How to Choose the Right Scissors?

Last Updated on January 4, 2023

How to Choose the Right Scissors? It is difficult to find a tool more in demand in the work of a seamstress than scissors. And the most common mistake of novice masters is also associated with them. The fact is that instead of special scissors for sewing and quilting, beginners use clerical ones. 

How to Choose the Right Scissors?

But having picked up special tailor’s scissors, the master will no longer repeat such a mistake. Special steel, coating, sharpening, and shape distinguish tailor’s scissors from ordinary ones and make their use as comfortable as possible when working with fabric.

Sewing scissors are usually divided into three large groups:

  • Cutting scissors, tailors
  • Special scissors
  • Scissors for embroidery, Quilting, appliqués, and other types of needlework.

To further understand each type, let’s look more closely at each.

1. Tailor and Cutting Scissors

It is the most voluminous group of fabric scissors. The handles of such scissors are distinctively shaped, so it’s easy to spot them in a bunch. The size of one ring is significantly greater than the other. The larger ring is comfortable to grab with four fingers at once when working with thick fabrics. Tailor’s scissors are forged steel, making them more massive than office scissors. 

The material is also durable and hard. In addition, a unique coating is often applied to the blades to make them last longer. The ends of the blades of tailors and cutting scissors are sharp or pointed. The blades are sharpened not at a right angle, as is customary for stationery scissors, but at a sharp one. In modern models, laser sharpening is often used. Even the thinnest fabrics, such as chiffon, can be easily cut with these scissors.

In addition to general characteristics, it is also important to note how tailor’s scissors differ from cutting scissors:

  • Scissors designed for cutting must have straight blades, but tailoring scissors can be curved.
  • There are models of cutting scissors for right-handed and left-handed, while tailor’s scissors are universal.
  • Cutting shears’ handles are typically located at a smaller angle to the blades, and the lower blade is thinner. This shape lets you cut the fabric with the least rising from the table’s surface.
  • Cutting shears blades can be up to 40 cm long, while tailor’s scissors blades are rarely longer than 22 cm.

Among tailor’s scissors, there are also scissors with cloves. For cutting through slick, delicate textiles, serrated scissors are necessary. Notches help to secure the fabric and prevent it from slipping around when you cut.

2. Special Scissors

In addition to cutting, the sewing master needs to perform many other scissors with fabrics. Again, some materials are difficult to cut with ordinary cutting scissors. In such cases, various special scissors come to the rescue.

zigzag scissors

One of the most typical representatives of special scissors is zigzag scissors. The zigzag blade is ideal for cutting wool, leather, fleece, and other low-shrink materials. 

In addition to being decorative, the zigzag cut is also functional – there is no need for overlocking the edge. The edge of adhesive fabrics, when processed with such scissors, receives additional reinforcement.

If you often work with leather, you should consider purchasing special scissors. The main difference from ordinary tailor’s scissors is a reinforced mount and special blades. In addition to thick leather, it is convenient to work with other dense materials with such scissors.

It is inconvenient and impractical to use heavy tailor’s scissors for trimming threads, performing delicate trimming, cutting seam allowances, and other minor work. Small and light snippers or clippers come to the rescue in such tasks. 

Short, thin blades will perfectly cope with any threads, and the spring-loaded mechanism will make the task as easy as possible. Remember that you should use something other than scissors to cut fabric. The blades may come apart, and they will lose their cutting properties.

3. Needlework Scissors

Manufacturers produce scissors for quilting, patchwork, appliqués, and other needlework. The size and shape of the entire tool and the shape of the blades are very different from the usual tailor’s tool.

Embroidery blades are typically 3 to 15 cm long, are unusually sharp and thin, and often curved. The shape of the instrument itself may resemble a heron. 

For applications, scissors with a spatula-shaped blade are used. Such a blade will help to cut the fabric without damage and as close to the line as possible.

Patchwork uses scissors specially designed to cut the fabric into multiple layers. 

Tweezer scissors with small cutting blades help work in inaccessible and narrow places. 

Which Scissors to Choose?

The right material is key to sewing scissors’ quality and long service life. The scissors’ performance greatly depends on the metal quality. A loose fastener or a dull blade is easy to bring into shape, but initially, you cannot correct unsuitable material. Therefore, we recommend choosing scissors for sewing among trusted manufacturers: Prym, Aurora, Kai, etc.

The minimum set for beginners should include high-quality tailor’s scissors for cutting and a snipper.

In further work, we advise you to supplement the set with separate scissors for paper patterns. Depending on what materials you work with more often, additional tailor’s scissors will come in handy.

Experienced craftsmen select the tool more carefully. As a rule, the basic set of a professional stays the same for many years. It is only supplemented with new tools for certain tasks. 

For example, cutting thick and heavy fabrics with professional scissors will become more comfortable and faster. The lightweight model is comfortable for long-term use. All-metal handles guarantee reliability.

These scissors are suitable for cutting any fabric. They are a good addition to the collection for both advanced sewer and intermediate sewer.

How Do I Choose Sewing Scissors?

Having a good pair of scissors is essential when it comes to sewing. However, how can you choose the perfect scissors from the wide range of options? To assist you in selecting the best pair of scissors for your sewing needs, here are some pieces of advice.

Think about the type of fabrics you’ll be cutting the most. Smaller scissors will do the trick if you typically work with lighter-weight fabrics. But if you frequently sew with thicker fabrics or multiple layers of fabric at once, you’ll need a larger pair of scissors to handle the extra weight.

Next, think about the length of the blade that you prefer. Some people like shorter blades for more precise cuts, while others find longer blades easier to use. It is a matter of choice; there is no fixed answer.

Finally, take into account the overall size and shape of the scissors. Again, this is solely a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer ergonomic handles, while others find straight handles more comfortable.

How to Care Your Scissors?

Of course, the key to a long tool life is the quality of its performance. However, maintenance during use also affects the life and quality of sewing scissors.

The implementation of simple recommendations will extend the life of your favorite tool:

  • Before and after work, remove the remnants of thread, dust, and lint from the blades.
  • Use tailor’s scissors only for cutting fabric. Leave paper, plastic, cardboard, and other materials to other scissors;
  • Trimming zippers and metallic threads are also better with a separate tool.
  • The same applies to fabrics that are very different in structure: for thin chiffon and thick wool, it is better to have separate scissors.
  • Sharpening must be professional. Only try to sharpen scissors at home if you have a scissors sharpener. Without precise observance of the sharpening angle and pressure on the blade, it is easy to dull the tool completely. Checking the quality of sharpening scissors is quite simple. Take a thin fabric and make cuts in different directions. Scissors should cut equally and evenly along the entire length of the blade. Refrain from jamming the fabric, and complete all sections.
  • Only sometimes, the reason for a poor-quality cut is sharpening problems. You may need to adjust the tightening screw. Do not be discouraged if a rivet is installed instead of a screw. It can also be tightened, though. For this, you will have to contact the master.


Q. Can I take sewing scissors on a plane? 

Yes, you can carry sewing scissors in your carry bag on a plane. But the sewing scissors should be smaller than 4 inches. 

Q. Can you sharpen sewing scissors?

Yes, if you have the necessary tools like a screwdriversandpaper, steel wool soap pads, aluminum foil, or even an old mason jar, you can sharpen sewing scissors easily.

Q. Can you sharpen sewing scissors with a knife sharpener?

Yes, you can sharpen sewing scissors with a knife sharpener. Place the scissors’ inner edge against the knife sharpener and drag it around the surface several times.


A good pair of scissors is an essential tool for every sewer. Sewing involves cutting fabric, which can be tough on regular scissors. It would help if you had a pair of scissors that is sharp and designed for cutting fabric. Regular household scissors are not going to cut it.

While a wide variety of scissors are on the market, not all are designed for cutting fabric. In this article, I have explained which scissors are ideal for sewing and why you can’t do without them.

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