What Size Cutting Mat For Sewing? (Can You Cut It to Size)

To create a fashion masterpiece you need the right tools for the project on hand. In order to get those tools, you need to know what you are looking. Finding the right cutting mat is essential if you want to make the best cuts possible. The only difficulty will be what kind of cutting mat to buy.

What size cutting mat for sewing? The size of cutting mat you need for sewing will depend, first, on your working space. Second, your table design, and third, how big a cut you need to make. Then it is possible to trim the cutting mat to size but for some mats that may be more work than you want to do.

To learn more about cutting mats and what size you need, just continue to read our article. It has the information to help guide you to the right mat for you and your sewing projects. Take a few minutes to see what cutting mats are all about.

What Size Cutting Mat Should I Buy?


There is really no one size fits all tasks perfect cutting mat out there. It is best to have several on hand as you are not making the same type of cut nor the same length of cut with each sewing project.

You are going to be the best person to assess what size of mat you need for your sewing. If you are not a dedicated sewer who sews more than 3 times a week, then just about any mat will do.

If you are a quilter, you might want to check into a new style of cutting mat, the rotating one. This style is set up to help you make squares, diamonds, and even triangles perfectly.

Or you might need a folding cutting mat because your space is a bit on the small size or you need to make small cuts. Also, the folding cutting mat is easier to store. You have to check out the pros and cons of each mat and compare it with what type of space you have to work with.

Size Cutting Mat for Sewing

The good news here is that you have many different sizes to choose from. If you want to sew or cut when you are on your sofa or on the road, the 6” by 8” cutting mat may be ideal for you. This size is good for making applique cuts or marking fabric.

Then you have the 18” by 24” that lets you cut patches or smaller pieces of fabric. It can go anywhere you go in the house making your life a little easier when you have other things to do at the same time.

Next up is the 24” by 36” size and it should remain stationary as it is a bit large to pack around the house or take on the road with you. This size is good for quilters and for those larger sewing projects you take on.

Now if you have a large enough space and do not travel a lot, the 35” by 70” can be permanently placed in your sewing room and be ready for any cut you need to do.

What Size Cutting Mat do I Need for Quilting?


When it comes to quilting there are two cutting mat sizes that come in handy. The first one is when you are traveling or going to someone else’s home to do the quilt. It measures 18 by 24 inches in size and is portable enough to go in the car, RV or trailer.

Plus, it can slide away easily under a sofa, in the trunk, or where ever you need to put it so it won’t get damaged when not in use. The second size that is good for quilts is the 24 by 36” option.

It is a little larger but it is still portable if you have space. Also, it works well when you are at your home and do not need to go to another home to work on your quilting project.

Both sizes are perfect for when you need to rotate the mat and make different cuts. Pick the one that best fits the size of your quilt and your situation. Picking the wrong one will only add to the problems you face when quilting

What Size Cutting Mat for Dressmaking

As usual, your sewing project will determine the type of cutting mat you need. For dressmaking, the size is not the most important factor, although it helps. Some people use a smaller 12 by 18” mat.

The reason they use that size is that the reverse size allows them to press the fabric as they go. Then if you need to keep the fabric stationary, find a size of mat that allows you to pin the fabric so it won’t move.

Some sewers use the 17 by 24” folding mat as it helps them avoid that dreaded seam dead zone. This mat is great for rotary cutters and when you need the full mat you unfold it and the cutter won’t get caught in the hinged area.

But if you need space and room to work, then the 24 by 36-inch size is probably best. Its size allows you to cut yardage very easily and provides you with all the lines and grid marks you need at a size you can see without a magnifying glass.

Common Cutting Mat Sizes


Cutting mats come in a variety of sizes but not all those larger options are great for sewing unless you work on a very large table in your sewing room. You can get a cutting mat up 6 feet by 12 feet in size but that may be a bit too large for most sewers.

The more common sewing cutting mat sizes start small-- 5 by 7, 6 by 8, 8 by 10, 9 by 12, and 11 by 14 (all numbers are in inches). That provides you with a lot of choice for when you need those smaller mats for those cramped places you have to work in.

Other common sizes are- 18 by 24, 18 by 36, 24 by 36, 24 by 48, 30 by 42. 36 by 48, 36 by 60, 40 by 60, and so on. If you are a sewer who likes to work on big projects those larger mats are perfect for you.

The key would be to own several different sizes as you do not always work with the same size of the material. Small cutting mats are not good for large fabric sizes and while you can cut small pieces of fabric on larger mats, it is not always practical. Plus, the larger mats do not travel well.

What is The Largest Size Cutting Mat?

For self-healing cutting mats, you can get them up to 6 feet by 12 feet in size. In checking around, there may be larger but we did not find anyone selling a mat larger than that size.

If you need a larger mat than already mentioned here, you can start at 3 by 6 feet and work your way up to the 6 by 12-foot size. There are many intermediate sizes with the majority of those mats 4 feet wide.

The key to using a larger mat is having space in your home, sewing room, or workshop. You need a large floor area or a table that you can sit or stand comfortably to make your cuts.

Reach is also important s if you do not have a long reach you will have to make adaptions, use weights, etc., to make sure the fabric stays where you want it while you make your cuts.

Use your own judgment here. It is best you find the size of mat that works with you and your projects the best.

Can You Cut a Cutting Mat?


Yes, you can but it may take a lot more work than you are prepared to do. Some sewers just use their regular cutting scissors and that can take a long time. They cut a little, rest, cut a little, and rest until they are done. Cutting mats can give your hands a real work out.

Another sewer felt that if you could score the mat, you should be able to snap it off at the score. This takes precision and careful work as well as the right material. If the material can’t snap, then this is not a good option.

Another suggestion would be to use tin snips and if you do not know what those are ask your husband or boyfriend. They will tell you in an instant. These cutters are strong enough to cut metal.

The issue you have to worry about the most is if your cutting mat gets a warp or a buckle in it. When that happens it is practically impossible to straighten the mat again. Heat may warp or buckle the mat, but heat doesn't restore it back to its original flat shape.

How to Cut a Self-Healing Cutting Mat to Size


This situation arises more often than you would think as people move their cutting mats to different tables or surfaces and the mat is too large for their new home. When you go to cut, make sure you know your exact measurements.

You measure twice and cut once and the reason for that is you cannot add cutting mat material back on the mat if you cut off too much. One of the tougher ways to cut your self-healing mat is to use a strong pair of scissors. This will take a lot of work and accidents will happen. It is not the best way to make your cuts.

The next way and it is a lot easier is to score the mat in the right place. This takes precision measuring and marking. If the straight edge moves at all, you have ruined your cut. You may find that you have to score once, then bend a little then score a second time before the material snaps in two.

The easiest method is to use your husband's circular saw or jigsaw. Both tools are quick and get the job done fast. The trouble is both methods are noisy and leave a nice mess for you to clean up after you are done.

The final method would be to cut the mat in place. This works best if you have an odd shaped table or surface or rounded corners. You need a flush edge bit and a router to use this method. To use this method you need to know how to use a router and take a lot of care in your movements. It is also messy and noisy.

Sometimes it is just best to buy a smaller cutting mat and leave the larger one in reserve.

Cutting Mat Checklist

here are some tips to help you find the right cutting mat for your sewing projects and space:

  • 1. Is it the right size to make all the cuts you need to make?
  • 2. How is it marked? In inches or centimeters? Pick the one in the measurement style you need
  • 3. Is the grid large enough?
  • 4. Is your table or mat surface large enough to hold the cutting mat?
  • 5. Get a rotary cutting blade if you do not have one.

Some Final Words

Having the right size cutting mat is essential. If you can’t find one in the size you need, you can always cut a larger one down. This is not always practical but it works when you have no other options. Just make sure to measure correctly and mark your lines right so you do not make any cutting mistakes.

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