Zambia Design Academy Post #2

May 22

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m preparing (and super excited!) to go to Zambia to vist Esther’s Needs Care Center and spend a few days training ladies in the sewing program (you can read about that here.)

Scissors, scissors and more scissors… Esther mentioned to me that good quality scissors are hard to come by, so I thought it would be great to collect some to give to the co-op. (Hopefully this isn’t a red flag as my checked bag goes through the aiport!) I have some basic stainless steel scissors that can be sharpened,  some tiny embroidery scissors (my favorite, I use these all the time!),  some pinking sheers, and a few pairs of “lefty” scissors too. I think this is a good collection of basic sewing scissors and should work well for their program :)

I thought it’d be great to put together a list of tips for the proper care of scissors, so that they will last as long as possible. I’d love your help in putting that list together!

Please share your thoughts in the comments below :) I’m going to put them all into a PDF and have it printed for her to have in their sewing room…



  1. Using your scissors only for cutting out fabric is very important. It keeps your scissors sharp.

  2. Becky McCabe /

    If they sew with polyester fabric mark some scissors for just that fabric as it is harder on scissors. Especially fleece.

  3. Teri /

    Be careful not to hit pins when you cut,…. or to drop your scissors, these can result in damaging the alignment of your scissors and/or nick your blades or even cause the tips to break. Store scissors where they will not fall and pin away from the cutting area of your fabric to keep pins from getting in the way of your scissors.

  4. Rebecca /

    Yes, absolutely don’t use scissors used for cutting fabric for other things. Specify paper cutting scissors just for paper. If cutting leather, just use ones for leather. A good pair of craft scissors like the spring type from Fiskars should be reserved for cutting mesh. But they won’t be good for cutting fabric anymore.

  5. Scissors! A bone of contention in my house… everyone wanted the good, sharp scissors: ie. mine.
    So I stocked up on dollar store scissors. Every desk, the kitchen knife drawer, the laundry room, the garden tool cupboard…. all have scissors at hand. I keep mine in the sewing room and woe betide the brave soul who ‘borrows’ them. :)

  6. Use colored tape to mark the handle so you know which pairs are for which types of material (fleece, leather, mesh tule). Avoid hitting pins

  7. Amber Fuller /

    Wow, excited to hear about your trip to Zambia to help with their sewing. Have a great trip.

  8. Teach every member of your household not to ever touch your sewing scissors.

  9. Great idea Cinnamon! My tip would be for the ladies to make little cases to store their scissors in when they are not in use. This will also help protect the scissors and their tips from getting damaged while they are in storage whether it be a container (especially if they store them with the tips of the scissors facing down) or in a drawer or shelf.

    Another item you might want to consider adding is a couple of rotary cutters. Especially the small ones as I find these are great for accurately cutting out dolls patterns as you can easily get around all the tiny curves for the armhole and necklines.

    I sure do hope all these scissors don’t raise a red flag for you at the airport. Might be worth checking with customs just to be sure as the last thing you would want is to have the confiscated from you.

    Loving these updates about your trip :) I’m sure they are all getting so excited and can’t wait to see and meet you!

  10. Patricia Armbruster /

    Old scissors may seem stiff; a tiny drop of oil in the “screw” area will make them usable again.

  11. It is true: “Iron sharpens iron.” While on a mission trip, with only a dull pair of “orange-handled” scissors to work with, I decided to draw the blades (as if cutting)a few times across the metal part of a large screw driver that was on hand. Amazingly, it worked and the blades were sharpened. I suppose that any metal would work, even a table knife. Just be sure to draw the blades in only one direction. In a remote area where sharpening is not availzble, try this.

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