Tuesday, February 5, 2013

STITCHES IN TIME: Choosing Scissors

There are many different types of sewing scissors to choose from and having the correct pair makes cutting and sewing more enjoyable.  As a teacher I see the mistakes some students make as a beginner. Some bring in buttonhole scissors or thread clippers, others bring in lesser quality paper cutting scissors.     Both of these make cutting your fabric a hassle.

 Starting out as a new student buy yourself a pair of quality shears.  Purchase a pair of side bent scissors, 8" to 9 1/2" is the best size for cutting out fabric for your project. Never cut paper with these because that will dull the edge and make cutting fabric difficult.  I find helpful to tie a ribbon or scrap of fabric around the handle for easy identification.  Two quality brands are Gingher or Fiskars, pictured above.  Also for you lefties out there, dress making shears can be found for both left handed and right handed use. (Remember always cut against a flat surface, why? because the fabric will move less making cutting straight lines and curves more controllable and two, the table can hold the weight of your shears).

Mundial Snips these are my originals from design school.
A little rusty but still do a great job.
Clover thread snips

The next pair of scissors you should have in your tool box as a beginner sewer is a pair of thread clippers.  The above Mundial pair measures 4 1/2",  I have had mine since design school, over 10 years now. These are fantastic for getting really close to the seam and cutting the little tail of thread left.  These scissors also go by the name of nippers.  Clover also has a pair called Snips, these have no finger holder. I own both pairs and like both of them.

My Fiskar Shears. 

Pinking shears.  These are helpful if you continue to sew but I wouldn't recommend buying them unless you need them and are a regular sewer.  Pinking shears prevent your edges from fraying.  You can use them in place of a serger but I find that this can look a bit amateurish. However for a quick fix they do the job.  Good quality shears will have a bolt so they can be realigned.  Misaligned shears equals chewed up fabric, who wants that! Yak!

From woodedhamlet.com a pair of 19th century repros                       merchantandmills.com

Pair number 4 - Buttonhole Scissors - super strong scissors for cutting thru layers of thread in a buttonhole and the fabric.  The traditional type has a rectangular notch that enables you to put the scissor over the button placket without cutting it. They also have a screw on the side to set for the side of the buttonhole, so handy if you are a shirt and pant designer.  The other type of Buttonhole Scissors has large handles with short blades.  Buttonhole Scissors are also great little snippers.

And lastly, embroidery scissors. This pair I purchased from Sublime Stitching. Love that they are pink, that's what sold me. These are great as snippers but also quite useful for of course trimming your embroidery threads. I also carry them in my knitting bag since they came with this cute green case.

And remember, don't run with scissors!

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