Cutting fabric is probably the only thing during the whole sewing process that cannot be undone. What has been cut cannot be UN-cut… Therefore, you should always be cutting with care. See your cutting tools as one of the most important pieces of your equipment. As your passion for sewing grows, you may be willing to acquire some more specific cutting tools on top of a regular pair of scissors. Let them present themselves.
To begin with shears. Special tools for cutting out fabric with blades usually longer than 18cm/7” and uneven handle bows or loops. The smaller opening is meant for the thumb and the larger one for two or more fingers.
Shears are available in the right- and left- handed versions. This is the most important cutting tool you need, so buy the best quality shears you can afford. Some sheers have bent handles so that the fabric can rest flat on the cutting table while being cut. NEVER use you best shears for cutting paper – they will become dull very quickly and you will not be able to cut accurate, crisp lines on the fabric.Instead, buy cheap shears in a do-it-yourself store and use them for cutting paper patterns out.
Scissors have relatively short blades and usually identical handle bows for the finger(s) and the thumb. They come in various shapes and sizes. They are perfect for cutting off threads, making marking snips [link Markings – outer edges], trimming and grading seam allowances.
Thread clips are a scissor variation with short blades and an inner spring mechanism. They fit easily in hand and are used to clip threads with a clipping motion.
Rotary cutters are similar to pizza cutters and are used on special self-healing mats. They were originally designed for quilt making, but are a great help while cutting bias tapes and all kind of bands.
Pinking shears are used to create a decorative finish on no-fray fabrics or other fabrics which do not ravel easily. They cut a nice zig-zag edge.
Seam ripper is also a cutting equipment and a very important one. It is a pen-like device that allows you to not only to rip the stitching mistakes, but also to open the stitched buttonholes.
Take a good care of your cutting tools. If the blades become dull, have them sharpened. Do not use an electric knife sharpener to sharpen your scissors. Use special scissor sharpeners.