Learn how to use a seam ripper and how to remove sewing stitches 2 different ways. Sewers of all levels (not just beginners) need to unpick. We all make mistakes or sometimes just have a day where we are totally distracted by our family or work life. I’ve been sewing since I was 5 and even now I have days where things just don’t go right. So what is the best way to unpick stitches?
What is a Seam Ripper?
A seam ripper is a sewing tool designed to undo stitches and cut thread. They have a sharp point and then a U-shaped blade to cut unwanted stitches. The red one pictured below is fairly typical of how they look.
Using a seam ripper makes it less likely (although not impossible) for the fabric to get damaged by removing the stitches.
Never pull or rip stitches out as it can damage the fabric.
HOW TO USE A SEAM RIPPER
First of all, make sure your seam ripper is sharp. Once it gets dull you risk stabbing yourself or making a hole in the fabric as you will need more force to get it to cut the threads.
You will be surprised just how quickly they get blunt. Seam rippers are one of your cheapest sewing tools so always have a few on hand.
HOW TO USE A SEAM RIPPER: METHOD 1
Start by unpicking every few stitches on the top of the seam. Flip the seam over and pull the bobbin thread. It will come away in one piece. Remove the stray threads from your fabric and you are done.
HOW TO USE A SEAM RIPPER: METHOD 2
Unpick a couple of threads on the outside of the seam. Then open up the seam to be unpicked and start cutting a few threads at a time. The ball of the seam ripper should be pointing down. Don’t try and cut too many at once as you risk putting a hole in your fabric.
PRO TIP – Use a sticky lint remover to remove the last of the threads. This saves so much time compared to picking each loose thread out by hand.
What is your preferred method for unpicking and using a seam ripper? Please share. Maybe you have a third method you use.