The 3 Best Scissors for Fabric You Need To Have

Which are the best scissors for fabric and sewing? We share our 3 personal favorite sewing scissors that any quilter or sewist needs to have!

If you’re in the process of buying new sewing or quilting supplies, a pair of good-quality sewing scissors is definitely something to put on the list. 

If you had a sewist in your life growing up, I’m sure you were well aware of the status fabric scissors have. We guard them with our lives!

And it’s no wonder. A good pair of sewing shears can make the sewing process so much more enjoyable. So I always recommend getting the best scissors for fabric you can afford.

In this overview, we’re sharing some of the best scissors for fabric and sewing you can get. We’ll show you 3 of our personal favorites and a range of amazing sewing scissors to complete your sewing kit.

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The 3 Best Scissors for Fabric (Personal Favorites)

I’ll start with the three best scissors for fabric and sewing that we think are absolutely essential in any sewing room. These are the scissors that we own and use, so we can 100% recommend them!

Fiskars dressmaking scissors
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Fiskars 9’’ Dressmaking Scissors

When you think of fabric scissors, some form of long dressmaking scissors is probably what comes to mind. And it’s a great place to start. A pair of good-quality dressmaking scissors is a must-have in any sewing room.

We use these Fiskars 9’’ dressmaking scissors all the time in our studio. They feel very well made and cut through fabric like it was butter. 

I’ve had this pair for probably almost 10 years now and they cut just as well as they used to when I first got them. I really like the long blades – those extra inches add up when you’ve got long cuts to make. I also like how they fit in my hand, they have a nice weight and don’t feel too heavy (or too light).

I think you can’t really go wrong with Fiskars shears. Although if I were buying a new pair today, I’d probably look for one with a softer grip.

Kai fabric scissors

Kai 6.50’’ Scissors

I love these shorter Kai N5165 fabric scissors to use for cutting small pieces of fabric and all those other smaller cutting tasks. Like cutting away dog ears on HSTs, adjusting the length of binding, etc.

My favorite part about these is the soft handle, which just feels nice in your hand. The blades on these are super sharp and they are just a joy to use!

Small embroidery scissors

Small Embroidery Scissors

The last pair of scissors you need in your craft room are small embroidery scissors. We have these elegant gold-plated stork scissors, that don’t just cut well but also look very pretty. (Which also makes them a great gift idea for a quilter!).

What we like is how close you can get to the fabric with these without damaging the fabric. Their blades are slightly curved so you can get really close to the base of the thread and cut with precision.

They also come in handy for cutting loose threads etc. We keep them near the sewing table at all times!

Other Fabric Scissors You’ll Want In Your Sewing Room

If you’re just buying your first pair (or a few pairs) of scissors, start with the best scissors for fabric that I listed above. The three different sizes should cover all of your basic cutting needs.

However, as you make more and more quilts, you might find there are some things you can’t do (or at least not as easily) with these pairs. Lucky for you, there are specialty scissors you can get for pretty much any quilting and sewing need.

Pinking Shears

Pinking shears are basically shears that have a saw-toothed blade. They make a zigzag pattern as you cut. You can get pinking shears that make different patterns (like scalloped, for example), but zigzag is your classic.

Zig zag shears are used for finishing the edges of cloth (whether it’s a garment or anything else you’re sewing). You see, if the edges of the cloth are left unfinished (which means you just cut a piece of fabric and do nothing to its edge), it will eventually start to fray. Fraying is when threads of the cloth start to fall out.

Pinking shears are basically used to minimize the damage. The zigzag edge does not prevent the cloth from fraying, but it does shorten the length of the frayed thread, so it frays more slowly.

Honestly, ever since I have a serger, I don’t use pinking shears at all. But they are great if you don’t have a serger or are just learning how to sew. Plus, I think edges finished with pinking shears give a great retro vibe to your projects (or is that just me?).

We like these Softgrip Pinking shears by Fiskar and it seems that tens of thousands users on Amazon agree, as they have an excellent rating!

best scissors for fabric

Left Handed Sewing Scissors

The name of these pretty much tells you everything there is to know. These are scissors that are specially designed to be held in your left hand. So if you’re a lefty and don’t feel comfortable cutting with your right hand you might want to take a look into these.

All the major brands offer sewing shears for lefties, here are some of our favorites:

Thread Snips

Thread snips are another great option for snipping stitches and thread tails. There are different designs out there. The more classic ones are 

If you’re worried about poking holes in your fabric, then consider these Tula Pink Stitch Snips. They have a blunt tup and a hooked blade which are perfect for snipping without damaging your fabric.

Scissors with Serrated Blades

These scissors have serrated blades that hold onto your fabric when you cut through it. They’re handy when you’re cutting through slippery delicate fabric like silk for example. But they are also really useful for cutting out small applique pieces.

The serrated blades really make a difference when you cut! A great pair are these Kai 8’’ Serrated Blade Patchwork Scissors.

Quilt Batting Scissors

You can probably guess what these scissors are designed for. If you’re a quilter you know we cut through batting all the time, so having a pair for that specifically is great. Although their shape might seem a bit odd at first, it’s actually really easy to cut through batting with them. 

What’s great about these Handi Quilter Batting Scissors specifically is they have a blunt tip, which means you can be confident you’re only cutting the batting itself (and not snagging any other material below). They are large, which means you’ll have your batting cut to size fast and with precision.

What are the Best Sewing Scissors Brands?

If you’ve ever been to a craft store, you probably know that the number of scissors and shears you can choose from can be overwhelming.

We’ve put together the guide above to hopefully help you choose the best scissors for fabric for your needs. But we’re not saying all other options are bad.

In fact, there are three sewing scissor brands that will always be a good choice. You might even know which three I’m talking about: Fiskars, Kai, and Gingher.

Fiskars Sewing Scissors

In my house, Fiskars has always been THE scissor brand. We had a pair of their classic orange-handled shears that never went dull (and I think my Mom still has them somewhere). Then, when I moved to my first flat, my Mom got me a pair with a patterned handle from Finland. (And as architects, we’re suckers for anything that comes from Finland). They are my go-to household scissors and I love them.

So you can imagine when – again, my Mom got me my first pair of sewing shears, Fiskars is what I got. I have this pair and they’ve been great to me. I especially love the long blades as it makes the cutting much faster.

If you’re going with Fiskars, keep in mind that they offer a huge range of scissors that include household scissors and even kids’ paper scissors. So make sure you’re looking at the higher-end models for your fabric cutting needs.

Kai Sewing Scissors

Kai is a Japanese sewing scissors brand and if you know anything about Japan, you know that they love their knives. For that reason alone I trust them with the scissors as well.

They offer two ranges of scissors and you can see which range a model is by checking the code imprinted on the blade. If it starts with a 5, you’ve got your high-quality scissors for us mortals. If it starts with a 7, they’re their professional scissors which also come with a higher price tag.

I love the Kai N5165 (described above) and I am definitely going to get other Kais in the future.

Gingher Sewing Scissors

If Fiskars have their orange handles scissors, Gingher’s got the all-metal scissors with a golden blade. If this was a style contest, we know who’d win, right?

Actually, Gingher was acquired by Fiskars, so it’s kind of the same company. But Gingher still offers their classic metal shears for all of us sewing enthusiasts. They don’t have a large selection of models, but with sewing shears, you don’t really need a selection. You just need one good pair. I don’t own a pair (yet – the golden handles are very tempting), but from what I read they’re high-quality scissors that will meet all your needs.

Best Scissors for Fabric – Frequently Asked Questions

Does Cutting Paper Dull Fabric Scissors?

Yes, it does! It’s not a myth. It’s not something your Mom made up to keep you out of her sewing kit. It’s true. 

Well, the complete truth is that all materials will dull scissors, including fabric. That’s just what happens when the blades slide through a layer of material – they lose a tiny bit of the sharpness every time. 

But paper is composed of many different materials, including minerals that are very abrasive and dull the scissors much faster than fabric.

So if you want to keep your fabric scissors sharp for longer, do yourself a favor, and only use them for fabric.

What’s the Difference Between Shears And Scissors?

“Shears” and “scissors” are terms often used interchangeably, though they have some distinctions. Shears are generally larger, featuring longer blades and handles. In contrast, scissors are smaller with shorter blades, designed for more precise cutting.

Shears typically have straight blades with one beveled edge and one flat edge, sometimes with a serrated edge. They also have larger, ergonomic handles. On the other hand, scissors can have straight or slightly curved blades with beveled edges on both sides and usually have smaller, symmetrical handles.

How to Keep Scissors for Fabric Sharp?

I will always – and I mean always – recommend getting your scissors sharpened professionally if that’s an option.

There are however, different ways to sharpen sewing scissors, techniques you can do with household materials, and also special tools you can buy.

I’ll be completely honest with you. I’ve never ever sharpened my scissors myself. My father-in-law is the expert on this in the family, so I let him do his magic.

However, if you’d like to have a go at it, here are a few things you can try.

Sharpen Scissors with Sandpaper or Aluminum Foil

This is probably the easiest way to do it. All you need is a piece of sandpaper (the grit number should be around 150). Take your scissors and cut through the sandpaper. Depending on how sharp you’re trying to make them, make as many cuts as needed. You’ll want to make several narrow strips to make them sharp.

You can do this with aluminum foil, as well. Take a large sheet and fold it multiple times, so you get at least 8 layers of foil stacked together. Cut as many strips as needed to make your shears sharp.

Sharpen Scissors with a Sharpening Tool

There are many tools made for sharpening scissors specifically that you can buy, like this one. From what I’ve read you should be careful about which brand you get – generally speaking, getting the same brand as your scissors might be the best way to go.

These are fairly easy to use, so they’re a great option for a hobby sewer. 

Sharpen Scissors with a Sharpening Stone

You can buy a sharpening stone in any hardware store (or Amazon). They are used for sharpening all kinds of blades, not just scissors, but the technique is somewhat complicated if you want to get it right. 

If you decide to try this, I urge you to go through a few tutorials first just to make sure you get it right. You don’t want to ruin your precious scissors. 

How to clean sewing scissors?

What? You need to clean sewing scissors? Well, I’m not saying you have to, but it might be a good idea.

I’m sure you’ve noticed sometimes small threads are left behind on your scissors after cutting fabric. This is especially true when you cut things like fur or some acrylic materials. Also, your scissors are in your hands a lot, so the handles will get dirty over time.

Don’t worry, there’s nothing complicated about cleaning your scissors. The easiest way to do it is to use some sewing machine oil (don’t use any other kind of oil, I beg you!). Spread a thin layer of oil over all the metallic parts of your scissors. You can use a toothbrush to really scrub it into all of the parts. Just make sure you’re careful when you work on the blades, so you don’t hurt yourself. Let that sit for a minute. Then take a microfibre cloth and wipe the oil (along with all that dirty residue) straight off.

If your scissors have plastic handles, you can clean those with a damp microfiber cloth and a little bit of dish soap. Just make sure you don’t get any water or soap on the blades.

I hope this list of the best scissors for fabric and sewing has helped you pick a new pair for your sewing toolkit.

Do you have another favorite that we didn’t include here? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “The 3 Best Scissors for Fabric You Need To Have”

  1. Do you use the aluminum foil/sandpaper method of sharpening on your Kai scissors? I guess I am a bit feint of heart at the idea. For years I was lucky to frequent the shop own and run by an elderly gentleman who professionally specialized in maintaining peoples sewing machines, vaccuum sweepers honing and sharpening knives and scissors and designing and growing Bonsai arrangements. I am totally lost without him. Now living in Sacramento I have given up hope of getting as lucky twice. Just finding a shop that actually knows how to handle Kai scissors would be great! I enjoyed your article, thank you. Oh BTW I think my mother gave me the same style of Fiskars your mom gave youLOL!

    1. Ula | Designed to Quilt

      Haha I love how Bonsai arrangements randomly come into the mix. But I can imagine this gentleman vividly hahah. As I’ve said, I’ve never sharpened my scissors, as I have a very handy father-in-law who is an expert in these things. And honestly, if possible, I would always recommend getting your scissors sharpened professionally. The aluminum foil/sandpaper technique is something I would resort to for an in-between touch-up. I hope you find a shop that can handle sewing scissors properly, as that’s your best bet at keeping them nice and sharp.

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