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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Answers to Sharp Questions: Scissors Facts

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Though rotary cutters have taken the sewing world by storm, SCISSORS are still a vital, indispensable piece of sewing equipment. Here are some ‘sharp facts you may not understand.  I surely didn’t understand all this until I started selling scissors and sought answers from a scissors manufacturer.

Is it ‘Scissor’ or ‘Scissors’? What’s the difference between a Scissors and a Shears?  Read on for some ‘sharp’ facts including a full ‘Leftie’ explanation.

Dressmaker Shears

Let’s Start with a Quick English Lesson…

‘Scissors’ is one of those unusual nouns that is both singular and plural in the same form: scissors. Another example is deer. You have one deer or several deer. You can have one scissors or a bunch of scissors.

Scissor (without an s) is a verb. Like you ‘scissor’ your legs across each other as an exercise.

Is it a Scissors or a Shear?

A Scissors can only take one finger in each finger ring.

A shears will allow more than one finger into the finger ring. A beauty or grooming shears is called a shears because it has a finger rest or ‘tang’ extending out that allows one to use 2 fingers in cutting.

Scissors are normally used to refer to cutting implements not more than 6 inches in length and the two finger loops are equal in size. Designed for lighter cutting tasks, they usually have one sharp point and one blunt point to prevent snagging fabrics. Needlepoint scissors have two extra-sharp pointed blades. Shears are normally 6″ or longer and the rings are sized differently – usually one round and one oval. Offered bent or straight with the bent format making it easier to cut material on a tabletop – hence the term “dressmaker” scissors. The straight format are more general purpose, and known as “household” scissors.

What about handles???

A painted handle (most always black) is called “Japaning” because the Japanese were the first to paint the handles of scissors and shears.

‘Leftie’ Scissors Facts

Some basic understanding: On a right-handed scissors, the upper blade is the one on the right hand side as you are looking down on the scissors as you hold them in your hand. You can see where you are cutting, as the upper blade is to the back – or right hand side as you are working.  

left-bladed shears

Left-Bladed Scissors

Below is a good photograph comparing left handed AND left Bladed to the ‘right’ version commonly available.

So – for a genuine Left-handed scissors, it is the opposite – when holding the scissors and looking down on the blades, the upper cutting one is on the left. You would be able to see where you are cutting because the upper blade is the back – or left hand side as you are working.

The placement of the blades (as above) is one factor. The handles are another factor. Handles are either right-handled or left-handled – obviously for the comfort of which ‘handedness’ you are.

Sew…there you have it.  Gift a ‘Leftie’ with a TRUE left-handled and left-bladed scissors and you’ll see a BIG SMILE!!!


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