There are various types of sewing scissors and cutting tools, but one thing every new sewer should know is… DO NOT use your fabric scissors on anything but fabric. They are sacred. Now that you know that insider, we can move on… Let’s breakdown some of the various types of sewing scissors and other cutting options available, and please note that by clicking on the images, you will be taken to Amazon for affiliate purchasing options. The breakdown of some of the more important sewing shears / scissors and cutting tools worth becoming familiar to is as follows:

Cutting Shears

Cutting Shears – The most popular in sewing are the cutting shears.  These are used to cut large pieces of fabric.

Pinking Shears

Pinking Shears – These scissors have a blade that cuts fabric in a zig zag pattern.  They are used to help neaten seams and also can be used on fabric prior to washing to prevent a large amount of fraying.

Bent-handled Shears

Bent-Handled Shears – These are helpful when cutting long, large pieces of fabric because of the angle of the blade to the handle. I personally prefer this type of shear to the standard cutting shear.

Trimming Scissors

Trimming Scissors – A smaller blade used for cutting and trimming the fabric surplus to neaten ends.


Snips – A small, spring-loaded tool that is used for cutting threads.

Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutter – Comes in a variety of sizes with retractable blades. It will need to be used with a special cutting mat to protect the surface and blade.  These are good for cutting thru multiple layers of fabric at one time.

Seam Ripper

Seam Ripper – Most sewing machines will come with a seam ripper. It is a sharp pointed hook that can slide under stitching to cut through the thread.  The magic eraser of sewing, if you will! Every sewer needs to have one (or two), (or three), of these in their sewing essential bag.

Buttonhole Cutter

Buttonhole Cutter – These look like a chisel and are used to cut clean and accurate buttonholes. Like the rotary cutter, this must be used with a cutting mat.

Paper Scissors

Paper Scissors – These are great to have on hand in your sewing kit to cut pattern pieces or any other paper and nonfabric items.

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Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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