senior thesis, prototyping, ergonomics

reimagined rotary cutter


the context

The quilting industry has grown drastically from 2000 to 2020. The average quilter is a retired woman in her 60s. 

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the value

Quilting and sewing have a rich heritage. Quilting is often a collective activity that takes place in quilting bees or guilds. 

the problem

Sewing and quilting are often perceived as too complex and labor intensive. They are some of the least accessible crafts. 

the opportunity

Make quilting more accessible by reimagining products to get the job done quicker and to eliminate physical discomfort. 


Research took place at Busy Hands of Michiana, a nonprofit volunteer charity that donates handmade items to schools, nursing homes, and shelters.  


design opportunity

How can the rotary cutter be redesigned to comfortably cut without rotating the fabric, to flatten the fabric,

and to stabilize the ruler?

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Inspired by shape of the sewing machine foot, the base has one foot that keeps the fabric in place and one foot that steadies

the cutter against the ruler. 


 Explored how the base of the rotary cutter could rotate so that the user would not have to change their arm or wrist position to cut vertically or horizontally.

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