A Good Old Cutting Mat for Sewing―How Crucial Is It for Your Sewing Success?
Cutting makes an essential part of the sewing experience, with a cutting mat being its central part.
the necessity to consider a cutting process will follow you everywhere.
In today’s episode of our sewing series, we’re getting to grips with an idea of a cutting table.
What size cutting mat for sewing should have? What is a sewing grid board for? How to use accurate rotary cutting mat for sewing?
We’re about to answer these and a few more questions in the following paragraphs.
Table of Contents
Cutting mat for sewing―What is it?
We like to keep it light, so let’s begin with “Cutting Mat And Why You Need One” by Colleen G Lea.
In the YouTube video below, we are (or rather, she is) tackling, among others:
As a rotary cutter is a rather big deal, you may want to expand your sewing kit knowledge by reading also:
A sewing mat, also known as a cutting mat, is a flat surface made of one of the durable materials like:
A typical sewing mat resembles the board for a strategic game. In the end, sewing is all about having a good tactic, isn’t it?
Look at this YouTube video where a lovely sewing enthusiast, Laura, shows off her “Very Large Pinnable Cutting Mat” (made of Polyethylene).
All the cutting-related activities take place on the sewing cutting table. The cutting spot in the sewing room was invented to make you feel free. So pursue your cutting urges on your terms (you might want to think about some of the “best ideas” twice, wink wink). Precision cutting makes it easier to achieve the desired results, along with helping you keep your hands safe from potential accidents.
We use a cutting pad for sewing, mainly for cutting sewing fabric with a rotary cutter.
What are its advantages?
- it protects a surface from the blade of the rotary cutter,
- it keeps the blade of the rotary cutter from becoming dull;
- it prevents fabric from slipping
- it also protects your work from getting damaged
- and of course, you can use it to measure the material.
Explore “How to Use a Rotary Cutter and Mat” with All Free Sewing. Also, have a look at “Sewing How To: Rotary Cutter & Cutting Mat” by Sarah from Hobby Lobby in the video below:
Two types of cutting surfaces for sewing
But a rotary cutting mat for sewing is not the only option.
According to Stacey Samson Designs:
“There are two main types of cutting boards used in the sewing industry – traditional cardboard cutting boards and rotary cutting mats.”
Image source: Architecture Lab
Let’s see what the differences in the table created thanks to Stacey Samson Designs are:
|Traditional cardboard cutting boards||Rotary cutting mats|
It’s a basic sewing cutting board, even ironing table can be used for sewing.
It’s a particular type of cutting board for rotary cutting devices.
If you use a sewing rotary cutter without a mat, you can severely damage your cutting surface.
They used to be colossal cardboard grids. Now, they fold down to small sizes.
A variety of visual options and different materials, designed to use with rotary cutting devices. It can be made out of plastic or be a so-called “self-healing board.”
Cost-effective for the beginner sewing student.
A bit more expensive than cardboard but still affordable.
Examples to purchase
By Susie D Designst:
To choose the best option, be aware that traditional cardboard cutting boards are perfect if you strictly do clothing construction. If you’re about to quilt or do other sewing crafts, a rotary cutting mat is essential. Consequently, buy both if you’re into two of the crafts.
Listen to the Katchi Vatchi YouTube video to understand “What Cutting Mat Should I Buy?”
How to use a rotary cutter and mat
We’ll go through the nine simple steps brought to us by All Free Sewing to cover this topic.
A friendly reminder:
When working with a rotary cutter, pay attention to the sharp rotary blade. Incorrect use can cause severe harm. Yet, for effective cutting, you’ll need a sharp tool, so don’t get into panic mode either.
- Start with putting your fabric down on the cutting mat and smoothing it to get rid of any wrinkles (it would be amazing to have it ironed).
- Line up the edge or fold your fabric so that it’s in line with the grid on the mat. All the fabric that’s about to be worked on should be placed on the mat.
- Place the ruler over your fabric. The ruler’s edge should line up with the line where you’re about to cut.
- Hold the ruler firmly in place. To ensure that you go 100% straight, line the ruler up with the grid markings on your sewing measuring board.
- Take off the blade on your rotary cutter.
- Position the blade against the ruler’s edge below the lower hem of the fabric.
- Put consistent, downwards pressure on the rotary cutter and push it forwards across the fabric (directing it away from your body).
- Roll it until you reach the opposite end of your fabric.
- Now, close the blade for security and remove excess fabric.
Image source: Inspiration Cricut
What is a self-healing mat option?
Which mat will work best for your homey or more professional enterprise? Consider also getting yourself a self-healing mat.
Users claim that this board for sewing represents an effective way to protect surfaces from cutting damage.
What’s the deal? Their construction is intriguing. They are manufactured from separate tiny pieces of material.
After it’s all pressed together, it creates a solid surface ready to be cut on.
The blade of any cutting sewing tools you use (a rotary cutter, scissors, a kitchen knife, etc.) goes between the tiny pieces of this sewing mat.
Thanks to the unique materials used for production, the groove left by the blade automatically closes up. It’s a kind of magic as it’s supposed to leave no visible marks, even after you cut it with a blade!
But even these are not immortal. A repeat cutting in the exact location can cause even self-healing mats to suffer from grooves on the surface.
It will let you get a closer look at the best types of cutting surfaces for sewing:
- Dahle Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- OLFA Double-Sided, Self-Healing Rotary Mat
- Fiskars Eco Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- Fiskars Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
- US Art Supply Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- OLFA Self-Healing Folding Mat
- Fiskars Self-Healing Rotating Mat
- Alvin Self-Healing Mat
- MyCrafts Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- MMG Self-Healing Mat
Are you ready to get your hands-on experience with finding your perfect mat?
Image source: Inspiration Cricut
The Super Label Store offer isn’t extremely innovative (after all, clothing labels are known for centuries), but it’s up to date for its low quantities.
Now, you can order even in the smallest quantities of these custom:
to customize your:
- textile, and
- other accessories;
Who is the offer directed at? Reach out to Super Label Store if you’re:
- DIY/clothing crafter at home
- Textile/sewing fanatic
- (small/starting) clothing brand
- A fashion designer
- Hotel, bar, or hospitality business
What size cutting board do I need?
By now, we know what are the types of traditional and rotary cutting mats for sewing. But what about their sizes?
It’s an open secret that you should go for the largest that your sewing cutting table or another cutting area can hold.
Keep in mind that sewing cutting board large size improves:
- speed, and
On the other hand, the larger the mat, the less portable your cutting station. And the more challenging it becomes to store.
Image source: Inspiration Cricut
If you are in the process and learn how to sew, you may not yet be aware of your preferences. Having a sewing basket and a set of sewing kit essentials is one thing, knowing how you like to work is another.
A sewing mat is not the most expensive investment for your sewing room organization. So you can even think about purchasing a few options in case of doubt!
Let’s talk about sizes, portability, and storing potential in the table below.
Traditional cardboard cutting boards
Rotary cutting mats
standard in size
a range of sizes
They fold up, so you can adjust them to fit various surfaces
There are size limitations. The larger the mat, the larger the price tag. They tend to become unreasonably pricey once you go over the typical size.
If you choose a large cutting mat for sewing, do what you can to fit it on the cutting surface you’ve got. Especially if you learn to sew, you don’t want any extra distractions.
Just think about the situation when you place a 36″-wide board for sewing on a 32″-wide sewing cutting table. See our point? It’s good comedy material rather than a step on your way from a sewing hobby to successful sewing business.
A good tip?
Think about where you are going to cut beforehand. It will influence your choice of the best cutting mat for sewing, and we don’t have to say that that knowledge only makes you a winner already.
Sewing grid board maintenance
We love to follow YouTube lessons on sewing and sewing accessories by Professor Pincushion.
See the one below for the best tips on keeping your sewing mat in the best condition and providing it with durability:
Tips to keep your cutting pad for sewing in excellent shape:
Keep it flat/don’t roll it
If you leave them on the self-healing mat, you don’t allow it to heal
Make sure to keep it sharp as it can dull over time. Using a dull blade can destroy the cutting mat, as you have to push it harder, and withhold it from self-healing.
After work, wipe it down with a soft cloth.
Keep it away from heat and sun.
Don’t always cut in the same place; move around the mat.
Stuck fragments of fiber you can collect with packing tape or a soft toothbrush. Use an eraser rubbing in a circular motion to rub out fibers.
Keep it away from freezing temperatures
Run your mat under room-temperature water under mild detergent like dish soap and gently scrub.
- Regularly soak your mat in the bath.
- The solution recommended is 1/4 cup white vinegar for every gallon of cool water.
- Keep the mat in for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Gently clean stains and fibers with a cloth or very soft brush
- Rinse your cutting mat for sewing and set it dry (but under no condition in direct sunlight).
- Store it only when it’s bone dry.
Image source: National Quilters Circle
Keep in mind that your cutting mat will also suffer wear and tear if you use it often. Don’t overestimate its resistance.
Take good care of it and follow the expert tip on cleaning your mat to keep it in good condition for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a self-healing cutting mat last?
Self-healing mats can last for years as long as they are taken care of properly. Regular cleaning and storing it flat or rolled up rather than folded can extend the life of the mat. You can remember these tasks to increase the longevity:
- Rotate the mat
- Use appropriate cutting tools
- Avoid excessive pressure
- Clean the mat properly
- Store the mat flat
- Keep away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures
Are there different thickness options for cutting mats?
Most cutting mats come in standard thicknesses, usually around 3 mm. This thickness provides a balance of durability and portability. However, some manufacturers may offer thicker or thinner options to suit specific needs. But less than 3mm is not recommended since it may not be durable for you.
What size of cutting mat is appropriate for sewing projects?
The size of the cutting mat depends on the scale of your sewing projects and the available workspace. A common size for home sewing is 18″ x 24″, but you can find larger options for bigger projects or smaller ones for portability.