How to Use Pinking Shears

One Methods:No Pinking Shears Available

Pinking shears are used to make a jagged edge along fabric and at seams to prevent the fabric from fraying or unraveling. They're easy to use – there's just a few things to be aware of.


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    Purchase a quality pair of pinking shears. See How to choose pinking shears for more information.
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    Choose the right fabric for cutting. Not all fabrics will respond well to pinking shears. The best fabric is that which is woven tightly.
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    Try your pinking shears out on different layers of fabric. If a single layer is not enough to get a good grip, two and maybe up to four layers might work better. One important caveat is to ensure you don't make the layers too thick, so that the fabric mangles or warps. Pinking shears are made for one layer, so adding more needs to be by trial and error. Four layers is probably the maximum, although this will depend on the fabric.
    • For more delicate fabric, it might cut if there is a solid backing behind the fabric. You will need to cut this backing fabric as well, so be sure it's just scrap material.
    • Take care with fabric that isn't plain or straight lined. Pattern fabrics can be very hard to achieve a professional appearance with pinking, at least for garments. However, if it's just a jam jar lid cover, there's no need to worry!
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    Always sew the seam of an item before using pinking shears. The edge should always be created as the last embellishment.
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    Hold the scissors comfortably in your fingers. Your grip should be firm but comfortable. If you purchased ambidextrous pinking shears, either hand will be fine depending on your own coordination with each hand. Otherwise, be sure to hold the pinking shears in the correct hand.
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    Hold the pinking shears straight for cutting. They cannot cut if held at an angle. (Try it and you'll see what happens; either it won't cut or it will mangle and chew up the fabric.) You'll soon get a feel for it.
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    Cut the fabric straight. Start from the second rear tooth and simply bring down the blades until they are completely closed. Do not try to move along as with normal scissors or the teeth will catch and rip the fabric. After you have made the first cut, open the pinking shears and align the teeth with the last notch cut on the fabric and press down again. Continue until the length is cut.

No Pinking Shears Available

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    Sew closely around the edges of your piece of fabric (not too close, or it will come off!). Use a backstitch for the beginning and end of the pieces and a running stitch or something for the middle.
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    Don't sew up the whole thing, leave a gap.
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    Tie knot and turn inside out.
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    Use a Slip Stitch to close.


  • Keep pinking shears well sharpened by not using them on paper or tough fabrics. If they aren't cutting properly, have them professionally sharpened.
  • Using pinking shears around the edges of collars, buttonholes, and pocket seams helps to soften them and prevents a line appearing when ironing too hard.[1]


  • Do not use your pinking shears on paper. This will blunt them.

Things You'll Need

  • Quality pinking shears

Article Info

Categories: Sewing