A Seam Ripper is a small tool that fascinates and intimidates beginner sewists and embroiderers a lot. The problem that we will tackle today is that beginners do not know how to use a seam ripper properly.
If you do not know when or how to use it, it is completely okay. We are going to start from the very beginning and when you finish this article, you will leave knowing how to use one!
What is a Seam Ripper?
A Seam Ripper is a sewing/embroidery tool that is used for removing —or cutting— stitches. It rips apart the seams or the threads that are binding your fabric. It is a very handy tool that you must have because it is going to help you remove unwanted stitches or embroidery.
A Seam Ripper has three parts (as shown in the picture above):
- A handle.
- Small red ball at one end.
- Another pointy end that makes up a “U” with the other end. The “U” part is really sharp and it is what cuts the seam or stitch.
Now that you know what this tool is and what is it used for, we may proceed to our main question.
How to Use a Seam Ripper correctly?
Most beginners cut seams or stitches one by one but it takes too long and leaves a lot of tiny threads over the place. It is not a wrong way but it is very time consuming. There are other much quicker and more effective ways so, we recommend using them.
There are three ways you could use a Seam Ripper correctly and quickly for taking out any stitches or unwanted embroidery.
This method would work for different types of stitches and seams that are not on the edge.
Take your Seam Ripper. Place the pointy end of it under the thread—begin from the bobbin side— let the thread come in contact with the “U” edge of the ripper and cut it. Skip 4 or 5 stitches and cut another. Now, you can easily take the stitches out by hand now. The unwanted stitch would come out.
Method 2 is used when you want to remove or undo a seam or a hem.
You do not want to place your fabric flat for this. Open the part where you can see the seam joining the two pieces. Take your Seam Ripper. Use the pointy end to pick up the thread and cut it. Now, pull the pieces apart (with only a little force. Do not pull very hard, it can easily ruin your fabric. In some cases of your fabric being sensitive, the fabric may tear or become weaker). Cut every 4th or 5th stitch and pull the pieces apart. The seam or the hem would be undone.
This is a great way to remove seams.
Take your Seam Ripper. Cut the stitch with the fabric laying flat. Now, open the part where you can see the seam connecting the two pieces. Rotate your Seam Ripper; put the ‘red ball’ under the thread so that the middle of the seam comes in contact with the sharp “U” edge. Push it through and the entire seam would be sliced. The two pieces would come apart quickly.
This is the fastest way to undo a seam but a riskier one too. Some people end up tearing their fabric. We recommend that beginners try the Method #1 and the Method #2. You could practice Method #3 on rough projects or drafts.
These are the three quick and easy ways of using a seam ripper!
- Always keep your Seam Ripper closed with a cap when not using. It will not break and would last must longer with the cap on. Please, be cautious when using a ripping tool, it can hurt your fingers really badly.
- Use a lint roller to remove the little pieces of the thread. The roller makes the cleaning process much easier and much quicker!
- Do yourself a favour and do not use scissors for cutting and remove stitches!