Last time we talked about a rather large tool type – work spaces – but this week we are shifting our focus to a handheld tool. A very small handheld tool. As in only three or four inches long.
I don’t embroider; I make garters. Before I started making garters I made things like curtains and chair pockets and occasional little-girl clothes. It never once occurred to me to buy embroidery scissors. Because I. Don’t. Embroider.
This past fall I began taking sewing lessons. I knew I was missing out on many many wonderful sewing secrets. I was right. I was missing several types of scissors. Among them: embroidery scissors.
“I currently have 12 pairs of sewing-only scissors. Each has a distinct purpose. My 4-inchers stay right beside the machine and they are the Ginger brand. That is the brand that I have for all 12 pairs. I use the 4-inchers for general thread trimming. I hang curved 3-inchers on my machine for embroidery & applique work. I would replace either of these in a flash.” ~ Allison O’Grady, seamstress and sewing instructor extraordinaire
Yes, regular knife-edge scissors can cut thread. What they cannot (easily) do is snip thread really really close to the fabric and that is why I need embroidery scissors, also referred to as “snips” or “snippers.”
There is no way I could let myself sell a garter featuring this scraggly flower. I saw the light! I needed small scissors. So I got myself to a Hancock Fabrics post haste and shelled out $2.99 (plus tax) for these babies:
Please don’t do that. I have no idea if it is the low price point, the design, the unknown brand name (which I still don’t know), or if I just bought a lemon. Whatever the reason, these scissors stink. They didn’t come with a guide so I don’t *know* how they are supposed to be held. I assumed the little loop was for my thumb, but that makes them really hard to handle. Maybe I need to squeeze a tennis ball to increase my hand strength. I’ll add that to my to-do list. Changing my grip helped a little, but still feels really unnatural. Either way, those scissors DO NOT CUT THREAD. Or fabric. They do okay on paper. After a two-week struggle I went back to using my “big” scissors for everything.
But I had seen two very talented seamstresses use embroidery scissors to snip the threads on their respective masterpieces. I knew good snips were out there and I knew they could make my life easier and my own masterpieces prettier.
“Those little embroidery scissors are perfect for cutting details, and they are cute!” says Laura Jacquemond of the little gold birdie snips pictured above.
Finally, armed with a 40% off coupon, I marched into JoAnn’s to purchase a $14 pair of Fiskars No. 4 embroidery scissors . I really wanted the Gingers, but just couldn’t part with $24. That price is high, by the way, so be sure you shop around before making a purchase. And there was that light again. I can snip threads like a pro! Just look at the difference in blade thicknesses between my scissors and my snips!
Okay, what have we learned here:
- Do not reject a tool just because it is associated with an activity you don’t do.
- Do get recommendations from people who use a tool you are considering, preferably for the same activity in which you want to use it.
- Do shop around And I’m not just talking price. You might also want to consider who has the best warranty, maintenance plan, and/or tech support.