Scissors – A Buying Guide

The philosophy ‘buy once, buy well’ has never been truer than with scissors. Our scissor factory are leaders in their field with heritage stretching back over 250 years. They are the last remaining scissor factory in Sheffield, England.

Scissors are a one-time purchase. We believe in choosing the best you can afford. For cutting cloth, professionals will choose 8” or 10”. We recommend coming into the Rye shop to see which fit your hand most comfortably. You’ll be able to feel the weight and test the ergonomics on our fabric scraps!

One of the most common questions we are asked is whether to choose 8” or 10”. The larger scissors are specifically used for cutting out and do that job effortlessly. In contrast, the 8” can cut out, clip notches and grade seams. They are light enough to keep by your machine for cutting threads if you don’t have snips.

How to keep your scissors in peak condition:

After sewing, wipe the insides of the blades with a clean soft cloth. If you feel like your scissors are ‘crunching’ when closing, it’s because dust and fibres have built up in between the blades – wiping them down will cure and prevent this recurring. If you are using scissors on heavy duty fabrics, use a little machine oil over the blades.

Avoid dropping them! Never use them on paper or anything that is not cloth!

If your shears ever need mending or sharpening, we do offer a repair service.

Email sales@merchantandmills.com for details.

Big Bolts

These are the crème de la crème of tailoring scissors, used on Savile Row by master tailors. Big and heavy with long blades and large ergonomically designed handles, they are a traditional design unchanged for a century. Big Bolts are easily able to cut through thick fabrics like heavyweight wool. The large bolt means the scissor rest slightly on the table rather than lying flat as you cut. If you watch someone use these, you’ll notice that the scissors never leave the table as they cut.

13”/33cm, £250

Exo Shears

The EXO are a ground-breaking new design of shear. Based on the same ergonomic design as the Big Bolts but manufactured in a unique way. The blades and handles of these shears are cast and worked separately which means whilst the handles are a lightweight casting, the blades are solid with an amazingly sharp knife edge. They give all the power and pression of traditional big bolts and are simply the best scissors we have ever used.

10”/25.5cm, £150

Xylan Coated

Xylan coating was originally designed to cut through leather and carbon fibre, you can imagine how sharp they are! These shears are strikingly beautiful but also really get the job done. More so than other scissors, try to wipe down the blades with a soft cloth after each use.

8”/20.5cm, £52

10”/25.5cm, £68

Red Extra Sharp

We love the Reds, they encourage accuracy. One blade is micro-serrated whilst the other is a traditional knife edge allowing for enhanced grip when cutting. They are especially good for cutting out curves, clipping and grading seams. Please note these cannot be sharpened.

8”/20cm, £44

10”/25cm, £57

Black Shears

The classic tailors’ shears do a similar job to the Reds but as they don’t feature a serrated blade, they are better suited to shearing cloth. These were our very first scissor and continue to be one of the most popular. They can be sharpened again and again.

8”/20cm, £42

10”/25cm, £54

Everyday Scissors

As the name suggests, these are a scissor for almost any task. Designed for general household  use, they are ideal for crafting of all types.

7”/17.5cm, £19.50

Tailor’s Boards

An unusual yet traditional design, these shears have one knife edge blade and one blunt ended blade to prevent tips snagging when cutting between layers of cloth. Ideal if you are working with multiple cloth layers at a time – an upholsterer’s favourite.

9”/22cm, £30.

Studio Scissors

Specifically set for cutting paper, Studio Scissors are perfect for cutting out tissue patterns. The Xylan coating allows for a smoother cut whilst the long, fine blade enables continuous straight cutting. We use these in our sewing classes and many students are surprised to discover they need a decent pair of paper scissors!

9”/25cm, £28.

Kitchen Shears

These are the general purpose scissor of choice in our packing room as their micro serrated blades are perfect for over enthusiastic packaging! Originally designed for cooks, they feature a built-in nutcracker and bottle opener. These intriguing scissors are a dinner party essential.

8.5”/21.5cm, £30.

Thread Clips

Thread Clips have a finger loop on the bottom and sprung blades. Hang them from the third finger, poised and ready to use – ideal if you are working in a fast-paced production room. I attach them to a ribbon around my neck, ready for all my thread snipping as I pull my work out of the machine.

4.5”/12cm, £22.50.

Xylan coated version £31.50

Buttonhole

The large handles are designed to to cut through layers of fabric with ease and accuracy. Ideal for the short cut needed to open a buttonhole, they are also useful for trimming corners and seams where an embroidery scissor isn’t strong enough. perfect

5.5”/14cm, £22.50.

You can view all of our scissors here.