When buying a large cutting mat for dressmaking here are some notes that I’d want to reflect on because I notice that the bigger you want the cutting mat to be the pricier it gets so, how do you make the right choice at once?
That is what I want to give to you in this article; the six things to check when buying a large cutting mat plus some extra tips here and there so, here they are.
#1 Is it large enough to cut your garments
Look into your dressmaking style, do you cut and sew big clothes and how big of garments do they often tend to be?
Here’s a tip (in 3 steps) on how to determine how big your mat may need to be:
1. Figure out what is the largest piece of garment you tend to sew most frequently. I am someone who tends to sew long dresses or maxi dresses plus many of my clients request me to make that as well so, that is a reference point that I can go by.
2. Grab the pattern off your stash and lay the patterns out in front of you on a table. It should be done similar to how it would be laid out on the fabric for cutting.
3. Take a tape measure and take the length and width measurements of the area to provide a rough estimate of the size you need.
#2 Is it marked in the inches or cm (metric & imperial) which one do you need?
I personally hardly use the grid measurements because I purely use the mat for easy cutting.
However, if the measurement markings are essential to you and your style of sewing, then I would be warned that some cutting mats will only come in imperial measurements and vice versa.
Some mats will even have both (metric/imperial) one on each side! So be sure to look out for that.
Talking of which, number 3 on our list is also another concern in regards to the grid.
#3 Is the GRID as large as you need it to be?
If the grid markings are essential to you and your projects, then I would make sure to check the grid markings as opposed to the actual mat dimensions- yes there is a difference!
The difference is that the grid may be marked up until 35″ (as an example) while the actual mat dimension is 37″.
Is that measurement the dimensions or the grid size?
#4 Is your table or surface WIDE enough to lay this down on
The surface you use to lay and cut out your fabrics has to be measured here’s why;
you will either have one of the two surfaces, either a full or narrow table or surface.
Some cutting mats are much wider than others, and if your surface isn’t as wide enough for the mat, then it will hang over the edge- especially if the table is set against a wall then that could be a problem!
Because it would be slightly uncomfortable to do your cutting with the extra bit of the mat hanging in between you and the project.
#5 Do you have a rotary blade to use along with the cutting mat
A Rotary Cutter goes hand in hand with a Self-healing Cutting Mat, and that’s for these two reasons:
- It won’t damage the mat
- It will prolong the life of the blade
Meaning that you cannot use any other types of knives/blades for a self-healing mat.
BONUS TIP: A handy tip from one dressmaker to another:
Cutting around an armhole curve and a round neck curve can be quite tricky with a Rotary Cutter by the size of your average 45cm Rotary cutter blade.
That is because the curve is small. Therefore it’s easier done with a smaller 28mm Rotary Cutter.
So what I would do is I’d grab two Rotary cutters one of 45mm and one in 28mm.
#6 Have you big space for storing it?
When something is well maintained, then, of course, it will last and serve you much longer in time than if you don’t- that goes with anything, right?
With these Self-healing cutting mats, as per the care instructions, you cannot roll the mat. Nope.
That is exactly the reason why, unfortunately, I cannot have a large cutting mat because I don’t have the space to keep it flat!
As we’re on the topic of care and storage I want to add the two points they keep making and that is
- You can’t roll it up
- Keep away from sunlight
That is because these two things can warp the mat, causing it to not lay flat on the surface.
So is the space you have to keep your mat flat and away from sunlight?
Bonus: What is the biggest size cutting mat?
Sometimes the different measurements they mention can start to puzzle you the longer you keep searching- well to me anyway!
So I decided to give the sizes for the largest cutting mats I could find- and I did check it against my tables.
Here are the best sizes I could find for a large cutting mat:
I want to conclude that when buying a large cutting mat for dressmaking the longer (in length the mat is), the better.
Then depending on the width of the surface, you plan to place the mat on will determine how wide you want your large self-healing cutting mat to be.
I hope all that or some of it made sense if not then please leave me a comment down below in the comments section, and I will get back to you.
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