Tips for Using Sewing Scissors and Snips

scissors-new

When I first started sewing, I bought an inexpensive, colorful set that had three pairs of plastic-handled scissors in different sizes and a bonus pair of thread snips. I hated them immediately. They just weren’t very sharp or comfortable and the thread snips just would not cut thread easily.

Then, I started taking sewing classes at a local quilt shop and I lusted after the quality metal dress shears provided in class. It wasn’t long before I broke down and invested in a pair for home; I haven’t regretted it since. That cheap plastic pair became my paper scissors and the smaller sizes are handy for making tiny controlled cuts – so that set wasn’t a total waste of money.

Related Video: Choose the Right Sewing Scissors

Keeping Your Sewing Scissors Like New

You never want to use your good fabric scissors to cut anything other than fabric. Make sure that your entire household knows this rule too (and that they will be paying for sharpening or replacements if they break it!). One nice thing about the quality metal scissors is if they do get misused or just dull from lots of use, they can be sharpened (usually for around ten bucks at your local sewing machine shop or knife shop).

How to Use Scissors Effectively

When cutting, don’t put a death grip on your scissors. This will save your hand some pain. I also find that keeping my pointer finger out and loose instead of in one of the handles helps reduce hand fatigue. If you have a hard time cutting a straight line, place the tips of the scissors on the table or cutting mat while you cut. When cutting a long piece, make almost full cuts but stop before the tips come completely together.

Related Video: How to Hold Scissors to Reduce Hand Fatigue

Which Thread Snips to Use

When it comes to thread snips, I prefer the type with spring action that returns them to an open position over a pair of small scissors. If you get the kind that has a thumb hole, here’s an odd but useful tip: Don’t put your thumb in the hole. They work much better if you instead hold them more like a pair of tweezers. Use the thumb hole to hang them somewhere near your machine, or around your neck, so they are always nearby and easy to find.

For more helpful tips on essential sewing tools, check out these articles:

Must-Haves: Measuring Tapes and Rulers
The Ins and Outs of Bias Tape
All About Cutting Mats
Why You Need a Rotary Cutter


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Discussion
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3 Responses to “Tips for Using Sewing Scissors and Snips”
  1. Rachel Visi

    Hi Stacy,

    I read your article about tips for snips and scissors, and I have a helpful point to add. Where you discuss which type of snips to use and describe the pair with the “thumb hole”, in the textile industry these known as “ring-clip scissors”. This is because you place your ring finger (some people choose to use their middle finger instead) in the hole, and use your index finger and thumb to “snip”. The hole can still be used to fashion your snips nearby your machine if you would like. I found another article that has images to better describe what I am trying to explain – http://www.thezenofmaking.com/2015/02/tools-use-thread-snips/

    Happy sewing and blogging! Have a great weekend!
    -Rachel Visi

    Reply
  2. Nina Scrabeck

    Got my first pair of thread snips from a shoe factory..Great for snipping thread and leather(thin). Still have the m.Need a new pair,as they aren’t very sharp anymore.

    ..

    Reply
  3. Sue

    I’m a hairstylist and also sew. If you look at your stylist when getting your next haircut notice that he/she has their ring finger (fourth finger) in the scissors hole. You’ll have more control if you use a scissors this way.
    With the above article, I never put my thumb in the snips hole, just my ring finger.

    Reply