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Martelli Rotary Cutter Review

Disclaimer: Martelli enterprises was kind enough to provide me with a rotary cutter in hopes that I would post about it. All opinions expressed below are strictly my own.

One of the very few downsides to Quilt Market last fall was the unexpected stress it put on my hands.  I knew making three quilts in three weeks would be a challenge, but I had no idea of the physical strain it would cause.  I’m only now getting back to a point where I can drive comfortably again without resting my wrists at every red light.  Of course, slowing down the quilting isn’t an option, so I’ve started researching ways to put less strain on my hands while making quilts, and I wanted to share one of my finds with you today, the Martelli Rotary Cutter.

Martelli rotary cutter

This is a truly comfortable rotary cutter.  I know it looks strange and akward, but it moves as intuitively as your hand on a computer mouse.  Using it takes a little practice.  For me, the biggest challege is remembering to re-engage the safety guide after cutting, because my old Olfa did that automatically when I released the handle.  I love that I don’t have to press down so hard to cut through layers of fabric.  I also like that my hand is positioned directly over the blade, so I have a better sense of where the blade is in relation to my non-cutting hand.

On the back of the packaging, there’s a note that you can cut through over fifteen layers of fabric at once.  As a lark, I decided to test that claim.  There are fifteen turquoise triangles in the stack above.  And I did cut them simultaneously.  Very cool.  I don’t think I’ll do 15 with this one often, as the ruler was hard to balance on a pile that high, but it’s great to know that the cutter will glide through so much fabric that smoothly.

None of the reviews I read on this cutter mentioned cutting with templates, so I was curious to see how it would handle those.  It works wonderfully.  I am using my rotating mat more to cut small templates with this cutter.  It’s harder to “cheat” and cut around towards yourself with this cutter (due to the grip on the cutter), but I probably shouldn’t be trying to do that anyway! For my new Hoffman quilt, I’m cutting eight layers of fabric at a time with a very small template, and I was delighted to find that I can cut these far more smoothly and cleanly with the Martelli cutter than my Olfa.  With my old cutter, I typically had to make each cut twice to cut all the layers.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this cutter.  Supposedly the blades last longer than other rotary blades, but I’ll have to update this post once I’ve tested that idea. (If they do work, I’m seriously considering ordering the 50 or 100 pack from their website.   Seems like I always run out of blades just after a JoAnn’s sale, when they’re completely out of stock!)  You can find this cutter (right and left-handed versions available, and two sizes) on the Martelli website.

Happy Stitching!



  1. Ruby K says:

    Hello Emily,
    I LOVE the Martelli Rotary Cutters…I have two, one for my quilt room and one that I use when I am at my mother’s house…she is a lefty and she also uses a Martelli Rotary Cutter…I have yet to try to cut 15 layers, but it is still the best rotary cutter that I have ever used.

    • Emily says:

      Agreed, Ruby! I think these are also one of the best-kept secrets of the quilting world, as I’ve only known a handful of people that use them. Now to talk them into making a cutter for the 28 mm blades. . . .

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Very interesting. Is it handed or ambidextrous in design? I technically am a lefty but have adapted enough to a right-handed world that I switch hands frequently with my current cutter.

    • Emily says:

      From their website, I don’t think any shops carry them near you. However, they have the online store, and Lynda was using one the other day, so she might be able to order for you as well. 🙂

  3. Isabel says:

    Hmmm, my crappy little cutter has been on its last legs for quite some time. I keep stealing my mom’s, but I don’t really like hers much either (but at least it sort of cuts). I’m off to peruse the Martelli website! 🙂

  4. Robin H says:

    I have used the Martelli (right hand) cutter for about 10 years. I purchased the cutter, a package of 5 blades and the cutting mat as a package deal at a trade show in Columbus, OH. I JUST purchased another package of 5 blades! I love my Martelli products!

  5. Debra Leist says:

    I just got mine in the mail today and it doesn’t cut through two layers of fabric without skipping so I’m sure it wouldn’t do 15. My Fiskar is so far the better choice. I called the company and was told the bolt might be bad. Really? Just took it out of the package. Then was told I was using it wrong and that’s why it was skipping. Really? There’s not a lot you can do wrong with these cutters. I am not impressed yet. They are sending me a new bolt but then I wonder if the blade will be bad because of this bolt? I sure hope it gets better.

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