS   Logged
fiberartist219
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2009 05:40:52 PM »

I just bought both rotary cutters and pinking shears the other day! Jo-Anns was having a sale. All cutting tools were 40% off.

I insist on Gingher for all my shears, whether pinking or dressmaker shears. They last forever. You can have them sharpened, and they are guaranteed. If you buy cheap scissors, you'll be replacing them sooner than you think.

The rotary cutters I got were Olfa. They were a lot higher quality than another rotary cutter that I have. I got the Olfa because it came in a smaller size (I do a lot of detailed work sometimes) and it is so much easier to use than my no name cutter. When you are getting a rotary cutter, look for one where the guard pulls down, rather than pulling the blade down. (If you get the kind where the blade moves, you'll find it moves back into the guard while you're still trying to cut.) Also, look for one where the blade is easy to replace. Dull blades are always your enemy, and it is all to easy to hurt yourself trying to change one. Make sure it is easy to figure out.

I have no opinions on cutting mats other than the fact that you really need one when using rotary cutters. My mom says the self healing kind are the best. I'm just excited that I have a mat at all, because in college, we used cardboard mats, which dull blades really fast. We used them because they were cheap, but in the long run, you really do need a good mat.
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