As a dressmaker, cutting with blunt scissors can have you begging God to take your life.
Yeah, it’s that frustrating.
Even worse, is when you buy an extra pair of scissors and within weeks, it’s blunt.
“Like how! I literary just bought it.”
I feel your pain.
I have asked myself so many times:
- How do I keep my scissors sharp? Why do I have stiff scissors?
- How can I sharpen my scissors?
The answers are actually easier to practice than you think.
In this article, I have prepared “10 amazing tips to keep your scissors sharp” and how to sharpen your scissors when it gets blunt.
I’ll also briefly discuss how to shop for cloth cutting scissors.
10 Tips to Keep Your Scissors Sharp
After taking body measurements, you need to cut out patterns, or various pieces of fabric which will eventually be joined together to form an amazing attire.
This is just as important as any other step in making a garment.
Using blunt/dead scissors to carry out this task is legit a death sentence
1. Only Use for Fabric
Never! I repeat; Never! Never use your fabric cutting scissors to cut any other material.
Not paper, not nylon…or any other material.
This is the most important tip to keep your scissors sharp.
If you need to make patterns on paper, then you need to get a separate scissors for cutting paper.
This can be quite challenging if you have siblings and they are as annoying as mine are.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings, but sometimes they just don’t get it.
There is nowhere on earth where I will hide my fabric cutting scissors.
They’ll always find it and use it to cut all sorts of rubbish. Even noodles spices!
Let me know in the comment section if you have siblings and they are as annoying as mine are.
If your situation is like mine, then I have something that can help.
Just lock it up.
That ought to teach them.
Now I can place my scissors in plain sight and not worry about someone using it to cut open noodles with spices.
Anything to teach my family and to remind myself that my fabric cutting scissors is meant for cutting fabric and only fabric.
2. Avoid Moisture
I don’t know about yours, but my scissors don’t need to drink water to stay alive.
In fact, water kills your scissors slowly.
Water causes the iron on the scissors to rust. It happens slowly, but surely.
Moisture is a NO! NO!
So you have to keep your scissors dry at all times.
This means you should never wash your scissors.
I don’t know what your tailoring scissors are doing in the kitchen, but please remove it.
I don’t know what it’s doing on the dining table, but please take it off.
Avoid any kind of moisture from coming in contact with your scissors.
Water, fruit juice, wine… etc. are all threats to your scissors.
Your scissors aren’t even safe on the ironing table.
The steam from the iron, which contains moisture, can settle on your scissors.
So keep your scissors far away from your ironing table.
Avoiding moisture will prevent rust, keep your scissors sharp and thus prolong the life span of your scissors.
3. Clean after each use.
After a busy day of cutting and sewing, you’ll definitely be exhausted.
But before you go to bed, try to take the pain to always clean your scissors.
Use a clean, dry rag to clean it gently.
Wipe downwards from the handle to the tip.
This will prevent the accumulation of lint (tiny, fine pieces of fabric) or grease on the scissors.
Your scissors will thank you.
4. Try not to Drop them.
Try as much as possible not to drop your scissors.
Treat your scissors like a baby. You would never drop a baby.
I know you won’t ever. So never drop your scissors.
Scissors are susceptible to damage every time they fall.
It gets blunter every time you drop it.
The screw that holds the blades together shifts every time your scissors fall.
This could lead to having a stiff scissors.
5. Avoid Cutting Through Pins.
After making patterns, pins are used to hold the pieces of fabric together so they don’t shift from their original position and cause inaccuracy.
These pins could also act as a trap when cutting.
Every time you cut through a pin, you weaken your scissors.
Try as much as possible to avoid cutting through pins when cutting out patterns to keep your scissors sharp.
6. Cut at the Perfect Angle.
This is also very important.
Most people cut with the tip of the scissors, but this is wrong.
The sharpest part of the scissors and the part you should use to cut is at an angle close to the joint.
Directly after the interception of the two blades.
This will prolong the lifespan of the scissors.
7. Oil your scissors.
Yes! You might not have heard this before, but your scissors need oiling.
Don’t just pour the oil all over the scissors, grease can also damage your scissors.
The proper way to oil your scissors is to use a dropper.
Pour a drop of oil/grease on the joint of the scissors.
Exactly on the point where a screw is used to hold the two blades together.
Do this twice in a month.
This will prevent the scissors from getting stiff.
Make sure you clean the excess oil with a dry towel.
8 Make a protective case for your scissors.
Many scissors come with a case. Mostly made of rubber or cloth, some even plastic.
Anything that protects the blades of the scissors.
When shopping for scissors, look for one with a protective casing.
If you already have one without a case, just make one.
9. Use the right scissors.
There are several types of scissors, or cutting tools used in dressmaking.
Each one of these scissors has peculiar functions.
Try to identify what each type of scissors is used for and use it for that purpose only.
10. Sharpen your scissors.
If your scissors are not too blunt, you can sharpen it yourself.
But if it is really blunt and needs thorough sharpening, then I suggest you take it to a professional to get the best result.
Make sure you avoid over sharpening the scissors by sharpening it too frequently, as this can damage the scissors completely.
Do not undo the screw and take the blades apart if you are not exactly sure how to put them back together.
How To Sharpen Your Scissors
There are 2 methods to do this.
How to sharpen your scissors using sandpaper
This first method is used when your scissors is not very blunt and just needs mild sharpening.
You can do this yourself.
Get a piece of sandpaper off about 200-250 grit.
Fold the sandpaper into two with the smooth side inside and the rough part outside.
Cut through the sandpaper. You will feel the scissors getting sharper with each cut.
How to sharpen your scissors using a sharpening stone
This method is mostly used to sharpen very dull scissors.
A professional should usually do this, but if you’re sure you can manage on your own, just follow these steps and I guarantee the best results.
- Use a screwdriver to undo the screw joining the blades together.
Ensure you keep the screws properly because you’ll need them again.
- Prepare your sharpening stone by lubricating it with water or oil.
- Take one of your scissors’ blades and place the inner side of the blade on the stone.
Make sure you create a sharp angle between the blade and the stone.
- Slide the scissors upward and downward in a rhythmic motion.
Stop occasionally to check if the scissors’ blades are fully sharpened.
Ensure you apply as much force as possible at the same time, do it carefully to ensure you get the perfect angle.
- Use a clean, dry rag to wipe the scissors.
Some misconceptions about sharpening your scissors is to use it to cut aluminum foil.
I have tried it, and it didn’t work.
Another one is to use it to cut through pins. This too doesn’t work as it only weakens your scissors.
How To Buy a Pair Of Scissors
- While shopping for scissors, keep in mind that you have to select the best scissors that you can afford.
- Search for scissors with protective casing.
- If you’re buying a pair of scissors online, make sure you calmly read the specifications before placing your order.
- Keep in mind the function of the scissors since different dressmaking scissors have different functions.
You don’t have to buy an extra pair of scissors every month just because the old one got blunt.
Now you know how you can increase the lifespan of your scissors and keep it sharp for a longer period.
And if it does gets blunt, you know how to sharpen it.
I really hope you found these tips helpful.
Let me know which one you are eager to try out in your comments.