The Ins-and-Outs of Pinking Shears

Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips from SewVeryEasy,
my name is Laura. And let’s talk about the ins and outs of pinking shears. So a pair of pinking shears is a pair of scissors with a zigzag blade. Very similar to what your zigzag on your sewing machine does, it just goes back and forth. The cut looks the same, and they’re used actually in a very similar way. They’re used to finish off fabric. No different than your zigzag on your sewing machine, the zigzag on the scissors help finish the fabric. Now they’re made mostly for woven fabrics however, you can use them on many different fabrics They are designed for one or two layers of fabric so if you plan on cutting like ten layers, it’s not going to work. What will happen is it’s going to shift the fabric instead of cut the fabric. Well you cut with pinking shears When you cut with pinking shears it’s best if you start with the fabric right at the end. Not at the very end, but pretty much in that first tooth area, and then use the whole blade to cut. Unlike scissors, where we can just cut as we go along, these are designed to do one big cut, and then you would pick it up and do another. So you’re going to take the scissors and do one large cut. Then you would just pick it up and move it and do another large cut. With scissors, we could just cut as we go along. Now you 𝘤𝘢𝘯 just use the ends, but it’s not made to cut like this. It’s made to cut in one big bite. Another thing with using pinking shears is with the scissors, we can pretty much have them on any angle. Pinking shears should be held flat. The scissors need to stay flat. And they are a lot easier to use that way. If you hold them up on an angle, they don’t cut as quickly or as smoothly. If you take your fabric and you shove it right to the end of the scissors, you won’t be able to cut it because there are no teeth there. Regular scissors, you can go right to the very end. But with pinking shears there’s an area here that there’s no scissor blade. So you must start your fabric into one of the two beginning teeth. Pinking shears are designed so that it will prevent the fraying of the fabric. It’s not going to prevent it from fraying all the way; just preventing how much. The fabric will only be able to fray right where those little teeth are. It’s not going to be able to go any further than that because those little points actually prevent it from fraying further. There are another couple of things that the pinking shears can be used for. It actually makes the fabric softer when you press it. If you press something and it has a very straight seam, when you’ve pressed it on the other side a lot of times you’ll be able to see that press mark right along the outside of the fabric. If you use pinking shears, when it’s folded over it’s softer because there’s not a straight line. So it makes the pressing not so noticeable on the other side. It can also be used for decorative sewing. So instead of having the seam into the inside, you can have the seams to the outside. And what would happen is when the seam is pressed open, you would have a little decorative zigzag along the outside. You could top stitch and make that very decorative. When you get something that has been pre-cut with a pinked edge, you often wonder Where is the seam allowance? Most times, the measurement is from the outside of that zigzag to the outside of that zigzag. If you’re ever not sure what edge you’re supposed to use when you sew with something that has been pre-cut, just measure it. Go from both ends and also measure from the inside cut, and you will be able to get the size that you need and you will to be able to just match up the outside edge and that is the guide you’re going to use. However, when you’re cutting a pattern on your own, you are going to be following the cut line, so your zigzag is going to come to the outside. So I’m going to use the pattern piece and cut on the outside. Generally speaking, you don’t use pinking shears to cut your fabric. You cut your seams first with your regular shears, and that gives you a straight line which you’re going to be able to use as a guide. After the seam has been sewn, that’s when you usually use the pinking shears. If the pinking shears can cut through both layers, feel free to use it. But most times what will happen is you will need to cut one side at a time. You’ll just move the one seam out of the way and cut. You’ll be able to cut whatever seam allowance you want. If you want to leave it why you can. If not you can make your seam allowance a little bit smaller. The bonus with having a smaller seam, your second seam you can do larger. And that would give you an opportunity to grade your seams, so when you take this to the iron to press it, you’re going to press the smallest piece underneath, with the largest piece on the top. And that is going to make a gradual seam. So what you’ve done is you’ve spread that bulk. You will have a nice, flat seam on the right side. You can now get blades to fit right on your rotary cutter. It’s just a replacement blade that goes right on and you can get them in different sizes. This particular one is the pinking rotary blade. It’s very similar to a pinking blade; it just doesn’t have the very sharp points. Scallop and pearls is a little bit softer, and then you can even get a larger one which is a wave. By doing this it opens up another possibility of using these different shapes for decorative sewing or decorative quilting. Now pinking shears are not going to replace your dressmaker scissors, but they are a great addition to your sewing room. However, pinking shears should not be used on paper. If you want to cut on paper, pick yourself up a second pair, because pinking shears will last many, many years. This particular pair that I use in my sewing room all the time was originally my mother’s, and she used it ‘way before I was born, and I still use it every day. So they will last a long time. So pinking shears and a pinking blade is definitely a nice accessory to have with your sewing. Thank you for joining me today on SewVeryEasy. Feel free to subscribe and, as always, come on back. Let’s see what we’re sewing next time in
the sewing room. Bye for now!