When it comes to sewing, choosing the right scissors is one of the more important first steps to success. Not just any scissors will do. You’ll quickly find yourself frustrated with the inefficiency of normal household cutting tools. You might as well try to tear fabric with your teeth as to try to easily and accurately cut fabric with cheap scissors.
You’ll also need more than one type of scissors. Let’s start with a list of the top choices for any sewer’s cutting needs. Then I’ll try to answer some of the questions about the various choices and how they work.
Types of Scissors Used For Sewing
The Gingher brand has been at the top of the line of sewing implements for over 50 years. Their products will be found at the head of many reviews. I can personally vouch that my own Ginghers have given me nearly 20 years of extensive service and are just beginning to show signs of needing to be sharpened.
Ginghers are forged from high-carbon cutlery steel and double-plated with chrome and nickel. The shears are precision ground and polished to a high sheen for a durable, sharp edge and classic look. Although they’re all metal, the handles’ angle and shape make them as comfortable as plastic handles with little chance of breaking.
These shears also come in a left-handed model, making them a great choice for any sewer’s needs.
- High-quality construction
- Long-lasting edge
- Can easily take heavy-duty use
- Screw-together construction makes sharpening easy
- All metal construction thought to be a bit heavy by some users
- A bit higher-priced than many other brands
Singer is a well-known name for all things sewing. These scissors boast a capacity for cutting through many layers of heavy fabric. The blades are highly sharpened tempered steel. The blades are angled to make smooth, accurate cutting easy.
The ergonomic plastic handles are designed to be comfortable, even for weaker hands and wrists. Their lighter weight can also help sewers keep cutting longer without their hand tiring, and the ultra-fine tip makes getting into tight places for precision cutting easier.
- Ergonomic handle
- Cuts cleanly and smoothly
- Can’t be sharpened
- Not as durable
LIVINGO scissors are made from high-density steel and durable plastic. The tempered steel is 3 times harder than regular stainless steel, adding durability to the blades.
The blades are coated with a multi-color Titanium that makes them rust-resistant and less likely to become coated with substances such as glue from some sequined fabrics. The handles are soft and easy on fingers for better control and comfort.
LIVINGO scissors are individually tested and come with a lifetime warranty. For the quality of these scissors, they are an economical choice for beginning sewers.
- Resistant to corrosion and adhesives
- Sharp, smooth cutters
- May be a bit large for smaller projects
Even with the addition of a cute little thread/yarn snipper, these scissors are some of the most economical scissors for beginners or occasional sewers. The design is lightweight and easy to use, aligning well with a flat surface for a smooth cut. And the pointed tip helps to make cutting into small spaces easier.
The blades have been precision-ground for cutting through multiple layers with little effort. They have also been pre-lubricated so they’re ready to use without any initial stiffness. Although advertised as designed for both right- and left-handed users, they are not nearly as comfortable for lefties.
- Precision cutting
- Sharp for cutting layers
- Some complaints of chipping
- Not comfortable for left-handed use
As with most pinking shears, these scissors are a bit heavier than regular sewing scissors. However, they’re still fairly lightweight for their purpose. The ball-bearing joint may be stiff when new. Oiling it will help. Just be careful not to put too much and risk staining your fabric.
Pinking shears are designed to finish seams with a zig-zag pattern that will keep fabric from fraying as quickly but cannot completely prevent the process. These shears have sharp, stainless steel blades that can handle most finishing projects.
The handles are comfortable and soft and fit most hands easily. Again, these scissors are advertised for right or left-handed use, but some users say otherwise.
- Heavy duty
- Comfortable handles
- Can be stiff and hard to use for some
These scissors are available in a two-pack from Amazon for less than $10 or a dozen pairs for under $20. You can afford to mark some for fabric at that price and still have plenty for crafts or other household uses. They have a comfortable, easy-to-use design with stainless steel blades.
The ergonomic design of the soft plastic handles may actually work well for both right-and left-handed users. The blades offer sharp, clean cuts, but these economical blades may not maintain their edge as long as some of the other scissors recommended here. Still, they’re fairly popular for the quality of service they give for as long as they last.
Just as an FYI, CCR makes a larger, gold-colored titanium and stainless steel pair that are so sharp you’d have to be careful of your fingers. These are not available through Amazon, so you’d have to research to find them elsewhere. They are professional grade and cost around $30-$50 a pair.
- Smooth cutting
- Lack durability
If you have Amazon Prime, these high-quality scissors are available at a great discount. The blades are individually made as a single piece from industrial quality high carbon steel and treated to resist corrosion.
The razor-sharp edge can effortlessly handle multiple layers for smooth, precision cuts. The metal handles have been rubberized for added comfort. Evergreen Art Supply scissors also come with a “100% Thrilled” guarantee. The set includes a pair of 9-inch shears and free, convenient thread snippers.
- Large enough for almost any project
- High-quality construction
- Can provide many years of use
- Can be a little heavy for those with arthritis or other disabilities
Although some of the scissors already mentioned include free snippers, I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention these small, quality scissors. I have gone through a lot of small scissors. It’s really frustrating to find yourself fighting dull snippers. Believe me, these little guys are important and can have a huge impact on time and efficiency.
So I’ve come back to my favorite Gingher brand for this. These are four inches long, making them a bit larger and more versatile than many thread scissors. They’re made with Gingher’s signature double-plated chrome over nickel finish. They come with a leather pouch, though I have to admit that unless I’m packing them to carry somewhere, I use them too much to keep them covered.
The scissors were made for use with embroidery thread, yarn, or regular sewing thread. They’re sharp enough for small trimming jobs and the sharp tip easily reaches difficult corners. Overall, these small scissors are an excellent investment for years of use. The screw edge makes them easy to sharpen should they develop a dull spot over time.
- Easy to control
- A bit more expensive
Fiskars is one of the world’s oldest incorporated businesses with many manufactured products, but the brand is probably best known for its signature orange-handled scissors. Fiskars scissors can vary greatly in quality, so if you’re looking for durable sewing scissors, you’ll need to be picky.
The Razor Edge series is made from hardened stainless steel that’s been ground to a razor edge. These are heavy-duty enough to cut through fairly tough materials such as multiple layers or leather. They have a soft grip handle for comfort and extended use.
This particular pair looks pretty beefy and may last longer than most.
My main problem with Fiskars over the years is that they don’t keep their edge for the amount of use I put them through. I admit, though, that I haven’t tried these, so I can’t speak for their durability. They’ve received excellent reviews. The main complaint is that they may arrive very stiff and hard to use from the factory. But customers have had them replaced and then say they’re great.
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to control
- Some customers complained that the scissors are stiff, sticky, and hard to use.
Customers like these ebony scissors’ unique look, but that’s not the only thing they have going for them. My one issue is that I have not been able to find what kind of metal they’re made of. So I can’t vouch for how durable they’ll be.
The scissors receive high ratings for being very sharp, with comfortable plastic-dipped handles. They’re definitely made for right-handed users, though with a bit of research, you can find left-handed ones.
They can easily cut with precision through thick layers of fabric. Of course, you must always remember that sewing scissors should be used for fabric only to maintain their edge. These scissors also come with a matching thread snipper.
- Unique design
- Unknown construction materials means unknown durability
Your Guide to Scissors Used For Sewing
If you’re new to the sewing world, it’s important to learn what to look for when shopping for sewing shears or scissors. There are important differences between many multi-use scissors and fabric cutters.
Again, it’s important to remember that sewing scissors should be used for fabric only! Using them for paper or other materials will quickly dull them, causing them to hand up on fabric as you cut.
Sewing scissors/shears vs. household scissors
Don’t try looking for sewing shears at your local office supply store. You won’t find these specialty scissors there. A few of the differences are:
- Sewing scissors are generally made of thicker, higher quality materials
- Higher quality materials means higher prices
- Sewing scissors will have an angled shape for cutting against a flat surface. Household scissors may or may not have this feature.
Different Types of Sewing Scissors
You will need more than one type of scissors to meet your sewing needs. The most important scissors for a sewer’s arsenal are:
Straight, or dressmaker’s shears:
These scissors have an angled design and straight, knife-edged blades. Depending on the size of your hand, you’ll need at least one pair between 7-9 inches long.
Pinking, or serrated, shears:
These shear cut a zigzagged edge for finishing. Zigzagging will slow down, though not completely prevent, fraying. With the popularity of sergers, pinking shears are not as popular as they once were. Some newer sewing machines also have special presser feet that create a finished edge similar to serging.
Embroidery scissors or thread snippers:
Most machines have a thread cutter built-in, but it is often necessary to snip threads with scissors. Just picking up and putting down large sewing shears so many times can be inconvenient and tiring. These small scissors or snippers do the job with little fuss.
Though many household scissors can be fairly generic, the more specialized design of sewing scissors may make it necessary to buy a pair to comfortably accommodate left-handed use.
What To Look For In a Good Pair Of Sewing Scissors
The first factor to consider if you’re hoping for sewing scissors you can depend on for decades is the type of construction materials. High-quality steel is important for the blades. All metal construction will often last longer, but some plastics hold up well. Check reviews for comments about durability.
The handle design can make a huge difference in comfort, especially when tackling larger projects. The shape of the finger grips may vary widely. You may need to experiment to find out which shape will fit you best.
Weight can also vary widely. For those with weak wrist or arthritis, scissors with plastic handles are lighter and more comfortable. Or you can choose a smaller-sized shear to lessen bulk and weight. Comfortable shears are paramount to sewing success.
Personally, I prefer scissors with a screw-style hinge, as this makes it easy to take them apart and sharpen them at the right angle. Other scissors can be sharpened, but it can be more challenging to reach areas close to the hinge and keep the blade flat on a stone.
Preventing or Removing Rust From Sewing Scissors
There are websites full of suggestions for removing rust from grandma’s sewing scissors if you find them and decide to keep them for posterity. I’ve seen suggestions that include everything from WD-40 to vinegar. Just remember not to leave anything on your scissors that might stain fabric.
It’s important to take proper care of your sewing shears. They should be kept clean and dry and may require occasional lubrication if they become hard to use.
Now you’re ready to shop like an expert for the best sewing scissors. I guess it’s pretty clear that my own top pick would be Ginghers all the way. But you may find that one of the other picks fits your hand and budget better.
Investing in high-quality tools will keep you sewing with confidence for years to come. Don’t be afraid to try more than one brand, size, and style until you find your own favorite sewing scissors.