Susie’s Home Ec
>> Susie Bright is an amateur dressmaker and a professional writer.
She blogs at susiebright.com.
The Bleeding Edge
There is no more important tool in a What’s an effective scissor test? Try this: Take
sewing basket than a fine pair of shears. four layers of cloth, and make a cut. It should
You can find thread anywhere, or settle be clean, and slash straight through to the very
for a ball of twine. You can hand-sew the rest tips of the blades. Think surgical. It should fit
of your life without a machine. But you cannot comfortably and light enough in your hand that
cut cloth or slash to a perfect point with a butter you could cut out Cinderella’s ball gown without
knife or your greasy thumbs. getting a cramp. It should cut leather easily.
One perfect pair of scissors is not enough, And a lock-nut assembly for easy readjustment
either — you need a brood. (No left-handed person of tension is essential.
need be abandoned, either — it’s a well-deserved If diamond-sharp shears are a girl’s best friend,
speciality.) Cost is beside the point when it comes the Harry Winston of a dressmaker’s dreams is
to shears. Sell plasma if you need to. Start think- the Gingher line of blades, shears, and nippers
ing like an “Assassin to the Cloth.” If you can't ( gingher.com).
cut out a design to your satisfaction, your sewing I wear their 8" Tailor’s Points around my neck
career is screwed. Big, little, serrated, rotary, — the “points” mean that even the very tips of the
pinking — even the Swiss Army should be part blades will slice a perfect cut. Perhaps the most
of your repertoire. extraordinary thing about Gingher is that they
I’m not kidding about the last item. The two offer a lifetime guarantee, and they will recondi-
most important family firms in Switzerland, in tion your blades to perfect condition for the rest
my estimation, are Bernina and Wenger, and this of their lives, if you mail them with a mere $7.50
past year they made a 111th Anniversary Jubilee fee to their “tuners” in Greensboro, N.C.
tool, which they call a “Lady’s Knife.” Ha! It’s a I’ve interviewed sewing teachers and purchasers
complete sewing kit in a pocketknife format, from the finest fashion schools in the country, and
with 17 different tools including a special rotary every one of them seemed to have a precious trove
knife, awl, and hem-measure. This sucker will of decades-old Ginghers that they send in, every
never get past airport security, and yet, obviously few years, for regular “tuning.”
every passenger should be carrying one. The tools Whether you’re a “lady,” or a foul-mouthed
it employs could get you out of any and all bricoleur, you’ll crave a pair of shears that make
scrapes imaginable. you sing while you slice. The pangs of global
Next, you must cultivate a sharpener. Like a capitalism may be nipping at the heels of good
lover. This is the person who keeps your shears craftsmanship elsewhere, but with a little hunting,
braced for a lifetime. See him often. Dedicate your there’s a gleaming pair of nippers with your name
life to him. Are there “lady” sharpeners who live on it. ×
in rolling caravans with their tools? I’d love to