Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stitch Ripping

Ripping out stitches is a huge drag, but sometimes it just has to be done, whether it's to undo a mistake, move a seam, or save a piece of fabric for a new project!

In this post, I'll show you my favourite way of removing stitches, which is fairly quick, clean, and limits potential damage to the fabric.
The best tool for removing stitches is a seam ripper. They come in different sizes and shapes with varying levels of ergonomics, but the function is essentially the same for each. You can use a rotary cutter, too, but I like the careful precision of the specialized ripper.

The one I use is a small Dritz one*, which has a protective cap that can be moved to the other side to create a longer handle. This helps a lot to minimize discomfort if I'm ripping a lot at one time. (We've all been there!) It's small enough that I can maneuver it into a lot of different positions so that I only cut the thread of the seam. But if you find that the standard small seam ripper is too small for your hand, it's worth trying out a larger one that requires less tension.
*This is an Amazon affiliate link! I receive 4% of any associated purchase. :)

For demonstration purposes, I've sewn a basic seam with black thread on the wrong side, and light blue on the other.

On the wrong side, use the stitch ripper to snip every 3rd or 4th stitch, being careful not to snag any threads in the fabric.

Flip to the other side, and carefully pull out the other thread. The little thread bits should come through, and you can pick them off or use a piece of tape to collect them.

 Like so!

Another way to rip stitches is to get right into the seam. You can do this from the wrong side...

Or the right side.

However, I find that my hand starts to cramp when I do it this way, since I'm pulling the fabric apart. That pulling can also cause damage to the fabric, and it isn't as easy to pick out the residual threads. There's also a temptation to run your ripper along the seam, instead of cutting individual threads, which risks cutting into the fabric instead!

It can be faster, though, which is sometimes worth it, especially if your fabric is particularly sturdy.

Try out each method, and you'll find one more comfortable and easier than the other.  Happy ripping!

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