Do you know the difference between scissors and shears? I didn’t so I looked it up and now I can edify us all. Scissors usually have equal-sized finger holes and are under 6″ in length. Shears have one hole that is bigger than the other and their blade lengths are normally longer than 6″. The terms scissors and shears are often used interchangeably and for the purposes of this article, I flip back and forth between them.
These are the scissors you hide. Or keep locked away. Or you write in Sharpie on them. DO NOT USE. CLOTH ONLY. MOVE AWAY FROM MY SCISSORS. If you haven’t convinced your family to stay away from your fabric scissors, then move to the second pair below.
All purpose scissors
THESE are the pair you hand people who want to use your fabric scissors. Keep them sharp so no one is ever tempted to grab the pair you keep for working on your stash.
Heavy duty shears
When your regular fabric scissors won’t cut it. I’ve used these to cut canvas, Sunbrella, and leather. Don’t let your friends or family use these for everyday use. They’re heavy duty. Emphasize that by saying it in a low voice, “Sorry, these are heavy duty.”
Snipping scissors, or scissors with very short, sharp blades are genius for cutting threads as you sew.
Pinking shears are what you need if you are working with fabric that ravels or if you plan to leave a cut edge exposed. Pinking shears do what zig zag stitching or serging does, they stop fabric from unraveling. They are genius. You should get a pair.
Herb cutters, fringe scissors
Yes, bring the kitchen into the sewing workshop. These scissors are frequently used to quickly chop up herbs, but in the sewing room they create fringe.
Perhaps you want to make some fringe-cut garland? These would be your tool. They work best when you put the fabric back towards the center of the scissors and stop cutting before you reach the tips. If you have a LOT of tiny snips like this to make, however, you’ll want to see the next pair of scissors.
Rag quilt scissors
For when you aren’t messing around. Rag quilt scissors have short, sharp blades that let you snip through chunks of fabric to create the famous look of rag quilts.
Pro Tip: If you get a pair, make sure to get them spring loaded. Your hands will thank you!
My oldest made this rag quilt with and I snipped it right up with rag quilt scissors. Just put on a TV show you can zone out to and start clipping.
Rotary cutters are becoming more and more popular. Once you learn how to cut fabric with them, your fabric scissors may start to see a lot less use.
Ye olde kitchen drawer scissors
Also known as ‘household scissors’ or ‘the scissors you can do just about anything with and mom won’t get mad.’ They are the unsung hero of your scissors quiver because they keep the rest of your tools safe.