Friday, September 28, 2007

In the Pink (and Brown)

A recent topic on the Pattern Review message board about sharpening pinking shears detoured into a side discussion about how those who have pinking shears don't really use them anymore now that they use rotary cutters for cutting out patterns and sergers for finishing seams. Among other things, pinking shears are/were used when cutting out so that the raw edges of the seam allowances wouldn't fray.

I've never used pinking shears for cutting out in my recent sewing, although I do remember my mom using them so I probably did too when I was a kid. But I do use mine now on a regular basis for other tasks. And yes, my pinking shears are actually pink. I did that on purpose because I thought it was amusing at the time. These are Fiskars brand and cost about $35 when I bought them about 10 years ago. That was a lot of $$ to me then for a cutting implement since I didn't really sew at the time. I bought them for other fabric crafts. Anyway, they're still as sharp now as when new. I mention this because Fiskars get a bad rap in the PR discussion and not all Fiskars are cheapos. It's probably another case of different grades of a certain brand and getting what you pay for.

My pinking shears are always within reach so they're handy when I need them. One of my favorite uses for them is to clip curves. Instead of actually clipping or notching a curve with regular scissors/shears, I pink the curves close to the seamline (after pressing open). The seam allowance is then trimmed and notched in one step and getting the seam to lay flat after turning right sides out is a breeze because the pinked notches and narrow seam allowance remove all the bulk that can hamper a good, smooth curve.

I also use my pinking shears to grade seam allowances, as you can see in the photo below. In this instance the bulk of two pressed-open seam allowances on top of each other is better distributed, as I pinked this side and left the other side as is.

Here's the pic after turning. It's brown fabric so the detail is hidden, but I think you can see how smooth that inside curve is. The outside curve is still raw edges at this point.

What these pics show is the neckband for the Burda WOF top. After I cut out these pieces, I thunked my forehead when I realized I should've just cut them on the fold instead of with a center back seam since I'd already eliminated the back zipper and cut the print section on the fold. But I wasn't thinking. However, it worked out fine in spite of my brain lapse and cutting separate pieces actually uses less fabric and interfacing, so it might be better after all. Yeah, that's my story. ;-)

So far, it's looking good. I'll probably have to add a center front modesty panel like Sigrid did for her top as otherwise I think it will be too low-cut and I don't want to wear a cami underneath, like you're seeing here on Zillie. I'm looking forward to finishing this soon but I'll have to stop sewing until tomorrow as I'm off to the shower and then onto the Friday football duties.

Oh, Belinda asked in her comment from yesterday where I got this print. It was months ago from an Ebay vendor. Sorry! But it's poly so not your favorite anyway. ;-)


  1. I'm just back from a trip and am so glad to see you blogging again. You are an inspiration to me and I enjoy your non sewing posts too. Thought you were knee deep in doggy diapers. Hope your venture into non-selfemployeement goes smoothly.
    I too have an expensive and ancient pair of pinkers, I've never used them to cut out but are very useful for trimming as you point out.

  2. Debbie ~ it is really good to see you back blogging. I like the fabric you've chosen for your top and can't wait to see the finished product.

  3. Debbie
    Thank you for coming back to blog.
    I just can't keep mine up hard as I try.
    I am so happy to see you give pinking shears props. I also use them to grade and clip curves such a time saver. Your top looks so pretty. Welcome back

  4. I have used pinking shears for trimming and notching curves (any anything that will be turned inside out, really) for many years. My pair are Wiss that I purchased in the 60's when I was in college. I think they might need to be replaced. I'm looking at Ginghers or the Fiskars but can't decide.

  5. I like that tip about using pinking shears to grade. I hadn't thought of doing that. D'oh! I bought a Gingher pair not too long ago, as my 40 year old Wiss ones wouldn't sharpen any more.

    I'm curious as to why you don't want to wear a cami with your new top.

  6. Looking good! Really nice fabric.

  7. Can't wait to see the finished top. And I'm happy to be able to come back to one of my favorite blogs and read new stuff - whether it's sewing or auto mechanics - it's all good.

  8. I've missed you ! Glad to have you back among the sewers again!


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