I have a bit of a scissor problem, as in, I have a lot of them. I’m not always good about getting them sharpened, or sharpening them myself and often will just order a new pair – which isn’t necessarily very economical but, often, much more fun. This photo is of the scissors that are currently in my shop at Blindspot. It doesn’t include the scissors I have at home or the scissors that are in my sewing kit on the wardrobe truck or the scissors I probably forgot about that are at the bottom of a bag somewhere in a closet.
In New York City, you can have someone come to your shop and sharpen all your scissors with an electric grinder. There’s also a scissor and knife sharpening truck that still trolls the streets of Brooklyn (like the Mr. Softee ice cream truck). I never have any scissors on me when I see the truck though I always want to flag it down. You can, of course, sharpen your own scissors using a sharpening stone but I never seem to get around to doing that.
Most tailors have a favorite pair or a preferred model that they own more than one of.
My absolute best loved are Gingher’s original 5” tailor points, the ones that are actually pointy on the end. For some reason, when Fiskar acquired the Gingher brand, they altered the 5” tailor points. Now they have more rounded blades and a blunter end and are often called ‘craft’ scissors. The pair on the left in the following photo is the oldest pair. See how much narrower and pointier the blades are?
I do quite a bit of cutting. I never really took to the mat and rotary blade camp though I can understand how it can be an efficient and accurate way to cut. Probably because I started my whole tailoring/pattern making career before cutting mats and rotary blades were prevalent. Or maybe I’m just old. At any rate, my favorite scissors to cut with are Gingher 11” knife edge shears.
Other scissors that I use on a daily basis are:
Gingher 8” straight blade shears
– For trimming seam allowances, though you can cut with them. I just like a longer blade.
Gingher 7 ½” pinking shears
– I usually pink the hems in men’s suit pants as opposed to serging, mainly because a serged hem will leave a ridge if someone (drycleaner or otherwise) gets over zealous with the hem pressing.
Gingher 6” applique scissors
– I use these when I need to trim something very close the edge, or when I’m cutting around an applique (obvi.)
Gingher 7” straight blade scissors
– I use a pair of these as my paper scissors when patterning.
Excuse me… What are you cutting?!
Speaking of paper scissors. One of the sacred sewing laws is to never use someone’s fabric scissors to cut anything but fabric. Ever. The standard response from someone who sews to the question, “Can I borrow your scissors?” is “What are you cutting?”
The reason why is fairly simple: try cutting fabric with a pair of craft or paper scissors and you’ll find your edge looks as if it were chewed off by some sort of extremely hungry wild animal.
A few years ago, I acquired some old scissors for a mens’ tailor in the city who was retiring. I love this pair of old Wiss pinking shears. Despite the knicks and scratches on the exterior, they still cut very well.