Q & A: Scissors and Sharpening

My “good” sewing shears are Ginghers, and I love them. I recently got them sharpened for the first time. They’d needed it for months. I researched sharpening services in my town, and it appeared that most if not all were mobile services that would come to your house. Some had locations where they regularly set up shop, like farmer’s markets or salons. I asked my hair stylist how much it cost, and she said about $20. Her scissors were high-end professional ones, though, running about $200 each.

Since mine were only $20-30 from one of Jo-Ann Fabrics’ frequent half-off sales, I thought it would be silly to spend that much on sharpening, but I also felt it was wasteful to buy another pair. Then I got a newsletter from one of my local fabric shops, Ginger’s Needlearts and Framing, announcing that their sharpening guy was making his biannual visit. Bingo! I dropped them off one day, they were ready the next, and it was only $7.

I had completely forgotten that Gingher has their own sharpening and repair service (for their products only), for a flat fee of $7.50 and a 3-4 week turnaround. Now I’ll know for the next time.

What kind of scissors do you have? How do you like them? Have you ever gotten them sharpened? By whom? How much was it? Or do you do it yourself?

Related: choosing scissors, and scissors vs. shears, on Sew Wise with Sara; Martha Stewart on scissors


  1. Amy says:

    I have a pair of ginghers as well (the 8″ featherweight dressmaker shears). I recently oiled them, which really helped a lot, but I have never had them sharpened. I’m pretty sure they need it! I also have some old pinking shears from my grandmother that could use some sharpening, but they are SO HEAVY that I think I’ll stick to using the pinking blade on my rotary cutter!

  2. jen says:

    thanks for the gingher sharpening tip! I have an 8 inch dressmaker shear and a 5 inch pair, I LOVE THEM!

  3. Veronika says:

    Interesting question. I have classic Singer shears like these ones: http://www.naehmaschinen-center.de/media/images/singer_schere_k.jpg just a lot older as they have been in the family for a good while. I love that you can adjust them, which makes them suitable for cutting a wide range of fabrics. However I should probably really get them sharpened at some point as well.
    In addition I have some cheap-ish but really good scissors from Maped, a French stationary company. They work great together and I am not missing a thing. :)


  4. Sarah says:

    If you take a large piece of tin foil, fold it in half a couple of times and cut through it multiple times with your scissors, it does a pretty amazing job- certainly well enough to hold you over until you can get them in to be professionally done! Hope that helps :)

  5. Stephanie says:

    I have 2 pair of gingher (don’t know the size) and a pair of gingher pinking shears, and a tiny pair of gingher I used for snipping threads while hand sewing. Never had then sharpened and they’re in need. I’ve pondered JoAnns but have not taken the plunge yet. I’m thrilled to learn of gingher’s sharpening service. I’ll be sending out a pair very soon. THANKS!!!

  6. mimi k says:

    I didn’t realize how luck I am to be living in the Boston area- there are lots of places that do scissors here… although maybe it is just one man going around to lots of places in his truck :-) I try to get one pair of scissors (at least) sharpened every year, sometime around my birthday. And, someone who knows what they are doing doesn’t even blink when you show up with pinking shears. Happiness is sharp scissors!

  7. Christy says:

    For YEARS I would by cheap scissors from Wal-mart and use them until they were toast, toss them, then buy anther pair. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a good expensive pair. Someone else could, and did! My good friend Rebecca, gave me my Ginghers for Christmas last year…and I haven’t had to sharpen them yet!

  8. I have Ginghers, too, that need to be sharpened! I love them, and can’t seem to bring myself to give them up long enough to get them sharpened. Maybe it’s time to get a second pair :o ) Now I have no good reason to keep procrastinating :o ) Thanks for the Q&A and tips here.

  9. Wendy says:

    I have a pair of Ginghers that actually used to belong to my mom (we were never allowed to use them ourselves). But, when she passed away, I inherited them. I haven’t yet gotten them sharpened, because I’m really protective of them and hardly ever use them. So, thank you so much for posting this info!

  10. rosa says:

    I have Fiskars scissors in varied sizes and shapes and love them. In Portugal you can have your scissors and knives sharpened from “amoladores”, travelling sharpeners. They always ride bikes (and use the bike pedals to power the sharpening tools) and they play a special song on a small flute so that people know they’re in the neighbourhood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYiXsBX4YIY

  11. Amber says:

    Lucky me – my dad is a knifemaker and so I just pop over and he sharpens my scissors – he even sharpened my little blade for my serger. I’m thinking about seeing if he can sharpen my rotary blades but I’m not sure about those :-)

  12. hannah says:

    i’ve been using the fiskars softouch scissors for over a decade. my hands never get tired using them, even after cutting fabric for 4-5 hours straight! i love them! i also have the micro-tip ones for snipping threads. i get them sharpened at joanns, it runs about $7.

  13. Sally says:

    yup and that tin foil trick works brilliantly for pinking shears too, worked on the ones I inherited frm my Gran a couple of years ago a treat.

  14. Sunny says:

    Here in Germany I bought a Gingher official sharpening stone to go with my shears. It’s like a 2″x3″ slice of marble or similar, the salesman showed me how to use it.

    Fiskars have a couple of small gadgets to sharpen their (and other makes of) scissors (http://tinyurl.com/6plaua).

    Or try cutting the neck off a glass bottle. You can’t – but the action will sharpen them to a certain extent.

  15. Delois Hedges says:

    Can you tell me where I can get my Singer scissors sharpened? I live in Magnolia Texas