As with many things in a creative field, having the right tools can make a big difference. If you’re an avid embroiderer, there are a variety of must-have supplies that will help your stitching projects become a success. But an often-overlooked tool of embroidery is one of the most important—scissors.
Why Care About Embroidery Scissors?
Your scissor selection might seem inconsequential, but having a sharp pair of small shears is an easy embroidery hack. The biggest benefit of having good scissors is that they will cleanly cut your thread without the risk of the strands fraying. If the floss is left to fray, it is much harder to thread the eye of the needle (which is already a challenging task). Frayed thread can also cause the strands to get twisted or caught when pulling your needle through your fabric, which is not only a nuisance but could affect the rest of your stitching.
Aside from being sharp, size is also an important factor to consider (and another reason to avoid stitching with general craft scissors). By having a pair of scissors that is three to four inches long, you’ll have more control and be able to snip closer to your work.
Embroidery Scissors vs. Thread Snips
Thread snips are another option when it comes to clipping your embroidery floss. They are a type of scissor, but they look different than a conventional pair. Thread snips have the specific use of trimming excess thread—you won’t be cutting fabric with them.
Thread snips are lightweight and don’t have looped handles. Rather, they are spring-loaded, so you just give them a light squeeze and they quickly trim your thread. This makes them a great choice for people with arthritis.
One potential downside to thread snips is that their blades are broader than other embroidery scissors. While this is fine for trimming thread, the tip of the snips won't be able to clip an errant stitch from fabric; you'll likely need a seam ripper for that.
No matter what pair of scissors you choose, just remember: to keep them sharper for longer, only use them to cut thread and fabric.
The embroidery community has strong opinions on what scissors are great and what to avoid. Scroll down to see the top picks for bests embroidery scissors.
Looking for a pair of embroidery scissors? Here are some top-rated pairs.
The Fiskars brand is well-known for their scissors, and this pair with orange handles is beloved by embroiderers. They have a micro-tip blade that allows for precision cuts as well as a sharp edge that is great for cutting fabric, too.
Westcott has outfitted their curved embroidery scissors with stainless steel blades which will allow them to stay sharper for longer. Their handles are also equipped with soft grip material making them comfortable to use.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many stork-shaped embroidery scissors? The reason dates back to the 19th century. Stork scissors were part of a midwife’s birthing kit, and in waiting for a mother’s labor to begin, a midwife would often keep their embroidery basket so that they could pass the time while stitching.
Gingher’s stork scissors are an homage to this tradition. They have a gold-plated frame with a fine blade for trimming thread (but not fabric or other thick material). When not in use, you can preserve them by placing them in the accompanying leather sheath.
This set of thread snips comes in a pack of three. Each has a different colored handle, but all feature steel carbon blades. “They're much better constructed than I thought,” one reviewer says. “I've used them on everything from fine linen thread, waxed nylon thread up to 1.2mm thick, and even some tarred bank line. It's held up to all of it and still cuts like new.”
Singer has equipped this pair of teal-colored scissors with a “nanotip” meant for detailed work. Coupled with the sharp blades, reviewers say they can cut things “twice as quickly” than with other embroidery scissors.
If you want a pair of vintage-style scissors, this heirloom design by Yueton might be exactly what you're looking for. The silver-plated construction has sharp points that make it ideal for cutting in “tight spaces.” Because this aesthetic is on the fancier side, these make a great gift option for a fellow stitcher.