When it comes to choosing a good pair of sewing scissors, always pick scissors that are sharp, durable, corrosion resistant, and the right type for the job. Some people think they need a single pair of the “best scissors.” However, after years and years of sewing, I have learned that any project can be easier if I use scissors designed for the task at hand. That includes dressmaking, quilting, bag making, hand sewing, and embroidery scissors. It’s also important to take into consideration comfort and how lightweight, or heavy they are. Of course a lifetime warranty/lifetime guarantee is awesome when looking for scissors.
If you’re just getting into sewing, it’s likely that you got your first pair of scissors in a sewing kit. Sometimes these look nice when you get them, but often times they are cheaply produced and aren’t a good pair of scissors.
Here are the 3 pairs of fabric cutting scissors that I can’t sew without – and a few more that I also recommend if you can afford it.
Also don’t miss my 3 Tips for More Accurate Cutting with Scissors and Rotary Cutters.
1. Guggenhein 9’’ Dressmaker Shears – I had to try them to believe it
Every sewist needs to start with a large pair of scissors for cutting out fabric pattern pieces, trimming seams, and slicing through multiple layers of fabric.
These heavy-duty 9’’ Dressmaker Shears from Guggenhein are wonderful. Let me be honest, I first bought these shears because they promised to send me a pair of Ginghers (another favorite brand of scissors – see below) if I didn’t like them. But I LOVED them and never took them up on that promise. They are certainly premium tailor scissors, and seem to be made of quality high carbon steel. The steel in these scissors are colored through a process called bluing, but most others just have a chrome or nickel coating. Then I bought 2 more pairs to send to my sisters who sew. They love them too.
The razor edge sharp and strong tips are also great for clipping notches in thick seams – something smaller scissors struggle to do. This makes them great for cutting everything from cotton to denim and leather.
Note: I linked to Amazon so you can easily find them and read the reviews, but they don’t always have the best price. You probably want to do a google search also.
2. Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors – for when you need a small pair
When I first started sewing I didn’t understand the value of having a smaller pair of scissors handy. I thought that a big pair could do everything, so why buy more? Well, I guess I was partly right, but with experience I learned that small scissors can make precise cuts easily, and accurately trim small pieces of fabric – such as for appliqué or small shapes cut with a template. They usually have very ergonomic, soft grip handles, so if your hands tire easily or have arthritis, or just want to avoid hand fatigue, don’t torture yourself – get some high quality small scissors.
For that I recommend any made by Karen Kay Buckley, but I find the 7’’ size to be my favorite. These fabric scissors have handles that are large and comfortable, and they cut so easily and have great precision! I bought these when I had to pick just one pair of scissors to take on a sewing cruise and I was so happy to have them. As a bonus, these scissors are serrated, which is hard to see unless you look really close, but the serrated edges prevent fabrics from slipping.
3. Thread snips – all day long!
Here’s another sewing tool that took me way too long to discover. I must be a penny pincher! But this pair of Tula Pink thread snips that came as a bonus with my Tula Pink Bernina 770QE quickly became my favorite item in my sewing room. If you haven’t tried thread snips, you don’t know how much you need them ALL DAY LONG and for every project from quilting to embroidery. They cut fraying threads so nice and close without hurting my projects, and I never realized how wonderful it is to save all the energy that scissors require. As a bonus, the titanium coating of the scissors not only makes them tougher and makes them rust resistant, but gives them their beautiful color patterns.
I was constantly moving these around my sewing room until I bought more so I could have thread snips next to every sewing machine. I bought Havel brand thread snips to save a few bucks and they are a bit smaller and almost as amazing as my Tula Pink rainbow snips.
Okay, so once you are set with large shears, small easy to handle (and hopefully serrated) scissors, and some thread snips, you just might want to treat yourself more! Here are other scissors that I love:
4. Spring loaded scissors for rag quilts
Rag quilts are so cuddly and fun to make (here’s my Ultimate Guide to Making Rag Quilts), but cutting all the snips in the seams can make your hands tired really fast. I ran out and bought a pair of Fiskars spring loaded heavy duty scissors before my first rag quilt was finished and I probably never would have finished that quilt without them! As a bonus, I’m still using that same pair many rag quilts later. The stainless steel blades are also a nice touch on these scissors, as I never have to worry about them corroding.
5. Kai 8’’ Pinking Shears
Pinking shears are for more than just decorative cutting! I use them for trimming seams that I don’t want to fray (when I’m too busy or lazy to finish the seam with my serger). And when you need to cut lots of notches in a curved seam to help it turn nicely, there’s nothing easier than grabbing some pinking shears and cutting them all in one swipe. The 8-inches of blade also allows me to make larger cuts, saving on time.
Kai brand scissors are great overall (I first discovered them at Quilt Market years ago), but I especially like their pinking shears. The handle is smooth and give a comfortable grip even when cutting through multiple layers.
6. Double Curved Machine Embroidery Scissors
If you do machine embroidery you absolutely must try these scissors. The purpose of the bent handles is to help you reach down into the hoop. You’ll be able to trim applique pieces and other fabrics in the hoop neatly and close to the stitching. Plus trimming jump threads is easier with the bent handles too.
I have purchased three different brands of 6’’ double curved machine embroidery scissors and my favorite are the Ginghers. They are the sharpest and easiest to cut with.
7. Pretty Vintage Embroidery Scissors
Last of all, I love having pretty little scissors that I can take with me for hand sewing in different places. They don’t cost very much and since they are so small I have never had trouble taking them in places where my bags were searched (such as the hospital or on an airplane – but you’ll want to double check before you go). When people notice that I’m working on a hand sewing project they always notice my scissors too! The scissors above were a gift (aren’t I lucky?) but I’ve seen so many similar ones on Amazon.
Those were all my favorite scissors… what are yours? Have I missed some that you can’t sew without? Let us know in the comments.
If you love your scissors like I do, you might even sew them a patchwork case like this.
P.S Once you have the best sewing scissors, make your self the best cutting table too!
You might also like my recommendations for Sewing Machines you can buy on Amazon.
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂