What’s the Difference Between Scissors and Shears?

Havel's 7" serrated scissors This is a question that’s on the minds of a lot of beginning sewists and quilters.   The term “shears” is usually applied to scissors that are longer than six inches.  This is not a rule carved in stone, however.  You will notice at Havel’s we tend to use the term “shears” only with scissors that have an especially strong fulcrum force that gives them a better than normal ability to cut thicker materials or several layers of material at once.   So for us at Havel’s, we use the term “shears” to communicate extra strong fabric cutting power.   

All scissors create a force when cutting that propels the material forward.  Excellent scissors are sharp enough and have their blades carefully matched with appropriate cutting angles that you will experience little or no problem with your fabric moving forward.   If you are having this problem then your fabric is too thick for normal scissors, or you are trying to cut layers, or your scissors are simply not very high quality and have dulling edges. 

It usually doesn’t take long for the cheaper scissors available in the market to disappoint you.   They dull quickly, they begin to tear fabric rather than cut it, or they stop cutting clean lines as some slips through them uncut.  If you have “cheap” scissors, then the answer is to upgrade.  We believe you’ll find Havel’s fabric scissors to be an excellent combination of high quality engineering, long lasting edges and affordable pricing.   If you are cutting thick material or multiple layers of material, you should use a serrated scissors.  The serrations on one side of the scissors will grip the fabric to prevent excessive forward push.    

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