The hubby and I were working on our newest cosplay (Inuyasha from the anime Inuyasha, if yall were interested), and we were having fun trying out our newest pair of Fiskars RazorEdge fabric shears. The scissors are crazy sharp and a breeze to work with, and this sparked an interesting discussion on, as we will hereafter refer to it in hushed, conspiratorial tones: The Fabric Scissors and Paper Debate.
If you are a crafter, cosplayer or seamstress or KNOW a crafter, cosplayer or seamstress, then you have surely had your life threatened at scissor blade point (or have done the threatening yourself) once fabric shears come anywhere into cutting proximity of paper.
While I have heard horror stories of fabric scissors being used on wires, cans, pennies, etc., the usual culprit that sparks household wars – that mortal enemy and bitter foe of fabric shears… is PAPER. Evil, devilish paper.
The debate goes a little something like this:
Crafters say that paper blunts scissors, and are therefore a deadly sin.
Non-crafters say nope, and then proceed to cut out paper snowflake chains with your fabric scissors while you faint / attack / file divorce papers.
I am lucky to be married to a fellow costumer / cosplayer who knows his way around a sewing machine (nothing manlier, btw), so this debate has never really been an issue in our home. But I love hearing about the delicious scissor drama among my cosplay friends! If you haven’t been lucky enough to see the fabric scissors memes floating around the interwebs (which means you haven’t lived!) then I shall grace you with some of my favorites:
Now, back to our fabric scissors and paper argument above. Who is right in this debate? Are the cosplayers just crazy? Well, scratch that. Let me rephrase. Are the cosplayers crazy AND right? Or are we just getting all worked up for nothing? Is the paper issue just an urban myth? (One wonders if perhaps seamstresses of old simply passed on this mantra to stop the family endlessly borrowing their sewing scissors…)
I scoured the interwebs for some solid answers to this question. Heres the hardest, science based evidence I could find in support of the paper being verboten on fabric shears argument.
Paper WILL indeed harm your fabric shears BECAUSE:
There are minerals in ALL paper products that are extremely abrasive and will dull razor sharp fabric scissors.
The four popular minerals used in paper filling and coating are: kaolin clay, calcium carbonate (available as ground or precipitated), titanium dioxide and talc. These minerals are there to make the paper stiff, to adjust the absorption of inks, to keep the paper hard when it is wet (wet strength), and as a filler. Both titanium dioxide and talc are used in small quantities for special applications where extreme whiteness and opacity, or pitch control are required.
But the bottom line is, the workhorse minerals employed in the paper industry today are precipitated and ground calcium carbonates and kaolin clay. Heres how these minerals measure up on the Mohs Hardness Scale. (*puts on sexy science lab teacher hat* The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a qualitative ordinal scale which characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. See me after class. Wink wink! *slowly and provocatively removes sexy science lab teacher hat*)
Barium Sulfate and Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (typical fillers) have a Mohs-Hardness of ~3.0.
Titanium Dioxide (used to increase opacity & brightness) has a hardness of ~5.75.
A copper penny has a hardness of ~3.2.
(The progression from 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale reflects an increase in hardness of approximately 25 percent.)
So the science has spoken my friends! While all scissors become dull with regular use over time, paper is just not the best friend of your sharpest fabric shears. They are slow, torturous murder of fabric shears, requiring that you replace or sharpen them far more often than if you joined the fabric only purists camp.
And every crafter knows that there is nothing more frustrating and tiring to your hand than using dull scissors. Not only are they a pain in the butt to work with, but non-sharp scissors can damage fabric and your accuracy will be negatively affected if the scissors are trying to chew through the fabric rather than cut through it.
Since super sharp scissors are a must, allow me to blurb a bit about our new cosplaying fabric shears:
Fiskars RazorEdge Tabletop Fabric Shears
We recently received these premium fabric shears for review, (CLICK HERE to view the product on Amazon!) and we were insanely excited to try them out ASAP. For those of you who don’t know, Fiskars are a well known and trusted brand, whose signature bright orange handles in the sewing tools aisle of fabric and hobby stores set off a Pavlovs dogs type reaction in crafters, making them salivate for new projects at just the sight of these iconic orange shears.
I have personally never used flat tabletop shears before (because apparently I like doing things the hard way???) and we are thrilled with their ease of use. These scissors feature ultra-sharp blades and a unique offset handle design for accurate tabletop cutting, which is simply a must when you are working in a small tabletop work space like mine. My sewing table is quite literally an old Ikea glass top desk shoved into the corner of my office, requiring Holmes-level mystery solving to accomplish most common tasks. Like cutting fabric. Or measuring fabric. Or doing anything with fabric, really.
Overall, these are perfect general use fabric scissors, good for a wide range of sewing tasks. The Fiskars razor edge they advertise on the packages these shears come in are basically premium-grade, stainless-steel razor edge blades precision honed to an ultra-sharp edge to make sure every cut is crisp and clean, offering mistake-fee cutting precision.
I especially like that the unique handle shape lets you lay fabric flat and minimizes lifting while you cut fabric, while the ergonomic handle design provides comfort and control, even for larger hands like my husbands.
The blades are so sharp that cutting any fabric – from sheer rayon to heavy duty wool suiting – is smooth and effortless.
We are almost completely done with Jonathans Inuyasha cosplay… just need to tweak some aspects here and there (sew down the decorative ribbon trim on the sleeves, maybe make the waist tie bigger and more bow-like in appearance, etc.) and then we will be moving on to working on my Kagome costume, and the kids Shippo costumes.
I am super happy with these scissors, and feeling really good about how this costume is turning out! Cant wait to get started on the rest!
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me initiating contact and incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]
So share below (and be honest!).. where do you fall on the great Fabric Scissor and Paper Debate?
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