Something special scissors – your recommendations, please!

When I come home from school every day, I so look forward to reading emails from all of you. Yesterday I got one that asked for help from The Unbroken Thread community.

“Hi Kathy,
Somebody has offered to buy me a really nice pair of embroidery scissors for my birthday (one of those with a zero- shush……….)
But I cannot find any… Can your blog help?”

Of course we can help, I thought. Our combined knowledge must be staggering!

I use two different pairs: one for embroidery and one for gold work. My embroidery scissors are KAI 4″ fine point embroidery scissors. They are sharp, sharp, sharp! And they have a fine point so snipping out stitches (which I do a LOT as you all know!) isn’t so difficult or so dangerous to the fabric.

My goldwork scissors are from the RSN and came as a set with a mellor. I’ve been very happy with both tools and, after my gold work course this summer, I’ll be able to tell you even better how they held up to lots of use.

A while back a reader wrote to share some scissors she said were wonderful called Sissororoos. I love the kangaroo handle!

They certainly look wonderful but I haven’t used them. One of our Australian readers must use these. If you do, please leave a comment and tell us what you think. They are beautiful and I’d love to own a pair.

However, as nice as these scissors are, our birthday girl wants some special. A bit fancy, unusual, elegant, unique even.

The French Needle carries really, REALLY special scissors. They’re made in France but I’ve had no luck finding the supplier in France. If anyone can help, those of us in Europe would love to know who sells these here. The import duty from the USA would be prohibitive!

Sajou in France carries some lovely scissors that don’t cost the earth and are pretty special in my book. Sajou carries loads of wonderful things….but that’s for another day.

So dear Unbroken Thread community, can you help the gift giver find those special scissors? Please leave a recommendation or comment and include a link if you can so we all know where to look. Thank you!

21 thoughts on “Something special scissors – your recommendations, please!

  1. I like the Mundial gold-plated embroidery and dressmakers scissors inside a wooden box – Gold Collection Edition. Very sharp and beautiful and they came slightly oiled. The oil keeps them in good condition and I just wiped it off with tissue paper. There is a link on e-bay below, but I bought mine online from Scissors, KBT Ltd in the United Kingdom. Link also below.

    http://www.scissors.uk.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=gold+set+&x=32&y=14

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MUNDIAL-GOLD-COLLECTION-EDITION-DRESSMAKER-SCISSOR-EMBROIDERY-GIFT-SET-400-2GS-/300623475404

  2. Hi Kathy,
    I recently purchased some Scissoroo scissors to use with my Crewelwork and like them very much. They were not expensive and are readily available at Craft Fairs in Melbourne, Australia so I can pick up another pair quite easily.

    For a special birthday gift I bought my niece Sajou Scissors – the Eiffel Tower design (http://www.sajou.fr/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=376&language=en.)
    If I received these as a gift I would be very, very happy.
    Chris

  3. Such an interesting article today! I hadn’t even thought there would be so many different types of embroidery scissors. Looking at your pictures makes me want to start collecting them! I especially love the pair from The French Needle and would be very interested to hear if you do find a supplier in Europe.

  4. scissors, scissors, things of great delight to me. If I wanted a pair that were functional and very beautiful at the same time it would be these http://www.creweljewels.com/Dovo-4-Black-Teflon-Embroidery-Scissors-p/30113.htm – basic black, goes anywhere, effortless transition from work to after 5s – good scissors too, and I would also suggest a purchase from this site, they are too wonderful for words.

    The beautiful scissors from France – I have two pairs. I can suggest one can try http://lesciseauxdemmanuel.unblog.fr/quelques-unes-de-mes-realisations/. Emmanuel speaks very little english – so communicating was one of the very few times I was grateful for the 5 long years of french lessons oh so many decades ago. The other maker who supplies the French Needle doesn’t have any form of website. If these scissors do it for you, I can suggest you be sitting down when you ask for a price. I look at mine almost as retirement savings!

    Joanne in a hot, windy, Perth, Western Australia

  5. forgot about the lovely Premax Ring Lock Scissors from Italy – google them up for lovely little pictures. For some reason these are getting hard to get, but the effort to find them is well worth while.

  6. I have the Dovo scissors Joanne linked to above, and absolutely love them. They are razor sharp, and I used them for a slip project and it worked out great. I may buy a few more pairs of Dovo, I love them that much.

    I would definitely say sometime in the future I’d like to get a pair from the gentleman in France. There was an article about him towards the back of last quarter’s Inspirations magazine (page 88). His name is Jean Marie Roulot. No contact info listed other than The French Needle. You might google a bit and try to find him that way.

  7. Hi Kathy,

    Another very well known scissors maker (with good reason) in France is http://www.dussaussay-gallier.com of Nogent, France. I visited his stand at L’Aiguille en Fete last year in Paris.

    Unfortunately, I’m not in Paris for this year’s Fete. Last year, I had to keep my hands in my pockets to prevent myself from buying a pair! The variety of styles and the finesse of the blades – amazing! His email address is:
    -Sharon in France

  8. Hi Kathy–

    I purchased a set of the Scissoroos from the company several years ago. They told me I was their first US customer!

    They are good for everyday thread cutting and such. I wouldn’t try hardanger or cutwork with them, as the blades aren’t very fine, but they work great for other stuff.

    They also make ones with a silver kangaroo.

    My favorite scissors is my pewter Gingher set, bought when I first started doing hardanger. Overall, I really like the Ginghers, as they have really fine points and are good for cutting close to the fabric.

  9. I’ve a very fine pair of sharp, curved-blade scissors for cutwork, and I don’t use them for anything else. Unfortunately they aren’t glamorous enough for a special gift. I shall be watching the comments here so I can point people at them if anyone offers to buy me some needlework treats!

  10. I have to admit, I love my Ginghers as well. I have had one pair for probably 20 years and they hold the edge quite well, but they are also the top of the line ones. Also, if you live in the States, they will sharpen and recondition them for you for a very small fee. I regularly send my scissors back, because I have had a pair of cheaper scissors wrecked by a guy that did not sharpen them properly.

  11. I have MANY different scissors (I’m obsessed)! My very favorite pair and perhaps the oldest ones are Dovo’s, stainless steel 3.5″ long. I’ve had them since 1994, they are still sharp and have been used and used! I also have a pair of Sajou eiffel tower scissors…my opinion… I would not spend the money on another pair even though they are beautiful. The blades are not very thin so ok for cutting threads but not for close work! I also hAve a pair of Kai and DO like them, and they are not very expensive.
    My biggest suggestion is do not buy online!!!!!!! You need to hold them in your hand and work them. If they work smoothly and feel good, and have very fine blades…BUY THEM!!!!!!!!! Good luck

  12. Love the discussion on scissors. I have been collecting (both vintage and new) for years just like so many of you. My favorites are the Dovo from Solingen, Germany. I also have enjoyed the my scissors from Nogent, France. Both of these seem to have finer (maybe thinner) blades than Ginger.
    I also agree and recommend testing out the scissors before you buy. Even the most expensive brands occasionally have a pair that doesn’t feel “just right” when you try to cut with them.
    Here is the best site I have found for scissors. Enjoy!
    Sandi
    http://www.silentstitches.com/scissors.htm

  13. This is an interesting discussion. I have some Premax (from Italy but bought from the Scissorman here in Australia) that are longer than the average and have curved blades so you can get very close to the surface without the danger of cutting the fabric. I love them. I also love my two pairs of Ginghers that I use for dressmaking and cutting out for crazy quilting – one has straight blades for natural fibres and the other has serrated blades for synthetics which tend to blunt straight blades.

    Yesterday I received a pair of Wiss (old, very old) buttonhole scissors, and if anyone can tell me how to use them I would be very grateful. They have a stop screw between the finger holes and the blades have a square cutout about halfway along.

    Antique scissors fascinate me so my husband keeps watch on eBay etc, and I find the idea of not holding the scissors before I buy them not that intimidating. I don’t really have much option since I live in the country where relevant shops are non-existent.

    Sorry I haven’t been of much use, but I do like the bent blade Premax very much.

  14. In response to the button hole scissors question, these are usually (or at least as far as I know) called tailor’s scissors, or perhaps tailor’s button hole scissors. I used to have a pair, but no idea where they went. If I recall correctly the screw stops the scissors from closing and cutting more than the length of the button hole, and the cut out bit in the middle allowed a greater degree of manouvrability when cutting the button holes on mens’ tailored clothing, which has some buttons in odd places. This probably isn’t much help. and I can’t seem to find much more info searching. If you ever find a tailor, ask them, as these were always a bit of a speciality tool.

  15. Thank you Kathy – loved this article. The whole subject of scissors is a minefield amongst people who take their needlework seriously. I would like to stock the definitive scissors on my website for my customers to buy but so far have been completely unable to decide which scissors that would be!

    Have come close several times with Maison Sajou and a company called Simply Scissors in England, but never find blades that stay sharp. Of course, part of that problem is keeping your nearest and dearest away from your best scissors!

    So have read all these replies with great interest and will follow up some of the suggested makes. Hope you receive some more inputs on this subject.

  16. Hi
    I saw the REALLY expensive beautiful scissors at the Bohin booth in the Road to California quilting show. They are gorgeous!!! The wood cases are made specially for each scissors.

    So, if you are in Europe, try Bohin.

  17. Love all the comments and great suggestions for sewing scissors! I found this looking for fine tip scissors. Gingher sold out to Fiskers and they moved production to Italy. And honestly the workmanship just isn’t the same. The points on the scissors are a lot bigger and not small enough to snip threads. I do bridal alterations and I have been frustrated with them for some time now. I wrote them and told them. No reply. So I’m looking for same weight scissors. I might try Kai. Thanks so much ladies!

  18. Rita’s post is very interesting – I recently (mid-2016) bought a pair of Gingher ‘stork’ scissors, which came with a nifty leather blade-keep, after reading earlier comments – but I couldn’t quite see what the fuss was about. They’re good scissors, but not breathtaking. One blade is noticeably thicker at the tip than the other – so the fine tip is suitable for hardanger, but not the other!

    I have a fair collection of scissors, old and new, and in my opinion, the ones that have been consistently excellent (among those currently available) are from Premax, a cooperative based in Premana in Italy, where there is a concentration of scissor-makers; Dovo of Solingen (Pfeilring are also pretty good, from Solingen), and more or less anything branded either Bohin, or from Nogent, in France.

    I should say that I haven’t ever bothered with scissors that have plastic eye-holes – they might be fantastic blades, but they’re just not what I want.

    There isn’t much to choose between the ones I’ve mentioned above, so it may depend on what you can find locally, and also on personal taste – I have thick fingers, so I find the eye-rings of many Nogent scissors…’challenging’ – they are clearly designed for an elegant French hand, so someone with slender digits would probably love the fit. I have a very pretty pair of ‘sunflower’ design scissors that I really wish I could use…these things do matter! If you have very thick fingers, you have my sympathy, and my recommendation of a pair of ‘wide bow’ scissors by Bohin – they’re too loose for me to make my top personal faves list below, but they are stunningly good blades.

    My personal favourites, which I use regularly, are a very simple chromed pair from Dovo, for the fineness of their blades, and a lovely pair of ‘storks’ in a red leather sheath, from Premax, for general use, just for the sheer joy of the slickness of their movement. It defies words.

    I’d also like to give a shout-out for Ernest Wright and Son, the last of the great Sheffield-based scissor-makers; their ‘Swiss pattern’ long-handled scissors are superb – very fine tips and a lovely action. I’d love it if lots of people would buy from them, simply because I don’t want to see a fine craft disappear under the onslaught of far-eastern cheap mediocrity; but even if you’re not interested in buying, there are a couple of short films on their website, about the craft of scissor-making, that are well worth a watch.

    I said ‘excellent among those currently available’ because, sadly, the finest pair I own are no longer made – they’re a pair of vintage ‘Dorko’ (yes, I guess that brand might struggle these days) ‘stork’ scissors, again from Solingen in Germany. They have extraordinary needle-fine blades, and a sublime action – perfect for hardanger snipping. I picked those up on EBay – worth keeping an eye out there for interesting things that pop up from time to time, but be careful – some things are presented as ‘antique-style’ that are just modern repro, and not particularly good.

    Lastly, for anyone thinking of gifting scissors to a dedicated stitcher – just be aware that although the more ‘novelty’ styles can look very appealing, they tend to be less functional. The scissoroos mentioned above, for example, are undeniably amusing, and well-made, as scissors, but they are not fine blades; and I have a pair of gothic-looking things in a dull bronze finish that really are purely decorative! Most cockerel, hare, Eiffel Tower, etc designs have little to recommend themselves as functional embroidery scissors, as their blades are too broad; and anything colourful is generally not a good idea – I picked up a pair of ‘Tooltron’ scissors in a rainbow finish that are as coarse as a sailor’s tongue! As ever, I found an exception to that rule, in a pair of Dovo scissors in an unusual (and rather ugly) rainbow spatter lacquer. Beautiful little scissors, another nifty little leather blade-keep, but the colour is frankly unspeakable. Bohin do a large stork with coloured spots that is nice, if you’re looking for a larger pair ( 4.5″ rather than the more usual 3.5″) – and Premax do a ‘hare’ design that is a ‘cut above’ (sorry!), and also some very pretty ‘antique’ styles in nickel, with arabesque engraving on the blade, which I would recommend for being both unusual, attractive and yet functional. Oh, and you can get Premax scissors with personalised engraving on the blade from the Casa Cenina website (which is pretty fab generally).

    Phew! I think that’s everything I can think of – good luck to anyone who is looking for lovely scissors! And if anyone ever wants to give me a pair, they will need to get in touch with M. Jean-Marie Roulot of Nogent, who doesn’t appear to have an internet presence, but who makes the most beautiful art-scissors I have ever seen. Just google his name (as another poster suggested) and marvel at his work.

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