Saturday, June 24, 2017

How To Cut Your Rag Quilt

I have made hundreds of rag quilts and I have tried almost that many rag quilt clippers.  Just kidding but I have tried a lot!  At first, like everyone who makes their first rag quilt, I just tried scissors I had around the house.  That did not work very well at all even though my first rag quilts were only 2 layers thick. (see My First Three Mistakes) Hurt my hands, did not cut through all layers, didn't stay sharp.

I did some experimenting with different scissors that I found at Joann Fabrics. Here is my collection of scissors and clippers.

I have to say my all time favorite clippers have been the black ones in the middle - Fiskars 8.5" Softouch Spring Action Rag Quilter Snips. I used these for years.  I loved them! They are comfortable in my hand. My hand does not get tired.  They cut through multiple layers of fabric like butter.  They are amazing!  UNFORTUNATELY, they seem to have been discontinued.  I cannot find them anywhere and if I do, they are out of stock or unavailable.  I recently found a pair on ebay but when they arrived it was a completely different pair of scissors.  Fiskar???  Why??????

I tried the orange and gray handled scissors - Fiskars Easy Action Rag Quilt Snips.  I've only used these a few times.  I found that they would stick when cutting through multiple layers.  I would have to pry the handles open at times.  I bought another pair to see if I just got a bad pair but they worked the same as the first - poorly.  I do not recommend these at all.

I thought maybe razor edged scissors were the way to go.  I tried the Fiskars 8" Razor Edge Scissors Softgrip but the cutting area was just too long.  These are really great for cutting through fleece and I use them all the time for that.  Then I tried the Fiskars Amplify RazorEdge Fabric Shears 6".  They worked well cutting through multiple layers and I could cut very fast with them but they just hurt my hands and thumb after just a few cuts. 

I really needed to find an alternative to the my favorite black Snips.  Mine were in need of sharpening and I had already replaced the springs.  I googled what other rag quilters used and I kept seeing the same Heritage Spring Loaded Rag Quilting Snips over and over.  I had actually tried these a long time ago and dismissed them pretty quickly because of the width of the handle grips.  I have small hands so it was harder for me to use these but I was desperate.  I forced myself to use them because they did cut very nicely through my 3 layered quilts including fleece.  Now after using these Heritage Snips for the past 6 months and getting used to them, I enthusiatically recommend them!

SO....if a Magic Quilting Fairy came to my house and offered me a lifetime of rag quilt clippers, I would definitely ask for... Fiskars 8.5" Softouch Spring Action Rag Quilter Snips.   However, since I'm buying I have to go with the blue handled Heritage.


  1. I just want to say how helpful this post was to me. I too have small hands and am looking for rag snips. Most everywhere I am reading recommends the Heritage clips - but they look awkward to me with my little hands. The second most recommended (Orange Easy Action Fiskars) seem to have users report the same as you experienced above. But then I read your post above about the older black handled fiskars model. This prompted me to go on an internet search. Voila- I actually found/bought a new pair from someone in AU. (Yeah, I had to pay through the nose in shipping, but the total price wasn't that much more than the heritage, so I went for it). Thanks again for the information!!

    1. What??? I have been looking and looking. I would pay just about anything to get another pair. You are very lucky Kaisa!!!