sewing small talk: sharpening fabric shears

Hello sewing friends!

We all know how important cutting tools are for sewing. What do you do when your fabric shears aren’t cutting as well as they used to? Today we’re talking about taking them to a professional sharpening and repair service.

sharpening fabric shears

A few months after purchasing my brand new pair of Gingher fabric shears, I accidentally dropped them on the floor. I immediately picked them up off of the floor and closed them, but I didn’t know that one of the blades had bent, so when I tried closing them, they couldn’t close all of the way and the blade got nicked. So my lovely fabric shears became unusable. You can imagine how disappointed I was!

I also have a pair of vintage pinking shears that I inherited from my mother almost a decade ago. My best guess is that this pair is somewhere from the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s. Anyway, they were not cutting very well. It was only more recently that I learned that pinking shears could even be sharpened.

pinking and fabric shears

We wanted to get a set of kitchen knives sharpened, and I discovered a local business that sharpens not only knives, but all different types of scissors. So I dropped my two pairs of sewing shears off and a few days later I picked them up.

fabric and pinking shears

The results were fantastic, they are repaired and working as if they were brand new. Now they cut like a hot knife through butter!

fabric and pinking shears

Efficient cutting tools are an investment, so there are many reasons why you should have them professionally sharpened:

  • It is very affordable (having them sharpened/repaired is less expensive then buying a brand new pair).
  • It is good for the environment (we are throwing too much away in our throw-away culture).
  • It extends the life of a good pair of shears.
  • It brings new life to a family heirloom.

If you don’t have a business in your area that provide these services, have no fear, mail-in sharpening services are available, too.

So have you ever had your fabric or pinking shears sharpened? What has your experience been like?

Happy weekend, everyone. Thank you for spending time here this week!


 

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24 Comments

  1. Lynn Shepard

    Can you recommend any mail-in shops? I have pinking shears purchased about 35 years ago I would like to get sharpened and can’t find anyone local to do it. I did buy replacements, but they’re not nearly as good. Thanks!

    1. You might try Steinlauf and Stoller in NYC, or otherwise SIL Thread. Steinlauf does a wonderful job sharpening sewing shears and probably has a mail service. I can’t remember if SIL does, but I’m sure they could refer you to someone if they don’t. Best wishes!

      1. Actually, I think it might be Panda Thread, which is on the same block as SIL Thread. Either way, I’m sure they can refer you if they don’t offer mail sharpening service.

    2. liz n.

      If there’s a Joann’s Fabrics store near you, they have a drop-off service about once a month. Contact them for the schedule.

      1. I didn’t know this, Liz! Thanks for the tip!

    3. Robert Roelant

      Look up Arizona Cutlery

  2. Theresa in Tucson

    Lynn, if you own a pair of Ginghers, Gingher has a sharpening service, but it is only for their products, no one else. The address is Gingher Inc, Repair Department, 322-d Edwardia Dr., Greensboro, N.C. 27409. Last time I looked the cost was 7.50. You might google them and check. Hope this helps.

    Theresa in Tucson

  3. liz n.

    Yes, I get mine sharpened once a year. The guy who sharpens my scissors and shears is the same guy who sharpens my chef’s knives. It costs about $50 to have two pairs of scissors and four knives sharpened, and is totally worth it to extend the life of your valuable cutting tools!

    1. That sounds about right. My scissors guy here in Madrid charges about 5-7 Euro per pair of scissors, and knives are less. It’s live-changing, isn’t it?

  4. I had a similar experience recently. I didn’t drop my Gingher shears but they weren’t cutting well. I took my shears and two knives to the sharpening guy at our local farmers market and had them all sharpedned. He mentioned that there’s a better shears on the market made by Kai, a company based in Seattle. I ordered one and I love it. The grip is much more ergonomic than that of the Gingher, and it’s lighter in weight so my hand doesn’t get tired cutting many pattern pieces.

    1. Annette Fly

      A sewing store where I worked started carrying Kai scissors—so many to choose from and they are excellent. If your retailer doesn’t have them, they can be ordered online—very nice company.
      A sewing or quilting expo also usually has a vendor for sharpening scissors and you can get them back that day. Good to know about the pinking shears!

  5. KarenK

    I’ve had my shears sharpened and they worked great afterwards. I had mine sharpened at the dog show. At good sized dog shows there are usually a couple of booths sharpening scissors. After all there are a whole lot of people there grooming their dogs therefore a lot of pairs of scissors to be sharpened. Another idea is to ask your hairdresser where they get their scissors sharpened. Many times a sharpener will pick them up from the shop and return them in a few days sharpened.

    1. KarenK, I would have never thought of a dog show as an option. Thanks so much for mentioned that!

  6. Kathy

    I have my scissors sharpened once a year just like I have my machines tuned up. I take very good care of both but let the professionals do a thorough job. I pay about $3-6 a pair at a shop that’s been around since my mother was young. Second generation.

    1. Kathy, that’s awesome!

  7. I am embarrassed to say I have never had a pair of shears sharpened. I keep buying more scissors. I finally have a pair of Ginghers and thought I would need to sharpen these. Thank you for the reminder. I have saved this to my Sustainable Sewing Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/thelostapron/sustainable-sewing/

  8. I have a pair of Kai shears that I love, but I did the same thing and dropped them onto our hard tile floor. We have a local Japanese knife shop in Singapore where they’ll sharpen just about any type of blade by hand. The man there spent a week playing with my shears and they’ve been fixed but still aren’t like they were before, so I’ve ended up buying a new pair. He did tell me that the high carbon steel of Kai scissors is harder to fix if they get dented or misaligned – but wow, are they ever amazing scissors!

  9. Robert Roelant

    It’s crazy for me seeing a post like this one.. I’m in North Phoenix,Az. I work for Arizona Cutlery and sharpening service.. We offer a weekly biweekly or even a monthly service to the pros working in the restaurants through the state of Arizona.. we also have a walk in sharpen while you wait.. we are very reasonable with our prices… Take a look and see our reviews… We will sharpen just about anything that has a edge.. thank you. For reading my babbling 12620 N Cavecreek Rd suite#4

  10. Joel Rayman

    Please be careful when choosing a sharpener!!
    I opened my sharpening business over 25 years ago, working solely with high end hair salon.I’ve seen a way too shears destroyed by sharpeners.
    There’s a saying that I learned when I was being trained in their factories, “Bad hair cuts can be fixed, bad sharpenings can’t.

  11. Holly Dumont

    I just had 2 pairs of scissors sharpened. What a treat to work with them. I sent them in to “simply sharper”. They have 2 locations, and you send your scissors to the one that’s closest. It was a 5 day turn around, which is great. The price was good as well. Next I’m sending in my pinking shears. I have a pinker, so I don’t use the shears as much as I used to.

  12. Prue Maxwell

    Love my Kai scissors – Mr Scissorman – our Australian supplier says they shouldn’t need to be sharpened very often and to put a drop of sewing machine oil on the screw every so often. I now do this to all my scissors and it is amazing the difference it makes – even to the cheap paper scissors.

    1. Lynn

      Wow, never heard that before. Thanks for the tip!

  13. Barb

    I got a pair of scissors sharpened by the guys who come around with the truck, ringing the bell. I don’t know if this happens everywhere but it’s pretty common in Ontario. The guy DESTROYED my scissors and of course, you can never find him again. Lesson learned!

    1. Oh no! Our local knife-sharpening guy only does knives for the restaurants in our neighborhood. He won’t touch scissors. I think it’s more complicated and it helps if they know what you’re using them for. I bring samples of the fabrics I’m using because it helps the sharpener to know how to sharpen them for me. And yes, once they’re sharpened incorrectly I think you’re out of luck. So sorry1

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