Do You Need A Good Brass Seam Ripper?

Can you actually save money, time or get better results if you invest in a brass seam ripper? Interesting take on sewing tool quality.

In previous articles, we've looked at sewing tools and sewing machines, with one of the main questions being “how much should you spend?”  Will buying an expensive machine make you a better sewer or get you better results?  Or should you just go with the best machine your budget allows?  I'm a frugal kinda gal and for the longest time I stick with my budget Brother machine, but that doesn't mean I might not want to upgrade some of the other more modest sewing tools in my collection. Today we'll look at whether or not you should invest in a high-quality or budget brass seam ripper.

Does a better machine make you a better sewer? Is it worth spending a lot of money on a machine? What do you think?

Seam rippers

As much as we don't want to need one, a seam ripper often gets used more than we would like and is a very necessary sewing tool.  I've always been ok with the budget models, but then I realised that in about 3 years of sewing, I've now collected about 6-8 seam rippers, and not one of them is any good any more.

Should you buy a brass seam ripper?

You can see here, I even started buying in bulk and bought all of those 4 blue ones at one time when I realized they just didn't stay sharp for very long.

They probably didn't start out too sharp anyway, but now all but one is useless and the one I do use really needs to be replaced.  It's just not sharp enough.  I made a big mistake trying to install a magnetic snap.  The seam ripper pieced OK, but then when I pushed it forward to make the little incision to insert the snap, it didn't cut.  So I pushed it a little harder.  Nothing.  So I gave it a bigger push and oh darn, it slid about twice as far as I needed it to and made a big cut in the front of my bag  🙁

Time for a new seam ripper.  Actually, I wasn't disappointed because I've had my eye on a very special one – the gold star of seam rippers and one to last a lifetime.  I figured in 3 years I had spent the same on all those cheap ones that I would have spent on a single good one.  This is it – I have it on order from Amazon.  A brass seam ripper.   I understand it has a lifetime guarantee, and if you need a new blade, you can send it back to the manufacturer and they will replace it just for the cost of the postage.


Check out the Brass Seam Ripper on Amazon USA or AMAZON UK

This is the video that convinced me that I needed one.  Look how smoothly this goes through with such little effort.  I've never owned a seam ripper that cuts even half as well as that, even when brand new.  I'm 100% sold that investing in a good quality seam ripper is better in the long term than all the cheap ones.  It's on order 🙂

Mine has to arrive with a friend from overseas so I won't have it for a while yet but I'll tell you more about it once it arrives.  I've a feeling I could do some real damage with this tool, and actually might make ‘mistakes' just so I could have the pleasure of using it.

Anyone else got one?  Hoping you'll tell me it's as awesome as I'm hoping for.

Quality Vs. Budget Tools (There's A Place For Both)

As an avid sewist, one of the pivotal decisions you have to make is about the equipment you use. This can make or break your sewing journey. The choice usually comes down to investing in high-quality sewing machines, tools, and materials versus sticking to a tight budget. Here, we will outline the pros and cons of each to help you make a more informed decision.

High-Quality Equipment


  1. Durability and Longevity: Higher-end sewing machines are typically built to last. They often feature sturdy metal components that can stand the test of time. The upfront investment can save you money in the long run because you won't have to frequently replace parts or the entire machine.
  2. Better Performance: High-quality machines usually offer smoother operation, higher sewing speed, and better stitch quality. They also handle different fabric types and thicknesses better, with less risk of skipped stitches or fabric bunching.
  3. Advanced Features: Higher-end machines come with advanced features, such as a greater variety of stitches, automatic thread cutter, buttonhole capabilities, embroidery functions, etc. These features can significantly enhance your sewing experience and capabilities.
  4. Lower Operating Noise: Premium machines often operate more quietly than their budget counterparts, which is a significant advantage if you sew frequently or for extended periods.


  1. Cost: The most apparent downside is the initial cost. High-quality sewing machines can be quite expensive, which might be prohibitive for some home sewists.
  2. Complexity: With more features and capabilities comes more complexity. It can take time to learn how to use all the functions of a high-end machine, potentially delaying projects for beginners.

Budget Equipment


  1. Affordability: Budget sewing machines are more accessible for beginners or those who sew infrequently. They're an excellent option for people who aren't ready to invest heavily in a new hobby or craft.
  2. Simplicity: Less expensive models tend to be simpler and more straightforward to use, with fewer features and functions to master. This simplicity can be a boon for beginners.


  1. Limited Features: Budget machines often offer only basic stitches and functions, limiting the range of projects you can tackle.
  2. Durability Issues: Less expensive machines are more prone to wear and tear due to their plastic components and are generally not designed for heavy use. You may find yourself replacing parts or the entire machine more frequently.
  3. Performance Limitations: Budget machines may not handle thick fabrics or multiple layers as effectively, which can limit your sewing options. They may also be louder or less smooth in operation.

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Oh my!!! Seam rippers……what a sore spot!!! I DO think there is a vast difference in better ones. I bought some from a website that has great sales but their seam rippers are horrible!!!!! In fact, most are horrible. I finally got a few that were good and bought two more. PLEASE let me know if your brass one is good!! If it is I’ll order one!!!!! It is something we love to hate as seamstresses, but we MUST have!!! We cannot live without them!!! If someone really has come up with one that stays sharp they deserve our business!!


Thanks for showing the Nifty Notions brass seam ripper, it might be just what I’m looking for but I can’t find it anywhere. I can’t seem to contact the company to see if they are still made and they aren’t available on Amazon. I’d love to buy this one but if I can’t, do you have another brand you recommend? They are pricey enough I’d prefer to buy one which has been recommended. Thanks for all your tips.

Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd

The first machine I used to sew regularly was an electric singer from the 1950’s. It was a 20 year old modern machine because it sewed both forwards and backwards. I could whip up a “shell” top in and afternoon and wear it out that evening. I used that machine to make a formal prom dress, bathing suit, culottes, and so much more. But when I left my mother’s house, mother, who did not sew, kept it for herself. So I bought a very cheap singer which sewed very badly. I traded it in for a Domestic machine. It was a very sturdy, low end, machine but it did buttonholes- not automatic, and zig zagged and a few decorative stitches. I used that machine exclusively from 1970 to 2002. I made a tailored wool coat, lingerie, quilts, dresses, slacks, curtains, pillows, and on and on. I did excellent work. In 2002, I bought a Bernina. It was a lower price point model. It was wonderful. It made my sewing somewhat better, but a lot easier. I didn’t need to fight with the machine. The automatic buttonholer was fantastic. It was easy to free motion quilt. Since then I have traded up my Berninas, but I still do not have the top model. This is my point. You can sew well on many in expensive machines and use inexpensive tools. But but buy the best you can afford.


I never knew about the ball point down. I’m 72 and still learning 😆 


I got the beautiful brass seam ripper, used it for a couple weeks, then accidentally dropped it on a hard word floor. The blade immediately snapped off! For less than the cost of mailing it back for a new blade, I bought a folding ripper with a big,ugly pink plastic handle that was much easier on the hands to use. I miss the thrill of looking at the beautiful brass tool, but the cheaper replacement is much easier to use, now. Yes, cheap rippers get dull, but for under $10 USA you can buy a small tapered sharpening stick to hone the cutting edge. Such a sharpener can be used to rehab nail clippers, and other small cutters and lasts forever.


I wonder if you could make the handle larger in diameter? They make foam cushion handles for small diameter crochet hooks for just that purpose. Maybe you could make it work for your seam ripper.


Years ago I got a Dritz Sean ripper and awl set with an ergonomic (thicker) handle. This has served me well for years of clothing sewing for my kids, but now that I’m quilting I find I need a sharper one. But with my hands I can’t hold on to those skinny handles for long so still looking for a replacement.
Thanks for all the info everyone!