ON MY MIND

BIG GIRL PANTY SCISSORS

December 5, 2013
When my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year I knew exactly what I wanted – a pair of “big girl panty” fabric shears.  I’m not talking about the ones that you pick up in the checkout line of Jo-Anns (which is what I currently use), but a real pair that you never cut paper with, get sharpened regularly, and keep for many many years.

The problem is that the only thing that I know about these kinds of scissors is that they are expensive, so I decided to do a little research and here is what I learned :

– Seamstresses LOVE Ginghers.

– Alot of sewers prefer to have a large pair (8″) for fabric and a small pair for thread.

– You should sharpen your scissors “often” but we seldom do.  Should cost less than $10 to do so.

OK now I need your expertise.  What fabric scissors do you recommend?  Where should I purchase them?  And how should I take care of them?

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35 Comments

  • Reply Sisterino December 5, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    I bought this pair about five years ago: http://www.amazon.com/Gingher-8-Inch-Knife-Dressmakers-Shears/dp/B000UU6SR4

    NO regrets! I love love love looooove them. I haven’t got them sharpened yet, but they are still insanely sharp. I probably should do that though.

  • Reply knottygnome December 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    i can’t remember the exact model but my mother bought me a set of gingher shears that came with a small pair of thread cutting scissors. they work great though i should really get them sharpened (i never have and i’ve had them for years *gulp*)

  • Reply gingermakes December 5, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I have the same shears that Sisterino has and haven’t needed to sharpen them (bought them maybe 2.5 years ago?). I use them as well as a rotary cutter, so maybe that’s helped to keep the scissors sharp. I keep a little pair of Fiskars snips next to the sewing machine to trim threads as I go.

  • Reply The Nerdy Seamstress December 5, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I have the 8 inch Gingher scissors as well. It’s really sharp and I love mine. I was really afraid to use it because I didn’t want to dull the blade and it was expensive, but I threw caution into the wind and used it. I love it and I won’t go back. I bought it at Joanns when they were 50% off. I have a 5 inch Gingher scissors for threads and notches. I really love them. They’re really sharp. I bought a sharpening stone on Amazon and used it once even though I didn’t need to.

  • Reply Meli December 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I read this as “panty” scissors. Then “party” scissors. Then I couldn’t decide which made the most sense.

  • Reply the other emily December 5, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    I have the 8″ Gingher shears with the gold handles because I am a fancy, fancy lady. They really are a delight to use, and almost make me not hate cutting with the fire of a thousand suns. (Almost.)

  • Reply Sunni Standing December 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    I have two sets of shears. One for cutting most fabrics and the other for cutting silks only. The one for silks are serrated (both sets are ginghers) and the serration grips the slippery fabrics so awesomely. Ginghers, for the money, are really really great shears. There are other shears out there that are even more money, if you can believe it and I have a set of those too (ha ha ha!). But really, I always come back to my Ginghers. I love em. They are seriously, seriously fabulous.

  • Reply Anonymous December 5, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I’ll join in and declare my love for my Ginghers as well. My grandma gave me a pair of 7″ shears when I was 13 or so, but I didn’t sew enough to truly appreciate them until I was in my 20s. I never cut anything except fabric, and I’ve never needed to have them sharpened in 8 or so years of moderate use (and 17 years of ownership).

  • Reply Amy December 5, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    I have the same as Sisterino (Gingher dressmaking 8″ shears) that I got for half off at Joanns. I think they are great, but there is no padding–my hands hurt so much when I use them! I wonder if there is a way to pad them a bit?

  • Reply Marci December 5, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Probably 25 -30 years ago, I bought a pair Mundial bent handle shears–8 in., I think. I had 4 children at home so I made a piece of bright yellow bias tape in a loop of the handle. They knew NEVER use these unless Mom says you can. I still love them. Because I sew so much of the time, my husband bought a scissor/shear sharpener, so now they do get sharpened frequently, depending on what I’ve been cutting. Great investment.

  • Reply CandaceClay December 5, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Don’t tell my Gingers I said this, but Kai Scissors are magic. They are so lightweight that they don’t weigh on or hurt your wrist and they cut anything with ease. http://www.kaiscissors.com/

  • Reply Madalynne December 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Scissors are one of those tools I overlooked, so I have to say , great post and great discussion from everyone. I have a question for you and/or the commenters – 8 vs 7 vs 5 inch – what’s the difference? Is each for a specific purpose?

  • Reply amy December 5, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    I have a pair of Ginghers too but the ones I reach for first are my Kai scissors. So light! Maybe I have wimpy hands or something but they really are amazing!

  • Reply emily.marie December 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Ginghers are great; I have their 8″ dressmaking shears, embroidery scissors and curved embroidery scissors and love all of them! They are a pretty awesome deal if they’re on sale or you have a coupon at Joann.

  • Reply seamsandfinishes.com December 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    I’ve had a pair of Gingher 8″ dressmaker shears for a long, long time. They came with a sharpening stone and I have occasionally sharpened them- not because they seemed to need it but because I figured I probably should! Incidentally, you only sharpen one blade using the stone.

  • Reply kata December 5, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    I get my scissors at the little knife & scissors shop on West 25th St. (Henry Westpfal & Co., 115 W 25th St, between 6th and 7th aves). Their prices are really good, and they sharpen things too. I have an 8″ pair of dressmakers’ shears for most fabrics (Fiskars), I also have some serrated scissors, and another pair of 7″ scissors for quick cutting jobs by the sewing machine. And a rotary cutter + mat (Henry Westpfal has these too, the mat lives behind a sofa most of the time because there’s nowhere to lay it out permanently). And then there’s another 7″ pair for paper, and my several pairs of embroidery scissors… but I think some of that is pure self-indulgence (luckily they don’t take up very much space!). Good scissors will change your life though.

  • Reply Kristy December 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    I have a pair of Mundial shears too – the red handled ones. They are heavy duty and can cut through anything but I do find they start to hurt my wrist if I’m cutting lots of things. I’ve started wondering about rotary cutters myself, others swear by them but I think I’d find shuffling the cutting mat around a bit annoying

  • Reply Anonymous December 6, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    I bought two pairs of Kai’s a couple of years ago- one for slippery fabrics and a normal pair- and it would be really hard to go back. Completely worth every penny.

  • Reply Kristie December 6, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    I have a Mundial pair, and they have been fantastic. My sisters and mom all have Gingers. I have a pair of Ginger Pinking shears, and they don’t cut well at all. Good luck with your search and thanks for sharing all the information!

  • Reply Emilie December 6, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    I have 8″ Gingers and smaller, thread cutting, Gingers. LOVE them both. I haven’t sharpened them in two years so the large pair really needs it. I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics when I had a 50% off coupon.

  • Reply Nicole December 6, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    I have Gingher 8″ shears, but the absolute KEY is that they are spring-loaded. It’s so much easier on your hands! http://www.gingher.com/product/8-knife-edge-spring-action-dressmaker-s-shears-chrome-finish/78/ I’m sure I bought them with the 50% off coupon at Joann’s. Have fun!

  • Reply auntychacha December 6, 2013 at 6:21 AM

    I have a pair of Shozaburo Slim Light and they are like running a hot knife through a slab of butter. Friends who don’t sew want a pair just because they cut so beautifully. I bought them from Richard the Thread and can’t wait to buy another pair, just because!

  • Reply seamstresskimberly December 6, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    I prefer Mundials over Ginghers, -I have both. I feel Mundials stay sharper longer. I bought mine from Wawak.com but I’m not sure it matters where you get them. and don’t sharpen them more than necessary. Enjoy!

  • Reply Anonymous December 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Kai shears. No question. I’ve used every brand out there in my years of sewing, both home-sewing and as a sample maker for designers. I found Kai a few years ago and I’ve never looked back.

  • Reply oonaballoona December 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    i’ve got ginghers, but i’ve heard soooo much about kai. you might want to look at them. apparently the angle of the handle is better for your hands? i notice that my thumb hurts after a day of cutting out patterns, the ginghers are very straight.

  • Reply Levone December 7, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    My first pair of quality scissors were Ginghers, I’ve had them at least 10 years I’m sure. Then a few months ago I bought a pair of Kai scissors after reading so many raves about them on PatternReview.com. Anyhow, I ordered them through PR.com with my discount and was a little skeptical because they were a lot cheaper than my Ginghers cost, I think only $20.
    I am truly a KAI convert…no joke. Of course I use both but the KAI scissors feel like a knife slicing through butter!!!

  • Reply Wendy December 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Just out of curiosity I glanced at my scissors to see what they are and they are KAI’s! I have to say, I absolutely love them. I have the 8inch 5210 and the 5350 pinking shears. I’ve had them both for several years, and I have never had them sharpened. I do have a little glitch in my shears because I once cut on a pin by accident, but it’s pretty high up the knife, so it’s not a bother. If I had to replace my scissors, I would definitely go for KAI’s again!
    I tried rotary cutters too, but my scissors are far superior so I hardly ever use them.

  • Reply Jennifer, Workroom Social December 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I have (or have had at some point) Ginghers, Mundials, and Fiskars in my studio. My favorite pair of scissors? $5 Clauss 8″ Titanium Bonded Bent Shears from Home Depot. They are light and easy to hold. Super sharp. Can cut through layers of fabric and paper (for cutting silks) with no snags. I love them! I do love the look of Kais though. But not sure about the $$$ cost!

  • Reply thecuriouskiwi December 10, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    I have a pair of red handled Mundial shears. My Mum bought them for me, she has had her pair for years and years so I know they last 🙂

  • Reply Carolyn (cmarie12) December 11, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Ginghers – that I have in 7″ and 8″ – 2 pairs of each, at the sewing machine and at my cutting table…but I noticed that no one mentioned duckbilled scissors which I absolutely can’t live without. Oh and I have a pair of ltwt ginghers 8″ for when my hands hurt. I’ve heard good things about Kai scissors, I just love my Ginghers so I haven’t bothered to change.

  • Reply cathy December 12, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    I have a pair of Clover SR-240 – they are my favorites and cut so effortlessly. Even with clipping and notching they cut at the very ends with no issue. I bought them in Taiwan but I found them on amazon japan as well: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Clover-36-224-%E3%82%B9%E3%83%86%E3%83%B3%E3%83%AC%E3%82%B9%E3%81%AF%E3%81%95%E3%81%BF-SR-240/dp/B001HIV210

  • Reply Alicia December 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I’ve had the same pair ginghers for 25 years (although I have recently switched to cutting out patterns with a rotary cutter–ginghers as well….SOOOO much easier, I’ll never go back to pattern cutting without a rotary cutter). How to do I keep them sharp? Regular sharpening and threatening anyone in my house under pain of death if they use the for anything but cloth.

  • Reply Jen December 20, 2013 at 4:05 AM

    I love my ginghers though after going to physical therapy for my wrist I had to switch down to what I think is a 6″ blade. Apparently if you have a small wrist you put a lot of extra strain on it by using a large blade. I also have a pair of gingher storks on a leather cord I wear around my neck for trimming threads as well as a small pair of gingher embroidery scissors I use for grading seams, etc. Those are my must have scissors.

    I’m also super obsessed with how beautiful these scissors from Needlework are. Basically I collect scissors, hahaha http://instagram.com/p/heCpHFoXma/

  • Reply lp December 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    I’ve always heard Ginghers are great (if made in Germany), but my mom, who has much more sewing experience than I do, got a pair of Kai scissors in the last few years and loves those even more. Might be worth it to see if you can check out each of those and see what you like. I still use Fiskars, although I have some lovely Ginghers for embroidery/handsewing.

  • Reply Alicia Key May 18, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    KAI scissors are my favorites. Try them- you’ll like them too! Best pair has a serrated edge that grabs the fabric so it doesn’t shimmy away from being cut.

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