How to Choose Pinking Shears

Pinking shears are different from the usual sewing scissors in that they have deeply notched or sawtooth blade edges that must meet neatly together. When used to cut fabric, they create a zigzag or scalloped edging that prevents fraying or raveling on sewing or craft fabrics.


  1. Image titled Choose Pinking Shears Step 1
    Consider whether you need them first. Pinking shears aren't an essential tool in the sewing basket but they are a nice one to have. Besides creating non-fray edges for both stored and used fabrics, and seamed edges for sewn items, they make great edgings for easy jam jar lid covers and other crafty items, as well as making cute edges to craft projects that benefit from a naive art touch, such as small cushions and sachets. On the downside, a good pair will cost at least U$20.00, so if they are something you won't use all that often, so weigh up whether you want to own or a pair or whether you can borrow those of a friend or neighbor.
  2. Image titled Choose Pinking Shears Step 2
    Take care not to confuse pinking shears with scalloped edged scissors used for paper-craft. There are a lot of these available but they're absolutely no good for fabric because they're only made to cut paper. By all means have some for your paper-craft but don't mix them up.
  3. Image titled Choose Pinking Shears Step 3
    Look in a dressmaker's supply store for pinking shears. Things to look for include:
    • Quality manufacture
    • Trustworthy brand name
    • Stainless steel blades; lower blade extends for better control
    • Molded handles fit neatly and are strong (usually plastic; check it's quality plastic)
    • Ambidextrous (either left or right hand); if not, be sure they are the correct hand for your needs
    • Ability to try them in the store to see how they handle and feel.
  4. Image titled Choose Pinking Shears Step 4
    Select a good weight for the pinking shears. Pinking shears come in lighter and heavier weights. The need will be dictated by the type of fabric you're cutting but lightweight are probably easiest for most people to work with.
  5. Image titled Choose Pinking Shears Step 5
    Take care of your pinking shears. Oil them periodically and have their edges professionally sharpened to ensure that they stay in the best condition.
    • You'll know that pinking shears are due for a sharpening when they stop cutting the fabric sharply but start either not cutting or are destroying the fabric.


  • Fiskars and Mundial are among the quality brands of pinking shears.
  • If purchasing online, read reviews of the product provided by others.
  • Pinking shears come in different lengths. Select the length according to the type of fabric cutting you'll normally be using them for.
  • Pinking shears are useful for making ravel-free edges of cleaning cloths, such as those used for buffing eyeglasses.
  • The "pinking" part may come from a reference to "pinks" (carnations), which have a similar edging.[1]


  • Avoid using your pinking shears on paper. Keep them solely for use on fabric to retain their sharpness and fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing supplies retailer or online sewing storefront

Article Info

Categories: Sewing