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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Dovo Scissors & Substitutes


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Over the years, I’ve written frequently about my second-favorite embroidery tool: scissors!

My first favorite is the most essential embroidery tool – the needle – but they’re such small things and they don’t require huge investments, so we don’t speak about them in the same reverential tones that we often use when speaking of scissors.

Once you really get into needlework, you’ll probably find that one of the first things you’ll want to acquire is a really good pair of embroidery scissors. The qualifications for a good pair of embroidery scissors are pretty simple: they’re small, they’re sharp, they’re well-made, and you fit your fingers.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

For years, my go-to scissors for embroidery have been DOVO scissors.

DOVO is (was) an excellent brand of scissors out of Solingen in Germany – the same place where Wüsthof knives and other well-known blades are manufactured.

Unfortunately, DOVO has gone into bankruptcy. While some of the scissors are still available here and there, the prices on those that are available have started to climb dramatically. As soon as I saw that the principle of dwindling supply vs increasing demand was kicking in, with prices starting to soar, I figured it was time to bow out of the DOVO fan club.

Sad day!

I love my DOVO scissors, and I will treasure them. But I’m not going to be goaded into increasing the number of DOVO scissors I have, at exorbitant prices, simply because there’s a frenzy to buy what’s left.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

Instead, since it seems to be inevitable that DOVO scissors are going away for good, I think it’s time to consider what I like about DOVO scissors and where else I can find those features.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

My favorite DOVO scissors are the brushed stainless steel embroidery scissors above.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

They are comfortable for my fingers, they have sharp blades, and their mechanical works are smooooooth. They don’t catch when they open and close. They don’t wiggle or feel loose.

They have a good all-around feel to them. They are a little weighty, not light or tinny feeling as is often the case with cheap scissors.

So those are the characteristics I’d look for, when hunting out DOVO substitutes.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

I think the closest scissors I’ve found that substitute well for my favorite DOVOs are these ring-lock embroidery scissors by Premax, from Italy.

At first, you might think it’s the similarity with the brushed stainless steel that grabs me. And it’s true that I do like the brushed stainless finish. But what puts these particular scissors on par with my DOVO scissors is more than the brushed stainless finish. It’s their smooth mechanical operation, their sharp and small blades, the fact that they are tightly assembled (with no wiggle in the connection), that they are weighty and well made.

Dove embroidery scissors & Substitutes

They’re also quite comfortable in the finger holes.

These are the Premax ring-lock 3.75″ embroidery scissors with straight blades. They also make them with curved blades (I have a pair of each). They look good, they feel great, and they perform well. What more could you want?

Decorative Scissors

I know that many needleworkers go for decorative scissors, and that you might find the scissors mentioned above kind of dull in visual appeal.

When it comes to Premax’s decorative scissors, I’m not a huge fan. They don’t feel as well made or as secure as the ring lock scissors mentioned above. I’m more about function when it comes to scissors – though I’m not opposed to pretty scissors!

I just figure that the whole point of scissors is to function well when it comes to cutting, so that’s the first consideration for me – how well do they actually work? (Not “how good do they actually look?”)

Where to Find Them

In the States, you can find these Premax scissors available on Amazon at this time. You’ll find them under Embroidery Tools & Accessories on my Amazon Recommendations page here.

You may also be able to find them through small locally owned needlework shops. Most of my favorite online shops don’t carry them, for those who don’t have a local shop, but if you have a local shop, ask! They might have them!

This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendations page, which means Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for purchases made through that link at no extra expense to you. Thanks!


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(29) Comments

  1. Also try Kai scissors. They are Japanese and have wonderful fine points. I too love Dovo and Premax. Own several styles of each. Love the Premax curved scissor.

    1. I like Kai, too. They’re good scissors and affordable. I use their fabric shears and pinking shears, and I have a pair of their small embroidery scissors, too.

  2. Dear Mary

    Like you I love scissors and wish I could buy more as I like the different styles of scissors. Oh what a shame that Dovo have gone into bankruptcy and no more I did like their scissors. I do like those stork like scissors as well although I realise they are only decorative rather than functional. Premax look a good alternative and look very sturdy. I have many small scissors for cutting threads and a pair specially for goldwork, but now I need a pair of good quality large scissors. So I shall have to look around. Thank for sharing with us the news on Dovo scissors and for letting us know of an alternative.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Just a note – when I clicked to your Amazon site, I was told that the PreMax scissors were out of stock, and they didn’t know if they would be back. “Currently unavailable.
    We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”

  4. I have been somewhat disappointed with my Premax scissors. I store all my scissors in a similar fashion but the Premax are the only ones that have tarnished. I still prefer my scissors from Solingen Germany, now just relying on the WASA brand in place of the Dovo.

    1. Hi, Earlene – Yes, I don’t like most of the other Premax scissors. Just the ring-lock in the brushed stainless. The “decorative” kind with the colorful finger holes, etc., are not quite the same at all.

  5. Hi Mary. Unfortunately Amazon indicates both Premax scissors are out of stock and they don’t know when they’ll get more. They certainly sounded good from your write-up!

  6. Want to try with recommendation no. 3? Pretax scissors aren’t available on Amazon anymore. Ugh. Thanks for helping us out, though!

  7. Mary, when I went to Amazon (through your page), I discovered the Premax scissors are unavailable with the notice that Amazon does not know when or if they will ever be available again. Fortunately, I already own a pair of DOVO scissors.

  8. I’m only a year into embroidery and I try to buy the best tools that I can afford. I did look into the Dovo scissors when I first started but they were already over priced a year ago. I have to say, I am pretty happy with my cheap curved Fiskars. Ultimately they probably will not last like the other higher end scissors, but they are so economical it wouldn’t be a big deal to buy a new one. I also bought Kai, which I like, and I bought gingher (spelling ?) which I hate.

  9. I LOVE good scissors… but good scissors are expensive. As the oldest of 7 kids we were all, under penalty of death, prohibited from ever touching my mothers sewing scissors. They were in her sewing box & we were only allowed to use them under the strictest supervision and never EVER on anything but fabric. We were pretty poor & my mother could not have afforded to replace them were they used incorrectly & ruined. They had come from my grandmother and they mattered to her. She had regular shears for cutting out fabrics, button hole scissors and pinking shears. I would borrow the button hole scissors to do embroidery as a child. They had a small & sharp enough blade to work with good old DMC floss & I loved them. As I got older, I could not afford a really good pair of embroidery scissors and would use whatever came to hand. I was still doing “kits” at that point and inexpensive scissors or snips worked ok. Then I wanted to do Hardanger…. and the cheapo scissors would no longer fill the bill. I had to have special scissors to remove the inside threads and there was no way I could afford that. One day right after the 9-11 horrors had created the airlines restrictions on sharp objects. I walked into a thrift store & found TUBS of pocket knives & small scissors. They had been confiscated at airports from passengers prior to travel. I was in heaven!! Each knife & pair of scissors were sold at $1. I bought 20 pairs of scissors & 5 pocket knives that day. After stabbing myself, I rounded up a bar-b-que fork & dug thru the dangerous tubs looking for embroidery scissors. When I found a likely pair, I would (the only time I have ever done this in my life) test them on a piece of paper to see how they cut. It took hours and hours. I was a student away from home & I had lotsa time but very little money. I went thru every single pair of scissors & culled the very best of them. I ended up with teeny tiny scissors, curved blade scissors, surgical scissors, gold egret scissors, etc… I found scissors from Italy, Pakistan, Germany & the UK. About 10 years ago, I bought a “lot” of little leather blade protectors for them. (I have more money now but they were on close out sale at 10 various small sizes for $20 & I jumped on it.) Soon after that find, my father was hospitalized and we spent 7.5 months in his hospital room. I would sit for hours doing Hardanger. All I needed was one color of thread, a long piece of linen & a pair of these exquisite scissors and I could embroider the same design for hours and put it aside in an emergency. I didn’t need a pattern and it brought me great peace & ease. I have given most of those scissors away to poor young people who were learning to embroider. BUT I still have 5 or 6 of my favorites from that wonderful day! So, if you were one of those unfortunate people who were given the choice of missing your flight or giving away your favorite embroidery scissors… THANK YOU!!!

  10. I absolutely agree with you on your thoughts on Dovo and Premax. I also have some Bohin scissors that have the smooth and sturdy feel similar to the others. My current go-to pair is a pair of Tooltron snips with curved, slightly serrated blades (from Amazon). They are quite sharp and allow me to get very close to snip threads without risking my fabric.

  11. I checked the Amazon site for the scissors you recommended and they are both listed as currently unavailable and may not be stocked again. Thankfully, I have my Dovo scissors so I was just curious. You may need to recommend another company for the scissors.

  12. Alas, they are no longer available thru your Amazon link! So – the search continues. I am looking to find a good pair for cutting the threads on fabric when doing Hardanger – thin and sharp. Happy July, Mary. Stay cool! It’s been hot and dry here in Ark.

  13. I enjoyed your article here about scissors. I keep thinking that I should invest in a new pair. But, this pair of little stork scissors with Revlon stamped on them still work well for me. They are 41 years old. My late father-in -law bought them for me just after our first baby was born. Still on the job. I made the little fob from counted cross stitch. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful knowledge with us lucky readers.

  14. My favorite scissors lately are by Karen Kay Buckley. I was introduced to them in English Paper Piecing and appliqué classes. I haven’t been doing much embroidery lately but the 4” Perfect Scissors are perfect for snipping threads for EPP and trimming fabric for appliqué. I also use the 6” and 7.5” for fabrics. Note: I also used all the sizes for cutting my husband’s hair during stay-at-home last year; the scissors did a much better job than I did!

  15. Thank you for this helpful information, Mary. Your great review and link might have caused a run on the Premax scissors from your Amazon list. Neither the straight nor curved models are available any longer. I’ll keep searching.

  16. Hmmmm, I posted yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared. I went a-looking at these and they are no longer available on Amazon!!! You must have sent so many over there they wiped them out! I am looking for a good pair of thin sharp ones for cutting the fabric for Hardanger… the search continues…

  17. Hah Mary—You got me. Out of more than three dozen pairs, I couldn’t believe I don’t own Premax! Will mention that to Santa. I agree with Darcy & I’ve used both straight & bent blade versions after seeing them demo-ed at RSN. Handy & reliable. In the meantime, enjoy your your road trip with your nieces & your tote full of books & projects! When you get back, will you take a moment to explore the “quilt as you go” technique? A friend in PA started making these with stunning results. There’s a Missouri Star Quilt Co & Daisy & Grace YouTube online for hexies. It sounds like it could be near & dear to your heart.

    1. I’m going to be visiting Missouri Star Quilt Co next week. Should be interesting!

      I think I’ve already touched on my techniques for the hexies – nothing really changes much when I’m traveling, as I’m usually just working out of a small box or pouch. As it happened on this trip, I never had a chance to do any handwork at all! LOL!

  18. Hi Mary,
    If I may, I’d like to recommend another pair of scissors for you to review. They are Tim Holtz’s Haberdashery scissors. Maybe you’ve heard of them already, since he has another line that are serrated and are just wonderful for paper. For the first time cutting things became a pleasure. For fabric and ribbon, he made the haberdashery non-serrated knife blade scissors. I found one of his review videos on Youtube and at around the 2min-4min mark he talks about them. The outer part of the handles are flexible so they don’t bite into the hand, they are just great.
    Thank you for all your teachings and kindnesses!

  19. So glad I bought some Dovo scissors last year! I clicked your Amazon link for the Premax scissors and they are not currently available – apparently your recommendation sent enough people there to clean them out of stock LOL…

  20. I have used ring-lock scissors for years! I discovered them when I had Scarlet Thread and was always looking for a the next great pair of scissors. As a matter of fact, I bought my first pair of DOVOs only last year (maybe the year before?). I find the ring-locks a very good alternative to DOVOs,

  21. I noticed that Amazon apparently won’t be stocking the ring-locks anymore. I suggest people try their LNS first or one of the many online needlework shops instead. They’re more likely to continue to stock them. Amazon gets a deal on something, but they don’t necessarily restock unless they can get another special deal.

    1. It depends more on whether a third-party seller stocks them on Amazon, which is normally what happens with these types of specific products. So, a shop owner, reseller, or similar would list theirs on Amazon, perhaps even supplying to an Amazon warehouse.

  22. I love my Premax ring lock embroidery scissors. They are particularly good at manipulating when you get into trouble and need to take out stitches. I bought mine in 2019 after reading about them right here on Needle’nThread. The only thing that has changed is price. Mine were about $20 then. New ones are about double now. Still worth it.

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