Understanding Different Types of Sewing Scissors

As sewing enthusiasts, we all know how crucial it is to use the right tool for the job. And let’s be real, scissors are our ultimate weapon of choice! But did you know that not all scissors are created equal? From pinking shears to fabric scissors to embroidery scissors, each type serves a unique purpose in the sewing world. Using the right type of scissors can make a world of difference, not only in the outcome of your project but in the overall ease and enjoyment of the process. So, let’s dive into the world of scissors and get to know our trusty crafty cutting companions a little better….

Different Types of Sewing Scissors:

Fabric Scissors

Fabric scissors are the secret weapon of any sewist. These bad boys aren’t your average scissors that you might use to open a bag of frozen peas, or cut paper (heaven forbid!) No, no, NO!

These special scissors are designed specifically to cut through all kinds of materials, from delicate silk to tough denim. They’re sharp, they’re precise, and they’re just a little bit magical. Fabric scissors are designed with longer blades than regular scissors, which makes it easier to cut through multiple layers of fabric at once.  To keep them that way you need to ensure you cut fabric and ONLY fabric with them. But this you know, right?! Treat them well and these specially designed scissors will slice through fabric without fraying or snagging.

My personal favourite pair of fabric scissors and what we use in our fabric shop are these Fiskars Dressmaking Scissors. They are comfortable to use, have a long blade and last well between sharpens. They’re a classic for a reason…

Tips for maintaining fabric scissors

Maintaining your fabric scissors is essential to ensure you get the best out of them for years to come.

  • Only use your fabric scissors for cutting fabric and nothing else.
  • Keep them clean and dry
  • Avoid dropping them or leaving them open,
  • Store them in a safe place
  • Give them a drop of oil on the pivot point every now and then.
  • A quick wipe after each use will help keep them in tip-top shape
  • Sharpen with a scissor sharpener. Hands down my fave is this amazing sharpening tool from Fiskars

Embroidery Scissors

Embroidery scissors are a Seam-Star’s best friend. Think of these scissors as tiny, sharp little helpers that help you snip and trim intricate designs in your work. They’re perfect for those hard-to-reach areas that regular scissors just can’t handle.

Understanding the Different Types of Sewing Scissors: Embroidery Scissors

Embroidery scissors are typically small and lightweight and come in a variety of styles, including straight and curved. Embroidery scissors may sound like just any ordinary cutting tool, but they are so much more. These little sewing mates are a must in my sewing kit and mine get more use snipping fabric than embroidery thread, despite the name.

When you use embroidery scissors in sewing you’ll minimise the possibility of snipping your stitches… if you’ve ever done this you’ll know how frustrating this is! It can even be terminal for your project if you take a snip too far. Safety first! Use embroidery scissors for intricate work.

Embroidery scissors are the tool you need when snipping back fabric close to stitching lines for turning, notching collars or reducing bulk in a seam and help you can get right up close to a stitch line in a way your big fabric scissors can’t, lessening the chance you’ll cut through your beautiful sewn seams… I also use them a lot for grading seams. These little touches help elevate the look of your creations from homemade to artisan so are a worthwhile investment.

Curved vs. straight embroidery scissors

So what’s the difference between curved and straight embroidery scissors?

Curved embroidery scissors have blades that are curved upward, which makes it easier to cut thread or fabric while holding the scissors at an angle. These scissors are particularly useful for cutting threads close to the surface of the fabric without accidentally cutting the fabric itself. They are also helpful when cutting intricate shapes, such as curves or circles, because the curve of the blades allows for more precise cutting.

On the other hand, straight embroidery scissors have blades that are straight and flat. These scissors are best suited for cutting straight lines, such as when trimming fabric or cutting large pieces of embroidery floss. They are also useful for making small, precise cuts, such as when snipping the ends of thread after tying knots, or snipping

I’ve tried a few pairs of embroidery scissors but these little fellas are my favourite kind. With unparalleled precision, there isn’t a project I sew without using them. Trust me, once you use these little gems, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them!

Have you read our Ultimate Guide To Sewing Needles post yet?

Tailors Shears

Step aside, scissors, because there’s a new blade in town. Say hello to Tailor’s shears!

Fabric scissors and tailors shears are both used for cutting fabric, but what are their differences? 

Some benefits of using tailor’s shears over fabric scissors are:

  1. Longer blades: Tailor’s shears typically have longer blades than fabric scissors, which can make it easier to cut through larger pieces of fabric with fewer strokes. This can save time and effort when cutting out large pattern pieces.
  1. Better leverage: The design of tailor’s shears, with their offset handles, allows for better leverage and control when cutting through multiple layers of fabric. This can make it easier to cut smoothly and accurately through thicker fabrics, such as wool or denim.
  1. Sharper edges: Tailor’s shears are often sharper than fabric scissors, which means they can make cleaner cuts through fabric. This is especially important when cutting delicate fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, where a jagged edge can ruin the fabric.
  1. Ergonomic design: Many tailor’s shears are designed with ergonomic handles that are more comfortable to hold and use for extended periods of time. This can reduce hand fatigue and strain, which is important for anyone who spends a lot of time cutting fabric.

Overall, tailor’s shears can offer more control, leverage, and precision when cutting fabric, especially for larger or thicker pieces. However, they may not be the best choice for all types of fabrics or cutting tasks. Their larger size does have benefits, but also means they could be heavier than your regular fabric scissors.  It’s important to choose the right tool for the job, based on the type of fabric, the complexity of the project, and your personal preferences.

Understanding the Different Types of Sewing Scissors: Tailors Shears

General Purpose Scissors

If you’re a sewing fanatic like me, there’s no doubt that you have a collection of scissors already. But have you got a pair general purpose scissors just for your sewing space? Guaranteed to save family feuds when the kids are after something to snip with, the versatility these scissors provide is perfect for all your cutting needs.

These bad boys are the Swiss army knife of the scissor world (minus the toothpick, unfortunately). They’re perfect for cutting any weird and wonderful fabric like mesh, vinyl, PUL, laminates, and even leather.

Their stainless steel construction ensures general-purpose scissors will last for years to come. If you’re missing these in your sewing supplies then investing in some general-purpose scissors designed for more materials will leave your fabric scissors on the throne they need.

Understanding the Different Types of Sewing Scissors: General Purpose Scissors
Hobby Scissors

Hobby scissors are a general-purpose scissor and are the perfect antidote to ruined fabric scissors! Hobby scissors are here to save your day! They’re scissors designed specifically for cutting through different types of materials when working on craft projects.

They tend to have a blunt tip for safety and their petite size makes hobby scissors perfect for cutting ribbon, paper, gift wrap, and basically, anything else you need sliced and diced, these little beauties are the answer to all of your crafting woes.

These speciality scissors are perfect for hobbyists who need precise cuts to make their projects look just right.

Pinking Shears

Have you ever been sewing a beautiful piece of fabric and when you cut it, it frayed like crazy? That’s where pinking shears come in! Pinking shears are a versatile tool designed to prevent fabric from fraying or unravelling.

These funky-looking scissors have zigzag blades that create a serrated edge on your fabric. They’re perfect for finishing seams, creating decorative edges, or just adding a little bit of flair to your next sewing project.

Tips for using pinking shears effectively

  1. Don’t force the shears through the fabric. Let the blades do the work for you. If the fabric is too thick you might blunt your pinks.
  2. Make sure your fabric is flat and not bunched up before cutting.
  3. Clean your pinking shears regularly for optimal performance.

If you haven’t already added a pair of pinking shears to your crafting kit, they are a worthwhile investment. Don’t let frayed fabric put a snag in your handmade masterpieces; these shears offer a quick and easy solution that’ll make all the difference.

And slightly off the scissor topic, but whilst we’re talking about pinking… Did you realise you can get pinking blades for your rotary cutter too? 

Understanding the Different Types of Sewing Scissors: Pinking Shears

Children’s Scissors

So why am I talking about children’s scissors in a post about sewing scissors? Well… There are several benefits of having dedicated children’s scissors in your sewing room! Let me explain…

  1. Keep kids occupied: Children’s scissors can keep kids occupied and entertained while you work on your sewing project. This can be especially helpful if you have a child who is curious about sewing but not quite ready for the more advanced tools.
  1. Protect your fabric scissors: Let’s face it, fabric scissors can be expensive and it can be frustrating to have them ruined by a curious child. Giving your child their own set of scissors can help protect your fabric scissors and prevent any mishaps.
  1. Introduce kids to sewing: By giving your child their own set of scissors, you can introduce them to the world of sewing and crafting. They can practice cutting and using scissors safely while you work on your projects.
  1. Fun and colourful designs: Children’s scissors come in a variety of fun and colourful designs that can add a touch of whimsy to your sewing room. From animal-shaped handles to interesting blade designs, children’s scissors can be a fun addition to your collection of sewing tools.

Overall, having children’s scissors in your sewing room can be a great way to keep kids entertained and protect your more expensive tools. Plus, it can be a fun way to introduce kids to the world of sewing and crafting. Win win!

Snip, snip, hooray! We hope you found that useful and you can say goodbye to more struggles and frustration. 

With a wider variety of specialised scissors in your stash, you can craft just about any project without having to worry if the tools in your kit are up for the task. You can make your sewing time quicker, easier and more enjoyable as well as helping your projects look more professional.

Do you have a secret scissor obsession? Spill the beans in the comments below! Share your go-to pair and helpful tips so fellow DIY enthusiasts can level up their crafting game. Together, we can conquer the world of sewing one snip at a time. 

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