Seam ripping, yuk! I don’t like it, I don’t like it at all. It is a reminder to me that I made a mistake. Much of the time the mistake is because I tried to go too fast, I didn’t fully read the tutorial or I am rushing and as we know “haste makes waste.” Even the name seam ripping sounds so awful. A rip is something we fix, not cause. 😊 I do prefer the term unpick the seam, which is really what we do.
If you are unpicking a straight or zig zag seam it is straight forward and not that hard, depending on the fabric you are sewing with. Cotton woven fabric is the easiest. However, when it comes to knits it can get a bit fussier. But still you are only dealing with one top thread and the bobbin thread.
Serger stitches present a whole different level of difficulty because if you are using the standard four thread overlock you will now have to release four different threads, pull the wrong thread and you end up tightening the stitches and may never get them out, especially if you are working with a sweater knit or a deep thick fabric like fleece.
Just yesterday I was rushing, trying to get the second sleeve sewn on before I had to stop and make dinner. For the lining of this dress I used the same fabric as the main fashion fabric so it was important that I was paying attention to which side was inside or outside. I did mark them with a piece of masking tape but still I sewed the second sleeve on inside out. UGH! So much for my getting this done quickly.
Unpicking serger stitches can be excruciatingly time consuming and frustrating so I am going to show you how to quickly and easily unpick them. A four thread overlock stitch is made up of four different threads. Two needle threads and two looper threads. The two looper threads do not pierce the fabric, they wrap around the edge to enclose it. The two needle threads penetrate the fabric .
To quickly and easily remove serger threads you will work from the front of the fabric. That is the side that was facing you and up against the presser foot. You are then looking at the looper thread and the two needle threads.
In the sample above, I used two different needle thread colors so you can easily see what I am doing.
Look at the picture below and you will see my seam ripper is placed between the loops on one stitch and under the two needle threads. I am being careful to just get my seam ripper under the needle threads, the purple and orange threads. Then pull up on your seam ripper to cut the two needle threads only not the looper thread.
I then go the next stich and lift out a bit more of the two needle threads so I will have some room to grab them.
Then go down a few inches and do this again. Now you will be able to pull out the needle threads one at a time and the looper threads with unravel right off the fabric. If you catch the looper thread instead of the needle thread it will begin to tighten down around the fabric edge. If this happens stop right away and rip that out and try again.
It may take a bit of practice and using the different color needle threads will really help you as your practice. Then when you do need to unpick your serger stitches it, hopefully will be a little less frustrating for you!!
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Thanks and Happy Sewjourning!