To the dedicated sewist, nothing strikes more fear into the heart than the question, “Hey, can I borrow your fabric scissors?” Well, maybe the sound of your sewing machine needle breaking, or your feed dogs eating up your fabric. But you get the general idea.
In my household, the explicit rule is that if you take, borrow, or touch my fabric scissors, you die. Not by me stabbing you with them, of course, because that could dull the blade, but by some other long, torturous method involving lots of passive aggression and impalement. Luckily, no one has ever tested my resolve and all of my family members are alive and well (for now).
On the surface, it’s a pretty simple, straightforward issue: quality fabric scissors or dressmaker shears are expensive, and they’re sharper than the regular kitchen-drawer scissors used for cutting paper. Using them for cutting something other than fabric dulls the blade, eventually making them saw your designer fabric uselessly until they’re professionally sharpened. But due to convenience, accessibility, or innocent ignorance, your friends and family members most likely do not understand this distinction. Nancy Zieman actually placed hers in the freezer in a box marked “Chicken Livers” to keep them safe. These are the lengths we go to.
But I contend that there’s another reason we tend to be a bit possessive of our fabric scissors (or rotary cutters or sewing machines or fancy schmancy irons): they’re OURS. If I dropped $50 on a pair of Gingher dressmaker shears, or several hundred bucks on hand-forged heirloom scissors from France with decorative handle (someday!), I did it for me. As a spouse and parent, very little is mine and mine alone. My husband and I are a team, which means that sometimes he drinks the last Diet Coke or I eat the last protein bar. We share a household, and that’s how it goes. My four-year-old raids my nail polish drawer and jewelry box, often to disastrous results. I have trouble finding time to visit the bathroom by myself, let alone time to sew. LET ME HAVE MY SCISSORS, DAMMIT. They’re MINE MINE MINE.
To solve this problem, I have created a handy flowchart that may be printed out and placed near the place where you keep your scissors. Encourage your loved ones to read it and determine whether they qualify for scissor-borrowing privileges. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, but with more potential for maiming! You’re welcome.
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