Posted on 8 Comments

Tools for Garment Sewing-Scissors

Today we are thinking about sewing scissors as I prepare for the first of 6 virtual Sew Great Clothes classes we are sponsoring with Fabric Mart.  In December we told you about some lovely silver tools we purchased a few years back from the talented silversmith Jan at Thimbles for You.  My chatelaine with scissors is so lovely I don’t use it often.  This week I will tell you about the scissors I use, all the time.

My new tool box in the French Sewing Studio

The scissors in my tool box seem to fall into four categories, sewing shears, pinking shears, paper scissors and small scissors or snips.  I have begun to really think about scissors with a sharper focus now that I have some arthritis in my hands and scissors with small openings for my fingers are not ideal.

I value my shears the most and because I have three different studios where I sew, there are a number of pairs in my collection.  Sewing shears usually have a bent handle and two different shaped blades so the lower blade can rest on the table and the top blade can do the cutting and even pivot precisely to cut out a notch.  I have never warmed to rotary cutters, so shears are my favorite cutting tools for cutting out the fabric for the clothing I will sew and then wear.

Soft large handles make me happy these days.

My prettiest shears are the Ginghers with the decorative handles. I have collected them over the years and every now and then when they seem dull, I will send them back to Gingher to be sharpened and tuned up.  They have a rather large pair of handles, but if I have lots of cutting I use my large soft plastic handled shears from Famore with a micro serrated blade.  I really like them too.  They are super lightweight but cut smoothly and easily.   I have a pair of Famore’s in my basement studio and one in my new studio in my French house.  I have Ginghers in each of those studios and also a pair in my video studio.

Pinking shears are always a quandary.  I love to use them for lined garments that will not be finished with a serged edge but they are really hard for me to use these days, heavy in my hand and difficult to operate.  Most of my pinking shears are hand-me-downs from my mother and grandmothers and they are from reputable companies. Do you have a comfortable pair?

I am not very picky about paper scissors and so there are several pairs in each of my studios for when I am doing pattern work.  I like a pretty long blade as I am usually cutting out full size garment patterns.

Lovely Bohin stork scissors reserved for fine lace projects.

There are lots of little scissors in my collection as well.  I always prefer a scissor to a little snip which just feels awkward in my hand.  Whenever I see small scissors with generous size finger holes, I buy them as many of the pairs in my stash have delicate little holes.  Because I often do hand work in the evenings in the living room or TV room, there are a number of pairs stashed in little drawers in those rooms.  The ones I use the most have an expanded finger hole and a piece of black twill tape attached so I can put them around my neck and not have to search for them when I need to clip a knot or cut a new thread for my handwork.  When I have to grade seams or remove batting from quilted jacket seams, my small purple duckbill scissors from Famore are the best choice.

Trimming black batting from a quilted vest seam.

Isn’t it ironic that even if you have lots of great scissors, you often cannot find them when you need them?  Perhaps a clean studio would help with that dilemma. I might never know.

What are your favorite scissors or other tools that make your sewing successful?  We will look at lots of tools that make for a great garment sewing experience in the first session of the Fabric Mart series, Sew Great Clothes.  I hope you will join me for the conversation.  You can purchase the entire 6 session series for a discounted price or choose only the ones that seem interesting to you.  Looking forward to seeing a group of you every other Tuesday night from winter, January 30,  into spring, April 9.  What a fun way to fill the dark days of winter!

Happy Sewing, Rae

8 thoughts on “Tools for Garment Sewing-Scissors

  1. Hi Rae,
    I too inherited pinking shears from various relatives. I found that if I dropped a bit of machine oil on the screw and worked it in, it made a world of difference. Yes they are heavy but they do have their place in our tool box.
    Sheila in SC

    1. Thanks for the great advice!

  2. Hi Rae- re: scissors; I have found as my hands have aged and arthritis has taken a toll, that scissors with a spring that re-opens them are the only kind I can use for fabric cutting.
    I have many pair of Fiskars, lovely cutting tools with cushioned handles and so easy to use. There are several kinds of course (Google Fiskars) including titanium blades and serrated edges. Their smaller scissors (2” blade) have bright orange handles (easier to find) and the holes are large. I have an old pair of Fiskars that I use for paper! Have you tried a pair? You might like them!!

    1. I knew you all would have excellent scissor advice. Keep commenting everyone, so helpful for everyone.

  3. I love the Kai pinking shears that I have, They are light weight and make a nice smooth cut, even through 3 layers of batting!!! They were expensive but well worth it. Another pair of favorite “go-to: scissors if the Cutco shears with the red handle. I won them in a drawing at a food show, but they went right to my sewing room. A little on the heavier side but makes a precision cut, large or small, great on notches and trimming points and corners.

    1. Judie, Thanks for your great comments, Carrie loves her Kai sheers. I will keep an eye out for their pinking sheers.

      1. I have a pair of Kai pinkers. I just pulled them out to try the oiling tip from Sheila, and found they are tough for me to handle now, with the arthritis that’s setting into my hands. They have an insert between the blades close to the handle, with what looks like a ball bearing – it makes them kind of snap as they close. That is what is making them feel tight to me. I don’t think you’d like them any better!

        1. Ah Janee, You know me too well. I have not had time myself to try out the idea so thanks for testing it for me. As we age, we just have to slow down a bit!

Leave a Reply

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