How to sharpen scissors and other sewing tools

how to sharpen scissors

Hi Vicky here.  Sharpening scissors is a subject dear to my own heart. I am not the tidiest of people so over the years I have gained a few pairs of sewing scissors (whilst the original pair were lost somewhere in the sewing room!). Everyone knows that sewing scissors should only be used for fabric but I cannot guarantee my children have not borrowed them for paper….

The end result is three pairs of dull scissors, perfect for researching how to sharpen your sewing scissors. I tried three different methods of sharpening your sewing scissors yourself at home.  How would each of these methods work out?

How to sharpen scissors

1. Cutting through foil:

Fold several layers of foil. I folded the foil so I had six layers. Cut smoothly through the foil ensuring all the blade touches the foil with each cut. Repeat several times, check the sharpness of scissors and repeat if need be.

how to sharpen scissors

2. Cutting through sandpaper:

Fold your sandpaper in half, rough sides outwards so that as you cut the rough sides meet the blades.

how to sharpen scissors

3. Cutting through steel wool:

I used one of these pot cleaners and cut through it over and over. It was gentle enough to still sharpen but not actually cause damage and create a lot of very nasty sharp pieces of metal.  Take care if using something more harsh or metallic such as one of the older style original Brillo pads.

how to sharpen scissors

The results

I found them all equally effective, although the steel wool was decidedly messy in comparison to the other methods. Plus to my surprise, all three methods dealt with the odd notch caused by accidentally cutting into pins.

Sharpening other tools

So how about your rotary cutter? Cut through layers of foil (on your cutting mat!) several times over.  Same principle as with your sewing scissors – it worked for me and certainly gave me a little extra life in an otherwise dull blade.

how to sharpen scissors

And your pins and needles? Researching this post led me to Emery for pincushions.

how to sharpen scissors

Fill your handmade pin cushion with this powdered emery to sharpen your pins as you use them.

how to sharpen scissors

If you would like to see a step by step tutorial for the emery pincushion pop over to my blog.

How do you sharpen your sewing tools? Do you have a preferred method?

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I’m Vicky from vickymyerscreations. I learnt to sew through school, and was blessed as a child to have adults who nurtured my creativity. I love sewing, for others and for myself, and exploring other textile related crafts. See more on twitter, facebook and pinterest.

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78 Responses to How to sharpen scissors and other sewing tools

  1. Arlene Burke says:

    If they tell you to cut only fabric with your scissors why would you cut foil, Brillo and nut shells?? Think about it, it doesn’t Make any sense. You buy cheap ones for cutting paper and invest in a really good pair for fabric. When they start to feel dull go to Joann’s when they have a guy who will sharpen them for you. Not cheap but good!!

  2. ruby newman says:

    I make pin cushions for gifts and fund raisers, and stuff them with a little bag filled with crushed nut shells ( almonds I think) You bay a big of it at the pet store, reptiles like it apparently for bedding etc. Cheap and good.

  3. Vickie says:

    I found sharpening scissors by cutting aluminum foil to work very well on the less expensive scissors. I would not suggest using it on your very expensive shears.

  4. Barbara Vandewalle says:

    Would cutting through foil work for knives?

  5. Nellie Teo says:

    Cut through tin foil. It work very well.

  6. Sacky says:

    This awesome ..kind a big help for idea love it…thank you so much for sharing us

  7. Julia D says:

    So Sew Easy, Thank you for this scissors sharping tip ; D Your tip saved me replacing 4 pair of scissors. you are on my board Good to Know.

  8. Carol Salisbury says:

    Thanks for these tips. I have purchased many scissors sharpeners both expensive and not so expensive. Nothing has worked especially on the tips of the scissors. I am very anxious to try these tips.

    • Nancy says:

      I recently purchased the emery online through Was reasonably priced and could be picked up in the store with free shipping.

  9. Jane says:

    I will look again for the emery powder if that is all that is available. My old pincushions had large sand-like pieces of emery that worked quite well.
    I looked in Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, Most chapel’s, and A.C. Moore because those are the stores I think of. There are two(?) Sewing/fabric stores I could check. Where do you suggest I look for the emery?
    Thank you for your insight and I formation.

  10. Lovinah says:

    Thanks a lot Vicky

  11. stuart glass says:

    Thanks for your tip about foil to sharpen hairdressing scissors, my partner will now cut my hair again!!

    Very good and helpful website.

  12. Kham says:

    Good and save money

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