There are so many types of scissors out there for quilters! So which ones do we actually need?
That really depends on a few different things, like preference and skill level, and if you look in any quilters toolbox of sewing tools, they probably have a variety of scissors that are used for different purposes.
Investing in good-quality scissors is important and it’s something that you won’t regret if you love quilting.
To help you narrow down which ones you should have in your collection, these are some of the best sewing scissors for quilters we think you’ll like.
Are you left-handed like me?
If so I have put a link in where I can for left-handed scissor options and there is also a specific lefty section at the bottom of the post. All other links can be assumed to be right-handed scissors or ones that work for both.
Table of Contents
What type of Scissors do you need?
To my mind, there are a few categories of high-quality scissors that most quilters will need.
- Full-size fabric shears for cutting large pieces of fabric
- Pinking Shears for cutting thicker fabric or fabric that is liable to fray (also for finishing)
- Embroidery Scissors or Applique Scissors (smaller, lighter and better for use in small areas)
- Thread snips
- Specialty Scissors for specific sewing projects – for example, rag quilting
Below you will find a list of the best scissors under all these categories. You don’t need them all!
We know not to use paper scissors for fabric and vice versa (because cutting paper dulls sewing scissors!). In the same vein, even the best fabric scissors have different specialty jobs, so you probably need more than one pair but don’t overdo it!
If you have too many scissors you will just get confused and clutter up your space so it’s best to pick a selection of 4-5 different kinds of scissors that work well for you.
Keep in mind that a good pair of scissors needs to:
- Fit the size of your hand
- Have a comfortable handle
- Provide a smooth cut with minimal effort
- Ideally, be lightweight – although perceptions of this will vary!
- Be high quality so they last a long time before you need to replace them or sharpen them
- Be the right tool for the job – most high quality scissors are designed for a specific use.
Kai Dressmaking Shears
The Kai dressmaking shears will provide you with long-lasting sharpness and have become a top favorite for many quilters – despite the dressmaking name.
One reason for that is that they can cut through multiple layers of fabric without any fabric slippage.
Dressmaker shears or sewing shears are just a way of saying ‘fabric cutting scissors’ and so they are equally useful for quilters for tasks like cutting lengths of fabric off of a fabric bolt or cutting out awkward shapes using sewing templates.
Premium Tailor Scissors
Good heavy-duty multi-purpose scissors like these ones from Scissor Tailed can be great for cutting fabric.
The rust-resistant blades are ultra-sharp and the length of the blade allows you to easily cut multiple layers of fabric and even handle leather. These are billed as industrial-strength scissors!
The manufacturer claims they are pain-free to use as well due to the rubberized grips.
Singer ProSeries Bent Scissors
The bent handle on these Singer Proseries scissors will help the fabric stay flat as you cut along the patterns or lines.
They also have a nice grip on the handles to help keep them comfortable – good to keep in mind if you have arthritic hands.
RazorEdge Fabric Shears
Ideal for providing clean cuts through thinner fabrics, these RazerEdge shears are made with stainless steel blades giving you heavy-duty shears that you can use for quilting – just be careful of the blade sharpness!
Titanium Coating Fabric Scissors
These titanium-coated scissors give precise cuts and they are pretty too!
Fiskars Titanium Easy Action Scissors
These scissors are lightweight and designed for people with arthritis to easily cut fabric.
Because of this, they have a comfortable grip and an ergonomic design.
You can use these popular pinking shears to give you that zigzag shape of your fabric edges which you get from the serrated blade.
The serrated edges help reduce the chances of fraying and can be good for finishing raw edges on small projects made with your quilting scraps like coasters and kid’s toys.
Left-Handed Pinking Shears
These pinking shears are cheap but they work – these are the ones I own and I am left-handed.
I often use pinking shears when I am cutting up old jeans for upcycling and denim quilts.
Embroidery Scissors & Applique Scissors
Prym Embroidery Scissors
I own these little embroidery ‘snips’ as I call them myself and love them.
No point using a big heavy pair of scissors and getting hand fatigue just to cut threads in between chain-pieced quilt blocks! We should be using different sizes of scissors for different tasks.
I always have these ones right beside my sewing machine.
I use them to cut threads, for trimming seams, and sometimes even as a bit of a stiletto to push a wayward seam in the right direction under my presser foot!
The thumb holes are the same size so they work just as well for left-handed users.
Karen Kay Buckley 4-Inch Perfect Scissors
These are small scissors with sharp blades, great for cutting the small details, curves, or points, these Karen Kay Buckley scissors have become popular with quilters.
Collage quilters recommend them a lot! I used them for my first-ever collage quilting project.
While they’re too small to cut multiple layers, they will work for thin layers and threads.
These work fine for both left & right-handed quilters and have comfortable soft-grip handles.
Gingher Knife Applique Scissors
Made with a paddle so that you can keep one edge of the fabric away from the blade, these Gingher knife scissors are perfect for applique.
The handles aren’t bulky which gives you a good view of the material or fabric you are cutting, and they have a chrome over nickel finish for durability.
Handi Stitch Duckbill Applique Scissors
These specialty applique scissors are handy for trimming raw edges on applique without risking cutting into the fabric beneath. Great if you like the simplicity of raw edge applique but you want to tidy the edges up a bit at the end.
They are also used to cut one side of a seam and not the other.
Thread snips in general have a shorter blade with sharp points. The point of them is to get into small spaces to trim threads and make small cuts.
These small trimming scissors are great for snipping off those loose-end threads and will give you a clean cut.
They’re also great for those who enjoy hand quilting or when you are using a sewing machine that doesn’t include an automatic thread cutter.
Although I often use the embroidery scissors above for the same purpose I always have 2 or 3 of these snips in different places around the sewing room and these are the sort of scissors I would take with me to a quilt class or a sit-and-sew afternoon.
Clover Quick Thread Cutter
I don’t yet have one of these handy cutters for separating chain piecing but it’s on the wish list!
Scissors for Rag Quilting
Heritage Rag Quilting Snips
If you enjoy making rag quilts, you are going to want to invest in these Heritage quilting snips.
They are spring-loaded, which makes it easy to quickly cut along the seams, and your fingers will be comfortable while cutting and snipping because of their ergonomic handles.
Fiskars Rag Quilt Snips
These Fiskars snips are made with stainless steel blades and are perfect for tabletop cutting on a flat surface.
Their unique shape helps keep the fabric flat and are strong enough to cut through thick fabrics like denim as well as multiple pieces of fabric at a time.
Left-Handed Scissors for Quilters
- Kai Dressmaking Shears – Left-Handed Version
- Tula Pink Left Hand Shears 8 inch
- Left-Handed Pinking Shears
- Left-Handed Duckbill Applique Scissors
- Most of the other Embroidery Scissors & Trimming Snips above will work for lefties too!
Arguably a good pair of sewing scissors is among the most important tools in a quilters sewing kit so it makes sense to take some time to pick the right ones for you.
As quilters we always think we need ‘all the things’ but of course, you really only need a few really good high-quality pairs of scissors usually – the key is to pick which ones are the best scissors for you.
So how many pairs of sewing scissors do you own?
- Be sure to use the right scissors for each job. For example, if you are just wanting to trim loose threads off your quilt if you use large fabric shears instead of snips you risk cutting a hole in your quilt!
- Make sure you always use sharp scissors. Dull scissors will result in frayed or jagged edges. Check in your local area for a scissor sharpening service or you can try a product like this one.
- Always iron fabric before cutting to ensure the most precise cuts (do I always do this? No. Is it best practice? Yes of course! You do you!)
- NEVER cut paper with your fabric scissors! Tell the rest of your family too…it’s a surefire way to dull your lovely fabric scissors before their time.
Duckbill scissors allow you to cut one side of a seam and not the other. They are also perfect for trimming the edge of an applique without cutting the base fabric
Yes. Both can be used to easily trim a seam allowance.
The easiest way to cut precise squares for quilting is to use a rotary blade and a cutting guide. For some shapes I also use my accuquilt cutter.
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