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While using sewing scissors when machine embroidering is technically possible, having different types of embroidery scissors in your craft room can make embroidery tasks so much easier!
For instance, when it comes to clipping applique fabric, trimming jump stitches, and doing in-the-hoop projects, embroidery scissors help make cleaner cuts.
So, what are the best machine embroidery scissors to add to your supplies stash? Which types do you need, and which can you skip?
Read on to learn more!
What’s the difference between sewing and embroidery scissors?
Embroidery scissors are smaller and sharper than sewing scissors and have a thin, finely tapered blade. Thanks to their unique size and shape, they are perfect for accessing tight areas and clipping threads close to fabric.
Different types of embroidery scissors exist and can help embroiderers with different projects. Scissors vary by tip shape, sharpness, handedness, length, and even material.
5 Best Machine Embroidery Scissors Types
Now, here are five types of embroidery scissors to check out and consider adding to your embroidery supplies stash, depending on what you like to embroider.
I prefer Gingher, Fiskars, and Singer brand embroidery scissors based on my experiences and their availability locally.
However, I also have a few Amazon knockoff brands that work well. They don’t stay sharp as long on average, but the replacements are a fraction of the cost of name-brand scissors.
1. Standard Embroidery Scissors
When you say embroidery scissors to non-machine embroiderers, what likely comes to mind is a small pair of scissors (around 4″) that can be used to trim hand and machine embroidery threads cleanly.
This type of scissors is also what’s most commonly included as an accessory when purchasing an embroidery machine.
These look like small sewing scissors but have sharp, thin points that make them ideal for precise trimming. While I prefer the other types of scissors I’ll discuss later for specific embroidery tasks, these are my favorite scissors to trim threads at the ends of sewn seams.
Most simple embroidery scissors are symmetric, meaning they work for right- and left-handed embroiderers.
Now, there are also asymmetric embroidery scissors like the ever-popular stork embroidery scissors. Many other animal variations and colors are out there also if you like quirky embroidery supplies.
Stork scissors are popular for cross-stitch, hand embroidery, hand sewing, and even machine embroidery. The origin of scissors shaped like storks is a fun read, but just know that scissors like this have been around for a long time and are a staple in the craft room!
2. Curved Embroidery Scissors
Curved embroidery scissors look like standard embroidery scissors but have a curve at the tip of the blade.
Usually around 4,” the small size plus the curve means you can use these scissors for embroidery in the hoop still. Plus, smaller scissors means more precision cutting.
These are my favorite embroidery scissors, and I think my Singer extra-curved ones are the best curved embroidery scissors out there.
So, what do you do with curved embroidery scissors?
I use them most often to trim ornate applique fabrics after the tack-down stitch but before the satin finishing stitch. As long as you remove the hoop from your machine, it’s easy to trim with your fabric still hooped.
Curved-tip scissors are also handy for in-the-hoop projects, clipping cutwork embroidery, and cutting jump stitches and other tiny threads.
To use curved embroidery scissors for machine applique, hold the applique fabric up and away from the embroidery blank with one hand, and use the scissors to carefully snip away the fabric with the other hand. The gently-curved tip slightly lifts the applique fabric while decreasing the odds that you’ll accidentally snip the base fabric.
You can also get a really close cut with these so you don’t have to clean up the horrid fabric fuzzies later.
If you are trying to trim sharp interior applique corners, I find these are more easily able to access small spaces than duckbill applique scissors, which I’ll discuss soon.
3. Double-Curved Embroidery Scissors
In contrast to curved embroidery scissors, double-curved embroidery scissors have an extra curve or bend near the handle.
At around 6″, double-curved embroidery scissors are also longer than single-curve scissors, which helps them clear the hoop frame and an embroidery machine head easily.
Designed specifically for machine embroiderers, double-curved scissors are used to clip fabric and threads without having to remove your hoop from the machine.
I thus use my double-curved scissors the most often to trim jump stitches without having to take my hoop away from the machine. They let me get super close to the thread base when trimming jump threads.
Unless I’m working with my hoop still in my machine, I prefer single-curved embroidery scissors. Being smaller and fitting right in the palm of my hand, they give me more control when maneuvering.
4. Duckbill Applique Scissors
If you’ve ever accidentally cut your embroidery blank while trimming stabilizer or applique fabric, these scissors will be your new best friend! (Although, overall, I still think curved embroidery scissors are the best applique embroidery scissors.)
Duckbill applique scissors measure around 6″ and have one long, thin side that looks like a pair of regular scissors. The other side is shaped like a half-moon, duckbill, or pelican beak depending on who you talk to.
When you trim appliques with duckbill scissors or even cut stabilizer away from the back of embroidered items, placing the duckbill portion against the fabric keeps you from accidentally snipping where you shouldn’t.
(Of course, you can turn the scissors over to cut different types of projects as well.)
While I love using these for trimming simple applique shapes, I find them tricky for more ornate shapes and instead prefer the sharp point of my curved embroidery scissors.
If you plan to cut stabilizer from the back of projects with applique scissors, I recommend having a second pair because paper-like stabilizers do dull blades quickly. (And, household scissors just don’t get a clean enough stabilizer cut for my taste!)
Thus, I have a pair of nice Gingher duckbill scissors I keep sharp for clean applique cuts and a knockoff brand for removing cut-away, no-show mesh, and wash-away stabilizer.
5. Thread Snips (Nippers)
Snips, also sometimes called nippers, come in different varieties and are used for trimming thread ends.
They can be spring-loaded and bulkier like my pair above, or they can look like surgical implements below with their sleekness and simplicity.
The base of my snips fits in the palm of my hand, and I can easily control movements by passing a finger through the hole on the side.
Some embroiderers swear by thread snips, but I don’t use mine very often. And, I do not recommend using snips for cutting fabric, as you’ll get a ragged cut. Just trust me on that one.
I hope you’ve found some new helpful cutting tools to help you perfect your embroidery! Having the right pair of machine embroidery scissors can help turn your embroidery from looking homemade to instead handmade.