ZJ Humbach

Best Methods for Removing Stitches

ZJ Humbach
Sign in
Duration:   7  mins

When it comes to sewing and quilting, stitching mistakes can happen, especially ones where the only fix is to rip out the stitching. ZJ Humbach shares a few ways to remove stitches, including showing how to remove stitches without a seam ripper, and a way that she considers the best way to remove stitches, which is a method that protects the fabric as much as possible.

How to Remove Stitches

Rip Method

Given that one of the most commonly used terms for removing stitching is ripping out, this is the first method that ZJ shares for removing thread, simply taking one side of the seam in each hand and ripping the threads apart.

While this is one of the quickest ways to get the pieces of fabric apart, it comes with some drawbacks. First, it can cause a lot of damage to the fabric, especially in the area where you first begin pulling them apart. Secondly, after you rip the threads and they break in several areas, you then have to go back and pick out all of the little thread pieces left in the fabric.

Seam Ripper

After demonstrating this method, ZJ moves on to talk about the seam ripper. She explains the basic parts of the seam rippers and shows how to use them to both cut through the threads and then pull them out and out of the fabric.

Small Scissors

While most people have access to a seam ripper, if you don’t have one in your studio, ZJ shares a final way to remove stitches without a seam ripper, which she considers the best way to remove stitches.

She shows how to use a small pair of scissors or snips to make cuts in the thread every few stitches, then lift up the thread and pull it out. On the side where you are making the cuts, you will be lifting off the thread pieces every inch or so and on the wrong side, you will be able to lift off and remove the whole thread.

This method makes for fewer little pieces of thread that have to be picked off later and also protects the fabric as much as possible. After you’ve learned how to remove mistaken stitches, learn about quilt stitching made easy and stitched focal points.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
500 characters remaining

2 Responses to “Best Methods for Removing Stitches”

  1. KIM

    I thought that’s what the ball is for on the seam ripper - to go into the seam while the pointed end rides above. Less chance of tearing the fabric.

  2. Cherine Fleyfel

    That's not how you use a seam ripper, but I suppose you want to sell the snipper, lol!

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!