World’s Best Sewing Scissors; Let’s Get Handsy


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 finished 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?

Here's the truth, although there are some very obvious differences between scissors and shears, most people (and some major manufacturing companies too) have gotten the terms mixed up so much, that you can pretty much call all of your sharp-cutty-things "scissors" and people will know what you're talking about.

In 1800, scissors manufacturer Thomas Wilkinson designed and patented the sidebent handle characteristic of modern shears. Originally called “sidebent” scissors, the revolutionary design allowed one blade to move upward while the other stayed flat so as to disturb the fabric being cut less. Scissors, on the other hand, typically have straight handles, have symmetrical finger holes, and both blades move at the same time. 

The History of Cutting Fabric: Shears from 1830 next to today's shears from one of the oldest scissors manufacturers in the western world. #TheCuttingTable

So now you know the difference between scissors and shears, but look at what Fiskars did in the 1970s!

The History of Cutting Fabric: An advertisement for the first ever orange handled scissors made by Fiskars. #TheCuttingTable

They basically were like, forget you SHEARS, everything is called scissors now. So even though this famous orange-handled sharp-cutty-thing clearly falls into the category of shears, we're publicly calling them scissors.

This begs the question, "Does it matter if you get your terms right and call scissors 'scissors' and shears 'shears?'" I personally don't think so, but to each their own! It is an interesting little history lesson to "shear" over coffee. (Did that pun work? It's hard to tell so I'll cut it out.)

Best Sewing Scissor Brands: The Big Three

When it comes to sewing scissors (or shears), 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 & 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 & 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 fewer 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.


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.

And they come in PINK too!!

My Personal Favorite Sewing Scissors

I go with Gingher. We’re basically high school sweethearts. They’re my long-time fave, 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 aren't other really awesome picks out there. Here are a few of my other go-to pairs of sewing scissors:


Evergreen Art Supply Super 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.


Karen Kay Buckley 7-1/2-Inch Perfect Scissors

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

The best curved snips for sewing

Tula Pink 5" Curved EZ Snip

Have you ever used scissors to trim a thread and accidentally cut a tiny hole in your quilt? Ack! After all the work you put into piecing or quilting, a scissors accident is the last thing you want.

Curved thread snips eliminate the danger of cutting into a quilt when trimming thread! You can trim without worry because the tips point up instead of straight ahead. Use these to quickly snip chain pieced blocks, bury quilting threads, or trim threads on the back of a quilt top.


Pinking Shears

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.


Serrated-Edged Scissors

(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.


Embroidery Scissors

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 at least one pair is always within arm's length. 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.


57 thoughts on “World’s Best Sewing Scissors; Let’s Get Handsy

  1. Dawn says:

    I have to agree with you. The Gingher line are my absolute favorite. My biggest problem that I have is I have very small hands and fingers. Anything over 7 inches is too big for my hands, so cutting is difficult. I do have a really nice pair of Fuller Brush pinking shears, that I have had for years. I recently found a pair of pinking shears/scissors in an antique store and they are wonderful. You never know what you can find in thrift stores, and antique stores.

    • Deborah Long says:

      What about Wiss? Who carries Kai? Can pinking shears be sharpened? Are there any “small” pinking shears?


      • KC Wilson says:

        I bought my Kai in a local quilt store in Arizona. Call around to your own LQS to see if they have them. I use my small Kai for trimming small paper piecing pieces. The serrated edge is perfect for that. Kind of pricy.

    • gina says:

      always thought so too. Just bought a pair of Guggenhein shears and have fallen in love anew. Too large for your hands. But they cut so smoothly

  2. Vickie Malm says:

    Suzy, I really enjoyed this information. I belong to the “Silver Fox’ Club whose requirement for membership is that you should be over 55 years of age. I will never see the 60’s again so that must make me OLD (ha,ha). I have owned all of the brands but one at sometime during my life. I started with a pair of Wiss scissors in my 7th grade Home Ec. class that had black enamel handles. They lasted me a long time. I am now using Ginger except for my pinking scissors which are Friskers.

    Have you ever done an article comparing sewing machines? I have sewn on a Singer treddle machine, a regular Singer and then I bought a Viking which lasted me about 47 years. A friend gave me her Pfaff which I am now using. Had I the money I would get another Viking, Happy Trails to You.

  3. Jessica Rampelburg says:

    My three pair set comes from, drumroll… Snapon told! They are twenty years old and have never lost their edge. My mom for them for an anniversary from my dad when I was a kid and I inherited them. I sharpen once a year 😁

  4. Katherine A. says:

    I am extremely happy with My Wescott scissors with rubber inside the handles. They’re upwards of $20-30 at JoAnns, but scissors are one of the only things I’ll go to Walmart for to get a WAY better price. They’re more like $5-10 there. I’ve never had an issues with these scissors, I love them so much!!!

  5. James Crawford says:

    Hi Suzy, I wanted to let you know about Kretzer Scissors. We are manufactured in Solingen, Germany. We compete with the KAI scissor and in fact where I have put my scissor in an industrial environment against KAI we were told we hold an edge longer. I’ll be glad to send a sample if you would like to take a look.

    Best Regards,

          • Lisa Gilmore Lier says:

            they have medical sissors that I have heard of. not shears… interesting that they didn’t contact you though!

          • Suzanne Williams says:

            When I first began to quilt I ran an ad in our local paper and said quilting supplies wanted, the next day a lady called and said she had a box of supplies she wanted to sell I purchased the box for 20.00 and the scissors inside were Singer they are super sharp , and a pair of Kai pinking sheers as well as a number of other things. The scissors are my favourite quilting tool. Thanks for the info on the thread and sissors.

          • Winifred Waite says:

            Still using my Singer scissors or shears as they’re now called. Can’t remember what they cost, maybe they came with my Singer 338. They’re now 57 years old & like the sewing machine still going strong. The scissors are made from superb Sheffield steel sadly long gone now. I get them professionally sharpened, they’re as good as new & a joy to use.

  6. Jenny says:

    I agree with your analysis, but I have to give Gingher the top spot because they make their shears true left handed. I used my mom’s growing up, and she then bought me my own pair as well as a left handed pinking shear. I love them.

    • Chad w. says:

      Older comment, but I have to point out kai makes true left handed scissors in thier (excellent) 7000 lineup. My experience with them comes from auto trimming usage. I’m a hardcore kai fan (for my usage at least). Loved the article though, as I’m ALWAYS wanting to learn more about the tools of my trade!

  7. Lisa Gilmore Lier says:

    Thanks for the article! Now to go buy…. which one???? *G* I think I’ll go with the Gingher for shears…. and??? for pinking. I am sewing a wall hanging using Lynne Hagmeier’s techniques and pinked edges are important!

  8. Cathy V. says:

    I have a pair of singer shears that I’ve had since the sixties. They have only ever cut fabric and have only ever been sharpened once and that was about a year ago. Now the screw that holds the two pieces together doesn’t seem to want to hold. Any suggestions?

  9. K Daugherty says:

    I use the same shears I bought for Home Economics when I was 13 years old. Don’t remember how much I paid for them, but I’m sure it wasn’t much since I paid for them myself with my babysitting money. This was 52 years ago. Never have needed to have them sharpened. They are Wiss.

  10. Robin Laber says:

    In the 80’s I bought the Ginghers and loved them. I was hooked. However, I lost them in a move about 8 years ago and when I replaced them with a new pair of Gingher’s I was deeply disappointed. They cut horribly because they would not make a complete run without catching the fabric and hanging up. Through a forum discussion on Facebook, I was encouraged to contact the company. When I did, they sent me a new pair free. Unfortunately, the new pair have the same exact problem that the other pair had. Recently at a friends home for a sewing date, I got a handle on her Fuller Brush sewing shears and I could see exactly what the problem is with mine. Hers are exactly like my first pair of Gingher’s: glide through fabric like butter and the blades are perfectly balance and glide past one an other like silk. Both of my new have the blades flopping around as if the nut and bolt holding them together is loose but it is not. The blades are unbalanced. I live in a very rural place where there are no sewing shops, and no knife/blade shops where I could even have my scissors looked at. I bought a fiskars with the mindset that it’s an inferior scissors but they are not – they cut and do the job they are supposed to. I think Gingher has become an inconsistent brand that does not produce the quality product they once were known for.

  11. Michelle Leary says:

    Hi, When is was a little girl my mom had a pair of Gingher scissors and I was not allowed to touch those scissors lol. I learned to hand sew at about six years old and then I started using the sewing machine about age 9. My sister and I had to hand sew first before being able to learn how to sew on her Singer machine. Her reasoning for this was to found out if we were really interested in sewing. She sewed all the time and had clients and of course this peaked my interest. When I got married I ordered my first pair of Gingher scissors, I was in my late 20’s at the time and mine cut like butter and they still do. I’m 60 now, can’t believe it lol. Has anyone heard of the Guggenheim scissors out of Germany? Having a great pair of scissors/shears is a very good tool to have.
    Suzy, what are your thoughts on the best rotary cutters to purchase?

  12. Cathi G. says:

    I just purchased a pair of Guggenheim shears and so far the are great….outperform my Ginghers that I have had for almost 20 years.

  13. Angie says:

    For us big fingered gals I recommend Finny brand. Super sharp, and with big finger holes. Most snips or scissors aren’t comfortable with my hands. Always have to play with them in the store. I have never seen Finny brand in stores, I buy them online. Love them!

    • Chad w says:

      I am male with fairly large hands (thick, but kind of stubby fingers). I find kai shears (7000 series) fit my hand well. Just another option!

    • Angie says:

      Vinny is my favorite too! I have the big hands and fingers, most scissors hurt. But Finny are the best! I was in the Netherlands this summer and spotted some in a Bernina store! But didn’t buy them, too hard to get thru TSA. I order them online. Highly recommend!

  14. Wens says:

    Just a couple weeks ago I was gifted a beautiful pair of Kai Shears, for LEFTYS!! Oh wow after years of pain from cutting, I had no idea how good right handers had it 😂 cutting is a joy. Definitely something I should have invested in sooner!

  15. Cindy says:

    I have been a Ginger fan for a long time and not to say I don’t still love them, but for Christmas last year my husband gave me some Kai scissors. They cut like butter and I love how they feel in my hand.

    • Belinda says:

      Fiskar bought the Gingher company out a few years ago. There are two weights of the NEWER Gingher scissors now. The all metal ones are forged in Italy… the others are made in Taiwan from unknown metals. The country of origin is marked on the scissor. I believe that when Gingher was a private company, the scissors were made in Germany originally and perhaps in other countries in later years, but certainly not in Taiwan as some as sourced now.

    • Lena says:

      My husband gave me a pair of Gingher shears several years ago and I liked them enough to hide them at the bottom of my sewing basket so no one would ruin them on some paper art project. Recently he bought me a pair of Kai shears and now those are the only ones I use. The Ginghers are pretty, but the Kais cut more smoothly and with less effort (and are now hidden from my children).

  16. Mary Jo Keith says:

    Did you know that scissors used to be left or right handed? When I started sewing at age 8 I eventually developed a sore spot at the base of my left thumb. I used my moms right handed scissors for years till high school when my boyfriend gave me a left handed pair for my birthday. Had to special order them. Kept the scissors for years but not the boyfriend.

  17. Sally King says:

    The Barbie/Ken/skipper connection cracked me up! YOU are the sharpest … shear genius! 😄. And how can you possibly discipline a curious cutie like Desi? What a bug!

  18. Gail Downey says:

    Being a lefty, scissors have been the bane of my sewing and crafting life. I have my special left handed scissors, both are very old but still in use. My first pair of left handed scissors are Singer and they were purchased in about 1987 and have been used at least weekly since then. I have my mother’s German made left handed scissors which I have used for 25 years and I don’t know how long my mother used them previously, she like me kept and used things for a long time. My scissors must be something special because my sharpening man always comments on the age and quality of both pairs. I do finally have a pair of left handed pinking shears, yeah. next purchase is left handed small scissors

    • Nancy says:

      Where did you buy your left handed pinking shears and what company makes them? I had a pair of Ginghers for many years. Unfortunately, they recently got stolen and I cannot find a replacement. 🙁

  19. SC says:

    I love my Gingher 8-inch shears, and I am so lazy about sharpening them that I just bought a second pair. I was really in trouble when that one dulled too, but now I have two pairs, heehehe. I have a pair of little tailor snips which are great for more precision cutting, AND the duck-bill applique scissors, which are super-useful. Gingher 4 lyfe.

  20. Carey says:

    I like my Fiskars and I really like my Ginghers, but my Kai scissors are in a class by themselves. You know that pleasure you get from handling really high quality fabric? It’s the same feeling I get using my Kai scissors.

  21. Theresa says:

    Amen to all of this! Nothing is worse than bad scissors when you are trying to work. I am going to look up the Kai scissors based on what you said. Plus, my sister just found a like-new pair of Wiss pinking shears at the Goodwill for me, the kind my Mom use to have. So, I just tried them and have to say that I have never used a better pair of pinking shears, yay. When looking them up, I found your wonderful page. Also, I may be a bit of a tool nut, in that I have lots of kitchen utensils, and have to have the proper outdoor tools – they make work immeasurably easier. Thanks, Theresa

  22. Samue John Berger-Butler says:

    Don’t get the Guggenhein! Mine (rarely used) don’t even cut the fabric. The fabric just folds up in between the blades.

  23. Maureen Eha says:

    Hi, Suzy,

    I really appreciate this post on recommended scissors. The difficulty I have is that I need good regular scissors as well as pinking shears to make doll clothes for a 13″ baby doll, so the pieces of material are small to be using an 8″ or 9″ pair of scissors. Do you have any recommendations for shorter scissors, or is better to just use the longer ones, even on smaller pieces of fabric?

    Thank you.


  24. Nick says:

    Curious about the comments on the Guggenhein scissors. I have recently gotten some and they are the smoothest cutting fabric scissor I have tried. (I don’t have the Ginghers, but Fiskars and older models of Wiss.) I am not a professional so perhaps I don’t know what is meant by the fabric folding up between the blades. I can cut a long straight line of fabric easily with the Guggenheims however.

  25. Rhonda Marcum says:

    I still have my Wiss from over 40 years ago! Still love them. I have Ginghers and Guggenheim that i love. I have had my Ginghers sharpened one time and they are about 20 years old. My Guggenheim are fairly new. With in the last 2 years. They offer 50% off a lot. Check out their site. I used them yesterday to trim up a play mat with quilting Cotton, batting, denim. Beautiful! I love all cutting tools and certainly have a lot. My Kai with the serrated blades. I have many pairs and i like different ones for different applications!!!

  26. cynthia says:

    I’ll add to the lots of comments here….. I have a pair of Gingher that are at least 20 years ol and cut beautifully even down to the point. Maybe they have been sharpened once. But they are heavy in the hand. I hate my Kai shears. I’m constantly getting them sharpened and I hardly use them (on fabrics only). they do not cut down to the point, I have to use my Ginghers to do that. I have never tried out a high-end Fiskars or maybe I have? not knowing but none so far compare to my Gingher. Pricey, yes. Worth it instead of trying and buying the other brands, for sure.

  27. Sally says:

    My husband bought me true left handed Ginghers but because I used right handed scissors for over 30 years and had learned to compensate I couldn’t cut with them. So disappointed!
    I’ve used Wiss, Wilkinson, Fiskars, Gingher, and now Kai. Kai is my go to theses days and the
    500 line has large finger holes for arthritic hands. I got the Kai from Wawak – the first place I
    go to because their prices are the best!

  28. Paula says:

    Thank you for the scissors/shears review. I am also of a certain age over 65, and grew up with black handle Wiss shears which are no longer in stores near me. My 1985 Ginghers (made in Germany) served me well til a few years ago. Then I bought a new pair not knowing they were from Italy, and they have never worked right. I even paid and sent them back for resharpening but they don’t cut smoothly. I also bought Fiskars and while they have blunt tips and are good for haircuts, not so great for dress fabric. I plan to try the Guggenhein since I sew mostly quilting cottons. I really appreciated your unbiased article and comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *