A Question For You

Each morning my inbox is full of great questions.

I love to help you figure out your sewing dilemmas.

Today, however, I thought it would be fun for you  to answer a question from one of our readers!

It isn’t about an alteration.

It’s about technique and experience.

And I figure there are probably many good answers to this one.

Her question is:

“Do you have any clever suggestions for ripping out seams effectively? I think if I could rip out seams more efficiently, I could save time and make more money. For instance, I know there is a trick to knowing which thread to pull out when taking out a chain stitch or serger seam.”

Ok, readers, take the helm.

Leave us your answers in the comment section below!


10 Responses

  1. Hmm – I’m sure there is a correct thread to pull on, but I’m to impatient to find it.
    My favorite, quick way to “rip” a seam is to put one side under the sewing machine foot (or if you’re all fancy like, you could use a “bird”), hold the other side with your hand and that leaves one hand free to rip the seam. It holds tighter and makes it go much faster. (This does not work quite as well with delicate fabrics, but can still be used if your gentle)

    I also like to stock pile seams that need to be ripped, so I can park myself in front of HULU and spend an evening ripping.

    I can’t wait to hear what everyone else says – good question!

  2. I’ve a couple of methods that work for me. The first is better for short rips and it’s to pull on one of the threads much like I was gathering until it just slides out.
    For longer rips I like to cut every third or fourth stitch on one side then carefully pull the thread on the other side. Usually it all just pulls out and I just run a lint roller or piece of tape to pull out the left over tufts of thread.

  3. Here’s a link explaining how to rapidly rip out a 4-thread serged seam:


  4. To hand rip, I’ll loosen a few stitches until I can get a good grasp, then I pull until the thread snaps. I flip the seam over and pull that thread, flipping the cloth until the seam is removed.

  5. I just use the ole seam ripper. The trick is using it as originally intended. I was taught to dig the sharp end into the seam and pick. Nope! Do that for a couple of stitches to work an opening, then flip over the seam ripper and insert the balled end into the seam, letting ‘er rip!

  6. I don’t even use a seam ripper unless I’m taking out top stitching. I use a straight razor blade. A new one for every dress so its extreamly sharp and I dont have to press. If you have to apply pressure, its not sharp enough and you need a new one. You have to be careful and cut only the stitches but it’s much faster. I buy them in bulk from a sewing supply company. $8.00 per 100. Saves much time and time is money!

    • I’m with you Christie. I use a blade as well. I certainly go through them lots! Can you tell me where you buy them in bulk from?

  7. I’m okay on removing straight stitches. I often can’t find the right thread to release the stitches on a bag of potatoes!

  8. Hi Linda,

    I found some helpful information on how to unsew serger threads.

    Chain stitch: cut the needle thread, then pull the looper thread.

    Two-thread: cut the stitch loops formed along the fabric edge, then pull out the cut threads.

    Three-thread: same as above except pull on the needle thread, then pull out the cut threads.

    Also, I found that the thread typically pulls from right to left.

    Sorry for not providing a reference, but one is not listed on this random piece of sewing information. 🙂

    Linda M.

    • Awesome! I knew somebody had taken the time to figure this out. I’m going to print it out and use it until I’ve got it memorized. Thanks, Linda, for sharing it with us.

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