What’s the best self healing cutting mat for sewing and quilting?

When you start quilting or need to cut small pieces of fabric with a rotary cutter you’ll find that a cutting mat is almost an essential piece of equipment.  Self healing mats are ideal because they can withstand a lot of work and if you have lots of quilting to do this is what you need!  In this article I’m looking at the best self healing cutting mat for sewing and quilting but even if you do other crafts such as model making you should find this buying guide helpful.

What to look for in the best self healing cutting mat

Size – see below for my thoughts on what size to go for, but in general make sure it’s going to be big enough for your needs.  How big are the pieces you’re going to be cutting?  If only small squares then a small mat might be sufficient, but if you’re cutting larger pattern pieces then a larger mat should be considered.

Measurement markings – most cutting mats have measurement lines on them but not all of them have them in inches and in metric (centimetres).  Depending on what you like to work with just check that it suits you.

How thick it is – I find that a slightly thicker quilting cutting mat is much nicer to cut on than the really thin mats

How well it copes with cuts – a self healing mat should do just that, self heal.  It shouldn’t show up cuts from your rotary cutter or x-acto knife (although some don’t do well with straight edge blades).  Always check reviews from many people to see if it does hold up – the mats picked below have been checked for you.


What size cutting mat should you go for?

This question can only be answered thinking about the space that you have available.  I have to say that since I got the biggest one that I had room for I’ve been much happier – it feels less fiddly to cut my quilting pieces because I am free to put things wherever I like rather than being confined to a small space.  Obviously if you cut large pattern pieces then you’ll need something that can accommodate them.

Most rotary cutting mats come in various sizes from small to very large but when you go up in size the prices go up quite dramatically too.  Think about your budget and the space available and get the best and biggest you can afford.


Our self healing cutting mat reviews:


Alvin Professional Cutting Mats

The top of my list and one that is quite reasonable on the pocket book is this cutting mat from Alvin.  It comes highly recommended and when you see the quality of this item you’ll see why.

It self heals really well and can withstand a lot of use from both rotary cutters and from straight edge blades too.  It’s green on one side and black on the other side, with both sides featuring grid lines in 1/2 inch gradations.  The measurements are solely in inches.

Also if you’re looking for a large cutting mat this one comes in a variety of sizes – the largest being 80″ x 40″!

You can see more about this item on Amazon here


Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat

Fiskars is one of the best names when it comes to tools to cut your fabrics and so it’s no surprise that they have a cutting mat on sale too.

This one is a really great product and available in three different sizes – 12″x18″, 18″x24″ and also 24″x 36″.  It’s a solid white colour, not see through as the picture might suggest and it’s double sided so you can use both sides.

As well as the guide lines, which are in inches, there’s also some really helpful diagonal lines at 30, 45 and 60 degree angles, great if you’re cutting shapes like triangles and stars that need that.

Fiskars also do a 3 piece set that includes a cutter and ruler, so if you’re searching for the best rotary cutter and mat then I’d also check that set out – you can see it here.  It would be perfect for those starting out.

If you’re just after the cutting mat then you can see more about it here.


Olfa Double-Sided, Self healing Rotary Mat

Finally we have the self healing mat from Olfa – another really good brand in the craft world.

What I like about this mat is that the grid lines are really helpful on it.  It’s measured in inches but there’s also a section of the mat that has more lines in it so if you need smaller measurements it’s easy to use that section.  There’s also lots of angled lines to help with cutting on the bias etc.

This mat comes in 2 different sizes – 18″ x 12″ and 24″ x 36″ so both really good sizes.

The Olfa mats are for use with rotary blades, not utility knives although you could use them it might reduce the life expectancy of the mat.

You can see more about the Olfa mat on Amazon here.

Sewing terms for beginners

When you first begin to sew, whether that’s by hand or machine, you’ll likely come across some terms that you have no idea what they mean.  Hopefully this handy guide will help you as you begin the learn the ropes of sewing.

Fabric grain

the grain of a fabric is the way in which the woven threads run.  In woven fabrics you’ll see threads running one way over threads which run another way.  If you have to cut with the fabric grain you’ll be cutting along one of these lines.


The bias of a fabric is when the grain is at a 45 degree angle.  You would find where the grain is and either turn it so it’s at the right angle or, the way I do it, is that I’d have my fabric in front of me with the grain running straight and them fold one corner to the opposite diagonal corner.  This will find the bias.

selvage (selvedge in british english)

The selvage is the manufactured edge of the fabric that you have.  Often it will bear the name or design of your fabric on it.

Raw edge

The raw edge of your fabric is where you have cut the fabric yourself and it’s the cut edge.


Notions is a word that describes all the small items that come with a sewing kit or just random sewing accessories – needles, thread, bobbins, pins are all notions.


The bobbin is a small round, normally plastic item that goes with your sewing machine.  It holds more thread that is then used in the sewing machine to stitch from underneath.

Fat quarter

A fat quarter is a name used to describe when a yard of material is cut in to four pieces.  A fat quarter usually measures a minimum of 18” x 22


The seam is the part of the fabric that is between the sewn area and the edge of your fabric.

Seam allowance

The seam allowance is a measurement of how big your seam should be – a normal size is about 5/8”

Right sides

The right sides of your fabric is the sides that will be seen on the finished piece.  This is easy when you are using patterned fabric that looks very different on the other side.

Wrong sides

Wrong sides are the opposite of the right sides.  It’s the sides that won’t be seen.