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We’re getting intimate today, quilters. We’re going to talk about a very serious relationship: the one between you, and your sewing scissors.
There’s nothing better than a pair of scissors that glide with you through thick and thin, and on the other hand, nothing worse than a pair that just won’t cut it. Here’s my guide to the best sewing scissors out there. Once you’re done reading, you’re going to want to get your hands all over these babies.
First, let’s get ready for the big commitment.
Investing In Good Sewing Scissors: Is It Worth It?
You’re worth it. Listen. I know not everyone has a big budget out there, but I’m telling you, spend as much on a good pair of sewing scissors as that budget allows. With scissors, the more you pay, the higher quality you’re going to get. If you’re investing your valuable time and amazing skills in a sewing project, you shouldn’t have to struggle to cut through your materials.
Also, just like all other relationships, if you take good care of high-quality scissors, they’ll stick around for a long time… maybe forever.
Scissors or Shears?
Common question: Am I a total player if I own both scissors and shears? Not at all. You’re smart. Scissors and shears have some major differences that make them both essential for your sewing toolkit.
When we’re talking about fabric, shears are your main squeeze. They’re generally longer (7-inch blades or greater), and have one small handle for your thumb, with a longer handle for multiple fingers, giving you more control over your cut. Notice the distinct angle of the handles on shears? It makes it easier to cut fabric on a flat surface. When it comes to quilting, shears have your back.
Scissors are still really useful and important, but they’re more like the man on the side. Keep ‘em around, and use ‘em when they’re useful.
Best Sewing Scissor Brands: The Big Three
When it comes to sewing scissors, three brands tend to dominate the gossip circles: Fiskars, Gingher, and Kai. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, turn-ons and turn-offs. You may have to do some hanging out as friends (or hanging out with friends with great scissor collections) before you make your decision, but I’ll try to make it a bit easier:
Fiskars - Sharp, But Well-Rounded
Best Sewing Scissors Recommendation: Fiskars 8-Inch Razor-Edge Softgrip
Fiskars are the ultimate yes-men. They offer everything from really inexpensive models to high-end pairs with all the bells and whistles.
They also offer much more than just fabric scissors and shears, ready to supply all your scissor needs from embroidery to elementary school classrooms. Because of this, you’re going to want to head toward the more expensive end of Fiskars’ models if you can afford them, because like I said, the range of cost is going to tell you the range of quality.
Gingher - Reliable and Traditional
Best Sewing Scissors Recommendation: Gingher 8-Inch Goldhandle Knife Edge
For the most part, Gingher offers a much more limited range of models on the higher end, so they’re all quality, all the time. Gingher gives you less options, but that also means less crippling indecisiveness as you’re trying to figure out which pair to buy!
Gingher is known for its classy, all-metal scissors and shears with silver or gold handles (they’re putting a ring on it.)
Kai - Strong and Mysterious
Best Sewing Scissors Recommendation: Kai 8-Inch Dressmaking Shears
Another high-quality brand is Kai, a Japanese-made scissor and shear line made with stainless steel and vanadium. What’s vanadium, you ask? It’s Kai’s special ingredient that makes them extra strong, and adds an air of mystery. Kai offers two series of scissors: 5000, high-quality for everyone, and 7000, a professional-grade line with extra long blades… and extra high prices.
My Personal Favorite Sewing Scissors
I go with Gingher. We’re basically high school sweethearts. They’re my long-time fave, and always deliver, but like I always say, find the brand that’s right for you! And even though Gingher, Fiskars, and Kai are the Big Three, that doesn’t mean there’s not other really awesome picks out there. Here are a few of my other go-to pairs of sewing scissors:
These Super Scissors are not just heavy and sturdy, they also have a rubber grip so my delicate little fingers don’t chafe against the steel. Anyone else with dainty fingers? You know what I’m talking about. We have needs.
I love using these “perfect scissors” for cutting smaller pieces of fabric. They are perfect for fussy cutting, especially because they have a micro-serrated edge (see serrated-edged scissors below.)
Other Cutting Tools to Complete Your Entourage
If you're going to own pinking shears, they might as well be pink. Or better yet, pink AND purple! The shears seen here are scalloped, but if you're more of a traditionalist and would before the classic zig-zag cut, I got you covered. (Also, still in pink and purple. You're welcome.)
Before sergers were in, pinking shears were it. They were the best way to finish seams, and they’re still super effective. Cutting with pinking shears prevents raw seams from fraying too much, and you can also use them to trim and clip curves.
(I may have a thing for pink...) These scissors are the sewing equivalent of a steak knife – they grab onto slippery or delicate fabrics so you can cut more effectively. If there’s ever a fabric you don’t want to butcher, it’s those high-end delicates… and all of them. Let’s face it. We love all our fabric.
Last but not least, complete your scissor clan with these little babies. I use these so much, and lose them so much, that I have a pair attached to my sewing machine with a retractable cord – that way they never get lost, are always on hand, and won’t get tangled up in my latest sewing project. How many wins is that? At least three. I got my retractable cord from Bernina, but something like this would definitely work!
I know I sound like a bossy friend giving you SO MUCH advice on this whole scissor relationship business, but it’s only because I love you. I also trust that you’ll do what’s right for you. Just remember, everyone deserves to be with a pair of scissors who loves them back, AKA actually cuts well. You deserve it.
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