When you’re first learning how to sew, the only cutting tool you may be aware of is a pair of scissors. Fair enough. I know that when I first started sewing, all I had was one pair of sad looking scissors that I used for everything. Now that I’m wiser… sort of… I have a small but effective collection of cutting tools that make my life so much easier. So, even if you’ve been sewing for a while, I think you’ll find this list of must-have cutting tools helpful.
I’m going to share with you the 6 must-have cutting tools that you should have on hand for any sewing project.
1. Long fabric shears (at least 8″ long)
When cutting fabric, you need a dedicated pair of nice, sharp fabric scissors. Use these exclusively for cutting fabric… and nothing else. I prefer to have an 8″ pair for most of my cutting needs. But for cutting long panels of fabric for curtains, I like to use some really nice ergonomical and long fabric shears. This makes the cutting task fast and neat.
Now, a pair of nice fabric shears will not be cheap. So, you’ll need to think of them as a long term investment. Because if you buy some high quality scissors now… they’ll last you a long time.
2. Snipping Scissors
I like to keep on hand a small pair of snipping scissors or aka embroidery scissors. These typically have small pointed ends which make it easy to snip loose threads close to your fabric. They are also small and easy to have on hand at your sewing machine, to quickly cut thread. These small scissors are not for cutting fabric, but I have used them to snip out notches on curved seams.
3. Pinking Shears
Pinking shears cut a zig-zag edge on your fabric. You may notice fabric swatches have zig-zag edges… these were cut with pinking shears. If you have a fabric that ravels, it’s a good idea to finish off your seam by trimming the raw edges with pinking shears. This gives your seam a neat appearance and helps to keep long strands of thread from pulling off your fabric. My Mother gave me a pair a few years ago. And it wasn’t until I started using them did I realize how valuable this tool is! I especially like to cut my fleece with pinking shears to give it a decorative trim.
4. Rotary Cutter
A rotary cutter looks like a pizza cutter. It consists of a handle that holds a round sharp blade. Rotary cutters cut your fabric in clean straight lines and are critical to quilting success. But I use my rotary cutter for just about any straight line that needs to be cut. With scissors, the edge tends to be a bit jagged…. but with a rotary cutter, the edges come out clean.
I highly recommend rotary cutters when cutting mulitple layers of fabric. When using scissors, it is near impossible to cut multiple layers of fabric the same. The blades of the scissors twist the fabric slightly and one layer is always wider than the another. But if you simply cut down and through with a sharp rotary cutter, you can easily slice through 4 layers of fabric and have them all exactly the same.
Rotary cutter blades come in different diameters for different uses. For cutting small lines, a smaller diameter is more appropriate… and more accurate. If you cutting through layers of fabric, use a larger diameter blade.
Make sure you get a mat too. A rotary cutter blade will leave cuts and grooves in your table.
You’ll also want a pair of standard scissors to have on hand for cutting everything else. Paper… patterns… ribbon… etc. Your fabric shears should be for your fabric only. Have another inexpensive pair to use for cutting anything else.
6. Seam Ripper
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a cutting tool, but a seam ripper is indispensable when it comes to sewing projects. A seam ripper is used to remove stitches and to rip out seams. When you’re first learning to sew (and yes, even for us pros) you will use your seam ripper all the time. It’s a fact of sewing that you will need to remove stitches. So, have a nice one on hand!
And there you have it! The 6 must-have cutting tools that you should have for any sewing project. Having one pair of scissors just isn’t enough. So, take the time to invest in your sewing tools and you’ll be amazed at how much more fun your sewing projects become.
You can learn where to find these cutting tools online by visiting HowToSewWithJennyT.com plus discover even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources. You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them through a podcast or my newsletter.
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