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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Importance of Sewing Scissors: Shozaburo Japanese Tailor Shears.

If you sew then I don't need to tell you about how important it is to have a good pair of scissors. Shears to be precise. I had a great pair years ago and my kids got ahold of them and used them on who knows what and they were ruined forever. Take note, NEVER let your kids near your sewing shears! I have been functioning with a pair of stainless steel Gingher shears I bought some years ago at Joann. They are good but not as precise as the aforementioned ones I had bought at while at design school. Well, I stopped by an estate sale yesterday. You may have read my post about that on my last entry. I asked the woman if she had any sewing things and she brought me out an old looking pair of shears with a black handle. I tested them and they were incredible! So I forked over my five and noticed they said Shozaburo Tokyo on them. I know the Japanese are known for making the BEST knives in the world so I'm sure they make good scissors as well. Here is what I learned about Shozaburo Tailor Shears on this website:

The Shozaburo Shears Story 
Combining Tradition and Technology  
  In the middle of the 1880's, many of Japan's old customs began to give way to the strong influence of Western culture. This trend was apparent in every part of Japanese life from politics to society and culture. Clothing was no exception, as many Western style clothing stores began to open in major cities and the Japanese populace began trying these new fabrics and fashions. This trends towards Western fashions was further accelerated when the government introduced laws prohibiting the samurai class from carrying swords and wearing their hair in certain styles.   Along with this increased demand for Western fabrics and fashions, the tools used by Western tailors were also introduced to Japan for the first time. Before this time, the only tailor's tools used in Japan were those similar to knives used for cutting straight lines, and small hand-held shears used for more detailed cutting. With the introduction of these Western style shears, Japanese people became much more aware of the possibilities in cutting cloth. Now curved patterns and even thick fabrics could be cut with ease, and Western style shears became a must for tailors and seamstresses.   However, Japanese people had long been accustomed to using cutlery that, like the traditional Japanese swords, were light yet had an excellent cut. For this reason, many Japanese people felt that while the Western style shears were functionally sound, they were too heavy and cumbersome. This inspired the renowned sword forger Master Yakichi (1860-1901) to begin researching the development of unique Japanese shears which would employ the same technology used in forging Japanese swords. As a result, Master Yakichi was able to create shears similar to the Western shears, but with the lightness and excellent cut of traditional Japanese cutlery. This was the origin of the modern day Japanese shears.  
Imagine my surprise when I found these shears for sale at Richard The Thread for 129$!
I love to research the history of the things I dig up! How about you?



  1. I understand your pain about scissors. My kids used mine for paper. There is nothing like a good pair of scissors. No one is allowed to use them now.

  2. What a find!! That would've made my whole month! If not more! I just found your blog, and now I'm obsessed. I won't stop till I read your very first post. LOVE LOVE. You are awesome!

  3. I was recently at a Santa's Grotto, being held in a seamstresses studio. A Dad who'd just helped his three children open their gifts used the scissors left on the desk to open three yoyo packages. I nearly cried for the owners!

  4. i understand to guys my kids usually fight with scissors they are now banned from the house


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