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Left-handed vs Right-handed Shears

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Right and left shearsCan you spot the difference between these shears?

I’ll give you a minute….

Time’s up! The blades are switched – on the left-handed pair, the left blade points up and the right points down. On the right-handed pair, it’s reversed – the right blade points up.

I’m a leftie, and I used right-handed shears for many years because I didn’t even know that leftie shears existed.

After all, normal scissors that are labeled “right-handed” have a weird grip that cuts into my thumb when I try to use them. However, my shears have the same grip as “universal” scissors, so they must be good for everyone, right?

Actually, having the right shears makes it much easier to cut accurately. As you can see, when I use the left-handed shears, the blade closest to me is under the fabric and I have a clear view of exactly where both blades meet as the cut the fabric.Cutting fabric with left-handed shears vs right-handed shears

When I use the right-handed shears, the top blade is closest to me. I can only see the outer edge of that blade. Since the blade is about and 1/8 inch thick, I can’t see what I’m cutting – I see what’s  1/8 inch from that. Not very accurate!

To get a better view of what I’m doing with right-handed shears, I usually end up standing up and peering over the shears.Cant see what I'm cuttingNow I can see what I’m cutting, but I’m focusing on my scrap fabric, not the pattern piece. This means that my scrap fabric will be the most smoothly cut, and the pattern piece is more likely to have unwanted snips and hacks in it. Not ideal!

It’s not impossible to cut with the wrong shears, but in my experience, having the correct shears really does make a difference in cutting patterns accurately. As I mentioned in the article about cutting the lines completely off of your patterns, being off by just 1/8 inch on every piece adds up and can significantly change the fit.

Did you know that there were right-handed and left-handed shears? Check your blades –  have you been using the correct pair?



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