If you haven’t looked at scissors much, you may wonder if they’re symmetrical.
Before you inspect every pair you can find, consider the design of the scissors and why it matters.
Here’s whether scissors are 100% symmetrical:
Scissors aren’t symmetrical for many reasons, from the handle to the blade. However, if you have a pair of right-handed scissors and a pair of left-handed scissors from the same brand, the two pairs could mirror each other.
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How Many Lines of Symmetry Do Scissors Have?
Scissors sometimes have one line of symmetry that allows you to use the scissors at various angles. When you look at some scissors, there may be a line of symmetry down the middle of the handles.
However, other pairs of scissors don’t have any symmetry.
Most scissors are designed to have the blades cross like an X when you open them, and the blades sit on top of each other when you close the scissors.
You could argue there’s one line of symmetry when looking at the side of a pair of scissors. But on many pairs of scissors, the blades don’t cover each other completely.
Are Right-Handed Scissors Symmetrical?
Right-handed scissors are not symmetrical since the blades on scissors overlap. That’s the case with most types of scissors, and it will be the same no matter how you orient them to you.
Also, some right-handed scissors have ergonomic designs within the finger rests. Those make the scissors more comfortable to hold in your right hand than your left, and the ergonomics aren’t usually symmetrical.
You also have to consider if the handle is at an angle or if the scissors are straight on. The angle might further make the right-handed scissors not symmetrical.
Are Left-Handed Scissors Symmetrical?
You can find a couple of different versions of left-handed scissors. Full left-handed scissors are the opposite of right-handed scissors, so there’s the same relationship between the blades and handles.
The most significant difference is that they mirror regular right-handed scissors. However, you can also use semi-left-handed scissors, which only change the finger rests to be more comfortable for your left hand.
These scissors have the same blade configuration as right-handed scissors. Regardless of the type of left-handed scissors you use, they’ll still usually have no lines of symmetry.
Why Are Some Scissors Different on Both Sides?
The biggest reason some scissors are different on both sides is their purpose. While you might want an even cut for preparing fabric, that’s not always necessary.
Most scissors that are different on both sides are that way because they’re technically shears. You could use them for certain crafts and other projects, but they’re most suitable for use cutting hair.
Consider a couple of specific examples of shears that don’t have the same sides and why.
Single Thinning Shears
You may come across single thinning shears and double thinning shears. Double-thinning shears look very similar to other types of scissors in that the two blades are the same as each other.
If you use a pair of single thinning shears, one of the blades will be a thinning blade with teeth on it. Single thinning shears have one thinning blade and one straight blade.
Unless you also cut hair, you probably won’t have thinning shears lying around, but it’s still a common reason why some scissors have different sides.
Handles on Any Scissors
Consider other types of scissors and look at the two finger rests. Some smaller scissors have matching finger rests so that that part would be symmetrical.
A lot of other scissors have different finger rests. That makes it easy to know where to put your thumb and where to put your fingers when you use the scissors.
Of course, you don’t need as much space for your thumb, so having a smaller thumb rest makes sense. The smaller hole can also make it easier to control your scissors.
Why Are Some Scissors at an Angle?
If you look at your scissor collection, some may be at different angles. Others might not have any angle at all, and you may wonder when you should use each pair.
When selecting a pair of scissors, consider why you want to use them. Then, you can determine the right angle for the shears based on your needs.
Here are a few reasons why some scissors are at an angle.
Minimal Point of Contact
If you look carefully, some scissors have a slight gap between them when you close the pair. The makers bend the blades every so slightly to offer a minimal point of contact when cutting.
There’s enough contact to allow you to cut something easily. However, if there was more contact, the blades could rub together too much, and the scissors may not work as effectively.
It would help if you had some contact, but there needs to be a bit of space for the blades to glide back and forth. Some scissors use an angle to get that space.
Some scissor blades are at a larger angle than others, in this case, that usually has to do with helping you cut better and get a nicer final product.
With sewing, this might not matter a ton since you can cover up uneven edges with seams. However, it can come in handy if you want to sew something that doesn’t use a seam all along the edges.
If you have some scissors with larger angles, do test cuts on extra fabric. Consider how they work and if you can get a better result from one pair than others.
Then, you’ll know which pair to use for your next project.
Cut Thick Materials
Another reason some scissors are at an angle is to help you cut through thicker materials. Most fabrics are relatively thin, so you don’t need anything that can specifically cut food, for example.
However, some fabrics are much thicker than others and require different scissors. You could cut cotton or silk with your favorite pair of scissors, but the pair might not be able to handle wool or leather.
When the blades meet at a larger angle, it should be easier to cut those thicker materials. Keep that in mind when shopping for supplies for your next sewing project.
If you use scissors often, you want to make sure you use a comfortable pair. Sometimes, the angle of the handle could help you feel better as you cut.
You won’t have to move your hand or wrist into an awkward position. That might not be a concern when cutting fabric on a table since you can move the material.
But maybe you need to cut a bit of fabric off a dress on a mannequin. If the scissor handles are at an angle, they could be easier to use to work on your project.
How to Choose Sewing Scissors
Even if you know the shape and design of different scissors, you should consider how to choose a pair. Some pairs are much better for certain activities than others.
For example, you shouldn’t use your sewing scissors for just anything because you could dull the blade. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help select a new pair or one from your existing stash.
Shop at a Craft Store
When it comes to buying new scissors, go to a craft store. You could buy scissors elsewhere, but a craft store will have the shears that work well for sewing and similar activities.
The employees can direct you to their scissors stock, and someone can help you choose a pair. They might ask about your needs to provide specific recommendations.
Even if you don’t get much help, good craft stores will usually only stock scissors that are useful for cutting fabric. That way, you don’t have to risk buying a pair that won’t work for you.
Consider the Blade Length
Whether buying new scissors or choosing a pair from your collection, consider how long the blade is. A longer blade is useful if you need to cut a lot of fabric.
Long blades can help manage or avoid fatigue when you’re cutting. If you only need to cut a bit of fabric, you can choose a shorter blade and focus on other factors that affect how the scissors work.
For example, you might want scissors where the handle’s at an angle. Or, if you’re left-handed, you could choose a pair that will feel comfortable for you.
Test the Scissors
Before you buy or use the scissors, consider if you can test them on scrap fabric. That way, you can see how they feel to ensure they’re the right size and angle.
When it comes to a specific project, you can also ensure they’ll work well on the material. If you don’t like how the scissors work, you’ll know to find a different pair.
Also, don’t be afraid to swap out scissors in the middle of a project. If you switch fabrics or need something different, you can and should get a new pair.
Scissors aren’t 100% symmetrical, though they might look that way from a distance. However, the overlap of the blades and the different sizes of finger rests keeps your shears from lining up perfectly. The only symmetry might be between a right-handed and left-handed pair.