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Tips & Techniques > seam ripper confession

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Posted by: miausiau

About miausiau starstarstar
Member since: 4/13/11
Reviews: 137 (tips: 3)
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Posted on: 9/20/12 7:15 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 13 people   
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If there's one thing a sewer has to learn early and often is how to take out a seam. When I worked in stage costume I think we spent more time taking things apart than putting them together. I have used the same tool for 40 years to accomplish this task and I have taken some teasing. I use a very small folding knife or pocket knife, and it is sometimes called a tuxedo knife. I keep the blade sharp so I can slide it under a single stitch every 5 stitches or so and the pull thread from the opposite side and it all comes out quickly. On heavier fabrics I can run the blade between the layers and just slice the thread. This takes a little practice and a sharp blade so that you don't nick the fabric. I also use it the usual way just nicking threads as I spread the fabric. I find traditional seam rippers to be dull and too big to get under stitches. This method has saved me a lot of frustration and time. I can take down a garment completely in less than an hour, and re use parts for redesign. Check a hardware store for the tiniest folding knife and keep it sharp with your cooking cutlery "straightener". Call me crazy but this works better than anything else I have tried.

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mdetka said... (2/21/14 8:15 AM) Reply
wow what a great tip! i loathe using a seam ripper at all times and have chalked garments up as a failure due to my resistance to want to touch a seam ripper! I think you may have just changed my sewing life!
costumecarol said... (10/19/12 10:23 PM) Reply
My boss and I use utility blades from the hardware store; the kind that has a score where the blade can be snapped off for a new, sharp edge.
Baja Susana said... (10/13/12 5:18 PM) Reply
When I was young, I used a razor blade. I remember nicking my finger and bleeding all over a white pique skirt I was making. Now I have many seam rippers, and they are my best friends! I am not brave enough to go back to a knifr or a blade!
Nancywin said... (10/1/12 9:22 AM) Reply
Great tip. I've been buying clover seam rippers, which work great, but don't last long. I've tried many types of seam rippers, but the polyester thread dulls them quickly. Someone should invent a seam ripper sharpener!
Nurse Jane said... (9/21/12 8:54 AM) Reply
This reminds me that my grandmother always used a double -edged razor blade- she never allowed me to use it . I love the old Singer curved handle seam ripper for the handle itself and its use in poking out corners... wish I could sharpen the blade end.
Merry G said... (9/21/12 7:16 AM) Reply
great idea
JOshiro said... (9/21/12 6:54 AM) Reply
A sharp cut is so helpful and yet so terrifying. I use surgical scalpel blades, which I replace often. They go through seams like butter but also can create holes in fabric even faster, so I have to still go pretty slowly.
AtiyaAfi said... (9/20/12 8:59 PM) Reply
Nice tip, but may I disagree about using a standard seam ripper. I'm still using the one I've been using since I began sewing - more than 50 years ago - and it still rips a seam like a champ. Then again, they don't make things like they used to anymore! I'm glad I held on to it as a newer one I brought some years ago I hardly use and only use it when I've temporarily misplaced my perfectly, still going strong, Singer seam ripper. I guess my old Singer seam ripper can be considered an antique now.
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