Saturday, October 12, 2013

So Sew! Day 11: Seam Ripping

Welcome to day 11 of our 31 Days sewing series! Today we're ripping out our seams. Whatthewhat?

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This post is updated from the archives

Maybe it is a little unkind of me to follow our very first actual sewing post with a post on how to rip out your seam. It sounds like I don’t have much faith in your sewing abilities, haha! That is not the case, trust me! I am sure you did a great job yesterday and don’t have to rip any of it out. Right?

I just know how frustrating it is to have to pick out your stitches and do them over, and that frustration is multiplied the longer it takes. For a long time ripping out stitches was my worst nightmare, but now that I’ve figured out a slick way to do it, its not as bad!

This is the easiest, most efficient way I’ve found to rip those bad boys out -

Lay your piece out so you are looking at one side of your seam.

See all the little individual stitches?

Slip the point of your seam ripper under one of those stitches and break the thread. Don't pull on it or anything, just break it.

Now break stitches all the way down your seam, about every 5 or 6 or 8 stitches apart. The smaller the stitches, the more often you'll need to break one. My stitch length dial was set on 8, so these were a bit longer stitches.

Now flip your piece over and observe the seam from the other side. On this side, it is still looking untouched. Grab the end of the thread (loosen a couple of stitches with the seam ripper to get you started if need be) and pull gently. Because the stitches are broken on the other side, this thread should pull right out with a little tugging.

If it doesn't pull right out, just flip everything back over and break another stitch in the offending spot.

Now all you should be left with is some shorter stray threads to pull out. Pull those out, and you are done! Wasn't that quick and easy?

Here is an alternative - and maybe more common - method to rip out stitches:

I used to rip out stitches this way. You may find it easier than I do, but I didn’t like it because:

1. It was easier to catch and snag the fabric, not just the thread, and
2. It results in a zillion little teeny threads.

So I prefer the method outlined above because it seems like less work, it is quick and the threads are longer and easier to pick up.

I have also found, if you do have a million little threads, or the fabric is sheer and hard to work with, that a lint roller is helpful in picking up those threads.

Hopefully this information is helpful the next time you have to take your seam out. While I wish it didn’t happen, it does...frequently. To all of us! Just remember, it is better to rip something out and do it right than to leave an item just so-so or not right at all. Take the time to do it right! You’ll be glad you did!

Challenge: next time you have to rip something out, try this efficient method. Do you like it? Have a method you like better? Do tell!

Other posts in this series:


  1. Haha - ripping out seams...oh what a nightmare. I actually heard about this method of ripping out this year and I find it soooo much easier and FASTER than the old one.

    1. Yup, me too! Glad you've been successful! =)


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