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How to Remove Stitches

By Brenda H. Murphy

Removing one or two stitches in a garment is not a difficult chore, but getting whole seams out so that you can take a blouse apart to use for a pattern, or to alter the length/width of a skirt can be more challenging.

A lot depends on whether the stitches you want to remove were sewn by hand, or machine. Machine sewing tends to lay down a very close line of stitches than can run along the seam and overcast it as well.

The most common tool used to remove stitches is a seam ripper. This is a little device that has a curved, sharpened blade at one end, and set into a handle with a secure grip, so that you have total control over where and how you cut things. In a basic seam, it is possible to slip the tip under the stitches, and literally rip the entire seam out by just moving the device forward.

But as mentioned, if it was done by machine, you may have a second seam to deal with. Some people having removed the overcastting, will then turn the material over, and put enough stress on both sides to pull the fabric gently and expose the stitches that are still there. If you have sufficient room to work with, you can then use the ripper to slice them one at a time.

Once you have cut all the stitches in a seam, a pair of tweezers comes in handy for clean-ups, particularly with fine threads.

About The Author

Brenda H. Murphy

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