What Are Pinking Shears And How To Use Them?

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Pinking shears are special shears with zig-zag shaped blades. Their purpose is to create decorative seam finishes or hems of non-woven fabric (see the images below).

This post will answer these questions:

Pinking shears.
Blade of pinking shears.

How to cut with pinking shears?

There is nothing special about using these shears. If you decide to use these, you just cut the fabric the same way as with classic shears.

Cutting cotton jersey fabric with pinking shears.

Can cut woven fabric with these shears?

Yes, you can, but the fabric will fray anyway as pinking does not prevent woven fabrics from fraying. It does not really matter whether you cut the fabric on the length grain, cross grain or bias (see the images and scheme below).

Woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the length grain.
Woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the bias.
Scheme of woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the length grain.
Scheme of woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the bias.

How to finish edges of woven fabric?

You can use this method to finish edges on firmly woven fabric that does not fray too badly in the following way:

Stitch along the fabric about 0,5 cm (about 1/4 inch) from its edge (see the image below).

Stitches along seam allowance before pinking.

Pink along these stitches (see the image below).

Stitches along seam allowance before pinking.

The edges of the fabric pieces should look like this (see the image below):

Pinked edges of fabric.

Sew the pattern pieces with finished edges together and press the seams open. The result is nice and flat (see the image below). However, I do not recommend to apply this method for loosely woven fabrics.

Fabric pieces with stitching and pinking sewn together and seams pressed open.

How to finish edges of knit fabric?

Use pinking if you want to create decorative seam finishes or hems of non-woven fabrics. These fabrics do not fray even if they are cut straight. Therefore, cutting them with these ‘special’ shears has a purely decorative purpose. In the image below, you can see a scrap of knit cotton jersey fabric cut with both classic and with pinking shears. There are no frays on either side of the cloth.

Fabric pieces with stitching and pinking sewn together and seams pressed open.

Conclusion:

Pinging shears use? Why not? Yet, do not have false expectations and only use when it makes sense.

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