How to use a seam ripper correctly (and fast!)

2

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I’ve never taken a poll, but I’m willing to bet that most sewists would choose a seam ripper as her favorite, must-have sewing tool. However a surprising number of people who sew don’t know to how to use a seam ripper correctly or at all!

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

It’s pretty much impossible to complete a sewing project without using a seam ripper (also known as a stitch ripper, unpicker, or stitch unpicker). They are absolutely essential for pulling out mistake stitches.

Click to save this Cucicucicoo.com post on Pinterest!
Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

There are a lot of different styles of seam ripper, but my favorite is this small ergonomic seam ripper by Dritz*. There is also a large ergonomic seam ripper* that is exactly the same, but bigger. Below there are another two types of seam rippers: one with a special “seam eraser”* and another seam ripper with a magnifier and light*, which is good for people with bad eyesight. (I haven’t actually used them myself, but if you have, I’d love to hear about your experience!)

Whatever shape it is, all seam rippers have the same main structure: a handle with a metal tip. The tip has a blade between a point and a little red ball.

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

Most people know how to use a seam ripper to tear out individual stitches, but a lot of people have no idea why there’s that little ball on the unpicker.

Well, I’m here to tell you that that little ball lets you rip out stitches very quickly. And I’m going to let you in on the trick! Watch this short video or continue reading below to find out how to use a seam ripper correctly!

Print out these instructions!
Scroll down to the end of this post and click “Print”.

How to use a seam ripper for individual stitches

First, let’s prepare a practice piece. Cut two fabric rectangles and sew them together, right sides facing, on at least one long side. Turn the fabric right side out and iron the seam/s flat.

Sew together two rectangles of fabric
  1. Hold the fabric with the seam facing you.
Sew together two rectangles of fabric

2. Gently pull on the fabric until you can see the stitches. (Normally you would use a color that matches the fabric. I used black to help it show up more.)

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

3. Stick the pointed tip under a stitch that needs to be removed. The first stitch is always the hardest one to pick out, so be careful that you are catching only the thread and that you don’t poke through the fabric.

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

4. Push the seam ripper gently so that the stitch reaches the blade in the curve (to the left above), and push a little more so that the blade cuts right through the thread (to the right above).

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

5. Continue this way for any other stitches that need pulling out.

This method is perfect if you only have a few stitches to tear out, if the seam is curved, or if the fabric has a long nap. If, however, you have a long straight seam that needs to be removed, the following trick will save you a LOT of time!

Click to save this Cucicucicoo.com post on Pinterest!

How to use a seam ripper for rows of stitches

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools
  1. Start by pulling out a few stitches, as described above, at one end of the seam.
Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

2. Now insert the ball between the two layers of fabric with the blade against the stitches.

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

3. Hold the fabric with your left hand and the seam ripper with your right (or vice versa if you are a leftie). Pull the fabric a little towards you (or just hold it still) while you push the seam ripper a little away from you (in the direction of the arrow above and to the left).

The blade will cut right through the whole line of stitches, gathering them up (the little tangle of black thread shown by the arrow above and to the right). The ball slides easily against the fabric without cutting or poking into it.

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

It takes literally just a few seconds to rip out a whole long line of stitches this way. What an amazing time saver!

But I’m not done, because there’s still one more super useful way to use a seam ripper:

How to use a seam ripper for buttonholes

How to open a buttonhole with a seam ripper #seamripper #sewing101

Seam rippers are very useful for opening buttonholes, too. Here’s how:

  1. Sew a buttonhole either by hand or by machine.
  2. Stick a straight pin at each end of the stitches, but on the inside of the bar tacks (those longer stitches at the top and bottom).
  3. Stick the pointy end of the seam ripper into the fabric between the columns of zigzag stitches and push it through in each direction until it hits the pins.
  4. Remove the pins, and your buttonhole is open!

Find more about this use of a stitch ripper in my lesson on how to sew a buttonhole with a sewing machine.

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

As you can see, the seam ripper is incredibly useful because it allows you to remove mistake stitches and save your sewing projects! It is also indispensable when sewing buttonholes.

So, if you still don’t have one, click here to purchase a seam ripper just like mine*!

Learn to Machine Sew FREE sewing course for beginners, only on Cucicucicoo.com! #sew #learntosew

If you liked this lesson on how to use a seam ripper correctly, check out the other lessons that are part of the FREE Cucicucicoo Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course! And don’t forget to share pictures of your work on Facebook, Instagram or other social media with the hashtags #cucicucicoo or #cucicucicoopatterns!

Do you want all the best sewing techniques and cool modern sewing projects, right in your inbox? Then sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter here , and you’ll also get access to dozens of free printables!

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You know you’ll want to remember these important sewing tips, so click here to save this post on Pinterest!

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools

*All starred links are affiliate links which help fund this blog. When you click, you will not spend anything extra, but I earn a small percentage. I cannot see what you clicked nor which products you have seen. Please read my affiliate link disclosure for more information.

How to use a seam ripper correctly (and fast!)

How to use a seam ripper correctly (and fast!)

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go!

Materials

  • Two rectangles of fabric sewn together

Instructions

First, prepare a practice piece. Cut two fabric rectangles and sew them together, right sides facing, on at least one long side. Turn the fabric right side out and iron the seam/s flat.

How to use a seam ripper for individual stitches

  1. Hold the fabric with the seam facing you.
  2. Gently pull on the fabric until you can see the stitches.
  3. Stick the pointed tip under a stitch that needs to be removed. The first stitch is always the hardest one to pick out, so be careful that you are catching only the thread and that you don’t poke through the fabric.
  4. Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtools Push the seam ripper gently so that the stitch reaches the blade in the curve (to the left above), and push a little more so that the blade cuts right through the thread (to the right above).
  5. Continue this way for any other stitches that need pulling out.

How to use a seam ripper for rows of stitches

  1. Start by pulling out a few stitches, as described above, at one end of the seam.
  2. Now insert the ball between the two layers of fabric with the blade against the stitches.
  3. Become best sewing friends with your stitch unpicker tool! Learn how to use a seam ripper correctly to remove individual stitches or to quickly tear out whole lines of stitching in one go! #seamripper #sewingtoolsHold the fabric with your left hand and the seam ripper with your right (or vice versa if you are a leftie). Pull the fabric a little towards you (or just hold it still) while you push the seam ripper a little away from you (in the direction of the arrow above and to the left).
  4. The blade will cut right through the whole line of stitches, gathering them up (the little tangle of black thread shown by the arrow above and to the right). The ball slides easily against the fabric without cutting or poking into it. It takes literally just a few seconds to rip out a whole long line of stitches this way. What an amazing time saver!

How to use a seam ripper for buttonholes

Seam rippers are very useful for opening buttonholes, too. Here’s how:

How to open a buttonhole with a seam ripper #seamripper #sewing101

  1. Sew a buttonhole either by hand or by machine.
  2. Stick a straight pin at each end of the stitches, but on the inside of the bar
    tacks (those longer stitches at the top and bottom).
  3. Stick the pointy end of the seam ripper into the fabric between the columns of
    zigzag stitches and push it through in each direction until it hits the
    pins.
  4. Remove the pins, and your buttonhole is open!

Find more about this use of a stitch ripper in my lesson on how to sew a buttonhole with a sewing machine.

As you can see, the seam ripper is incredibly useful because it
allows you to remove mistake stitches and save your sewing projects! It
is also indispensable when sewing buttonholes.

So, if you still don’t have one, click one of the images below to purchase a seam ripper just like mine!

Recommended Products

All materials links are affiliate links which help fund this blog. All opinions are my own. Please read my affiliate link disclosure for more information: http://www.cucicucicoo.com/affiliate-links/

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