Thursday, 18 March 2010

Pattern Scissors Usage

The purpose of pattern shears/scissors is to cut out the space between pattern pieces equivalent to the came heart or the space needed for foil.

The scissors come in two thicknesses – one for leaded and the thinner for copper foil.

If you must use them:Use in short cutting motions. Use only the first 50mm of the blades which are closest to the pivot point. Otherwise the paper jams in between the blades. It remains difficult to cut long straight lines without quickly having an “accordion” of paper blocking the cutting action.

Some suggestions to make things easier:
- Clean the blades regularly. If you are cutting anything with adhesives, clean the blades after each use with spirits.
- Often running a little soap along the blades helps to smooth the action of the blades.
- Use stiff high quality paper so you do not catch fibres in the scissors. Waxed paper or stencil card are good materials to use.

Organising pattern pieces.
- You have made a second and third copy of the cartoon haven’t you?
- Now that you have a lot of pieces what do you do with them?
- Mark any grain direction before you cut the pieces apart.

You need to code the pieces in some way.
- Numbering with reference to the main cartoon is most common.
- It is a good idea to colour code the pieces and if the surface will take it, a shading of the colour makes a quick visual reference.

Keeping the pieces together.
- Envelopes are easy to write on for colours, or areas such as borders, background, etc.
- Freezer bags that are transparent and have a band to write on are very good, as you can see the pieces without opening the bag.
- You need a labelled bag or container to keep all the envelopes together.

Alternatives to pattern scissors
- For copper foil, you can use normal scissors, by cutting to the inside of the pencil or inked line. - You can also use a scalpel or craft knife to cut to the insides of the marked lines.
- For leaded glass you can use a felt tip pen (a bullet point is almost exactly the right width when new). Cut with scissors or craft knife at the sides of the line.

Alternative to pattern piecesUse the European or trace cutting method as described here.