This A3 cutting mat was sent to me for reviewing. It has a pale grey background with imperial measures on one side and a black background with metric measurements on the other. It arrived beautifully packed in cardboard and sticky tape, so well packed that it took a few minutes to get into! However, it was flat and securely wrapped to ensure it stayed flat in transit. It does seem robust, which is a plus for quilters. Another plus, it has clear instructions printed on it, not to leave it in sunlight, or to use the same cuts or direction exclusively.
I checked the gradations against my rulers; it was perfectly accurate against 2 different makes of ruler. It has angle lines for cutting shapes at 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees on both sides, and both sides have a really useful centre cross feature, which I think is great for squares, triangles and other multi-sided shapes. The pale side also has an excellent section: parallel lines at an angle 2 1/2” apart, which I would use a lot. I suspect many of us would find it helpful. There is a central hole for hanging on one short side, again, a thoughtful touch.
I tried it out with my puzzle inch mini-quilt. I used the inch-marked side, as I usually do work in inches, to cut inch-and-a-half squares. It cut the remaining squares of quilting cotton beautifully with no pressure whatsoever using a new blade in my rotary cutter and one single pass, and still looked like new. So I tried a variety of different fabrics, some with a new blade, some with one that had already cut out all the half square triangles for a single bed quilt recently! I usually use an Olfa or a Fiskars rotary cutter, so I used them both.
It was reluctant to cut this purple polyester lining fabric. I had to make 2 passes, but it left no mark at all.
I tried 4 layers of polycotton. This left a few shreds with the older blade, but still cut well. So I tried one of my cotton stitched-selvedge pieces. Now, this is a very lumpy, bumpy sample, but you can see from the picture, a couple of passes did a reasonable job. In places this piece is one layer of cotton, but at the many seams, it is up to 4 layers thick, or more.
Thick acrylic fleece left a red smear all along the cut, which surprised me. However, it cut like a hot knife through butter and it was easy to brush out. I would not really expect to be using a cutting mat for fleece, but I thought a scientific experiment was worth a go!
I have some left-over Laura Ashley linen from curtains I had made for my brother. Although it is quite thick, I was amazed at how easily it cut, crisp, clean and thread free with one stroke.
My overall reactions are as follows:
*It is an excellent size for taking to classes, and perfect for keeping to use beside the sewing machine, if, like me, you use a large table with a large A1 mat for cutting yardage or long strips, and need a smaller area for trimming or foundation piecing.
*The pale grey side is easy on the eye for dark fabrics and has very clear markings. The black side also has very clear and precise markings, and is excellent for use with light fabrics.
*The angle lines are clear and well spaced out. The parallel lines for 2 1/2” strips are particularly useful. The interior marking lines for cutting small pieces or trimming, are very well placed.
*The hanging feature ensures that it can be kept properly flat when it is not being used. (As I once pressed some stitched pieces on an ironing pad over a mat, never thinking it would react as it did), I think this SewEasy mat is well worth using.