Quilting Accessories: Your Favorite Mats, Rulers and Rotary Cutters

Sometimes I forget how much I rely on my favorite quilting accessories: cutting mats, rulers and rotary cutters. After a recent move, I found myself searching for my favorites spread out among boxes in my basement. With one curved ruler broken during the move (it was a favorite!), and others buried under bags of books and mementos, I’m finally starting to get my sewing room and quilting notions back in a useable order.

I was curious to see what quilting accessories are your favorites, so I started asking around. What size of cutting mat is the most practical? Do most quilters go for ergonomic or traditional rotary cutters? If you could own only one cutting ruler, which size would you choose? The results are in, and here’s what some of you had to say.

Various Quilting Accessories Spread Out on Table

O’Lipfa brand rulers in a variety of sizes are blogger Denise Clason’s favorite, and she says she’s used most of them for more than 20 years! The 5” x 24” long ruler has a lip on the edge, which hooks on to a cutting map for more secure cutting. She also loves the 6” x 18” with a 45 degree angle and square rulers in 12” and 6 1/2” for squaring up blocks. She has passed several quilting rulers along to her daughter, which just shows how well they have held up over time.

Quilting Table Set up With Various Accessories

Elena at Hot Pink Stitches uses a giant 54” tabletop cutting mat, which she says is thick, easy to read and gets the job done. She calls the ergonomic 45mm Olfa her go-to rotary cutter, and uses the smaller 18mm rotary cutter for trimming half-square triangles. “I kick it up to 60mm when being naughty and cutting 8 to 10 layers at a time,” she confesses. “I’ve always gotten the Omnigrid rulers because I like the different colored lines for reading measurements. I also like specialty rulers, like Dresden and Tri-Rec rulers for special projects.”

Cutter and Fabric Stack on Gridded Surface

Veronica of sewVery uses a Fiskars 24” x 36” self-healing cutting mat, which she uses all the time with her Fiskars 3” x 18” or Omnigrid 6” x 24” clear rulers. “I’ve been very happy with rulers and the cutting mat, which is similar to what I used as an engineer, for a drafting table.” She also has several sizes of Fiskars rotary cutters, but says she think Olfa rotary cutters work better.

Montage of Quilting Accessories
Kristine Tsai calls the Olfa rotary cutter (45mm ergonomic) and mat (36” x 24”) her favorite quilting accessories. For rulers, she loves her 6 1/2” x 24” Donna Dewberry ruler by Fiskars. “I love the fact that the extra 1/2” is colored differently from the rest of the ruler (purple instead of clear).” Kristine also loves the 6” x 12” ruler by Omnigrid, which she says is easier to move around and works really well with fat quarters. “It also travels really well — I brought it with me to the Sewing Summit conference.”

If you are new to quilting, these recommendations should help you get started. A large cutting mat, long acrylic ruler and 45mm rotary cutter should work to get you started. And since quilting accessories don’t always come cheap, you should probably treat yourself to a FREE Craftsy mini-class, like Sew Ready: Machine Basics with Amy Alan or Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartman.

Which quilting accessories are your favorites when it comes to mats, rulers and rotary cutters? Are there any specific brands or sizes that you’d recommend?

9 Comments

MaryLFK

I like the ergonomic rotary cutter because when I set it down the blade is retracted automatically, saving me possible injuries. It’s also easier on my arthritic hands.

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Rose-Marie

Definitely Olfa Rotary cutters. I also like my 4″ x 14″ and 8 1/2 x 24 inch rulers as well as all my squares from 6 1/2″ to 16″

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barbara kelly

Creative grid rulers are so awesome. The ergo cutters are a must!

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Rosemary

I also like a smaller mat to take(12 X 18) to take with me when taking classes or when cutting smaller pieces that I need to rotate without moving.

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Allison C Bayer

My new cutting mat is making my blades last longer! It is a Big Mat by http://www.seweasyproducts.com out of California. I’ve been quilting since 1995
and this in the best mat by far. No warping either!!

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Cori

My sister bought an Olfa cutting mat and a Fiscars rotary cutter. She cut 6 strips of fabric with only double thickness (cotton) and her blade was so dull it wouldn’t cut. Bought another new blade and same thing happened! Has anybody else had this problem?

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Avid Sewer

I sew daily. I have had many problems with mats splitting along the edges over time. And I must say the Fiskars mat did it in 6 months and Fiskars replaced it without question. When my 24 x 36 Fiskars died, and after 3, 24 x 36 Olfa (I sew for a living), lost their ability to do well, I went out on a limb and bought a 36 x 48 Adir. I love this mat. Did I say I love this mat? It is thicker (no splitting), grids on both sides, and is an absolute wonder in my sewing area. Sometimes I cut out in a smaller area, so I just ordered the Adir 18 x 36 (great size by the way) for when I want to do that. I too like the Fiskars ruler with the purple to denote the half inch .. I love the ruler, but wish it were heavier. I like you can see through it while cutting. I am sure there are more professional rulers out there but I have yet to discover them (time to hunt). But I wanted to pass on the Adir Mat comments, it doesn’t dull my blades (some brands do), and it truly is “self-healing.”

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Avid Sewer

I too like the Olfa rotary cutters. My go-to one is the 60mm ergonomic. It cuts like a dream. I have a Ghinger 45, and Olfa, (all the sizes) which I do use at different times particularly when I am doing wee clothes. But I do prefer them. I am sure they are all ok, but I just like that the 60mm is easier when I am using stuff like Minkee, or fur, getting through thickness. But it works from silk to leather.

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