Are Sewing Scissors the Same as Fabric Scissors?

Sewing and fabric scissors are essential tools for anyone who loves to sew or work with fabrics. They both serve the purpose of cutting fabric, but are sewing scissors and fabric scissors the same?

In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between sewing scissors and fabric scissors, their specific uses, and how to choose the right one for your sewing projects.

When it comes to sewing and working with fabrics, having the right tools is crucial. Scissors play a significant role in the sewing process, allowing you to cut fabrics with precision and accuracy. Sewing scissors and fabric scissors are terms often used interchangeably, but there are certain distinctions between the two.

What are Sewing Scissors?

Sewing scissors are specialized cutting tools used in various sewing projects. These scissors are designed to cut through multiple layers of fabric, making them suitable for tasks such as cutting patterns, trimming seams, and fabric preparation. Sewing scissors usually have longer blades compared to regular household scissors, which enables them to cut through fabric effortlessly.

Types of Sewing Scissors

  1. Dressmaker’s Shears: These are the most common type of sewing scissors used for cutting fabric. They have long blades and sharp tips, allowing for precise and smooth cutting.
  2. Pinking Shears: Pinking shears have zigzag blades that create a decorative edge while preventing fabric fraying. They are commonly used for finishing seams and edges.
  3. Embroidery Scissors: Embroidery scissors have small, sharp blades that are ideal for intricate cutting tasks in embroidery projects. They often have a fine tip for precise trimming.
  4. Thread Snips: Thread snips are small, handheld scissors designed for cutting threads and removing loose threads. They are convenient for quick and precise snipping.

What are Fabric Scissors?

Fabric scissors, also known as tailor’s shears, are another type of cutting tool used in sewing. They are designed specifically for cutting fabric and are similar to sewing scissors in many ways. The term “fabric scissors” is often used interchangeably with “sewing scissors,” as they serve the same purpose.

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Types of Fabric Scissors

  1. Tailor’s Shears: Tailor’s shears are professional-grade scissors used by tailors and dressmakers. They have long blades and comfortable handles for cutting fabric smoothly and accurately.
  2. Bent-Handled Shears: Bent-handled shears have angled handles that allow for a natural and comfortable cutting position. They are suitable for people with wrist or hand issues.
  3. Rotary Cutters: Rotary cutters are handy tools that feature a circular blade for effortless fabric cutting. They are particularly useful for cutting straight lines and curves.
  4. Electric Fabric Scissors: Electric fabric scissors are powered scissors that make cutting fabric effortless. They are perfect for individuals with limited hand strength or those working on large projects.

Similarities between Sewing Scissors and Fabric Scissors

Sewing scissors and fabric scissors share several similarities due to their overlapping functions and characteristics:

  1. Cutting Capabilities: Both sewing scissors and fabric scissors are designed for cutting fabric, threads, and other sewing materials.
  2. Sharp Blades: They both feature sharp blades that enable clean and precise cuts.
  3. Comfortable Handles: Both types of scissors prioritize ergonomics, providing comfortable handles for reduced hand fatigue during prolonged cutting sessions.
  4. Durability: Sewing scissors and fabric scissors are typically made of high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting durability with proper care.

Differences between Sewing Scissors and Fabric Scissors

Although sewing scissors and fabric scissors share similarities, they also have notable differences:

  1. Design: Sewing scissors encompass a broader category of cutting tools, including dressmaker’s shears, embroidery scissors, and pinking shears, while fabric scissors specifically refer to fabric shears and rotary cutters.
  2. Blade Length: Sewing scissors, such as dressmaker’s shears and embroidery scissors, have specific blade lengths suitable for different cutting tasks. Fabric shears and rotary cutters also come in various blade lengths, catering to different cutting needs.
  3. Special Features: Pinking shears and rotary cutters have unique features that make them distinct. Pinking shears create a zigzag pattern on fabric edges, reducing fraying, while rotary cutters provide efficient cutting for multiple layers of fabric.
  4. Intended Use: Sewing scissors, being a broader category, encompass tools for a wide range of sewing tasks, including garment construction, embroidery, and more. Fabric scissors, on the other hand, are specifically designed for cutting fabric.
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Choosing the Right Scissors for Your Sewing Projects

Selecting the appropriate scissors for your sewing projects is crucial for achieving clean and precise cuts. Consider the following factors when choosing between sewing scissors and fabric scissors:

  1. Project Type: Identify the specific sewing tasks you frequently engage in. If you primarily work on garment construction, dressmaker’s shears may be a suitable choice. For embroidery or detailed cutting, embroidery scissors might be more suitable. Fabric shears or rotary cutters are ideal for general fabric cutting.
  2. Comfort and Ergonomics: Ensure the scissors you choose feel comfortable in your hand. Look for handles with ergonomic designs and consider the weight of the scissors, as heavier tools may cause hand fatigue over time.
  3. Blade Length: Different cutting tasks require varying blade lengths. Choose a blade length that matches the scale of your projects. Longer blades offer better leverage for straight cuts, while shorter blades are advantageous for intricate or curved cuts.
  4. Special Features: If you frequently work with fabrics prone to fraying, pinking shears can be a valuable addition to your toolkit. If you handle multiple layers of fabric or engage in quilting projects, rotary cutters may provide enhanced efficiency.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Sewing and Fabric Scissors

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your sewing and fabric scissors, it’s essential to practice proper care and maintenance:

  1. Cleanliness: Regularly remove lint, dust, and stray threads from the blades and handles of your scissors. Use a soft cloth or a brush to wipe away debris after each use.
  2. Storage: Store your scissors in a protective case or sheath to prevent damage to the blades. Avoid tossing them into a drawer where they can come into contact with other objects.
  3. Avoid Non-Fabric Materials: Restrict the use of your sewing scissors or fabric scissors strictly to fabric and sewing-related materials. Cutting paper, plastic, or other non-fabric materials can dull the blades.
  4. Sharpening: When the blades start to feel dull or snag on fabric, it’s time to sharpen them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sharpening or seek professional sharpening services.
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In conclusion, sewing scissors and fabric scissors are similar in their primary function of cutting fabric, but they differ in design, features, and intended use. Sewing scissors encompass various types, including dressmaker’s shears, embroidery scissors, and pinking shears, while fabric scissors specifically refer to fabric shears and rotary cutters.

Choosing the right scissors for your sewing projects depends on the specific tasks you undertake and your personal preferences. Proper care and maintenance are crucial for prolonging the lifespan and maintaining the performance of your scissors. By understanding the distinctions between sewing scissors and fabric scissors, you can make informed decisions and elevate your sewing experience.


Are sewing scissors and fabric scissors the same thing?

No, while they are related, sewing scissors is a broader term that includes various types of scissors used in sewing, whereas fabric scissors specifically refer to scissors designed for cutting fabric.

Can I use regular scissors for cutting fabric?

Regular scissors may not provide the clean and precise cuts required for fabric. It is recommended to use scissors specifically designed for cutting fabric to achieve professional results.

What type of scissors is best for cutting delicate fabrics?

For delicate fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, it is best to use sharp and fine-tipped scissors like embroidery scissors.

Can I use fabric scissors for other crafts and materials?

It is generally not advisable to use fabric scissors for cutting materials other than fabric. Using them on other materials can dull the blades and affect their performance on fabric.

How often should I sharpen my sewing or fabric scissors?

The frequency of sharpening depends on usage. As a general guideline, consider sharpening your scissors every six to twelve months or when you notice a decrease in their cutting efficiency.

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