Fabric scissors are scissors with extremely sharp blades made for cutting fabric. Technically, those shorter than six inches (15.24 cm) are called fabric scissors while longer scissors are called fabric shears, but the terms are often used interchangeably. Some types of scissors have specially shaped blades that make them suitable for specialized sewing jobs.
High quality fabric scissors have tempered steel or stainless steel blades that create an even cut along the entire length of the blade, all the way to the tips. In some models, the blades are very slightly beveled to create sharper cutting edges. Some models have micro-serrated blades for the same reason.
The blades are joined with a tiny screw, not a rivet, in good quality fabric scissors. This means that the scissors can be adjusted or repaired if they are damaged. The screw can also be lubricated with sewing machine oil.
Many types of scissors are available to suit the needs and preferences of sewers. Scissors designed for left-handed sewers are very helpful. Scissors with cushioned handles are especially comfortable for sewers with arthritic fingers. Some scissors have the blades set at an angle, so they can remain flat on the cutting surface during use.
Sewers often purchase pinking scissors as well as straight bladed scissors. In fact, the two kinds of scissors are sometimes sold as a set. The blades of pinking scissors are toothed, like saw blades. They work together to cut a zig-zag edge in fabric. Pinking scissors are used to grade seams and to make fray-resistant edges.
Test the store models before purchasing fabric scissors. The shears should feel almost like an extension of the sewer’s hand. Try cutting layers of fabric and fabrics of different weights before making a decision.
Never cut anything but fabric with these scissors. It’s the quickest way to dull the blades and ruin the scissors’ performance. Avoid cutting over the tips of pins.
Fabric scissors should be professionally sharpened occasionally. The frequency depends on how much they’re used and what kinds of fabrics they cut. Synthetic fabrics dull blades more quickly than natural fabrics. Most good fabric stores can recommend a professional to sharpen scissors. Many manufacturers will sharpen scissors for their purchasers, too.
Taking care of fabric scissors is simple. Wipe fabric dust and lint off the blades after they’re used to keep the blades sharp. Protect the points when the scissors are stored. Oil the screw occasionally. Keep the scissors dry. Don’t drop the scissors. With good care, high quality scissors can last a lifetime.