Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Scissors by Premax


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Though I’ve often asserted I’m not a “collector” of scissors or other needlework tools, fact is – I have quite a collection! What a paradox, eh?

Ah, but I don’t collect these things simply because I want to collect. Rather, I acquire them so that I can know what other people are talking about, using and recommending. This helps me make recommendations with greater confidence. Hopefully, these recommendations will, in turn, help you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s just a good excuse, right?!

Since our last little discussion on embroidery scissors, when I showed you a pair of bad little embroidery scissors, I’ve gotten my paws on two brands of embroidery scissors that are new to me, but that were recommended by readers. Today, I’d like to show you one of them – I like these scissors very much, and I think they’re an affordable option for a good pair of embroidery scissors.

Premax Embroidery Scissors

Premax ring-lock embroidery scissors are made in Italy. This particular pair is about 3.5″ long.

Premax Embroidery Scissors

Apparently, this “ring-lock” system sported by this line of Premax scissors is supposed to keep the blades stable and set precisely for life, while giving professional sharpeners-cleaners-grinders the ability to take the blades apart, do their jobs, and put them back together with exact precision. I don’t really know about any of that. But there is one reason I like the ring-lock system….

Premax Embroidery Scissors

I like the ring-lock system, because it makes my scissors look like they have big pink googly eyes. It gives them personality.

Yep. I’m so superficial!

Does the ring-lock system work, and does it make the scissors any better than other good scissors? I really can’t vouch for it – I haven’t had the scissors long enough to notice any difference because of the ring-lock.

Pros of the Premax Ring-Lock Embroidery Scissors

While the idea of the ring-lock system on the scissors is not a “sell point” for me, what I do know about the scissors now that I’ve been using them for a while is enough to sell me on them:

1. They are sharp. (Sharp-sharp.)
2. The blades are small and precise.
3. They feel good in the hands – they have a good, balanced weight to them.
4. They have a super-smooth cutting motion – there’s not tick or catch when cutting. (In this regard, they feel like my Dovo scissors).
5. The finger holes are comfortable.
6. I like the finish (a matte brushed finish, rather than shiny, plated finish).

Premax Embroidery Scissors

It’s true that this particular pair of Premax scissors is not beautiful to behold – it doesn’t look like some delicate piece of sliver finery or anything like that – but when it comes to scissors, function is at the top of the list for me. I don’t much care for pretty scissors that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. And I don’t much care if my scissors are really ugly, if they do their job well.

Good Embroidery Scissors that are Affordable

Finally, these are good scissors that are more affordable than Dovo and similar scissors. They run anywhere from $25 – $33 a pair, depending on where you get them. I got mine from Anita’s Little Stitches, where she happens to have them on sale for $24.50 right now.

Now, just a note: I’ve not tried other Premax scissors. They have a huge line of options for embroidery scissors: decorative handles, 18th century reproductions, and so forth. I’ve not tried any of those, so I can’t really vouch for them, as far as the feel, the mechanical workings, the sharpness of the blades, etc. I can only vouch for the one pair that I do have – it’s a terrific little pair of scissors!

What’s Your Criteria for Embroidery Scissors?

Incidentally, what do you look for in a pair of embroidery scissors, that makes you consider them good? Are you a “connoisseur” of scissors, with a particular set of criteria by which you judge them, or do you just want a pair that does its job: it cuts thread, and that’s all that matters? Do you lean towards attractive scissors? Or does functional fill the entire bill for you? Or do you want a combination of attractive and functional? How do you judge a good pair of scissors? What draws you to them? Feel free to tell by leaving a comment below – your insights may very well help others select their own scissors with care!


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(33) Comments

  1. I like scissors that are visually appealing, but I much prefer a pair of embroidery scissors that are very sharp and cut properly..I won’t use scissors that are dull or don’t cut with the first snip..I try and have more than one pair around since I use them for cutting when I do applique as well.

  2. I sort of collect scissors. I don’t do a lot of work that require precision snipping, but I generally like my scissors to have pointy tips.

    I do place a lot of emphasis on what they look like. I like the Gingher designer scissors a lot, but my latest purchase is one of the handmade scissors from the man in France, purchased through The French Needle. You featured a set on your blog a few months ago. They are absolutely lovely!

    I’ve also become enamoured with what are known as Itty-Bitty scissors. They are maybe an inch long, and come with a cord for attaching to a cell phone or key ring. They’re not good for hardanger, but for snipping off the threads on the back of project, they work just fine. Good for traveling, too.

    I think I have about 25-30 scissors. I like to have a set in each one of my project bags, so I’m never without. I also try to make a matching scissors weight for each one.

  3. I have a pair of the premax lock ring scissors and find them to be exactly as yyou have stated. I have many scissors both fancy and plain, also expensive and cheap. The most important thing to me is that they open and close smoothly with no “catches” and they cut cleanly. I agree they cut and have thefeel of Dovos.

  4. Dear Mary

    Thanks for this post. They really look a good pair of scissors, as you said not attractive but they do the job. I like my dovo scissors that I bought a while ago on your suggestion but my favourite are the little pair of pink travelling scissors which you suggested on a post a while ago grab-n-go 27 April 2012 they are sharp and get into small aras of embroidery. I love these little darling scissors from Tanja Berlin.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  5. First and foremost the scissors must be extremely sharp all the way to the tips of the blades. This is an absolute. When I want to snip just one thread in drawnwork I don’t want to have to put more fabric under the blades and possibly cut farther than needed. Secondly, the finger-thumb holes must be comfortable. This takes in size and a smooth finish inside those openings. Pretty is nice but it doesn’t get the job done.
    I have leather sheaths for my scissors that are always on them when they are not in use. One pair came with the sheath, the other I purcased. I’ve punched a hole in one side of the sheath and tied it with fine ribbon to the scissors to make sure its always handy to protect those precious blades.

  6. Scissors function is the first consideration. I wish it were possible to try some before purchasing. Very sharp points are a must. I have some fun scissors that are pretty that I use for metallics. I don’t use my best thread scissors for metallics. I have many pair od scissors because they get in many different projects. Is this collecting ???? 🙂

  7. I like scissors that are sharp and cut the fabric. I know this sounds basic but I had purchased a pair of so called good scissors, used them twice, and they did not cut either time.
    For embroidery I want something that cuts sharp all the way to the end, and I also like scissors that curve up at the tip. After all that sewing I don’t want to make an accidental snip in my fabric.

  8. Hi Mary,
    Ok, you had me sold on the Dovo scissors…and since my birthday is coming up I told my husband that is what I wanted, gave him the website, number etc..etc.. so I’m waiting for them to arrive! I’ve never been a scissor collector but If you keep showing all these cool tools I could very easily become one! I also like the pink eye on your scissor!!

  9. Re: the Embroidery Scissors by Premax
    Did you get the curved or straight blades. I did not see it on your post, but maybe I read too fast. They look very interesting.

  10. I am not a collector either, but I could be. I certainly admire nicely designed scissors. I didn’t realize how much of a scissors snob I am until I bought an inexpensive pair for utility scissors like opening packages and hurt my hand when I tried to open the blades. After checking Anita’s website and reading about the premax design, I would like to purchase a pair of the embroidery scissors. Did you try out both the straight and curved blades? I emailed Anita to ask the difference between the two.
    I like a scissors with a very sharp thin point which cuts smoothly. The fingerholes also need to be large enough to accommodate my fingers comfortably. I like a good balance and enough but not too much weight if that makes any sense. I have a new pair which are serrated which work very well for applique, but I like to have several pairs of good scissors so I can have them all over the house and I can always find a pair if one pair gets buried under stuff.

  11. I have recentely bought a pair of discontinued Premax lace scissors from their gold-plated range. They cut beautifully and look beautiful. They were for a Carrickmacross course at the RSN which I have just finished today. They could have been smaller for such fine work, but will be very nice for larger applique work.
    I love the look of the Premax gold-plated range but functionality is very important. Premax is a very good make, and I also love a gold-plated set (the make is Mundial) with a dressmakers pair and an embroidery one. They cut beautifully.

  12. I am not a “connoisseur” of scissors, I just need something tough that snips my floss well and fits inside my craft box. That is why I have snips (no cross pivot round handles), because they fit into my craft box tray compartments, only one of which is wide enough to accomodate any round handles, but is not long enough. I cannot be very fussy, so I do not care much what they look like, they just have to be TOUGH little snips. As an epileptic, I do not care to drop and destroy them, having to pay an ungodly amount to replace my delicate scissors all the time. Nor do I care to commit surgery on myself with razor sharp scissors if I have them during a seizure. Even dropping them in the car on a road trip will not damage them. That is why mine are some that I purchased at a museum, they are old fashioned spring (shaped like a duck mouth) style, and are in no way “delicate”. My father tested them by tossing them on the floor and patio repeatedly after we brought them home. They also can just be sharpened without fuss. We have not had to do that yet, but many pairs of scissors require specific sharpening or they will not work as well afterwards. These don’t care, my father can sharpen them himself and they will be fine. My snips are over a decade old and my best floss chopping buddies. These might be one of the best type for kids that are learning?? 🙂

    1. That’s a really good idea, RW. My young niece is interested in stitching and has an amazing level of stick-to-it-iveness for a 9 year old. I’ll get her a pair of snips and see if that helps her precision.

  13. It doesn’t matter how the scissors look (although I do love those pink googly eyes and the nice thick “beak”), what matters more is how they perform. I need my scissors to be sharp, need them to cut evenly from the tip all the way down to the base no matter where I position the fabric, and they also have to operate smoothly. No little jitters or glitches.

    Oh, and they have to be comfortable. I have arthritis in my thumb and scissors that dig in are painful.

    I’m so glad you’re reviewing embroidery scissors. I have yet to find the perfect pair for me, so I look forward to reading your reviews.

  14. I have Premax scissors identical to the ones above. I’ve used them for a couple of drawn thread projects, and apart from that, just snipping thread ends on various projects, but now the blades are sticking when opened or closed, which makes them very unpleasant to use. Do they just need sharpening? How often should you need to sharpen your embroidery scissors? Any advice appreciated 🙂

  15. For me the most important thing about scissors is functionality. They must be sharp, comfortable to hold, and suited to the job I want them to do.

    I also like them to look good, but my definition may not be the same as others. For example, I think the Premax scissors you have reviewed look good. They are unusual, maybe even quirky. I like that.

  16. Having a functional pair of embroidery scissors is muy importante, but I must admit I have a couple of pretty pairs. They cut just fine, but I don’t use them a lot. I like to have them out so I can look at them while I’m working…I think pretty tools make you feel good.Kind of like have tea in a plain mug (which I do) and having tea in a pretty teacup with saucer (which I also do). My drab little functional scissor have my heart, tho’. They’re sharp, they snip, the tips are pointy-pointed and they’re not too expensive.

  17. Ahhhh, Mary
    I really love to the point of kill for these scissors. I call them Jabiru as they look like a bird we have here is Australia. Sort of stork it is the Jabiru’s eyes that the scissors remind me of. large yellow iris with a black pupil. Quite stricking. Hense the name for my scissors.

    Like you I am not a collector of scissors BUT when I first saw these I thought I would give them a go as I was really attracted to the ability to have them come apart for sharpening.

    I notice over the years sharpening does eat away the metal and some of my older scissors that don’t come apart are getting a slight blade curve.

    I have the large fabic scissors as well and I can attest to these being absolutely bonser. They are lighter than my very old dressmaking scissors and easier on the hand.

    To end this off I saw the price at Anita’s and bought another pair. They are about a 3rd of the price I originally paid.($62)

    As for the Dovo. I use those only for decoupage(what I like to call real decoupage)Always liked the German scissors and for surgical work as well.

    There you go better plant the bonsai now. Scissors for that is for another day.


  18. I checked with Anita about the difference between the two premax embroidery scissors. The curved is for close trimming. Because I will use my scissors for applique as well as embroidery, I ordered a curved pair. Did you check out the scissor fobs with the threader?

  19. I have a pair of Fiskars made in Finland which I bought 30 odd years ago. They cut cleanly and right to the tip which to me is the most important criteria.I have a knitting needle tip protector keeps them safe when not being used. When the kids were still at home it was on pain of dire consequences if they even touched my sewing or embroidery scissors. But I do enjoy pretty ones too! Just not for the important stuff.

  20. I have a pair of Premax double-curved blade scissors which I have had for several years. Sadly I dropped them and bent (ever-so-slightly) the points. I replaced them with a pair of Ginghers which so far are performing nicely. I am not a collector, per se, but my Dearly Beloved seems to have made me one as he keeps buying beautiful enamelled scissors and the like for me. These do not get used. I like the double-curve ones for embroidery; as someone else commented I don’t want to snip a bit of my fabric with the thread.

    So far I don’t have any Dovos, but if you keep raving about them Mary, I will have to try some.

    I do like the look of your ‘pink-eyed’ scissors and hope your relationship with them is long and fruitful.

  21. I’m trying to decide which scissors to buy – the Dovo you were talking about (https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2009/01/sharp-and-small-scissors-for-hand.html) or the Pre-max. I’m more concerned about the quality, sharpness and versatility than the price. Which one do you like best and why?

    I tried to look up the Dovo scissors. I found that design comes in different sizes with regular or thin blade tips (http://www.anitalittlestitches.com/dovo.html, please scroll to the middle towards the bottom). Eg., 3 1/2″ with thin blade tips for Hargendar, 3 1/2″ and 4″ with regular tips…etc. Which one do you have? Are they any different from the fancier looking 3 1/2″ gold scroll Dovo scissors? Thanks so much for your help.

  22. I like embroidery scizzors that have very sharp points and large hole for fingers to slip out of easily. I also don’t like to pay high prices for them as they get lost in all the unfinished projects I have put away in a closet.

  23. Firstly, I love the look of those scissors, to me they have a decided look of a bird! My best scissors a a pair of Sheffiled steel – not needed sharpening yet after 5 years! Smooth in action even on the tip. Bought from the “Scissor Man” so have no idea now of the manufacturer – stamp too small to read.

  24. My first requirement for scissors is that they feel “right” in my hand. Many that I have tried have finger holes that are too small. Second is how sharp & tight are the tips. I want to be able to snip close with just the tips. Then third I will look at prettiness. Most of my “good” scissors aren’t pretty! I do have one pair of excellent Ginghers with pretty handles though.

  25. I LOVE my Premax scissors and find that although I have both the straight and the curved, I use the curved ones all the time. They’re wonderful and the curve keeps me from clipping the fabric or threads that don’t need cutting. AND they’re sooo cute! Look like flying geese.

  26. Dear Mary,
    I have a pair of scissors I am about to throw out the window. I found this information on the Premax scissors.The question I have is they sell two types.One has curved blades the other has straight blades. Which one did you purchase?

    Thank you again for this wonderful website. It has been a true life saver for me as I am just learning to embroider.

    Robin Heslop

  27. I have many pairs of scissors.
    I use two pairs of scissors on pretty much every embroidery. One is my pair of Fiskars ‘Micro-Tip Easy Action Scissors’ (6″). I have two pairs beside me, one for use on anything (including paper) and the others for fabric only. I absolutely love these scissors. They save my hands.
    The second pair of scissors (in the loosest term) are a tiny pair of Cohana mini scissors. I use these for thread-snips while embroidering. I also use a phenomenal magnifying light, and have taped a tiny neodymium magnet onto the frame of the light, and slipped a tiny magnet into the scabbard, then tied a tiny ribbon from the scissors to the sheath (about 20cm long). This means I don’t lose the scissors (they don’t slip down the side of my chair or into the bin…). This way I can just drop them back onto the top of the light and they stay there. At the end of my session, I put them back into their scabbard and secure the whole thing onto the light with the magnet.

    The scissors I use in cutting fabric for costuming/dressmaking are either the Fiskars ‘Softouch Spring action – General purpose Scissors’ – 26cm if I’m just cutting cotton or light fabric, but if I’m cutting wool, polar fleece or multiple layers, I use the ‘Amplify RazorEdge Fabric Shears’ (8″). These have an offset bolt beside the fulcrum which stops the scissors trying to twist in your hand, or stops them allowing the fabric to slide and twist while cutting.

    ALL of the Fiskars ones I use are because I have arthritis in my hands and it’s quite difficult to cut things with ‘normal’ scissors. I particularly love the spring-opening ones as it means I don’t have to pull the scissors open, which really hurts.
    Incidentally, with regard to these self-opening Fiskars ones, I also bought a pair of ‘Total Control Precision Scissors’ – 7″, and HATED them. So much so that I gave them away. My friend liked them more, but she doesn’t have arthritis. These ones, in spite of being self-opening, require you to basically use your thumb to close them, and my thumbs are the worst part of my hands.

    I have other scissors, such as special metal-cutting scissors for gold-work, but the above are the ones in constant use.

    Anyway, I hope this might help someone else with arthritis in their hands who wants to keep embroidering and sewing look at scissors differently. They don’t have to hurt!

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