After my dramas with fraying seams recently I decided to do a bit of research into the proper use of pinking shears, what fabrics and sewing situations they are best suited for.
Luckily the web being the wonderful place it is many people have already done the research for me , so at the end of this post you will find some links to their blogs and web pages.
If you are too impatient to click on the links then here is a precis of using prinking shears:
- Pinking shears work best on tightly woven fabrics (think quilting cottons, sheer synthetics and silks)
- Pinking shears can be used effectively to grade and "clip" curved seams, instead of regular scissors.
- Ensure that you still leave an adequate seam allowance (1/4 " minimum) as the edge may still fray a little bit (usually just down to the base of the little "triangles" that form the pinking ).
- If you want your pinking shears to have a long lifespan NEVER use them on paper, extremely thick fabrics or multiple layers of fabric (unless the fabric is very very fine and two layers together is needed for the pinking shears to work).
- Pinking the edges of newly brought fabric can save the edges fraying hideously in the wash and make it easier to store and handle (no loose threads drifting everywhere and catching) until you are ready to cut out.
I have a pair of vintage but blunt pinking shears that I picked up as part of a bundle at an estate sale. Unfortunately the cost of getting them professionally sharpened is quite expensive, so I have just kept them around for their "retro" value :)
The pair that I just brought recently and have been using for pinking fabric are these from Ikea:
Not only were they reasonably priced ($10) but they have nice soft grip handles- heaven if you have a lot of fabric to pink! The only downside to them that i have found so far is that mine tend to "lock" if you close the shears too quickly (and all the way to the end at the same time) so slow and steady works best!
More links on pinking:
Pinking craft ideas :