Quilting tips for your “Pinking” needs.
By Holly Hanover
In the world of quilting, finishing your seam allowances with “pinks” is a must in order to prevent fraying, enabling your hard work to last, and generally just make your life easier.
Most of us are familiar with pinking shears. They’re the saw-toothed “zigzagged” scissors that every crafty and inspirational matriarch in your life undoubtedly had. Perhaps, as a child, you were fascinated by your mother or grandmother’s pinking shears just like the rest of us. You couldn’t wait for the time when you too, knew how to use such a fascinating tool.
While the existence of pinking shears has transcended three centuries, rotary cutters, especially the pinking rotary blade, is relatively new. Many sewers and quilters are still surprised to learn that such a thing as pinking rotary blades exist! If you’re one of them then you are no doubt curious as to how they work, how they’re different than pinking shears, and what, exactly, they have to offer.
First, let’s compare some of the traits of each:
Pinking Rotary Cutter:
- For trimming it is sharp, quick, and precise.
- Easily cuts through multiple layers of fabric as well as thicker fabrics such a vinyl or leather.
- Makes a handy paper cutter (although, using them for paper crafting will dull the blade, so if you’re looking to do both invest in a blade for paper and a blade for fabric).
- Easy on the hands. A rotary cutter is great for those with arthritic joints.
- A bit more convenient as they don’t necessarily require a cutting mat
- Can give you better control over trimming smaller pieces that you might need to hold in your hands as you cut.
- By investing in a quality pair, you can achieve comfort as you cut.
- Much less danger of nipping your finger tips than there is with a rotary cutter. For this reason they are ideal for young crafters.
How to pink!
While the results of both tools are essentially the same, implementing them is very different. Here is a brief description on how to use either pinking tool:
- Pinking shears: the technique is pretty straightforward. Just as you would with normal shears, you use one hand to hold the fabric down in place and cut with the other, keeping the longer blade against your cutting table.
- Pinking Rotary Blade: it is not as simple as attaching the blade and cutting up your fabric as if it were a pizza. Firstly, a cutting mat is essential or else you will destroy your tabletop! A clear ruler is also needed to ensure a straight edge. It is also very important that you hold the cutter just so to prevent the pinked blade from missing a beat. Hold your rotary cutter straight up, with the handle pointing toward the ceiling as you cut to achieve the best results. For a demonstration of this, take a look at this instructional how to video.
If you still can’t decide which pinking method is best for you, then simply go with the one you’re most comfortable with. Whether pinking shears or a pinking rotary blade, you’ll get great results through practice and investing in quality blades.
Click here to see Havel’s Pinking Tools