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A few weekends ago, we dug through the clearance bin at our local fabric store, where Vogon found a pair of scissors that didn't look like anything we owned. I'd never seen scissors with a set screw before and there weren't any other scissors like it at the store for comparison. I looked through our collection of sewing books with no results before I described them to my mother a few days later. She said they sounded like something she'd seen in sewing classes she'd taken and suggested I look up a particular phrase. Before I tell you what that was, here are the mystery scissors:



So what are they? They're buttonhole scissors, used to cut open a buttonhole after you've sewn the stitches to keep the edges and ends of the hole from fraying. The screw can be adjusted to cut exactly the length of the buttonhole (which you practice on a piece of scrap fabric first, it's not marked) and by cutting the exact length, you have much less chance of accidentally cutting into the securing buttonhole threads and weakening or ruining the buttonhole.

Several of the public domain sewing books digitized in the Vintage Sewing Reference Library refer to the use of buttonhole scissors and the 1926 New Way Course in Fashionable Clothes lists them as one of three pairs of scissors every sewer should own (the others are a pair of shears and a pair of small scissors).

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
starzz
Oct. 25th, 2005 01:36 am (UTC)
Very interesting!!! That is neat!! I use an exacto knife to cut open button holes after I sew the edges of them!
oddharmonic
Oct. 25th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
That's what I've always done too, so this should be fun to try the next time I sew a buttonhole. I thought exacto knives were just for sewing until I was in middle school!
starzz
Oct. 25th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC)
hehe thats usually the only time I use them!!
mayna
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
I do too. I wonder if that was from before exacto knives were invented. :-)
techno1992
Oct. 25th, 2005 02:30 am (UTC)
That's pretty cool! (And I'll bet it's patented!)

BTW, did you get my message after you called?
Did you get what you needed?
oddharmonic
Oct. 25th, 2005 10:23 pm (UTC)
The US Patent and Trademark Office website has limited search options for patents prior to 1975, so I'll have to do some research to find specific patent numbers to look up, but a quick Google search brought up a Button Hole Scissors Gage (No. 161,750) patented in 1891 by an Alice I. Campbell.

I got your message but haven't been up to calling this week because my butt's being kicked by a chest cold. I'll call you again when I'm not coughing so much.
lenabud
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
Hmm...those are pretty neat. There is some neat stuff out there that no one knows about. :)
gamahucheur
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, I went looking for moreIn process, I found the rather freakish Swissors.
oddharmonic
Oct. 25th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC)
I am a bit afraid of those Swissors, though I'm curious as to how much they reduce hand fatigue.

I had to search quite a bit for dressmaker's shears in a weight I found comfortable and I find the pinking shears I have downright tiring to use. I should try the Softouch® Pinking Shears sometime to see how they compare.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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