Sewing scissors are one of the most important tools in your sewing kit. If your pattern pieces aren’t cut cleanly and accurately, it’s so much harder to sew accurate seams. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your finished project. So it’s important to choose the right sewing scissors.
Here’s the Threadistry guide on how to choose the best sewing scissors.
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Types of Sewing Scissors
There are lots of different types of sewing scissors, with different purposes. For example, there are scissors designed specifically for cutting fabric, as well as others that are better suited for cutting thread or trim.
Some common types of sewing scissors are:
- Fabric shears
- Embroidery scissors
- Spring-loaded scissors
- Thread snipping tools
- Duckbill scissors
- Pinking shears
- Electric fabric scissors
- Paper scissors
What to look for in a good pair of scissors
There are a few things to consider when choosing sewing scissors:
- Size: Sewing scissors come in a range of sizes, from tiny thread snips to large tailor’s shears. Small scissors are great for cutting small details and thread tails. Larger shears are best for cutting out larger pattern pieces quickly and smoothly. However, shears that are too large can be heavy and difficult to control. The most popular fabric shears are 8-9 inches.
- Weight: As with size, fabric shears come in different weights. Shears with metal handles, typically made from stainless steel, are the heaviest. Some like the sturdiness and feeling of control that provides. If you have less strength in your hands and wrist, you may prefer lighter shears, made from titanium (more expensive) or shears that have a plastic handle (a cheaper option).
- Comfort and Control: The handles of the scissors should feel comfortable in your hand and should have a smooth action for easy cutting. Different brands have their own ergonomic handle designs and some come with a soft grip material.
- Price and Quality: While a high price doesn’t always mean better quality, fabric shears are one of those things where spending a little more can save you in the long run, as a good quality pair will last you a lifetime (with a bit of care).
Selecting fabric scissors and shears is a personal choice. Considering the factors above, it’s best to just test out a range of shears and see which ones feel best in your hands (that are in your budget).
What is the difference between scissors and shears?
There is some confusion about the difference between scissors and shears, and the words are often used interchangeably.
Scissors are a smaller size (typically less than 6 inches). The handles have equal-sized holes in the handles, that can fit 1-2 fingers.
Shears are larger in size (greater than 6 inches), and have a small hole for the thumb and a larger hole to fit 3-4 fingers. This gives better control and allows you to cut with greater force.
In sewing, fabric scissors are used for cutting threads and smaller fabric pieces, whereas shears are used for cutting larger fabric pieces quickly and easily. It can be good to have both scissors and shears in your sewing kit.
Best Sewing Scissors
Here are my top picks for sewing scissors for beginners to more advanced sewists:
Best Fabric Shears
Gingher is one of the best-known brands for sewing shears. These 8-inch dressmakers shears are a classic design, made with high-quality alloy steel and will last you a lifetime!
These 8.5-inch heavy-duty scissors have a rubberized comfort grip bent handle. The blades are very sharp and will cut through multiple layers of fabric with ease. They also come with a lifetime warranty.
Fiskars are another popular brand for sewing scissors. These fabric shears are 8 inches long and have ergonomic handles with a soft grip that feels like padding.
These sewing shears from Ketuo are a good option at a budget price. They have stainless steel blades with a titanium coating and plastic handles (in a cute purple colour!).
These 9.5 Inch Fabric Shears from Madam Sew are spring-loaded, so only require half the effort – great for when you want to cut lots of fabric or if you have weaker hand muscles.
Best Embroidery Scissors
These classic embroidery scissors at 4 inches long and can be used by both right and left-handed sewists. Their small size makes them great for embroidery on the go, or hanging around your neck (with a ribbon or necklace) in the sewing room.
Sometimes you just need a sewing tool because it’s cute! I bought a pair of unicorn embroidery scissors to encourage my daughter when she showed an interest in sewing. Unfortunately, she lost interest pretty quick, but at least I got a cute pair of scissors! I keep these ones next to my serger.
Best Thread Snips
These are another great option for quickly snipping threads. I keep a pair of these next to my sewing machine, so I can trim as I sew. They make a really satisfying sound when they snip (which also means my tween/teen kids like playing with them whenever they wander into my sewing room!).
Best Electric Scissors for Fabric
When you want to cut through your fabric with minimal effort (or you’re just a lover of sewing gadgets), try these electric scissors from Madam Sew. They have a rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about a cord getting tangled or cut. You can also get replacement blades. You’ll just have to get used to a bit of noise when you’re cutting your fabric!
Best left-handed sewing scissors
Fiskars Left-handed 8″ Bent Shears
For the lefties out there, cutting fabric is so much easier with left-handed sewing shears. These ones from Fiskars have ergonomic handles, specially designed for lefties.
Best sewing scissors kit
If you’re just starting out, this garment sewing scissors set is a great addition to your sewing kit. It includes a 45mm rotary cutter, thread snips and 8″ fabric shears.
Tips for using and caring for your scissors
To get the most out of your sewing scissors, it is important to use them properly and care for them properly. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your scissors:
- Always use sharp scissors. Dull scissors will not give you a clean cut and can damage fabric.
- Only use your fabric shears for fabric. Cutting paper and other materials can dull the blades. I also suggest not using your good scissors for metallic, sequined or other specialty fabrics that may damage the blades.
- Make sure everyone in your household knows FABRIC SCISSORS ARE ONLY FOR FABRIC. Sorry to yell – it’s important!
- Make whatever threats are necessary to protect your sewing scissors!- Clean your scissors after each use. This will help to prevent rust and keep them in good condition.
- Store your scissors in a safe place when not in use where they won’t get bumped around. Store in the protective sheath, if your scissors came with one or consider sewing your own.
- Oil your scissors every few months with a drop of sewing machine oil to keep them from rusting and to stop them from becoming stiff. Wipe off any excess oil and/or do a test cut on a fabric scrap so you don’t accidentally stain your next project.
- If you find your scissors are not cutting fabric cleanly, get them sharpened by a professional knife sharpener.
Sewing scissors are an important part of the sewing process. Owning quality sewing shears and looking after them makes cutting out your sewing projects so much easier.