Thanks for reading the Colette blog!  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


Inside Our Toolbox + Giveaway


Hey there & thank you for reading the Colette blog!

This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

Go to Seamwork

Do you have a sewing tool you can’t live without? Sewists are notoriously picky about their set of tools. I love sharing these life-changing tools with friends.

This new feature is inspired by that same spirit of sharing. Every month one of our Colette staffers will share a favorite sewing tool or notion here on the blog. We will then give away this very item to one lucky commenter.

These post are unsponsored and only feature tools that we use regularly.

ETA: THis giveaway has ended and comments are now closed. Congrats to our winner!



Who: Wallis
Role: Patternmaker
Tool: Fiskars Easy-Action Scissors

What is the tool/product?
I do a ton of sewing. These shears help to take a lot of the hassle out of cutting. Here are my favorite things about these scissors…

  • These shears spring open with every snip, taking half the work out of cutting.
  • These shears feature an offset handle (perfect for cutting fabric) and a special ergonomic design that make long hours of cutting way more comfortable.

  • The handle design also makes them interchangeable for right-handed and left-handed sewists.

How do you use it?

These are my go-to fabric shears. I cut everything from silk to knit with these workhorse shears.

Why do you love it?
When I was a production assistant right out of college at a small company, we didn’t have an automated hand-held rotary cutter. This meant cutting markers by hand with a pair of regular fabric shears. One of my coworkers discovered these scissors, and it drastically changed our production process. No more callouses or sore hands from cutting 8 hours a day!

(An added bonus, these scissors can be sharpened, just like most shears.)

What is your favorite cutting trick? Share below to win these life-changing shears. The winner will be announced on Friday at 8 am PST.

Wallis Smith-Owens   —  

Wallis creates the patterns for Colette and Seamwork magazine, which includes working with our lovely fit models.

Comments 271

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I usually use a rotary cutter and pattern weights but this can sometimes be tricky for intricate details

Tonia Jeffery

I like using a rotary knife, but I don’t have a very large cutting mat to be practical.


I love ALL my scissors, my extra large pressing ham, my variety of pins, and rulers. Notice the plural? Yep love ’em all :)

Heather Olaughlin

My rotary cutter is not the best. I have learned I have to apply more pressure to get a better cut. So because of this I do some hand and wrist stretches after a lot of cutting.

Wallis Smith-Owens

Sounds like you could use these shears!


Whenever I find myself having to press harder with my rotary cutter and/or it isn’t cutting that well, I try to remember to change the blade. (sometimes even when it feels like I *just* changed it – realized once it was a reasonably new blade, but had been cutting heavier fabrics, therefore dulled quickly)


These look awesome and are so clever! I’ve never tired spring-action shears, but I would love to.
What a great series you’ve started. Looking forward to future posts!


I’ve had these series for over ten years. They are sharp, and the best pair of scissors I’ve ever used.

Lisa Hunerlach

Those shears are very appealing! I find myself using a pair of Inspira Duck Bill appliqué scissors on nearly every project- to grade seam allowances without cutting my main fabric. Here’s a link to see them.®-4-5-Duck-Bill-Applique-Scissor

Amy Mayen

Those are my favorite scissors. I recently bought s very expensive pair of left handed fabric shears and found I like my Fiskars better. I sharpen mine from time to time and have used them for about 4 years now. I don’t really have any cutting “tricks” to share, but I love cutting with the little pink and purple fabric weights. Makes my life easy:) would love another pair of Fiskars!


I have two tools.
1. My cutting table. Since I’m relatively tall, bending over a standard cutting table for long periods hurt my back. I placed two standard desks together, and inserted their legs in the cardboard cylinders around which carpets are wrapped. The result is a sturdy 38″ high cutting table.
2. Fusible, tricot interfacing. I use it for interfacing, of course, and also for adding body to lightweight fabrics.


How very clever! I have a centre bench in my kitchen which is the right height for working at.


Cutting fabrics on… carpet :) They don’t shift there at all!


I do that too. I organized a cutting table with an expensive cutting board and I still prefer using the carpet. Of course, there are threads all over the place…


I have to say my only cutting trick is not original: using a small rotary cutter and a self-healing cutting mat. I read that tip in a blog post and it changed everything for me.

Though my pattern weights may be original: I use formerly-decorative glass paperweights I re-purposed. The glass started cracking, and so I covered all them all over in red duct-tape. They are just the right weight to keep the fabric and pattern from moving.

Vanessa Smith

I have two tips. Never cut paper with your fabric scissors. Paper dulls the blade. Also to keep little ones from using you fabric scissors to cut paper I tie a scrap of material around one of the handles and inform the kiddies that those are the scissors they cannot use. Vanessa Smith

Alice Elliot

Right on!!!!!

Brooke D

Not much of a trick, but I couldn’t live without my rotary cutter. Also, I finally started cutting out single layer. Changed my LIFE!!


I don’t think I have any crazy, new tips but when I cut “slippery” fabrics (silks, chiffon, lining material, etc.) I pin the two layers together. I always pin in the seam allowance so the pin holes don’t show.


Sometimes I find it helpful to use pattern weights on the extra fabric as well as the pattern piece I’m cutting. This holds the cutting point more taught, so slippery or lightweight fabrics move around less.


I heard about “duckbill” scissors on a few different sewing blogs and decided to give them a try. I love them for trimming seams and avoiding cutting though bottom layers. They also have an offset design, which lifts your cutting hand above the seam allowances/cutting area. I really love them!

I also love my crane thread snips. It brings a little more joy to the process to have such pretty little scissor to trim as I go.


One trick that is important for me is making sure I cut on my cutting table instead of the dining room table (which is bigger). I am tall so leaning over the dining room table is back breaking!


I always cut flat, it stops having fabric that moves against one another. I also cut out on the carpet which is more out of necessity than preference but it does stop the fabric sliding as the carpet pile grips the fabric.


I am learning to use a tiny rotary cutter for detail cuts and am really enjoying my increased accuracy. Thanks for the giveaway.

Amie M

Spread the entire fabric out and lightly steam it or mist it to lay flat. Use whatever you have on hand (books, toys, cats) to keep it still as you trace your pattern onto the fabric.


I’ve not mastered cutting with a rotary cutter for non-straight lines. I’m always paranoid about letting it get away from me & cutting into the fabric (where it shouldn’t be cut), so I still use scissors for my curvy cutting.


Not much of a trick, but I couldn’t live without my seam ripper … I have pretty fiskars fabric scissors, but I didn’t know these ones! They look great!

raquel from JC

I use very heavy washers from the homedepot or lowes to hold my paper patterns over the fabric. They are inexpensive.


I do this, and I like to spraypaint mine gold so they look more “store bought.” I’ve also seen some people do some interesting things decorating their washers with decoupage and washi tape, too.


What a neat idea! Thanks!


The scissors really look great! Is the give-away open internationally?

Wallis Smith-Owens

Yes it is, let us know your cutting tricks!


One trick I’ve learned online is to hold the scissors parallel to the fabric, not perpendicular as one usually does, when trimming seam allowances. Much smoother edges! I actually wonder if that is all there is to duck billed scissors as the bigger lower blade forces you to hold the shears quite parallel to the fabric…


Measure twice cut once a tip that works for everything sewing or home diy.

Keep separate scissors for paper and cloth. Lived by this and my scissors last for years without sharpening

Wallis Smith-Owens

Always important to keep paper and fabric scissors separate, and if you live in a household with others I suggest labeling them!


Once, my best friend and I went shopping and he bought something in a clamshell case. He came over to my house afterwards and started to cut it open using my sewing scissors – the only time I’ve ever raised my voice to him.

Janis Bowman

with husbands even labeling doesn’t work. he knows where there is always scissors so that is where he heads. i now have to hide my good fiskers in order to keep them from him.
i have even bought him his own pair and as usual he can’t find them when he wants them. i told him put them in the same place each time you won’t have that lost problem, like talking to a 2 year old. hiding is the only way to keep my fabric scissors.


I spray slippery fabric from end to end with fabric sizing. then I use a rotary cutter and mat to cut out patterns.
Thanks for the giveaway!


I enjoy collecting smooth rocks from memorable places and using those as my pattern weights. I also discovered that my IKEA glass table top is perfect for tracing patterns. I just shine a light or two under the table to create a light box effect.


When making alterations, I usually hand-baste important details together and leave them to hang overnight. This gives me some time to make sure everything is in place before cutting into the fabric and so I can make sure it’s going to hang correctly when it’s finished. I think I started doing that after reading the Colette hem guide!


I love my Fiskars small curved scissors for small and intricate cutting try make it so much easier.


My go-to scissors are some midsize ones made in Pakistan – sorry I can’t share more about them since there’s no brand name, but they were half the price of “fancier” scissors and they just fit my hand perfectly. But I should check out those easy-action scissors – I always thought they were not sharpenable, so I’ve been avoiding them. Good to know!


I love using my rotary cutter and pattern weights for cutting, and using my smaller 18mm rotary cutter for small details and sharp curves


I starch slippery fabric like silk or woolen georgette. It gets like cotton and cuts more easily, same for sewing. After finishing the garment, I wash the starch out.


I will never forget when a sewing teacher taught me to keep the scissors straight while cutting. Previously I would always cut at an angle without realizing it!


I’m a new sewer and I don’t think I have any good tricks! So far I mostly use a rotary cutter and am looking into getting some pattern weights. I do have some shears but the spring action on these seems super nice. Thanks for the chance to win!


I use the rotary cutter, works well to go through lots of fabrics. And many scissors as weights for the pattern instead of pinning.


I use weights to hold down my pattern instead of pins.


I wish that I would have mastered cutting by now! I use pattern weights and keep my fabric scissors separate from my paper scissors. When I use the rotary cutter, I have to divide my fabric in to pieces small enough for my mat, which sometimes causes waste.

I guess the best advance I made in cutting properly was tracing multi-sized pattern pieces onto Swedish pattern paper and cutting them before laying out.

Emily Kropp

These shears look amazing. I typically use a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, and my trick is to lay down a sheet of tissue paper for anything slippery – and to cut plaids flat, not folded, for a better chance of accurate stripe matching.

Wallis Smith-Owens

Definitely agree with cutting plaids flat!


I use a combination of shears and a rotary cutter and self healing mat. I usually just spread everything all over the floor and cut my pieces out that way.


I rarely draft my patterns with a seam allowances since I get cleaner, straighter cuts when using chalk markings as a guide rather than the paper edge. (Marking the seam allowances on the fabric also makes it easier to change the seam allowance after your own preferences.)

The only exception is with very slippery silks, like charmeuse, when one layer of silk and one layer of silk tissue paper do the trick.

And of course – sharpening the scissors every other year!


I cut fabric on the big farm table in our kitchen. It’s long enough to prevent the end of the fabric from being pulled down, causing distortion (a problem I had on the smaller table I used before).

I used to only use my rotary cutter for knits, but I find myself using it more and more often with lighter-weight wovens, as well. This is because of soreness and a noticeable knot I’ve developed on my index finger joint from scissor use. My mother and her mother (both seamstresses) have/had bumpy index fingers, as well, so I guess it was passed down to me, along with the desire to make lots of stuff, all of the time. haha.

I do sew quite a bit with wools and heavier wovens, so I still use my shears regularly. It sounds like this pair could really help with my joint issue!

Wallis Smith-Owens

These scissors definitely help with joint pain, they’re recommended for those who suffer from arthritis.


This may make me sound stupid, but my sewing really changed when I invested in a pair of sewing scissors that worked for left-handed people.
Before that I had used ordinary kitchen and paper scissors, because sewing scissors never worked for me.
(You know how at IKEA you have to cut your own fabric? Well I always end up asking strangers to cut my fabric, cause they just don’t work for me as a left-handed person!)
Ever since cutting has been such a breeze, it’s hard to believe I got by so many years without a proper pair of scissors!

Wallis Smith-Owens

Luckily being left handed isn’t an issue with these shears! My production manager was left handed and we would use the same pair.


My grandmother has spring action scissors, and honestly they scare me a little! I’m always afraid that I’ll cut something I’m not supposed to, like my hands or something :) Personally I use soup cans as pattern weights. Also, I cut everything on the floor, but that’s just because the table is covered with sewing machines and elastics !

Dorothy Cupka

Cutting everything flat has made a huge difference for me. I tried it the first time to make plaid matching easier, and I’m never going back to folded fabric! I also use random items from around the house as pattern weights.


I use a rotary cutter, but if the pattern is too big for my mat, I use scissors for the part that is hanging off the mat. I’ve been interested in getting some of these type of scissors, but since I don’t use my scissors much anymore, I haven’t bothered. It would be awesome to win one!


Most of the time I use my rotary cutter, especially with knits and slippery fabric. I feel it makes a cleaner cut. For sharp angles and such I still always use my fabric shears. What it always comes down to is that both need to be sharp – change the blade of the rotary cutter often and make sure to keep your shears sharp.


I use a big roll of transparent sketching paper for tracing patterns. I never cut into the original pattern. The sketching or architect’s paper is sturdier than regular tracing paper and very transparent and comes in multiple widths to fit your cutting table.


Scissors that have to be hidden away to make sure no one else’s uses them. I also have to stay strick to only use them for fabric and keeping them so very sharp!


I have found cutting the most stressful and lest favourite part of sewing! But I get by with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, embroidery scissors (tricky bits and notches) and fabric scissors. I think shears or fabric scissors are perfect for straight lines and the rotary cutter for curves. I tend to use fabric weights now (large washers from the hardware store) but slippery fabrics I use pins and weights.

Shannon P

I really love my dressmakers shears–but I have always seen the ladies at my local fabric store use these and they look awesome. I would love to be one of those people who cuts everything with a rotary cutter though-it seems faster.


I don’t have a cutting trick, I like making everything by the book, use a normal fabric shear and tons of pins. I feel that if I try to cut corners to speed up the process, something allways ends up misalined. Having a nicer shear might help though.


I find for slippery fabrics its easier to use a rotary cutter and weights. Nothing ground breaking! But thanks for the review of these sissors
I’m in the market for a new pair, and I love reviews!


My favourite cutting tool is the embroidery scissors I’ve have for (yikes!) about 45 years. Alas, my sewing scissors are nearly that old, and they are no longer charming!


I love my gingher titanium scissors


My favorite trick is to have my husband cut my stuff ?? He is an electrician and is so much better at it than me!


My best cutting tip is to save up all your cutting for a social sewing night. My local sewing store has open sew where you get full use of the studio machines and tools. They have maybe four tables that are all covered with massive cutting mats that I can usually get most of an entire project laid out at once. I cut, label the pieces and bag everything for several projects so I have no hunching or struggling when I get home and can just to the sewing when I’m home.

Shout out to Handcraft Workshop in Philly!

Wallis Smith-Owens

Great suggestion! Since my background is in production I try to sew “assembly line style” as frequently as possible, it’s much more efficient!


I always cut silk, satin and stretch fabrics as a single layer. I use rotary cutters for straight lines and scissors for curves, using plenty of pins on the curves.

Jo Horder

I use a rotary cutter for any jersey fabrics, and a trusty pair of fiskar scissors I’ve had since I was at St Martins. Bit of a struggle at the moment as I’m suffering from carpel tunnel with my second pregnacy ( 28 weeks) and trying to make some little dresses in preparation for her arrival! Spring scissors would be a help!


Working in a tiny apartment, my only cutting tricks are vacuuming the cat hair up before laying fabric out on the floor, and trying to keep the cat from leaping on the fabric and pulling it out of shape while I’m cutting!


Regular rotary and tiny rotary for sharp curves and corners!


I use a rotary cutter as well as Gingher serrated shears. Love both methods. The shears help with more detailed work. The only trick I can think of is to always cut with the pattern to the right of your hand. (Left for lefties). That way the fabric doesn’t lift while you cut and you get more accurate lines.

I don’t really know why many people say they don’t like cutting, but I rather enjoy it. And if I don’t win, I may get some scissors like yours anyway. :)

Wallis Smith-Owens

You won’t regret purchasing a pair for yourself! I’ll never go back to using regular shears.


I use a combination of a cutting mat, pattern weights, scissors and rotary cutter.


A few tips…I too find cutting the most stressful aspect of sewing, and so for this reason try to do no other sewing activity at the same session as cutting, and only do it when I feel fresh, rested, at ease, etc. (I work from remnants, so there isn’t any extra to cover a mistake) Fleece is best cut in a single layer, as is fake fur, and no fabrics should hang off of the cutting surface to avoid distortion. These tips are learned by (bad, but not tragic!) experience. Finally, I use weights, which are actually stainless steel disks that have magnets on the back. They were intended for use with a steel bulletin board, but I repurposed them. Collecting them after cutting the fabric is a breeze because they are attracted to each other. I just pass them close to each other and quickly have a single lump of weights to put away – easy peasy!

rhonna jerauld

my secret is to use a knockoff of these very scissors! love them. an extra pair couldn’t hurt, either!


I have 2 pairs of shears – one from Gingher and one from Merchant and Mills. I mostly use my Merchant and Mills shears these days, although I find both are very sharp and overall good to use. For lingerie I use my small rotary cutter, I find it is easier and more precise. I am interested in trying these out! I am always on the look out for new good tools!

Robbin Everett

My tip: I hide all of my cutting tools from my hubby! These shears look wonderful and they would help with my arthritis and hand fatigue.


Mine would definitely be the large sturdy pair my mom has hidden in a silky bag in the bottom drawer ….sorry mom, only for fabric these days, I promise!! :)


I love my pinking shears they are excellent for making rounded edges look neat and keep my cotton from fraying!

Cassie Barry

Pattern weights are a game-changer!


Mine is not a cutting trick, but I recently saw a set of battery operated scissors at a tag sale for fifty cents and brought them home to use a decoration. They look like they are from the 60’s or so. Just for the sake of trying them, I put batteries in and low and behold the are wonderful to use and do a nice job on cotton fabric, slicing sCleanly and smoothly. They were definitely a Win!

Wallis Smith-Owens

Wow, what an amazing find! Do they have any info such as a brand on them?


They only say Power-Cut with a registered trademark symbol on them, no other information. I was going to include a photo but can’t figure out how to add it to this comment. Photo on my Instagram account, sueann301

Wallis Smith-Owens

Those are so cute, love it!


I don’t have anywhere to cut at home so I bring my fabric etc to work and when everyone goes home I get to work on a big boardroom table. No one bothers me, I can cut a bunch of projects quickly without hurting my back AND the best bit is that I don’t have to vacuum up any loose thread mess because we have a cleaner coming in anyway!


Having more than one size of rotary cutter, plus buying a larger self-healing mat helped improve my cutting out skills no end! Also agree about the pinking shears for preventing fraying.


the dread of cutting used to put me off starting a new sewing project – ,my life changed when I got my rotary cutter and the biggest mat that I could find at the store.

One day my goal is to have a cutting table, but the floor for now. I keep telling myself I need to buy kneepads!

erin fae

I love my rotary mat and cutter. They seriously sped up my quilting but for garment sewing patterns, scissors are awesome

Jessica Dunlap

I saved up and bought a tall crafting table from Home Decorators (made by Martha Stewart) to cut patterns out on. At 5′ 9″ it saves my back stress, and has a lot of room the drawers to store sewing notions. I also use a washable embroidery transfer pencil to mark fabric instead of chalk or disappearing ink (which never seems to work for me).


Started using rotary cutters especially for knits. For straight edges I use my quilting rulers on top of pattern as guide when using the rotary cutters. They are clear so you can see thru therm and they keep the rotary cutter straight.


I use these bacon presses I find at thrift and vintage stores for pattern weights. They work great and the handles make them easy to pick up without moving the pattern on the fabric.


I use a set of pink-handled Singer comfort scissors or a massive self-healing cutting mat, multiple sizes of rotary cutters, and lots of cork-backed metal and clear plastic rulers.


Sharpen scissors beforehand!

Angie B.

Fir slippery fabric, I layer tissue paper in between.

Show and Tell Meg

I’m a big fan of a rotary cutter for knits, but I find that snips can come in handy for little wedge cutting- so much more precise than big shears. These look fun though :)


I have two tips: Find a table of the proper height so your back doesn’t hurt from bending over. And use a small padlock through the finger holes if necessary to protect your fabric scissors from the rest of the family!


Oh, but these look wonderful! I don’t have a very good cutting trick :-( I just go on the floor because I don’t have a cutting table and cut, cut, cut. But, if I had to give someone any advice, I would say get scissors that are sized appropriately to your hand. I have small hands and I last time I had to replace my scissors I went with a longer pair, based on reviews, and they are very difficult to maneuver! Thanks for the giveaway!


I love my fiscar scissors, they made cutting out patterns so much easier, for a lefty. a great find about 25 years ago and I love my rotary cutter. ?


I find what helps me most is having a cutting table I can move and walk around. I also have a few different scissors for fabrics.


I mostly use a rotary cutter to cut out my fabric. I use large washers from the hardware store as pattern weights. When I cut with scissors, I make sure the bottom blade stays in contact with the cutting surface (don’t lift scissors in the air while cutting!) And I keep my left hand (without scissors) immediately to the left of the blade, acting as an additional “pattern weight”. I currently use mundial scissors, but I’m open to trying these fiskars!


Hi love my small rotary cutter ! What a neat Giveaway ! Thanks for sharing !

Amy Seven-Stitches

I always store a pair of paper scissors along with my sewing scissors – it removes any temptation to use my fabric scissors for paper and means that anyone looking for scissors in my sewing kit, will find the paper ones too.

Katrina Garza

Fun new blog feature! would love to try something for cutting besides my ginghers. Love the ginghers but when I am on a cutting rampage with multiple pieces in production I do get a mite sore.

Wallis Smith-Owens

I used to use Gingher scissors too, but after using the Fiskars I can’t go back!


I love my rotary cutter, weights (washers), and rulers! I already just got some thread snips and dunt know why I didn’t get them years ago. If I’m cutting out multiples of the same thing, I stack them all up before cutting.

Tina L.

I’m a shears loyalist so when cutting garments I rarely use a rotary cutter (although I do use rotary pinking shears). I do prefer the rotary cutter when cutting multiple layers for quilting. My cutting tip is something we’ve likely heard before: carefully transfer the pattern onto your fabric then measure twice and cut once!


I use pattern weights. Half are large washers and other flat metal objects from the hardware store and the other half are little brass ducks!


I love cutting fabric flat. Achieving a perfect fold brings out all my worst ocd.


I finally succumbed a couple of years ago and bought a pair of left handed fa ric scissors. Good ones are awfully hard to find. It made a whole world of difference.


Using short bladed tailor shears for snipping in notches is a wonderful time saver for me. Only on fabrics dense enough to have to seam allowance notched, of course.

Annabel Rivera

I’m a relatively new sewist so I don’t have many tricks up my sleeve.. Yet! But I do like to weigh my fabric down with weights before cutting and I cut super slippery fabrics on the carpet floor! These scissors sound great and I feel like I soon need to invest in a good pair as my beginner scissors already feel like they are getting dull. I am always sure to only cut fabric with them. :)


I really like the clover clips, they have made a very big difference.


I started sewing when I was 5 and my grandma offered me my first pair of scissors from the French brand Bohin. It is my favorite tool because you always need it. I am now 31 and still use this pair but I need a more accurate pair because this one is getting old. I have never tried the Fiscar so it would be great to win them!


I run my scissors through the sharpener once or twice before I start cutting out a new project. I have Fiskars shears and invested in a Fiskars shear sharpener and I am very happy with my choice. Though it would be a delight to try these scissors, they sound amazing


Cheap or creative??? I use rocks to weigh down my fabric as I cut with shears. I nearly lost part of my left forefinger due to reckless rotary cutting. I learned my lesson the hard (and unsightly) way.


These scissors sound amazing! I do so much sewing, knitting, crocheting and other stuff that my hands get quite painy at times….

My trick is holding normal scissors at an angle for grading seams. I have duckbill scissors and quite like them, but for seams I want to really trim down, like collars and necklines, I don’t like them. I use normal shears, hold them at a sharp angle, and cut all the seam allowances in one go – you get automatic grading… trick taught to me by my aunt who learn her sewing before WWII :)

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