Thread nippers are simple thread scissors that are designed primarily for cutting threads in a concise and clean manner. Generally, the design for these types of scissors is smaller than a pair of sewing shears and will fit easily into the palm of the hand. Many versions of thread nippers are no more than four inches in length.
In shape, the nippers are configured to resemble a pistol that has been turned upside down. The operation of the scissors usually involves inserting the index finger through a finger guide while cupping the device in the hand. By opening and closing the hand, the action works the two blades on the thread nippers, making it possible to apply as much or as little pressure as needed to achieve a clean cut on the threads involved.
The purpose for thread nippers is to cut through thread, even when the thread is thick or made from a particularly sturdy material. Because of the non-traditional design for the scissors, it is possible to apply more pressure for threads that are more durable, such as some synthetic blends. Persons who work in textile plants that refine synthetic fibers for use in carpeting and upholstery are often issued thread nippers for use when cutting threads is required. With their lightweight construction and relatively small dimensions, the nippers can easily be attached to a chain that is worn around the neck, as well as fit easily into a pants pocket.
While the main function of thread nippers is to cut threads with a clean cut, they are also employed with a few other tasks. The scissors can also be used to cut through thicker fabrics, such as canvas. Because the nippers are so easy to hold, it is possible to use them to make a very straight cut in the fabric. Along with cutting into thick material, the nippers are also ideal tools for popping or ripping a seam on clothing made with heavier fabric, such as denim.