Good-quality scissors are one of the most important tools for any sewer (sewist) or quilter. When it comes to choosing a good pair of sewing scissors, always pick scissors that are sharp, durable, corrosion resistant, and the right tool 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 will be easier if I use scissors designed for the task at hand. That includes dressmaking, quilting, bag making, hand sewing, and embroidery scissors. And don’t forget to think about comfort. The size of your hand will influence the size of scissors that you can comfortably use and how lightweight or heavy they should be. Of course a lifetime warranty or lifetime guarantee is awesome too when shopping 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 not well made.
What are the best sewing scissors?
Here are my top 10 picks for fabric cutting scissors. There are 3 pairs of scissors that I can’t sew without – and then more that I also recommend if you can afford it. I know that you’ll find a good pair of scissors to meet your needs in the list below. Most of these manufacturers also offer left-handed scissors.
Also don’t miss my 3 Tips for More Accurate Cutting with Scissors and a Rotary Cutter.
1. Guggenhein 9’’ Dressmaker Shears
Every sewist needs to start with a large pair of tailors shears 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. They have longer blades than my other scissors, which makes them perfect dressmaking shears for cutting out large pattern pieces or quilting scissors for cutting yardage and batting. The sharp blades 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 lightweight cotton to thick fabrics like denim and also leather. The large blades also make it easier to cut a straight line. They have metal handles, but are still comfortable to hold, even after lots of use.
They are certainly premium tailor scissors, 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. I bought 2 more pairs of these scissors to send to my sisters who sew. They love the length of the blade and razor edge too.
Note: I linked to Amazon so you can easily find them and read the reviews, but you’ll probably want to do a google search also to find the best price.
2. Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors
When I first started sewing I didn’t understand the value of having a small pair of scissors handy. I thought that big scissors 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 rubber 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 have serrated blades, which is hard to see unless you look really close, but the serrated edges prevent fabrics from slipping.
Karen Kay Buckley scissors come in lots of different sizes, and you may end up getting more than one!
3. Thread snips
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 fabric 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, each for a specific use:
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! The soft plastic handles are easy on your hands, especially when they pop open by themselves after every cut. 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. So if you decide to make a rag quilt, get spring loaded scissors with a comfortable handle first thing instead of waiting.
5. Kai 8’’ Pinking Shears
Pinking shears cut in a zigzag pattern, but they 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 have a pair of Kai dressmaking shears too), but I especially like their pinking shears. The handle is smooth and give a comfortable grip even when cutting through multiple layers or thicker fabric.
I was told at a trade show that Kai offers free scissor sharpening if you pay for postage. Reach out to them through their website for more details.
6. Double Curved Machine Embroidery Scissors
If you do machine embroidery you absolutely must have scissors double curved machine embroidery scissors. The purpose of the bent handle 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 have the sharpest blades and are the 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 small scissors too! The scissors above were a gift but I’ve seen so many similar ones on Amazon.
Keep in mind that pretty scissors like these are best for cutting delicate fabrics and threads. The sharp tips make them great for cutting threads close to the fabric, but using them on heavy materials is not a good idea.
8. Classic Gingher 8” Shears
Before I found my Guggenhein sheers (#1 above), Gingher 8″ dressmaking shears were my favorite scissors. I still have several pairs. They are very sharp, can be sharpened when needed, and they are made to last.
Tip: if you find these scissors become loose, gently tighten the screw that you see in the middle.
9. Kai Pink Handled Scissors
These are also some of my favorite scissors (I know, I own too many). These Kai Pink Handled Scissors are a versatile size with a 6 1/2” blade that’s great for clipping and trimming seam allowances, cutting out small pattern pieces, and cutting applique shapes. The plastic handles are soft and comfortable.
10. Handi Quilter Batting Scissors
If you are a quilter and cut batting often, you will will love using specialty batting scissors. Handi Quilter tools and notions are some of the best that I’ve found for quilters, so these Handi Quilter batting scissors are the brand that I went with. They are lightweight, yet long and sharp. I love the curve in the blade which makes it easy to cut batting on my table, the floor, or right on my longarm frame. If you cut a lot of batting, you will thank me!
As you can see we have so many different types of sewing scissors because there are so many different things to sew and materials to use! Remember to keep your sewing scissors separate from other crafting and paper scissors in order to keep them sharp as long as possible. By investing in high quality scissors, you’ll be able to get them sharpened and keep using your favorite scissors for years to come. \
Those were all my favorite scissors… what are yours? How many pairs of scissors to you have? 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. 🙂