Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Harriet's Dovo 3 1/2" Hardanger Embroidery Scissors, from Sassy2Stitch
Lately I've been obsessed with scissors.  Not the little plastic kind the kids use, not the ones from Office Depot that I use to open packages -- I've been searching for embroidery scissors.

What are embroidery scissors, you may ask?  Well, they are about 4" long, and they have long, thin, razor-sharp points that enable you to clip fabric very precisely, with single-thread accuracy.  This is very important for clipping concave curves and inside points of applique shapes, because if your clip goes too deep your applique shape will fray, but if it doesn't go deep enough, you won't be able to get a sharp inside point. 

Dovo 6" Stork Embroidery scissors available here from Sassy2Stitch
I began by hunting for Dovo Solingen embroidery scissors, a German brand that I've heard lots of Serious Quilters raving about, (including Harriet Hargrave, whose machine applique class I was fortunate to take last month).   However, if I'm going to pay $50 or more for a 4" pair of scissors, it's not enough that they are meticulously crafted and perform flawlessly.  They must also be beautiful!  Dovo has some fancier embroidery scissors, like the Stork scissors at left.  Hmmm...  There are too many knock-off versions of the stork scissors for my taste.  I want something special, that I don't see everywhere.  I kind of like the Scalloped embroidery scissors (below), but the scissor blades look a little squattier to me, not as thin as the others:

Dovo 3 1/2" Scalloped Embroidery Scissors, available here from Sassy2Stitch
Soon, however, I stumbled upon Sajou, a line of French scissors that are entirely handmade in small ateliers near Versailles.  My favorites are their historical reissue designs:

Sajou Langres 4" Embroidery Scissors

Ooh la la!  Look at the cute little embroidered twill label!  Look at the darling little BOX!  Are you swooning?  If not, you would be if I told you how expensive they are.  It will suffice to say that Sajou scissors make the Dovos look like an economical option.  But I'm remembering all of the breathtaking vintage and antique embroidered textiles I saw at the Marche aux Puces in Paris -- can't you just imagine that the embroiderers who created such beauty might have been using beautifully made tools like these?

Embroidered Detail of Early 18th Century MAN'S Jacket

Vintage Embroidered Collar Spied at the Paris Flea Market in 2011

I am convinced that I could easily execute exquisite embroideries like those, if only I had a pair of lovely, decadent Sajou scissors in my sewing basket.  Sajou even has an Eiffel Tower embroidery scissors, a reissue from the late 19th century: 

Sajou Eiffel Tower Embroidery Scissors
No, I didn't buy the Sajou scissors... yet.  As gorgeous as they are, and as seductive as their fancy French pedigree may be, I don't know anyone who uses them and I have never seen them in person.  Next time I get to Paris, I will definitely seek them out.  After all, when you're on vacation and you're shopping with Euros, it's kind of like Monopoly money and it doesn't really count.  Or so I tell myself.

So, what did I end up ordering?  I went with the Dovos, just not the plain ones:

Dovo 3 1/2" Embroidery Scissors, Coming Soon to a Mailbox Near Me, available here from Sassy2Stitch

I also ordered a second pair of rounded tip Dovo embroidery scissors for trimming away the backing fabric behind my applique shapes.  I already have one of those unwieldy Gingher "duckbilled" applique scissors, but that big old duck bill gets in my way and makes me feel like I'm trimming with a lawn mower or a hatchet.

Dovo Rounded Tip Embroidery Scissors, Also Headed My Way and available here from Sassy2Stitch

I also ordered this pretty beaded scissor chatelaine, basically a fancy-yet-functional necklace for keeping track of my scissors and needle threader when I'm wandering around town with my little hand sewing projects, which I seem to be doing more and more often lately:

Scissor Chatelaine, Because I'm Fancy, available here from Sassy2Stitch

Incidentally, Jenny the Quilt Skipper must have a spy cam in my office.  Her Scissor Lust post appeared today, just as I'm impatiently awaiting my own package of scissorlicious lovelies. 

Do you have a favorite pair of scissors?


Jenny K. Lyon said...

WOW-we are on the same page! How dare you find scissors that make Dovo's look pedestrian! I had never heard of Sajou's before and boy they are priced like jewelry. What lovely selections you made for your collection-enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Grace - I don't do anything by hand so those gorgeous scissors would be wasted on me, BUT those photos you posted of embroidery on antique French garments just about made me pass out! Beyond beautiful! Thanks for sharing them. Claudia W

Anonymous said...

And one more pair for you to try: Paula Reids Batt snips! Love them.

Jackie's Stitches said...

Love, love, love Dovo scissors. I have the top pair in black and the very tips are super sharp. I had a silver pair that was gifted to me by my husband but they've been a "safe" place for several years. I got the black ones to replace them, hopeful that I'll find them.

Unfortunately, I do know a few people who own Sajou scissors and many who own Dovo. I've limited myself so far to just the one pair. Though I do have an applique pair that has the duckbill on one side and the sharp point on the other. I don't want to be a collector!

Bethany said...

LOVE my Dovo scissors and those Sajou's are gorgeous. Needlework/sewing used to be an art and the needles, scissors, and other items were made beautifully. Now they are considered nothing but tools and boring. Even sewing machines were decorated beautifully.