How to use a seam ripper

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seam ripper
You can buy a seam ripper at most places that sell basic sewing supplies
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Knowing the right seam ripper use helps you remove a seam or hem more quickly

Why would you need to know how to use a seam ripper? When you make a mistake in your sewing, the seam ripper helps you remove a line of stitching more quickly and efficiently. This tool can also help you rip out someone else's stitching, like when you want to alter some clothing you've bought.


Parts of the Seam Ripper


Correct seam ripper use depends on your recognizing which parts of the tool will accomplish your task. The tool pictured above is a common, basic version. If using one like this, you will reach under an individual stitch with the long, pointed prong. You can also turn it the other way and grab a seam in the cup between the two prongs.


Other types of seam rippers exist. Some look more like scalpels with slightly curved blades. With these, you will stick the curved tip under the stitch you want to remove.


You can also buy combination tools that allow you to rip seams and cut buttonholes. For this type of seam ripper use, you will need to install the correct blade (the curved one) on the handle and slip the curved tip under the stitches you want to rip out.


Seam Ripper Use


Explaining effective seam ripper use is best done with pictures or a demonstration. Others have already done this. To see how to cut stitches between the two prongs, see "How to Use a Seam Ripper" on In this method, you will have to hold the two sides of the seam apart in one hand while you guide the seam ripper with the other.


If you want to try another method of seam ripper use, see this seam ripper post on The Purl Bee. Here you will remove the stitches from one side of the seam with only the long prong.


Your need for seam ripper use may also deal with rehemming jeans or other purchased clothes to look better on you. If so, a YouTube video about hemming blue jeans may be helpful. This video shows you how seam ripper use applies to hems. It also provides several tips that will make the process easier when you're dealing with heavy denim.


How to Use a Seam Ripper Correctly


As you can see, there isn't really one correct way to use a seam ripper. Use whichever method fits your project and feels most comfortable. Also assess what your tool can do. The first method above will only work well if the cup between the prongs is sharp. If yours isn't, you'll probably be frustrated trying to rip seams that way.


Hemming by Hand


If your seam ripper use will be followed by hemming, but you don't have a machine, you may find a hand-sewing guide helpful. You can choose from several stitches when you're hemming by hand.

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