After decades of sewing experience, we’ve compiled this full list of the best sewing scissors to own and use with confidence.
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The Importance of Owning a Good Pair of Fabric Scissors
Any one that has ever tried using a bad pair of scissors to cut through fabric, knows the importance of owning a good, reliable pair of fabric scissors. I’ve trained my family to not use my fabric scissors under any circumstance whatsoever and have even gone as far as hiding my fabric scissors when company comes over. You can never be too safe!
Differences Between Shears and Scissors
Put simply, shears refer to a larger pair of scissors, typically longer than 6″ and is designed for a specific use making them more expensive and durable than regular all purpose scissors. Also most notably is that shears have a larger finger hole on one side, while scissors have finger holes of equal size.
When it comes to using shears, some of the most common complaints sewers-alike have are that they are too heavy, get dull quickly, stick when opening and don’t cut through layers of fabric. So finding the right tool to meet your sewing and cutting needs involves knowing what is most important to you. It’s easy to get confused over the many options and different sizes available but the variety of sewing shears offer different purposes.
Recommendations for Sewing Scissors
1. Best Overall: Kai 5” Sewing Scissors
- comes MOST recommended by sewers-alike for being lightweight, having sharp blades and a comfortable handle
- provides an accurate cut and the shorter blade is great for detail work
- affordable price compared to other Kai brand scissors
2. Most Value for Money: Fiskars Original Handled 8″
- offers the biggest bang for your buck with pricing under $10!
- is lightweight, easy to handle with an ergonomic design and offers ease of use with a spring-loaded feature
- even accomodates right hand and left hand users
3. All Around Good Quality: Gingher’s 8″ Dressmaking Shears
- comes HIGHLY recommended for being durable (many users still have there’s from 100 years ago!)
- makes precise cuts
- heavier weight BUT great for cutting through thicker fabrics and layers of material (if you prefer a lighterweight option, Gingher’s featherweight bent handle shears have the same sharp blades)
- longer blades provide a long, smooth cut
4. Best for Left Handed Sewers: Fiskars 1294508697WJ Left-hand Scissors
- offers all the same benefits that the original handled shears offer but intended for left hand users
5. Go-To Serrated Scissors: Kai 7150SE 6″ Professional Serrated Scissors
- grooves along the edge of the blade create fristion and keep fabric from slipping when cutting
6. Greatest Ease of Use for Arthritis: Martelli Ergo Rotary Cutter or Pink Power Electric Scissors
- held in a natural position while cutting so evenly distributes the pressure to your arm, shoulders, wrist and palm
- not ideal for cutting knits
- electric scissors can be slow to use and loud
7. Best Small Scissors: Gingher’s 3.5″ Stork Embroidery Scissors
- these sharp embroidery scissors with clip any thread with precision
- and as an aside, these snips pay homage to the old tradition of midwives bringing their scissors for needlework to work on during long waiting times when babies were being born
How to Sharpen Fabric Shears
Even good quality scissors can go dull over time.
So if this happens to you, consider these options for sharpening your scissors. But also note that if the blades are knicked versus just dull (which can happen if they were used to cut floral wire or pipe cleaners as an example), they will need to be sharpened professionally with a grinder. In some cases, those types of damages are not fixable.
- sharpen scissors at home with sharpening whetstones or oilstones or waterstones use an electric scissors sharpener such as Scissor Pro
- add a drop of sewing oil in the joints by first loosening the screw. Be sure to cut old fabric scraps afterwards until excess oil is all gone.
- get your dull scissors professionally sharpened. Consider calling a local hair salon, quilt shop, sewing machine dealer, local hardware shop or fabric store and ask who they use to sharpen their blades
- check with specific scissor brand for their own version of a scissor sharpening tool
When it comes to sharpening a pair of pinking shears, it’s not as straight forward. Check with the supplier to see if they have their own sharpening service, which may require the shears be mailed in to get sharpened.
How to Clean Sewing Scissors
- wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball
- remove any built up lint with a dryer sheet
- cut through a sheet of aluminum foil to clean any gunk and oxidized metal (since soft metal can’t sharpen hard metal, this technique will be just for cleaning)
Other Reliable Sewing Scissor Brands
A few of the most popular brand of scissors, and in no particular order include Fiskars, Kai, Gingher’s, Wescott, Mark’s, Mundial and Wiss. There are others of course but many of these mentioned have been around for over a century and/or have a reputation for making high quality scissors. Many of which even come with a lifetime warranty.
Answering 5 Commonly Asked Questions
How to choose when the scissors range in price greatly?
- Look for coupon codes whenever possible
- Consider your budget. If you have a lower budget, start with the lower pricepoint scissors and move up from there. Consider the Kai brand of scissors and their wide range of pricing: most people use lower priced shears and still love them. Although the scissors used by professional dressmakers are considerably better, the lower priced ones are so good, no one notices they need better.
Will lightweight scissors cut as well as heavy weight scissors?
- a lot to do with persnal peference and comfort
- consider the weight of your fabric. Light fabric can be cut with heavy or light scissors, while heavier fabric is best cut with a heavier pair of shears to avoid struggles with cutting
What are the best scissors to use on delicate fabrics?
- scissors with micro serrated edges that grip the fabric, such as these serrated scissors from Kai
What cutting options are available for my arthritic hands or when I get hand fatigue?
- electric scissors and rotary cutters are both easier on hands than regular scissors but come with some limitations, for example, electric scissors are not always great for cutting knits.
- wear a fingerless compression glove for sewing tasks
- use scissors that are spring loaded
- a professional pair of dressmaking shears can also make a world of difference
What are pinking shears?
- blades are made with a zigzag pattern which prevents fraying on raw fabric edges
- useful for reducing fabric bulk along seam allowances or preventing edges from fraying (instead of serging the edges or sewing a zigzag stitch)
It’s true some people collect pairs of scissors in the same way others collect trinkets or coins (or in my case seaglass and driftwood)!
So before you go to buy your next pair of fabric shears, I hope this round up will help you make the right decision in buying the best scissors for you for your next sewing project.
Free Sewing Projects, Guides and Tutorials
And now that you’re set with the best pair of sewing scissors, here are some free sewing patterns to try and enjoy!
- all purpose half apron sewing pattern
- utility cross back apron pattern
- easy wine bottle bag sewing pattern
- large 2-color tote bag sewing pattern
- traditional Christmas tree skirt sewing pattern
- removable dog bed cover
Happy sewing, friends!
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