Monday, 8 September 2008

The Crafters' Way 64 - Scissors

I write a weekly Craft Column for a local paper. I share it here with bloggers or you can view online at


Scissors are such a handy tool around the house that we often take them for granted. We can find them in just about every room; kitchen scissors, nail scissors and even garden shears. I’m going to concentrate on the craft variety. We tend to use the term ‘scissors’ and ‘shears’ to describe the same implement. As a rule of thumb ‘scissors’ have blades less than 15cm with the handle holes the same size; ‘shears’ have blades longer than 15cm and one handle for the thumb and another for the fingers. For the sake of clarity I’m going to use the term ‘scissors’ for both.

Scissors cut. That’s what they do, but sharpness is not the only factor that assists this. Alignment of the blades is also important. When held up to the light a sliver of light should be visible between the blades. If your scissors have ever chewed up the fabric then your blades are probably out of alignment. Using your scissors for task other than their intended will also cause problems. Scissors for fabric should never be used on paper; embroidery scissors should not be used to cut fabric. Some people prefer to tie different coloured ribbons to identify different purposes. I prefer threats of physical violence if anyone touches my scissors (just kidding).

Micro-serrated Scissors: I have 2 pairs of these. The bottom blade has a tiny serration to hold fabric and prevent slipping. They cut knits and slippery fabrics well. Care needs to be taken if they ever need sharpening. Only the top blade can be sharpened. Take them to a reputable blade sharpener.

Pinking Shears: When I was little girl I coveted pinking shears. There was something special about them, probably because we were not allowed to touch Mum’s. Pinking shears can be used to prevent woven fabrics from unraveling or reducing the bulk in seams. Crafters often use them for a decorative edge.

Buttonhole Scissors: These are not as familiar however they are handy to have. They have an adjustable screw that allows you to determine the size of the cut buttonhole. They help to prevent cutting through the stitching.

Take care of your scissors, which means using them for their intended purpose and they will last you many years.

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