Best embroidery scissors: Ask the experts

Best embroidery scissors: Ask the experts

“Good tools are, I feel, essential to good practice. My favourite embroidery scissors are also, however, as visually appealing as they are practical. The appeal of their ‘objectness’ is one of the reasons that I like to use them. I bought them years ago and have no idea who made them. The main thing is that they are sharp and that the blades are small, allowing me to cut individual woven threads as my practice often demands. The case is useful protection for my fingers when I am rummaging for them at the bottom of my tool bag! I can’t say I have ever worn them around my neck though”.

Textile artist Cate Hursthouse

Which are the best scissors for embroidery?

The only way to find out is to ask people who use them everyday. People who have had years of experience and tried and tested several brands before settling on their favourite. Lucky for us we have a few friends who are professional stitch artists and rely on a decent pair of embroidery scissors to get their work done. Here are their recommendations.

Carol Naylor

“I use a small pair by Fiskars. I use scissors almost entirely for cutting threads, so the small pair are ideal for this.”

Carol Naylor is a textile artist specialising in landscapes created with machine embroidery.

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Find out more about Carol Naylor

Melissa Zexter

“I have several pairs of embroidery scissors, but my favourite are my Gingher 4 Inch Large Handle Embroidery Scissors (01-005271) – they are great for cutting fabric, yarn and thread.”

Melissa Zexter is a contemporary stitch artist who uses embroidery as a means of embellishing photography.

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Find out more about Melissa Zexter

Sue Stone

“I swear by my Mundial red dot embroidery scissors, which are a good value basic scissor.”

Sue Stone is a figurative textile artists who uses a combination of machine and hand stitch in her work.

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Find out more about Sue Stone

Erin Endicott

“I LOVE my Merchant & Mills scissors for my fine stitching work. They have a whole line of finely crafted accessories for stitching.”

Erin Endicott is a contemporary embroidery artist and the recipient of a 2012 New Jersey State Council Arts Fellowship.

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Find out more about Erin Endicott

Yumiko Reynolds

“I normally use a Japanese Nigiri Basami which is a pair of hand-made Metal Japanese clippers with very sharp blades for cutting threads, but I recently bought a pair of Precision Embroidery Scissors (curved type) and I’ve found these to be excellent.”

Yumiko Reynolds uses free-hand machine embroidery to create stitched drawings.

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Find out more about Yumiko Reynolds

Aran Illingworth

“The main scissors I use are a Finnish brand called Fiskars. Great for cutting the thread from the finer areas of my embroidery.”

Aran Illingworth uses appliqué to create textile portraits.

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Find out more about Aran Illingworth

What are your recommendations for embroidery scissors? Let us know in the comments below

Tuesday 28th, March 2023 / 18:12

About the author

Joseph Pitcher is the son of textile artist Sue Stone. He is an actor and voice-over artist and has worked at the RSC, the National Theatre, West End theatres and several other leading regional venues across the UK. Find Joe on Google

View all articles by Joe



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20 comments on “Best embroidery scissors: Ask the experts”

  1. Jackie says:

    The very best scissors for me are stork shaped ones. Lots of different companies make them but I find the offset ‘beak’ blades make it really easy to get right down to the threads and when I snip away excess fabric they get into the corners.

  2. My embroidery scissors have to be curved. I work with fine threads and clipping clean and close to the surface can be done easily with curved scissors. There is much less risk of poking or damaging the surrounding and underlying work. I will even use cutical scissors over straight brand name embroidery snips. 🙂

  3. I agree with using scissors with an upturned curve that sits on the taught framed embroidery and can “pick up” the stitches and cut as close to the fabric as possible without snagging the threads underneath which can happen when using straight pointed scissors. I feel these are especially useful for cutting the jump threads in digitized embroidery or anywhere where the fabric is delicate and the stitches are close together. I’ve noticed a real difference in the speed of workflow when not using this type of scissor.

    However for general thread cutting (machine or hand thread) I use the cheap as chips clippers I bought from aldi! Instead of having to put your fingers through holes to then create the snip, you just grab the clipper handle and squeeze it. If you are doing a lot of snipping it can really save time and energy. The other advantage for me at least is that I don’t have to worry about them digging into my hand – being left-handed means that I have to choose scissors carefully and hopefully find a left-handed version that doesn’t cause pain!

    Also having a diamond sharpener file will really give you the edge! (Sorry! Had to get that in!).

  4. Rachel Biel says:

    I was surprised to see that nobody favors those little clippers that you just squeeze. I love them! And, they are just a couple of bucks…

  5. kevan Lunney says:

    For travel and handwork I use Ginghers blunt nose small scissors. They are so sharp you can cut several layers of fabric. They can be sharpened also, but in the years I have owned them they havent needed it.
    One trick I picked up in the fashion industry was to grab common 8″ scissors around the blades and twist open the bladeswith thumb and first finger and squeeze them shut to clip threads. Its faster than putting fingers into the handle.

  6. Take a look at Ernest Wright, scissor makers of Sheffield since 1902. I think they are the only scissor makers left in this country. They make marvellous embroidery scissors and fabric cutting shears and guarantee them for life. They also maintain scissors by resetting and sharpening them. I use their scissors in my work as a stitched textile artist and recommend them to all my students. We are very pleased to have such skilled tools made nearby.

    • Emma Gerrard says:

      I wouldn’t be without my Ernest Wright embroidery scissors, the points are sharper than any others I have used, worth every penny

  7. linda says:

    Kai scissors, both curved and straight. The very sharpest and a very long-lasting edge.

  8. Joh Trapnell says:

    Wish I could post a pic … Georgous embroidery scissors from Lyncraft … Weeny with copper handles ✂️

  9. Holly Hudson says:

    I am from Virginia, US and was most surprised no one mentioned, German made, DOVO Scissors or Kai scissors, from Japan. I was introduced to KAI scissors when I owned a rubber stamp store nearly 20 years. I bought my first DOVO scissor at high end fabric store in North Carolina, US. I love the embroidery scissor, which is a new purchase. I do think wonderful scissors can be found at estate or moving sales.

  10. Celeste says:

    I agree with Holly. I have a pair of Dovo scissors that I absolutely love. My medium is Stumpwork. Dovo scissors are sharp to the point which is critical for cutting out the wired slips used in Stumpwork.

  11. Kandace Thomas says:

    I have used the Fiskar scissors mentioned by Aran Illingworth for a very long time. I lost my original pair purchased about 1995 and replaced it about ten years ago. I found the original pair and both continue to snip threads just fine. They are also quite easy to grip.

  12. Jen says:

    I love my thread snips. When I’m doing free-motion embroidery, I have them clamped in my palm ready to snip threads. Much quicker than scissors. But I’ve recently bought some long curved embroidery scissors and I don’t know how I’ve managed to do without them for all these years!

  13. Jeannie says:

    Kai scissors are the best in my book. They hold their sharpness. The small curved embroidery scissors are great for all handwork.

  14. Marta Brysha says:

    I haven’t had the privilege of trying the Ernest Wright scissors, but all other embroidery scissors I have tried cannot compare to Dr Slick Razor Scissors. Designed for fly-tying these scissors are the sharpest I have ever tried. They are not cheap at AUD 60, but they are the best for very fine work with silk. You do have to be careful if working with a fine silk ground because they will readily puncture a ground pulled taught on a frame.

  15. usama ahmed says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have visited your website and noticed that the items given there in are of our interest.We are bona fide manufacturers of such items and can provide you the same on call at very reasonable rates and atractive prices.
    We are make the Embroidery,barbar,beauty scissor,nail cutter,cuticle cutter,multicolour scissor,tweezers,razors,speclum e.t.c and other items and ask us to provide samples etc.I will appreciate you receive your return reply.
    Thank you.Have a good day.

  16. Arif Mehmood says:

    We see your website. We are an actual manufacturers and exporters of all kinds these scissors.

    Can supply you best quality with competitive prices. Please let us know your current demand. We can send you samples free for checking.

    Awaiting your reply.
    Pik Pak industries.
    E.mail. and

  17. Ann Holmes says:

    Has anyone used Dr Slick scissors for fine embroidery. They are pointed, straight or curved , incredibly sharp and a dream to handle and use. ( my husband introduced me to Dr Slick scissors many years ago. He purchased them for the fine intricacies of fly tying ) I understand Dr Slick was/ is a Dr who tied flies for fishing, could not find scissors suitable so developed his own. There is a website. Having spent many years ‘handling’ theatre grade surgical scissors these are superior to the Ernest Wright scissors mentioned in an earlier comment.

  18. Elaine H Millar says:

    Kai scissors. They are simply the best. So sharp and they stay that way.

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