Friday, January 10, 2014

Scissors....Which What Kind of How Many

Scissors.  Who would’ve thought I would be so amazed by the amount of different scissors and cutting tools out there.  But if you have done any sewing what so ever, you know that a good pair of scissors is an absolute MUST in the sewing world.  So when I asked my husband for a couple new pair of good scissors for Christmas I had no idea what I had asked him to do. I think he had an anxiety attach just looking for it.  So without further ado, here is a quick list of some different scissors and cutting tools out there. 


·       Shears are the largest type of general sewing scissors. They are generally 6 to 9 inches long, and have a bent handle, with one large hole for fingers and one smaller one for the thumb. This angle in the handle allows you to cut fabric while holding your hand above the table, to enable easier cutting. Shears are extremely sharp, and should only be used to cut fabric or threads to maintain their sharp edge.  I am using 2 right now.  Fiskar’s 8” Soft touch Titanium Mufti-Purpose Scissors are one of them that I probably use the most daily.  I got them a few years ago at my local Jo-Ann’s store using a 50% off coupon.  I have never used them for anything other than fabric and they have stayed extremely sharp.  I am having them sharpened for the first time next week.  However, my favorite shears for fabric are the Gingher knife edge Bent Trimmer Shears.  They are a little more on the pricey side, but cut through fabric like butter!

Pinking shears

·         Pinking shears are a specialized type of shears, generally used to finish edges of fabric. They create a zigzag edge on the fabric, as opposed to a straight line. Pinked edges are less likely to ravel in a finished garment, so pinking shears are valuable in garment sewing.  I have one kind of pinking shears that I use for trimming seam allowances and small things.  The larger projects I use a rotary cutter that has a pinking edge on it.  The ones I use now are the Fiskar’s Durasharp Pinking Shears.  They aren’t all that bad, but they did dull out pretty quickly.  That is why I usually use the rotary cutter instead. 


  • General scissors are usually less than 6 inches long and have a straight handle. They are useful during the sewing process for clipping corners of fabric, cutting excess seam allowances and evening hems. General scissors can also be known as embroidery scissors, and are frequently used in decorative needlework projects.  I have so many random pairs of scissors in my sewing room it wouldn’t do this post justice to list them all.  Some are small, some are longer, some are dull, and some are super sharp.  Most of them I’ve had for years and years, even before I was sewing.  They just seem to keep collecting for some reason. 

Applique scissors

  • Applique scissors are used, naturally, in applique work. They have one regular blade and one rounded blade. The rounded blade is held against the fabric, slipping in between the layers to be cut, while the pointed blade stays above the fabric and does the cutting. The rounded blade is less likely to cut the bottom layer, making it easier to neatly cut the applique shapes smoothly while maintaining a sharp and clean edge.  These are my newest scissors in my collection.  I finally got some really great ones for Christmas and I have no idea how I have done any embroidery and applique work without them.  They are not a must, but a really GREAT to have item when you are doing applique work.  I use Gingher Applique scissors like these.  Sometime they are also referred to as spoonbill scissors. 

Snips or Embroidery Scissors

  • Snips are very small scissors, about the size of the palm of your hand, with blades about an inch long. They generally don't have holes for your fingers. Instead, the snip is held and squeezed to close the blades. Snips are used for cutting threads during the sewing process. They can be straight or curved.  I like using the curved ones for my work and currently have 1 pair.  I am in the market for another pair and need to have these sharpened.  I always have them on me because it has a lanyard on it and a cover so I don't hurt myself.  Its kinda handy.  :)

There are many many more different kinds, sizes, and brands, but basically this is it.  I hope that it helps a little for a beginner sewer who is looking for the right tools to get started. 

Join me tomorrow as I briefly discuss rotary cutters and mats.

I didn't receive any royalties of products for this post, it is just my opinion and information that was taken from the following site to help with definitions.

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