What Are Pinking Shears And How To Use Them?

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 tutorial will answer these questions:

Pinking shears.
Pinking shears.
Pinking shears blades.
Pinking shears blades.

How to cut with pinking shears?

There is nothing special about using pinking 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.
Cutting cotton jersey fabric with pinking shears.

Can I use pinking shears to cut woven fabric?

Yes, you can, but the fabric will fray anyway as using pinking shears only 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 cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the grain line.
Woven cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the grain line.
Woven cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the bias.
Woven cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the bias.
Scheme of woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the length grain.
Woven cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the grain line.
Scheme of woven fabric cut with piking sheers on the bias.
Woven cotton fabric cut with pinking shears on the bias.

How to finish edges of woven fabric with pinking shears?

You can use pinking shears 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.
Stitches along the seam allowance before pinking..

Then cut along these stitches with pinking shears (see the image below).

Pinking the edge of the fabric with pinking shears.
Pinking the edge of the fabric with pinking shears.

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

Pinked edges of fabric.
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.
Fabric pieces with stitching and pinking sewn together and seams pressed open.

How to finish edges of knit fabric with pinking shears?

Use pinking shears 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 pinking 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.

Cut cotton jersey fabric with straight and pinking shears.
Cut cotton jersey fabric with straight and pinking shears.

Conclusion: What Are Pinking Shears And How Yo Use Them?

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

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