Monday, January 7, 2013

Tips: Unpicking the Easy Way

I thought I'd share some valuable tips I've picked up the last few years as I've been sewing more and more.
So they will be random, but hopefully useful when they do pop up!

First off, my tip to unpick!
I'm not an expert seamstress by any means, which is why I chose a tip I have loads of experience in--unpicking. 
A mistake you have to unpick is enough to throw your project in a pile and never pick it up again (I would know).  So hopefully this will make your unpicking easier and not let a mistake ruin a whole project.

I actually learned this tip from my little sister, Lynette who is a professional seamstress/ tailor/ designer and owns her own shop.  So from the pro who unpicks other people's clothes all day long, here's the big secret:
Throw your seam ripper away and get straight razor blades!
{I keep mine under all my pins on my magnetic pin holder
*another favorite sewing gadget of mine*}
Here are the advantages:
-Razors are cheap!
I buy them in the paint section and a package of 10 is usually around $1.00

-Razors are sharp!
More often than not, it seems seam rippers require a lot of pull before it will cut the thread (or worse just break it), damaging your fabric and stretching it, leaving evidence of the old seam.  Razors will cut right through, leaving your fabric unscathed.
-Razors save time! 
You can cut through a lot of sewing in one motion, rather than pulling a seam out stitch by stitch.
 
It's not that different to unpick with a razor blade.
Just hold your seam open with one hand, and maneuver the razor through the stitching with your other hand, obviously making sure to not slice the fabric on either side.
To confess, I actually do keep a seam ripper around...somewhere.  Occasionally I need to use it to pop the first few threads to get the seam started before I can use the razor blade.

Hopefully this tip is helpful, but hopefully you won't have to use it much--since I'm sure, like me, we all loathe unpicking!

22 comments:

  1. What a great tip. I'll definitely be giving this a try the next time I need to rip a seam. Which will probably be today, since I tend to seam rip a. lot.

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  2. Thanks for the tip. Now I almost can't wait for making a mistake and having to unpick, haha. I didn't know there is something like a magnetic pinholder, that's also a great tip!

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    1. I have two of the magnetic pin holders, one was $2 from walmart and kind of cheap. The other was $10 from Hancock fabrics and is heavy and the magnet is a lot stronger. I can just hover it over the floor and it will snatch up any fallen pins, or all the pins my kids picked up and let fall on the ground. :)

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  3. What a great tip! It also scares me! I can see myself going through the thread, the fabric, my fingers. But stitches or not, I'm going to try it! Thanks!

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    1. I guess it is more of a health risk! But I find it's not too bad to maneuver and it cuts the thread like butter.

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  4. I have a tip about where to store your blades. If you have a machine that stays in one place (or one attached to a table) place you blade SHARP SIDE TO THE MACHINE on the right side of your machine. This comes in handy because you always know where it is and when you go to pick it up the cutting side is always facing AWAY from you.

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    1. That is a good idea to keep it handy and safe. thanks!

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  5. But my seam ripper and I are becoming intimate friends ;op I don't know, something about three small children and razor blades makes me think ER trips could be my future if I try this one. Now do you have a tip for ripping out flat feld seams, I could have used that the other day.

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    1. These blades, my rotary cutter, and the fact my four year old cut open plastic with my pinking shears makes me have to lock the door to my sewing room! Or just the fact they tear all my supplies out.
      For flat felled seams, I've always just approached it as ripping two seams, one to remove it from the base, then the other to separate the two sides of fabric. They are a pain!!!

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  6. Ooh, interesting! That would definitely get the stitches out quickly! And lucky me, I even some razor blades on hand for next time I make a mistake.

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  7. I have to admit I too am an unpicker. This is a good tip and I will try it. Thanks

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  8. This is a huge "duh" moment for me! It seems so obvious now! Thanks for the tip :)

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    1. oh that's how it was for me. Seam rippers get dull so fast it seems!

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  9. I'm both freaked out (two recent late-night rotary cutter accidents) AND intrigued. Thanks for the tip! ;)

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  10. Ahh, thank you, I had heard of using a razor blade but didn't have a clue exactly how. I may be too clutzy for this, but I'll certainly try it. Thanks! Hope you're feeling well - getting closer, hey?

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  12. Jessica ~ have you seen this seam ripper by chance? I've been using these since I got my embroidery machine late 2003. It was recommended by my Viking store and the first time I had to use this to unpick an entire embroidery design, I was in love. It's basically a curved razor blade and just as sharp since they're surgically sharp blades.
    http://www.havelssewing.com/seam-ripper-ultra-pro-18950.html They do have a few variations of this ripper but I like this one most. Another very similar has three different blades, one regular, a wider one, and then one for cutting buttonholes. The blades are cheap to replace and they do last awhile too. In fact, I just bought new ones this past weekend and at my Viking dealer they run $4.99 for a pack of 6 replacements.

    I'm sure if I used a regular razor blade I'd slice my hand open. LOL

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    1. That is a cool sewing gadget. Basically looks like a surgical scalpel to me! Probably a lot safer to have the razor on a handle rather than just at the tip of your fingers. Thanks for all the info, especially the other buttonhole blades. Will have to look into this one!

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  13. Oh yeah, of course I read this after I ordered a gingher stitch ripper to see if that worked better! :p c'est la vie, if I'm not happy with that one I will weep and gnash my teeth and buy razor blades!

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  14. This is really smart! I am going to try this. Thanks Jessica!

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  15. Wasn't sure what " unpicking" was. I call it reverse sewing and I hate it when sewing a garment. Do it all of the time with the alterations I do. I just finish unpiking a wedding gown. Ready made garments are easier to take apart than items I make.

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  16. Wasn't sure what " unpicking" was. I call it reverse sewing and I hate it when sewing a garment. Do it all of the time with the alterations I do. I just finish unpiking a wedding gown. Ready made garments are easier to take apart than items I make.

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