Scissors for Sewing - Which one to buy and Why | A Vision to Remember All Things Handmade Blog: Scissors for Sewing - Which one to buy and Why

Scissors for Sewing - Which one to buy and Why

After sewing for 14 years, I have learned a few things about my likes and dislikes when sewing. 

Scissors is one of those things that I know right off, when I grab a pair, if they are going to complete me. 

This isn't a romance novel.
But, just like picking a spouse to love forever...A pair of scissors can make or break a project. welp, this analogy is going a little far, but you get the picture...
So here are a few things I have learned along the way about scissors for sewing. Especially when it pertains to rag quilting.  
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Choosing the Right Scissors

Rag quilting requires a lot of scissors work, especially if you are making any project larger than a small pillow or bag. Even with the right scissors and a small project, your hand will become tired from the repetitive snipping of the exposed seams. With the wrong scissors, snipping can be very difficult. To choose which scissors to purchase or to see if you have the right scissors in your stash, look for scissors with these features:

                    A short blade. This is a must. You can try to cut the quilt with your regular sewing scissors, but you will not be able to cut all the layers at once and you will have more holes in your quilt from cutting the seams.

Shorter blades also provide a more accurate cut each time you snip and are more powerful and strong because of the shortness of the blades. If you do accidentally snip through the seam as you are clipping, it isn’t hard to fix, but who wants to resew what they have already sewn once?

                    Spring-loaded open. Another must-have, the spring will open the scissors for you after you have closed them, which will reduce your hand fatigue. 

                A serrated blade. A serrated blade grips the fabric as it cuts through the layers and will greatly reduce the chance of the scissors slipping and accidentally cutting through a seam.

                    The right fit for your hand. The scissors should be comfortable in your hand. Just like every product on the market, rag quilting snips come in all shapes and sizes. Some have the standard holes for your fingers to grasp as you snip, some are straight handles, others are padded, and some are made for tabletop snipping. Some scissors handles are longer than others, and some are more compact.

If possible, try a couple in your hand to see how they feel.


My Favorite Scissors for Rag Quilting 

These 3 scissors are from different price points with different strengths and weakness. I hope my experience with each type will help you choose which pair of scissors is right for you.


Your hands may become sore and fatigued, especially when clipping a large project. But you can do it! If you are going to make one rag quilt in your entire life, don’t spend extra money on expensive rag-quilt scissors. But buying a $10–$15 pair of scissors will be worth it.


Olfa Stainless Steel Serrated Edge 5'' Scissors 

They work great because they have short and strong blades, which easily cut all the way to the tip of the scissors. I really liked them when I was making a quilt just every once in a while. When I started to sell the quilts and had a lot of clipping to do, I realized that the handles gave me blisters and dents in my fingers because they are not padded. They also are not spring loaded, so my hand was getting tired easily and quickly.


These scissors were about $13. My husband still prefers these scissors over any others that we have tried (and yes, he helps me clip a lot of quilts).

These scissors are very strong and compact.


Fiskars Softouch Craft Snips 

These snips are spring loaded, so that your hand does not get as fatigued. Another nice feature is the large finger loop so the scissors do not slide through your hand as you go along snipping.


These snips are amazing for projects with really thick layers (like denim and Minky), or many layers of fabric. They are very strong and precise because of the short length of the blades. My biggest complaint is that they are pretty long from the point to the end of the handles. When I clip with these, I need to hold the project further away from my body than is comfortable for a long period of time. These run about $20 but can be found at Joann’s and other fabric stores as well as online.





Heritage Cutlery 6 1/2'' Spring Loaded Rag Quilting Snips  My absolute favorite scissors are the 6 1/2'' snips from Heritage Cutlery. They are spring loaded and have short serrated blades and padded straight handles. These are the most expensive of the scissors, but are well worth the investment.


These babies will cut through 7–8 layers of fabric at a time. They never cause hand fatigue. I am in love with them. They work like a charm. The only thing that I don’t like about them (isn’t there always something) is that there is no finger loop, so my hand slides up and down the handle as I am cutting. It does not hinder my cutting, but it is annoying to readjust my hand every few minutes. These babies will run between $30-$40 and are easily found online




Great Scissors, But Not For Rag Quilting

You may be wondering, do I really need to buy some more scissors? Instead of spending another $10–$30 on scissors, you could buy a lot of fabric! You may think that you have a pair of scissors in your stash that will work great, but maybe not. Here are a few scissors that I use all the time, but not for rag quilting, and why.



Gingher 8'' Knife-Edge Dressmaker’s Shears  These are my go-to dressmaking scissors. I use them daily. They are amazing, but they don’t work for rag quilting. The blades are too long. They may be really sharp and strong, but the length of the blades causes them to separate as you try to cut through several layers of fabric. They also will not grip the fabric because they have a smooth edge, not serrated. They are not spring-loaded and the handles are not padded. Your hand will hurt after trying to snip even just a few inches. They are awesome scissors, just not awesome for rag quilting.

Kai 8" Dressmakers

These are my new favorite. They definitely trump Gingher scissors. They have a smoother cut but still have the awesomeness of the Ginghers. Both are amazing scissors. 



Olfa 5'' Precision Smooth-Edge Scissors These scissors, often called thread snips, are small and comfortable in my hand, but the blades are too long, and not big and strong like a rag quilting snip. These scissors are my go-to scissors to keep at my sewing machine to clip threads, but they just aren’t strong enough to go through very many layers of fabric.



Fiskars Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snips

These scissors almost have it all, but the blades are not as strong as I would like them to be for projects with lots of layers, or heavier fabrics, or even for clipping a large project. They are ok, but for the same amount of money you can purchase a pair of scissors better suited for rag quilting. Remember, having the proper tools for the project will make rag quilting a pleasure, instead of a pain. 


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