Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

Sewing machines are not the only thing I end up with when I buy a machine, especially one in a cabinet. Lately I have found several pairs of scissors that have been quite good. Of course for every good pair there's a bad pair but I've been especially lucky to have found more good than bad.

Remember electric scissors? I used a pair in high school when I made a jumper for a friend out of a fairly stiff double knit fabric. She loaned me the pair, having been advised I was going to need them. As it turned out, I didn't think they worked very well so I used the scissors I knew how to use. I thought maybe they were a thing of the past but I did come across a pair with a vintage  machine that had an electric cord and still worked. They worked quite well and it's possible I will put them to use when cutting something especially heavy or difficult. But just two week ago I found a pair in a cabinet that weren't very old since they were battery operated and the batteries were dated 2002. We found new AA batteries and away they went:

Battery and electric scissors make a come-back
I tried the battery Singer scissors to cut out a dress and it took a little getting used to. The end result was okay but not perfect so I hope my mother-in-law's dress is flexible enough to allow for some smaller-than-intended sizing. Yet the fun factor was there and I hope to continue to practice with them.

Pinking shears are another tool that is either loved or hated. It seems they get out of alignment or dull too quickly or are just hard on your hands if the fabric is too heavy. I have a very nice pair I've used for years but when two more pairs showed up  this spring I was happy to put them to the test. Both were Fiskars and seems a bit stiff but cut right through almost any fabric you would want to use pinking shears on.

Fiskar pinking shears, top with comfort grip
Since I now have a serger, though, I might be finishing my seams with it instead of pinking the edge but then I would have to change the method of construction and I don't know if I want to change that much! Back to pinking the edges.

The best find of all was a pair of Singer scissors that were in a Singer 401A cabinet with several pairs of scissors that were terrible and now assigned to the garage (don't need much of an edge to cut open bags or twine). Not expecting much,  with such a low preconceived opinion, they could only go up, way up, when I used them.

Singer shears
They are sharp, precise, easy to grip for comfort, an all around great pair of cutters. They are my new best scissors. From Singer? I hadn't thought Singer had made anything good in the last thirty years but wait, those battery powered scissors were Singer also. Now I have to sit back and consider that Singer might be missing the boat on good sewing machines (please don't buy one at JoAnn Fabrics, please) but they might be still making some items worthwhile. So much for brand support or dismay: everything needs to be judged on its own merits.

New-to-me cutting implements
As a final word, I'm left handed so I don't just pick up any pair of scissors and use them comfortably. But there is something new: a design to fit either hand that is more comfortable that just left handed scissors. There's supposed to be about 10% of the population that ends up left-handed so it's pretty amazing we have had special scissors at all!

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