All About Cutting Mats

cutting mats

If you do a lot of sewing, you know that a rotary cutter is a must-have. But if you use a rotary cutter, you’ll also need good quality cutting mat made for that purpose to keep your surfaces intact, your fingers safe, and your cut lines perfect.

How to Buy a Cutting Mat

Cutting mats come in all sizes, so measure the space you work in the most and get one that fits well. They also come in a few different colors and grid/line mark-ups, so take a look at all your options before buying. Be sure to get one that is self-healing with at least a ruler grid.

Personally, I prefer the mats that are 24” by 36” that include bias angle lines. This is a great size for most projects and makes it easy when you want to see how many yards of this or that stashed fabric you have (since 36” is a yard). I started out with an 18” by 24” mat, and I still use it on occasion; especially if I am sewing somewhere other than my house. (Sew-dates with your crafty BFFs are always a great time!)

Other Uses for Cutting Mats

If you’re not interested in making an investment in a cutting mat just yet, know that cutting isn’t the only task you can do with it. I use my mat for lots of different things. It’s also nice to do your pinning and marking on a mat. This protects your table or counter from getting scratched by pins or accidently marked on. For really big projects, I will also take both my mats to the dining room table and lay them side by side for an even larger work space.

They also make these handy portable cutting and pressing stations that have a cutting mat on one side and a surface for ironing on the other. These are wonderful if you are limited on space or sew on the go often. If you have a dedicated sewing area and want to make the investment, there are even companies who will make custom sizes for you. (Oh yeah, my dream sewing studio would have a table-sized mat for sure!)

Want more beginner sewing tips? Check out this article: Essential Sewing Tools and Supplies

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20 Responses to “All About Cutting Mats”

  1. Kay

    I don’t do a lot of sewing any longer so what works for my purposes is to store my cutting mat between the mattress and the box spring. They I don’t sew so much anymore so what works for me is to store cutting mats between the mattress and the box spring of a bed. secure

  2. Linda Levine

    How do you flatten a warped cutting mat

  3. Mary Ann Nations

    I don’t see the article about what to do with a warped cutting mat? I have one

  4. Grace Thompson

    Do you know where I can purchase a 36" by 72" acrylic mat? I have a cutting table this size and need to replace the mat which I have had for years. The ones I have found are heavy and not acrylic or only 60" long.

  5. Virginia Chavez

    Cutting Mats are a necessity in any sewing project!! I could use a mat at least the width of most fabrics 45"-48" even 60". I sometimes ruin a cut by moving the fabric up or down to continue the cutting strip.

  6. Laura

    This would have been more helpful with a bit of a review of different mats and their pros and and maintenance...cost comparisons...

  7. Colleen K Darrell

    I purchased a large 36" great brand mat and within 3 months the thing had some serious waves on one side. How can I work those out of it, since that will be the last one I buy if I can't. Cardboard will be used.

  8. Joyce Patton

    Are rotary cutters "handed"? I'm left-handed and have tried 6 or 7 different cutting mats [most, but not all of them self-healing] and 8 or 9 different rotary cutters, but none of them in any combination cuts all the way through cotton quilting fabric. Are rotary cutters set up to work only for right-handed people?

  9. Henry

    Cutting mats are the best! Seriously, they can be used for almost everything. In combination with a rotary cutter, you're invincible.

  10. Dorothy Willis

    What is the best way of cleaning a cutting mat?