Embroidery scissors are a special type scissors used to cut sewing thread or multi-ply embroidery thread. They are specially designed with long thin pointy tips to allow someone to cut threads in tight areas accurately and with a clean sharp cut. This is useful in embroidery where there are a lot of threads and precision is important for neat results.
Embroidery scissors are useful in beadweaving, which uses similar threads as bead embroidery and require the same accurate cutting ability. In addition to cutting nylon, cotton and silk thread, embroidery scissors can be used to cut bead embroidery foundation, felt, ultra-suede, ribbon and other fabrics used as bead embroidery backing and in beadweaving.
Embroidery scissors are smaller than most scissors, starting at 3 inches long and going up to about 6 inches long. The scissor blades are typically long and thin which helps them fit into small spaces and snip precisely. A good pair of embroidery scissors will give a nice sharp cut and enable you to cut close to the beadwork or embroidery. This is especially helpful with beadweaving so that there is next to no thread tail remaining after the thread is cut. Embroidery scissors should not be used with
You can buy embroidery scissors made for your dominant cutting hand. Most scissors are made for right handed people, but there are ones available for lefties, so be sure to look for them if you need them. It makes a big difference in how easy it is to cut.
Types of Embroidery Scissors
There are several different styles of embroidery scissors to choose from and they are also available in a wide price range. You don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get a pair of embroidery scissors that will work well for beadweaving or bead embroidery.
Classic straight edge scissors are the most common type of embroidery scissors. They may be simple or decorative in design such as the stork embroidery scissors. Stork embroidery scissors may look cute, but they don't work better than the no frills type.
There are two different types of curved embroidery scissors. One type of embroidery scissor is curved only at the tip and helps you snip threads close to the foundation while keeping your hand raised a little above the surface. In embroidery, this is helpful because it keeps your hand above the embroidery ring. Similarly, bent handle embroidery scissors are bent at the tip and the handle - also to help keep your hand raised from the embroidery surface. In beadwork, the curved tip is probably more useful than the bent handle scissors.
The last category of embroidery scissors are called thread snips. Thread snips are unique in that they often don't have finger holes and have handles more similar to pliers. They have short sharp blades. They are also called thread nippers. Thread snips can be a good choice for lefties since they are not made for a dominant hand.
Although not made for cutting thread, I know several people who use cuticle scissors for their beadwork. Cuticle scissors are small with precision tips. They are available with straight or curved blades. Best of all, they can be purchased at almost any retail store, including grocery stores, drug stores, big box retailers and often times even mini-marts. They are a great option if you are travelling and remembered to bring your beading, but not all of your tools.
Keeping Your Embroidery Scissors Sharp
Whether your embroidery scissors cost a lot or a little, the key to making them last and work well is to keep them sharp. One of the best ways to do that, is to only use them for thread and cloth. Never use them to cut fishing line type of beading threads like Fireline. This type of thread is much thicker and harder to cut so it will dull your embroidery scissors quickly. The best option for these types of threads is to use children's craft scissors or a thread burner.
Also, never use your embroidery scissors to cut paper which can dull the edges after being used on paper only once. Depending on the type you buy, your embroidery scissors may be able to be re-sharpened which ensures that they will last a lifetime with proper care.
One last tip to keep your embroidery scissors in the best condition possible - hide them from your family! It will prevent them from being used in a way that will shorten their life and you'll be happy your avoided giving them the temptation to even try and use your good thread cutting scissors.
edited by Lisa Yang