In appliqué work, details matter. Jagged edges or uneven shapes are easy to spot and can throw off the effect of an entire piece. It is also all too common, when focusing on shaping your fabric to perfection, to accidentally trim your background layer. To ensure accuracy and prevent mistakes, you need a trusty pair of scissors. There are many on the market designed explicitly for appliqué work, and our picks below will help you decide which one to add to your tool kit.
1. Gingher Inc Silver Scissors
Gingher has long been a brand trusted by dressmakers and textile artists, who sing praises of its premier shears that last for years. Its duckbill scissors, which allow precise and controlled cutting, are a top-of-the-line tool that is well suited for both beginners and experienced appliqué crafters. The curved blade is very thin and protects the lower layer of fabric as the super-sharp top blade trims away excess material—a design that enables you to cut extremely close to your stitches without any miscues. Unlike regular scissors, these also feature a slightly offset handle that introduces a subtle lift to improve the angle of your hand as you cut.
2. Tula Pink Hardware Appliqué Scissors
Even with your average duckbill scissors, it can be difficult to access small areas. This pair, which measures 4 inches long, is perfect for intricate detail work, with a mini curved blade that can maneuver in tight corners. The blade features micro serrations to provide good tooth so your fabric won’t slip, and it leaves clean edges free of frays. These scissors’ smaller size does not provide the most comfortable grip for people with large hands, but they will still find it usable. This pair is also finished in a gorgeous rainbow sheen that will make it stand out in your sewing kit.
3. Havel’s Double-Pointed Duckbill Appliqué Scissors
The pointed duckbill blade on these six-inch scissors makes it easy to cut sharp corners, while the flat bill lifts the trimmed fabric out of the way. And, like several of our other picks, the scissors feature a bent handle for getting a better angle on your work. As with the Gingher’s product, however, some may find this tool too large for smaller projects.
4. ThreadNanny Appliqué Scissors
This nice-quality 4.5-inch tool stands out for its ergonomic design. Its finger holes are smooth and attached to handles that bend slightly away from each other, which provides greater comfort. You can use these scissors for long periods and twist them at all sorts of angles without experiencing cramping. As for their performance, they cut smoothly and allow you to be certain that you are snipping away just the right amount of fabric every time.
5. Kai Double Curved Scissors
If duckbill scissors feel too unfamiliar in your hand, we recommend these double curved ones from the Japanese brand Kai. The five-inch scissors are razor-sharp, allowing for effortless trimming of appliqués, and have large finger holes for comfort. The zigzag body allows you to position your hand close to the work surface to improve control and accuracy, and the pointed tips can access super-tight areas and awkward curves, which is where duckbill scissors can come up short. Note that they are somewhat delicate, so they’re not the best choice for heavier fabrics like denim.