Seam Rippers, YES there are different kinds and they get dull!

Robert Kaufman Fabric - Seam Rippers

Robert Kaufman Fabric


Seam rippers are a new sewers handy dandy tool.  The seam ripper does just what the name says, it rips out the mistaken sewing stitches.  Over the years methods to remove mistakes in sewing have taken many forms.  Early on tiny little scissors with very sharp points were the most common tool.  Latter came the use of blades (yes, like straight edge razors).  And some people used surgeon’s scalpels used to preform surgery.  I remember being introduced to a seam ripper when my dad bought a sewing machine for me to use back in 1962.  In the machines tools and feet was this strange very little tool, with a cap on it and the name of the sewing machine printed on the side, like a promotion item.  Once I got the hang of using it, I have never been without one by my side sewing side.

Years have passed and the seam ripper has only become better.  With the introduction of a longer handle, one’s hands didn’t cramp when lots of seams needed to be ripped.  When the ergonomic handle arrived life as a sewer took another great leap.  A shaped and fatter handle made all the difference in ones ability to control the ripper as used.

Let’s take a look at a few seam rippers.

Seam Rippers

It is easy to see these tools all belong to the same family.

The white one at the top is generic and came in the tool assortment with my latest sewing machine.  It is tiny, has a handle that also doubles as a cap for protection of the tip. You will notice it also is missing the little red protective ball on the dull end.  This ball is present on rippers as a protection for your fabric as you remove threads.  I keep this ripper with my machine tools, and rarely use it.

The second blue and pink ripper was my first ergonomic seam ripper.  It has a cap, for protection of the tip.  The cap does not fit anywhere but to cover the sharp tip, so it can be easily displaced or lost.  It has a thin blade, which is excellent for working with small stitches and fine fabrics.

The third and forth rippers made by Dritz look a lot alike, with one being just slightly smaller than the other.  The important thing to notice is the cutting blade end. The bottom one it longer and much thicker.  This size  ripper is used for heavy duty stitches and fabric, think blue jeans.  It is a stronger blade with a littler larger handle which helps make this type of seam removal easier. These two seam rippers do not have protective caps, so I keep mine in a snap lock box when not in use.

Now for those who like to risk doing surgery when they remove seams!  Havel’s Ultra Pro I Seam Ripper comes with replacement blades.  Thankfully I have never felt the need to invest

Blade Ripper

All rippers get DULL with use!  If you have had one for awhile and used it quite a bit, you may want to consider buying a new one… you may find out you were working pretty hard to rip seams with a duller blade.  Also, like a dull knife, a dull ripper can cause one to use excessive pressure, making slip-ups more likely. We change sewing machine needles, why not our rippers!

If you want to see the large variety of seam rippers do a computer image search.  This past summer I was in Ashland, Oregon and found a beautiful hand turned wood handled ergonomic ripper which became a gift for a friend.

Sewing Hint: If you find lots of small cut treads left after ripping a seam, use some sticky tape to dab at the treads.  This pulls out these thread specks and makes it easy to dispose.

Happy Stitching…and ripping.




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