Technique: How to Rip a Seam

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This guide will show you the specifics ripping a seam.

Knowing how to rip a seam is essential for basic sewing and clothing repair. Whether you want to make alterations, replace a zipper, or fix a sewing mishap, ripping the seam properly will make the changes nearly invisible.

Edit Step 1 How to Rip a Seam  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 How to Rip a Seam  ¶ 

  • Slip the sharp end of the seam ripper through a single stitch in the seam you want to remove.

  • Be sure your seam ripper goes through only the stitch, not the fabric, or you could puncture/tear the fabric.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Slide the seam ripper forward, bringing the stitch into the crux of the seam ripper's fork and onto the blade.

  • Gently push the seam ripper forward, cutting the thread.

  • Rely on the blade to do the work. Do not apply a lot of force, as the seam ripper can slip and puncture the fabric.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • You can use the method described in steps 1 and 2 to completely rip any seam. However, if you have a seam that binds two pieces of fabric, it is easier to rip the seam using the method described in step 4, below.

  • In order to use the method in Step 4, you need to remove the first few stitches of the seam using the method we already described in Step 1. Removing these stitches enables you to separate the two pieces of fabric and use the seam ripper on the stitches that hold them together.

  • Using the method below also helps prevent accidental puncturing of the garment.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Separate the two pieces of fabric held together by your seam.

  • Bring the sharp end of the seam ripper between the two pieces of fabric.

  • Slip the sharp end of the seam ripper beneath one of the stitches. Be careful to avoid catching the fabric.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Slide the seam ripper forward. Bring the thread into the crux of the fork and onto the blade.

  • Gently push the seam ripper forward again, cutting the thread.

  • Rely on the blade to do the work. Do not apply a lot of force, as the seam ripper can slip and puncture the fabric.

  • Continue working, stitch by stitch, until the seam has been removed. Take your time, being careful not to damage the fabric.

  • Remove all of the loose threads from the ripped seam to prevent tangling when you resew the seam.

For more information, check out the Clothing device page.

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