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How to Select the Best Scissors and Shears

Threads #198, Aug./Sept. 2018
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Fiskars RazorEdge 8-inch fabric shears #1001

Sewing enthusiasts take the tools needed to cut fabric seriously. These days, there are many options for scissors and shears on the market. It can be confusing as you decide whether to stick with a favorite old pair or upgrade to something new. I’ve researched some choices you’ll encounter when shopping for scissors suitable for garment-sewing projects, so you’ll be better informed when you make a purchase.

You’ll discover some key facts when seeking out new cutting tools for garment-appropriate fabrics. The price range is wide, and there are many styles, sizes, and materials. You can spend a lot, but you can also get an excellent, long-lasting pair of shears for less than $60. My advice is, don’t buy bargain scissors. Prepare to spend a bit of money to get a pair made of metal that holds a sharp edge and that can be sharpened for a long life of excellent, easy cutting.

Before buying scissors, test them to determine if they can do the intended job and feel comfortable in your hand. Cut through a layer of soft, natural-fiber fabric, then through several layers. Try cutting fabrics that are heavy, lofty, coated, synthetic, or ultrafine. Know that you probably need specialty shears for thick textiles such as carpeting and Kevlar. If you have to stress the scissors to make a cut, you probably need a heavy-duty pair.

Most scissors produce a smooth, clean cut when they’re new. Their true colors show after months or years of use. A lower-quality pair of scissors can’t be sharpened to its original acute edge. A great pair will last a lifetime and become a dear and trusted tool.

Blade materials

Most sewing scissors are made of steel, but you’ll find other materials and coatings to choose from.…

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Previous: Essential Sewing Tools: Scissors and shears Next: How to Use Rotary Cutters to Cut Fabric with Ease
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