There’s many types of scissors and shears but did you know that they’re made to do different jobs? Obviously my children have no clue of this fact and grab my cloth scissors to cut cardboard with all the time. But knowing what each scissor does can help the scissors keep their sharpness and simply work better for you.
So what are some of the different types of scissors and how can you use them?
1. Dressmaker Shears –
Dressmaker Shears are pretty much what they sound like. These are big scissors with very sharp offset handles. If you look it seems like the handle is almost crooked from the blades. The scissors are formed in that way so that you can easily cut fabric on a table.
Dressmaker shears should really only be used on fabric. If you use them on other materials you will wear them out. However it’s worth it to invest in quality dressmaker shears because most fabric stores offer scissor sharpening. One nice solid pair can last you a very long time with regular sharpening.
2. Pinking Shears –
Chances are that if your grandmother was a sewer than you probably spent a lot of time admiring her pinking shears, waiting to get your hands on them. Better chances are that she didn’t let you touch them.
So what are pinking shears? Pinking shears have a serrated blade that allow you to make a very small zig zag cut in the fabric or paper. Pinking shears are great for decorative cuts in paper crafting or scrapbooking. Most sewers use pinking shears to stop fabric edges from fraying. They are commonly used when cutting out a pattern or hemming.
Just as dressmaking shears, the pinking shears used in sewing should be used for fabric only to retain their sharpness.
3. Standard Scissors
Standard scissors, also known as office scissors, are just as the name implies. They’re your basic scissor. They have a straight blade that matches up with the handles. They’re simply and classic.
They can be used for a lot of different things but once again if you use them for similar materials every time, they will keep their blades sharp and even.
4. Embroidery Scissors –
Embroidery scissors are small and delicate. They might look like something you’ll find in a surgeon’s office but they’re good for making the little snips that embroidery work requires. They have very pointy blades that can get in between threads and pick out the one that you want to cut.
They are ideal for use in hand sewing. A helpful tip is to tie them onto a ribbon and hang them around your neck for easy access when you need them.
5. General Craft Scissors –
I know, these might seem like the standard scissors and technically they are. But these scissors have a different role. These are going to be the cheap scissors found by the checkout at craft stores that you can abuse. Craft scissors are going to be destroyed project by project and that’s ok.
Sometimes I use the tip to open paint cans or use them cut thin jewelry wires with. If that’s not enough you can use them to cut clay or shrinky dinks with. These are the scissors that you really don’t have to worry about. If you use them until they can’t cut straight anymore, put them in the garage for use in cutting open dog food bags or cutting fresh flowers with.
General craft scissors are the ones that you can destroy and not feel ashamed to admit it.
Finally there’s a few other great types of scissors commonly used in crafting and sewing.
1. Snips– snips are scissors with a spring loaded handle. They are great for repetitive cuts such as the edges of tied fleece blankets. They will not make a long cut but they will save your hands for lots of little cuts. Snips are also the best scissors for people with hand problems or arthritis because the spring loaded handle does a lot of the work for you. The Easy Action Snips by Friskars are my favorites.
2. Decorative scissors – These are the scissors that make pinking shears look boring. Now they have scissors that can cut in almost any type of pattern. Do you want a wavy edge or bubble edge on your scrapbook paper? You need decorative scissors. These are usually plastic with a small metal blade edge and come in sets such as this decorative scissor set by EK Tools.
Is it a crime to use the wrong pair of scissors for a project? No not at all. But many times using the correct style of scissor will make your project easier and more efficient. Cutting up several yards of burlap would take hours with embroidery scissors and large dressmaker shears would be hard to maneuver for a delicate cut.
Most importantly, using scissors correctly will help keep them balanced and sharp. This will make projects a thousand times easier when you’re not spending time trying to just get a simple cut from dull scissors!
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