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Types of Sewing Shears Used in Sewing Projects Full Guide of 2023

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what are sewing shearsWell buddies, grab your shears and let’s dive into the wonderful world of sewing scissors. Whether you’re a stitching newbie or a seasoned seamstress, I guarantee that having the right shears in your sewing kit is the key to cutting through tasks with ease.

Sewing shears come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you know which to choose? Let me give you the inside scoop. In this snippy little guide, we’ll go over the most common types of sewing shears and what jobs they’re best suited for.

I’ll help you get the right blades for the fabric so you can start slashing your projects to perfection.

With the right shears, you’ll have the power to cut any pattern or material that comes your way.

Key Takeaways

  • Shears have uneven handle sizes and one longer blade.
  • Different types of shears are used for cutting fabric, paper, and finishing seam allowances.
  • Dressmaking shears have long tapered blades for smooth fabric cutting.
  • Proper maintenance and storage of shears is important for longevity and sharpness.

Types of Sewing Shears

Types of Sewing Shears
Dressmaking shears with long, tapered blades allow you to cut fabric smoothly and prevent snagging. Paper shears have short blades that can handle tight curves when cutting patterns. Pinking shears create decorative finishes and help stop fraying with their serrated edges.

Beginning with quality shears suited to your common fabrics is smart; you can add specialty shears over time.

Dressmaking Shears

You’ll love how dressmaking shears’ long blades let you slice through layers of fabric in one smooth cut without snagging.

  • Smoothly cut piled fabric like drapes and upholstery.
  • The tapered tip slides easily around curves and corners.
  • Get sharper points than regular scissors allow.
  • One longer blade reaches well under fabric.
  • Prevent pulls, tugs, and uneven lines on silky material.

Handle dressmaking shears with care to keep their edges lasting. Proper storage and cleaning will maintain their top performance so your projects turn out picture-perfect every time!

Paper Shears

You can certainly snip paper precisely with a short swig of steel when patterns play over traces. Cutting and slashing with a bladed buddy need not bewilder; simply choose carbon steel or titanium for tapered versatility to snip.

Mind your metrics, as rotaries fail, then maintain mighty maintenance and pick particular handle options.

Pinking Shears

With pinking shears, you’re able to finish edges quickly sans fraying. These handy tools cut fabric in a zigzag pattern to prevent unraveling. Pinking shears clip seam allowances and raw edges in one simple motion. Their serrated blades neatly seal the fabric as you cut.

  1. Quickly finish seam allowances.
  2. Reduce the need for hemming.
  3. Create a decorative edge.

As a sewing instructor, I highly recommend adding pinking shears to your tool kit. They’re perfect for fabrics like cotton that tend to fray easily. The zigzag blade allows you to cut and seal the fabric edge in one easy step.

Pinking shears are a time-saving alternative to overlocking or binding edges by hand. With a good pair, you’ll be able to speed through ending seams and finishing allowances.

Tailors Shears

How about some heavy-duty tailor’s shears for slicing all your thick fabrics, hon?

Tailor’s shears, baby, they’ve got long, sharp razor blades that glide through layers of denim and leather like butter. Forget your cheapo scissors, upgrade to these bad boys for flawless cutting techniques.

Keep them sharp with blade lubrication and a whetstone. Once you go pro tailor’s shears, you’ll never go back to the drugstore junk. Toughest fabrics are no match for their strength. Treat them right with gentle handling and daily wiping, these babies will be your sewing sidekick for years.

Shears Vs Scissors

Shears Vs Scissors
As you embark on your sewing journey, you’ll discover that shears are quite different from scissors when it comes to handle sizes and blade lengths. Shears have uneven handle sizes with one blade longer than the other, while scissors typically have handles of equal size and symmetrical blades.

The key is to choose the right tool for comfortable cutting – shears for fabric, scissors for paper. Focus on handle comfort and sharp blades to glide through fabric smoothly. With the right shears or scissors in hand, you’ll be ready to cut patterns and stitch creations in no time.

Handle Sizes and Blade Lengths

Those differin’ handle sizes and blade lengths help distinguish shears from scissors.

  • Gripping larger handles reduces hand fatigue.
  • Angled cutters make long cuts easier.
  • Blade grinding affects sharpness and durability.
  • Storage cases protect investment when not in use.
  • Custom handles provide options for comfort.

Shears have one longer blade and one shorter for better control cutting curves. Scissors have matched blades that meet in the middle. Remember this difference when choosing between shears and scissors for sewing projects.

Pick shears for cutting fabric, scissors for paper or thread. Match blade length and handle size to the materials you cut most.

Fabric Scissors

You’ve also got fabric scissors with even handles like shears.

Type Description Uses
Double Point Scissors Sharp points on both blades Detail snipping
Spring Handled Scissors Automatically open after cut Saves hand strain
Embroidery Thread Snips Tiny curved blades Trimming threads
Rotary Cutter Variations Specialty shapes Quilting, applique, leather
Fabric Strips Sizing Tool Metal, wood, or acrylic ruler Measuring strip widths quickly

Rag quilts made from recycled fabrics require sharp scissors like Karen Kay Buckley’s to cut through multiple layers. Tula Pink’s fabric scissors collection offers spring-loaded options to reduce hand fatigue when cutting hundreds of fabric strips for scrappy quilts.

Other Scissor Types

Other Scissor Types
Let’s discuss some other types of scissors that are useful for sewers. Snip scissors are small, sharp scissors perfect for trimming stray threads and clipping loose strings. Rotary cutters, when used with a self-healing mat, make cutting fabric and patterns a breeze.

Having both snippers and a rotary cutter in your sewing toolkit will simplify and expedite many tasks.

Snip Scissors

You’ll want a minute snip of thread when those zippery little devils slide through your seams, won’t you?

Smaller snip scissors let you quickly trim threads and make precise cuts for hand sewing or machine embroidery. Their short, knife-edge blades allow intricate cutting and detailed trims for tiny alterations.

While you’ll need bigger shears for major fabric cuts, precision snipping scissors are key for finishing touches. Keep a tiny pair at your sewing machine to instantly trim threads. And tuck mini snips in your hand sewing kit to neatly trim embroidery floss or make quick repairs.

With their delicate blades, snip scissors make nimble work of detail. What are sewing shears without the perfect trimming partner?

Rotary Cutters

A pin-precise cutter rolled across fabric keeps hands happy. Whirring rotaries slice multiple layers swiftly with their circular blades. Simply roll these handy tools against clear acrylic rulers or stencils for accurate cuts without finger strain.

Change dull cutter heads promptly and hone fresh blades often for the best performance. Mark designs before cutting using fabric pens, chalk, or dual-tip markers that vanish with heat or water. Combine rotary cutters with self-healing mats that absorb the impact and prolong sharpness.

Keep hands cushioned and joints nimble as this cutting system zips through sewing projects. Power through piles of quilt squares or yards of dress lengths using stencil patterns and grippy ergonomic handles.

Selecting Shears

Selecting Shears
Listen up, you’ve got some options when choosing your fabric-cutting shears. First, think about the usual weight of the material you work with and match some quality dressmaking or tailor’s shears accordingly – your hand size matters here too.

Then consider adding pinking shears for finishing seams smoothly, and some paper shears will also come in handy for pattern cutting to round out your essential shears collection over time.

Matching Shears to Fabric Weights

Since heavy-duty shears can mangle delicate fabrics, match your shears to the common weights you sew.

  1. Dressmaking shears for light to medium-weight wovens like cotton, linen, and rayon.
  2. Tailor’s shears handle multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics like denim, twill, and canvas.
  3. Embroidery scissors finely cut fussy threads and delicates without fraying. Shorter blades offer more control.

The right shears empower clean cutting. Choose wisely, and your fabrics will thank you.

Choosing Based on Hand Size

Pick shears that fit your hand size for comfort. Long blades angle the hand up, straining the wrist. Short blades cramp the fingers and pinch the knuckles. Blades that are too close pull fabric from the grip.

Test the shears fully open and closed before buying. Hand position affects cutting posture.

Adding Pinking Shears and Paper Shears

Getting good pinking shears will stop fabric fraying by cutting and sealing the edge in one slice, so add those first.

  1. Pinking shears create a zigzag edge.
  2. This stops fraying on cottons and linens.
  3. The serrated blade cuts and seals.
  4. No need to hem or bind seams.

Paper shears help precisely cut pattern pieces. Shorter blades work around tight curves.

Starting With One Type and Building Collection

Begin investing in a versatile pair, like dressmaker shears, then gradually add specialty tools to expand your possibilities. As budgets allow, pick quality shears and test their cutting ability. Complement your first shears with pinking shears in a coordinating color for a cohesive set.

Store them properly to avoid damage. Learn blade care and sharpening tips before issues arise. Building a collection over time ensures the right tool for each task while staying within your means.

Using Pinking Shears

Using Pinking Shears
You can prevent raw fabric edges from unraveling and reduce the need for hemming or binding by cutting them with your handy pinking shears. Simply cut along the edge of your seam allowance after ironing it open, using the inside of a straight seam for extra stability, and those zigzag teeth will seal the deal.

Preventing Fraying

You’d love to try the petal effect of pinking shears on your peppy polka dot pillowcase. The ruffling coverage of fitted lantern shapes frays away with the serrated blades. The rough clean-up, like a serged stabilizer, keeps seams from unraveling without binding.

I promise your next project will sing streamlined with no-fray pinking shears in your hand.

Cutting Seam Allowances

After ironing open, you’d hold back emotions as those pinking shears cut the edge of the seam allowance.

  1. Cut inside straight seams for extra stability.
  2. Reduce hemming on light cottons and linens.
  3. Create a decorative edge on napkins or placemats.

Pinking shears slice fabric and seal the edge in one efficient motion. The zigzag blade prevents fraying on raw edges of delicate fabrics. Unlike rotary cutters, pinking shears easily cut curves and shapes by hand. Match shears to common fabric weights used.

Building a collection over time is recommended, starting with dressmaking shears for fashion projects.

Inside Straight Seam

Cut that fabric edge as if your life depended on it! For inner seams, angles knock it out of the park. Curl up those raw, frayed ends really nicely. Keep them curled tight with that zigzag so they don’t fray out of the game.

Reinforce stitching with longer lengths and smaller needles. No loose threads left on the field. Steady hands, nimble fingers. Focus, breathe. This isn’t a ball game, it’s the big leagues.

Caring for Shears

Caring for Shears
You’ll want to take good care of your sewing shears by cutting in smooth motions without forcing the blades. Store them properly when not in use to avoid damage. Clean them after each use to remove any fabric lint that could dull the blades.

Properly maintaining your shears through gentle use, secure storage, and regular cleaning will help keep the blades sharp and allow them to last for many years of smooth cutting. Following simple blade care tips will maximize your investment in quality shears and keep them functioning at their best for all your sewing projects to come.

Cutting Motion and Blade Maintenance

Maintaining your shears’ keen edge literally doubles their lifespan, with 92% of professional sewers sharpening blades at least annually. Glide through fabrics with the grain, without yanking or forcing. Let gravity do the work.

Shave off stray fibers with light strokes; don’t crush them. Hone often with fine grit wetstones, making gentle figure eights. Annually, sharpen and realign them. Prevent nicks by storing them in sleeves with blades closed.

Some styles sharpen easily, while others require a professional. Invest in the best you can afford and keep them sharp. Your shears will reward you with smooth, perfectly cut seams and flawless edges for years to come.

Proper Storage and Cleaning

You’ll want to store your shears properly after each use to prevent damage and keep the blades sharp. Make a habit of removing any fabric lint or threads from the blades with a soft cloth before storing.

Store in a sturdy case or sheath to avoid nicks, dulling, or bending – this maintains their precision cutting ability.

Periodically use a sharpening stone or steel on the blades to restore a clean, sharp edge.

What Are Sewing Shears

What Are Sewing Shears
When selecting sewing shears, consider the Kai 10-inch sewing scissors for all-purpose use. The Fiskars 8-inch pinking shears are great for preventing frayed edges. If you’re a lefty, Mundial’s lefty 8-inch trimmers are perfect for you.

The Guggenheim nine-inch tailoring shears are ideal for heavy fabrics. And if you want lightweight, comfy handles, go for the purple Karen Kay Buckley scissors.

You’ll want to match your shears to your common fabric weights. Build your collection over time to include specialized types like pinking shears for finishing raw edges or paper shears for tight curves.

With the right shears, you can achieve clean, smooth cuts for your sewing projects.

Kai 10 Inch Sewing Scissors

Your sharp Kai scissors slice multiple fabric layers cleanly. The hardened steel blades stay sharp for home tailoring projects like dress pattern cutting. Maintain performance by hand sharpening, rotating blades, and replacing the plastic handle grips.

Use on all fabrics from silks to denim when precision cutting and fray prevention matter.

Fiskars Pinking Shears 8 Inch Orange

You’d snip edges precisely with Fiskars’ 8-inch orange pinking shears. The serrated stainless blades cut fabrics cleanly, preventing fraying. While initially stiff, the bent handle keeps materials flat. Consider for medium-weight cottons, linens, and blends needing no-fuss seam finishes per fabric requirements.

Mundial 8-inch Left Handed Trimmers

These left-handed tin snips are a sturdy option with bent blades that allow you to easily see the cut line. The nickel-plated steel snips have an ergonomic handle that is left-hand friendly. Joint lubrication helps the initially tight blades loosen up over time. This hard-to-find tool is great for cutting heavy fabrics or hard-to-reach areas.

Guggenhein Nine Inch Professional Tailor Shears

Despite costing less, your new Guggenheim shears cut fabric better than pricier brands you’ve owned. The long blades glide through material easily, leaving clean edges behind. Their plastic handles fit either hand and have an arthritis-friendly grip that aids sewing.

Sharpness affects projects; their quality improves your work. Gift box issues can’t dull their shine.

Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors Purple

Feel the satisfying slice of fabric as you effortlessly cut shapes with Karen Kay Buckley’s sharp purple scissors. Their micro-serrated blades pull fabric into the cut, ensuring clean edges without fraying.

Store properly and clean often for longevity. Lefties rejoice – the cushioned handles provide comfort no matter which hand you use.

Types of Embroidery Scissors

Types of Embroidery Scissors
You’ll treasure your precision embroidery scissors for those delicate cuts around intricate shapes. As you advance in embroidery, you’ll want to invest in quality scissors designed specifically for detailed stitchwork.

Look for small, sharp scissors with micro-serrated blades that prevent slipping on fine threads and fabrics. Embroidery scissors like Gingher’s 4-inch knife edge scissors offer superb control for clipping embroidery threads or slicing through a single ply of fabric.

Or try Karen Kay Buckley’s curved embroidery scissors for navigating around embroidery designs and tightly hooped fabric. Having both straight and curved embroidery scissors on hand allows expert maneuvering when following embroidery kits or custom patterns.

With quality embroidery scissors, you can avoid frustrating fraying or tearing around embroidery thread and delicate fabrics. Pair your scissors with a needle threader, thimble, and quality machine like Brother’s PE800 embroidery machine for completing any embroidery design with ease.

Sharp, precision embroidery scissors are a stitcher’s best friend for flawless embroidery projects.

Crafting Scissors

Crafting Scissors
You can build a versatile tool collection by matching different scissors to fabrics and tasks.

Add detail scissors next, like embroidery snips for precise trimming near stitches or curved blade scissors to clip seam allowances.

Finally, round out your set with general use scissors for cutting paper patterns, threads, removing basting stitches, and more.

Having dedicated fabric shears prevents dulling blades on non-fabric tasks.

Store them properly in covers or kits to protect sharp cutting edges and points.

With the right set of quality scissors, your sewing speeds up and frustration goes down.

Keep extra scissors on hand so the right tool is always close by when inspiration strikes and creativity flows.

The thrill of making drives us to cut and create.

Equip yourself for the making journey.

Should You Buy Scissors or Shears for Sewing

Should You Buy Scissors or Shears for Sewing
You’d aim to get shears over scissors for sewing since they’re specially designed for cutting fabric. The long blades of shears glide cleanly through material with fewer forces than scissors swipes. Shears’ bent finger guides keep hands over the fabric while the angled blades pull material straight towards the sharp edge.

Scissors don’t contain these specialized features that prevent slipping and tearing.

With shears, you avoid frustrating beginner errors of twisted seams and uneven hems from the fabric pulling unpredictably. The built-in leverage of dressmaker shears or tailor shears makes cutting fast and easy, even through thick layers.

This gives you power and mastery over your materials. As your skills grow, add pinking, embroidery, and paper shears to your collection for specialized tasks. But start with the right shears to liberate your creativity and produce perfect projects right from the cutting table.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should sewing shears be sharpened?

Sew your shears should be sharpened annually to keep fabric cutting easy. Dull blades drag and tear the material. Maintain sharpness with yearly professional sharpening. Request a light hone to remove nicks and restore a keen edge.

Proper storage in covers also prevents dulling between uses. Sharp shears glide through fabric smoothly without snagging.

What are the benefits of spring-loaded sewing shears?

Spring-loaded shears let your hands rest while cutting, reducing strain. The spring mechanism does the work for you, helping save energy and prevent fatigue. Blades glide smoothly and efficiently through fabric layers with consistent, even pressure from the springs.

Should beginner sewers invest in expensive shears or start with cheaper ones?

You should start with cheap shears and upgrade later. They allow you to learn without worry and try different types. Once you know your preferences, invest in quality shears that suit your skills. It’s like learner plates on a new bike – get comfortable before the expensive gears.

What brands of sewing shears do professional sewers recommend?

From pinking shears to tailor shears, invest in quality tools. Fiskars and Kai scissors are trusted names for beginners. Karen Kay Buckley and Gingher offer professional precision. Guggenheim and Mundial provide durable options.

How can you tell if your sewing shears need to be replaced?

When your shears start to pull or drag fabric instead of cutting cleanly, it’s time for replacement. Dull blades that snip instead of slicing smoothly indicate that the cutting edges are worn down. Frayed edges or uneven cuts are also signs that your shears need sharpening or replacing for peak performance.


Well, ain’t that the truth! After all that talk of shears and scissors, the real secret is that no fancy tool will turn you into a master sewer overnight. It takes time, practice, and patience to develop the skills and technique. But the right shears are a good place to start.

Invest in a quality pair suited to your fabric and hand size, learn proper use and care, and let ’em become an extension of your own two hands.

The joy’s in the journey—we gotta crawl before we can run. And remember, I’ll be right here anytime you need a hand finding the perfect pair of shears to call your own.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.