How to Sharpen Fabric Scissors: 4 Ways & Complete Guide

Most of us hardly bother sharpening our fabric scissors. We give more importance to sharpening a knife whereas scissors can also be dull because of their consistent use, especially when it is a fabric scissor.

Fabric scissors lose their sharpness really quickly since they have to cut fabrics of different types and thicknesses. Unfortunately, even though many of us know how to sharpen a knife, not even a few of us know how to sharpen fabric scissors.

how to sharpen fabric scissors

We hardly consider sharpening scissors. Instead, I prefer buying another pair of them. Scissors are indeed inexpensive. Still when you have many options to sharpen, them then why would you invest your hard-earned bucks?

Moreover, sharpening fabric scissors is easy and you can do it at home. You won’t even have to buy sharpeners for this purpose since some common household objects can do this job easily. So, let’s get to each of the items and know how you will sharpen fabric scissors with them.

How to Sharpen Fabric Scissors: 4 Methods & Step-by-Step

Without being a sewing specialist, you can sharpen fabric scissors. Whether you use specialized sharpeners or household materials, the sharpness will last longer. You just need to do the task properly.

Method 1: Using Sharpening Stone for Sharpening Fabric Scissors

Many will directly go for a sharpening stone or whetstone. Well, that’s not a bad idea if you own one in your home. In fact, it is a secure way to sharpen your fabric scissors. Also, it is a simple and traditional way.

Knowing the basics

A bench stone or sharpening stone for fabric scissors is the same as a whetstone for knives. It has two sides, one with a finer surface and the other with a coarse surface.

In most cases, the coarse side of the stone has 400-grit whereas the fine side has 1000-grit. Nonetheless, it is wise to start with the coarse surface of the stone if your scissors have a very dull blade. Also, if the scissors need only a little sharpening, you can start from the fine side of the sharpening stone. Follow the further instructions.

Wet the stone surface

For better honing, wetting the stone surface with water or honing oil is important. It will lubricate the stone and enable easy back-and-forth moving of the scissor blade.

Take apart the blades

For ensuring proper sharpening, it is important to take apart the blades removing the screw. It will allow you to sharpen each blade individually. Also, it will offer maximum mobility. You can however use a flathead screwdriver to remove the screw from the scissor.

Place the scissor blade and hone it

Place the inner surface of one blade on the stone first. Lay it flat and starting from the coarse side of the stone pressure the blade down to the finer side of the stone. Apply light pressure and make sure the blade moves back and forth along with the entire stone length. Move it from the stone’s base to its tip.

You surely want a sharp angle between the cutting edge and the inner blade. Hence, grip the handle firmly and pull the blade slowly toward you. Make sure every stroke is done properly. However, it won’t take more than 20 strokes even if the blade is extensively dull.

Time to sharpen the cutting edge

The cutting edge is the beveled edge of the scissor that meets the inner surface of the blade. To sharpen the cutting edge lie it flat on the stone by tilting. It will horizontally lie toward you.

Now, following the previous way pull the blade across the bench stone and then slide it forward. Always keep the beveled edge flat while doing the process. Continue it until the cutting edge gets sharpened properly.

Finally, dispel the rough burrs

Finally, when you are done honing, you will find some burrs of metal on the blade edges. You can remove them when you assemble the scissor blades again and open and close them a few more times. Also, cut any material like a piece of fabric, paper, or cardboard with the scissors. This way, it will knock off any trace amount of the burrs from the blades.


  • Since the process is a bit complicated, you can first try on some old scissors for sharpening. Some practice will enrich your knowledge of sharpening fabric scissors.
  • While sharpening the cutting edge, if our described formula seemed complicated to you then you can follow a trick. Draw a line across the cutting edge of the scissor blade. Then start sharpening it. At a certain point, the marker line will be erased and sanded away. That is the time when you will realize the cutting edge is sharpened.
  • To get a smooth and nice finish on the blade, make some strokes on the finer side of the stone too.
  • To achieve a sharper edge, follow the sharpening procedure again.

Method 2: Using Sandpaper for Sharpening Fabric Scissors

Using a whetstone or sharpening stone is okay when your scissors are very damaged and dull. But in case, your fabric scissors are still working but not smoothly, and then a piece of sandpaper might work great. Scissors that cut roughly can be maintained following this process.

Fine grit sandpaper will work

A piece of sandpaper with 150 to 200 grits will work well. Nevertheless, you can also go for a finer grit one with higher numbers if your scissors are not that dull. It will bring smoother edges to the blades of your scissors.

Now to make the sandpaper face outward with the rough side, fold it in half. It will allow both the blade to graze against the sandpaper while cutting.

Cut sandpaper with the scissors

Using the dull fabric scissors, cut through the folded sandpaper several times. While cutting, make sure that both blade edges are entirely touched by sandpaper. This way cut 10 to 20 long strips of sandpaper. With every strip cut, the blades get sharper. This process also helps in smoothing out the indents and nicks of the scissor blades.

However, there are other materials available that work exactly the way sandpaper does. These are steel wool, emery cloth, and all.


  • After cutting about 10 strips, test the scissors. You can test on scrap fabric. If you feel the edges are sharp enough then you are done. If they are not then cut more strips or notches until they get your desired sharpness.

Method 3: Using Aluminum Foil for Sharpening Fabric Scissors

Sharpening fabric scissors with aluminum foil is almost like sharpening with sandpaper. Here in this process, you only use aluminum foil. However, this is also for scissors with slightly dull edges. Sharpening very dull scissors with aluminum foil is not possible at all. Follow the procedure.

Get a piece of aluminum foil

An aluminum foil paper of 8 to 10 inches in length is enough for this purpose. Now fold the paper lengthwise multiple times. Make it look like a thick long strip. The aluminum foil is folded multiple times to add more layers. It helps in sharpening the blades of the scissors.

Cut in strips with the scissors

When you have folded the aluminum foil correctly, cut thin strips of the paper with scissors. Keep cutting until you reach the end of the thick and folded aluminum foil. Make sure you cut the paper using the full stroke of the scissors. Extend the blade when you reach the tip when cutting the foil paper.

Get rid of the aluminum debris

Surely some aluminum foil debris will cling to the blades while doing the process. So, you need to get rid of this. To remove the aluminum debris, dampen a paper towel in warm water. Then wipe the blades with it.


  • The sharpening of the scissors depends on the width of the aluminum foil strip they are cutting. Hence, the thicker the folding, the better the sharpening. The added layers enable the scissors to be sharpened multiple times with each cut.

Method 4: Using Mason Jar for Sharpening Fabric Scissors

A glass mason jar is also a good option to sharpen fabric scissors. It is also a simple way to sharpen scissors with mild dullness.

Open the scissors all the way and fit around the mason jar

This is the first thing to do. Open the scissors wide entirely and place the blades around the outer surface of the glass mason jar. Take the jar as much closer as it can go between the two edges of the blade.

Pretend to cut the mason jar

Hold the jar with one hand strongly and pretend to cut it with scissors. In this way, the blades of the scissors will have contact with the jar while sliding. However, you are not supposed to put heavy pressure on closing the scissors.

Does the process use light pressure? The glass material of the mason jar will do the sharpening work. Repeat the process until the scissors are sharpened enough.

Remove the glass piece

Throughout the process, the blades will gather some microscopic pieces of glass. So, to wipe them down, use a damp paper towel.


  • Since the blade edges will make scratches on the jar, make sure you are using a damaged one.


There are many other methods and materials that you can use to sharpen fabric scissors following the above procedures. You can use a steel wool soap pad as well for sharpening fabric scissors following the same method for sandpaper and aluminum foil paper.

Also, with a screwdriver and pin, you can sharpen your sewing scissors. Just follow the Mason jar method. Nonetheless, many also use a rotary tool in case the scissors are extremely damaged and dull. Now, choose a method that you think can be best for you.

Final Verdict

Above mentioned ideas are some of the commonly used techniques to sharpen fabric scissors. Hopefully, now you know the right ways to sharpen fabric scissors very well and you won’t have to be an expert to apply them. But carefulness is always necessary as you will execute some technical steps.

Simply check what the condition of your scissor is, then pick a method and apply that for sharpening the scissor. Using a sharpening tool is for your extremely dull scissors, and all other methods are for slightly dull scissors.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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