Have you tried an electric seam ripper?

For anyone with manual dexterity problems, or anyone with a lot of seam ripping to do, this electric seam ripper is the answer!I'm not a big fan of “un-sewing”.  Perhaps I do it more than most because I often design my own patterns so along the way there is a lot of testing, experimenting, and altering things as they are developed.  That often means that a seam needs to be unpicked.  I'm interested where the phrase seam ripping and the term seam ripper came from.  Certainly most of the fabrics I sew with, if I make a mistake there is no way I can just ‘rip' that seam open to undo the stitches – that would damage the fabric.  So I like to unpick or “un-sew” them, and let's face it, sometimes that can take a long time and can be a bit tedious if you do it over and over. (Not that I would ever make any sewing mistakes of course  – wink.)

I've been through my fair share of seam rippers these past couple of years, so much so that I used to buy my seam rippers 4 at a time because there is nothing that drives me crazy faster than a seam ripper that just isn't sharp enough.  Then at last I discovered where I was going wrong – cheap seam rippers just weren't good enough and didn't last long enough for the amount of work they had to do in my sewing room.  That probably says a lot more about my sewing than it does about the seam rippers – blush.

I wrote about it in fact in this earlier article about seam rippers, and then after hearing such great reviews, I treated myself to a super-shiny and super-sharp brass seam ripper and I never looked back!

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

So I've been merrily sewing along and making excessive use of my new sharp brass seam ripper.  You do have to be a bit careful though, it is VERY sharp and if I did't take care, I could actually cut the fabric with it.  So – take care!

Then I met a very nice lady and she brought me a present 🙂  Quilter, designer and teacher extraordinaire Michelle Watts dropped in to the Cayman Islands and she and I met up one evening for beach-side drinks.  I was hopeless and didn't even think to bring gifts, then felt completely embarrassed when she gave me a huge bag of sewing goodies to enjoy – what a lovely lady.


Do drop over and check out her page and see her wonderful designs.  Got a quilt group?  She travels to give amazing classes and lectures too and would love an invite to come and present or teach to your group. And just check out the beautiful Cayman Vacation quilt on this page – I really love this free-form style of quilting, like real fabric art.

Kit collage

Anyway, one of the awesome sewing and quilting goodies she brought me was the Quick Ripper – an electric seam ripper.  I didn't even know there was such a thing! With the amount of un-sewing I do, this came out top of my must-use list.  Check out her video on how it works.

Watch how to use the Electric Seam Ripper

How to use the electric seam ripper

No!  Surely it's not that quick and easy to use?  Actually yes it is!  Worked just perfectly for me on my first attempt.

I used the Quick Ripper with the flat side down and just slid the blades up the the reinforced part of the stitching where I had back stitched at the start of the row.  That was enough to get me started.

electric seam ripper - starting the seam

That easily snipped through those double stitches and then I was away.  I turned the Quick Ripper the other way up and as I opened the seam, the blades run along the fabric without damaging it and the side to side action catches the thread of the stitch and cuts it.  It goes along opening up that seam really fast!  See how the blades trim the thread and don't even come close to the fabric.

electric seam ripper - cutting the threads

If you have any kind of manual dexterity problems, then this could be the answer for you when it comes to seam ripping.  However, it's not 100% perfect because it does trim each thread which means of course you do end up with this.  Lots of little cut threads on the top layer.

electric seam ripper - the little threads

However the bottom layer is one long piece of uncut thread which you can just pull off easily.

electric seam ripper - bobbin thread

All it really takes is for you to run your fingers over those small thread pieces and just brush them away and it's done.  It's probably quicker than removing all the bits of thread left in a seam from a conventional blade seam ripper.  In fact there is also a cool little tool you can use as well.  There is a seam ripper called a Seam Fix on the market that has an ingenious rubber end that looks like a little bee hive.  Run that over these little bits of thread to easily brush them away if you want to.  Just brushing with your fingers works just fine too.

electric seam ripper - clean seam

Thank you Michelle for my bag of goodies and especially my Quick Ripper.  I'll certainly be putting this little tool through it's paces in my sewing space.

electric seam ripper

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This battery-operated seam ripper is ideal for removing flawed seams. The seam ripper comes with a cleaning brush, blade cover and a single (AA)battery.  Get it now!

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18 Responses to Have you tried an electric seam ripper?

  1. nicole campbell says:

    Thanks for the review! Would you recommend this or the brass seam ripper shown in your previous review if you could only buy one?

  2. Denise says:

    I bought because I am a long arm quilter. I was not real happy with it. It is a bit cumbersome to use. I will try it on embroidery next time to see how it work on that. As far as a regular seam, I am faster with a traditional “ripper”.

  3. Gail Brassfield says:

    The lots of little thread cuts can be removed easily with painters blue tape. Put a length of tape over the thread cuts, press the tape down by running your finger over the top. Pull the tape off. This cleans up almost all of the thread cuts. Easy! 🙂

  4. Leslie says:

    How does it work on stretch or delicate fabrics ? I know that sometimes with the stretch stitching the stitches are much closer together and the fabric sometimes gets in the way. I do a lot of refashioning, so I’m often taking out seams.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      It is always tricky to have to take out seams on such fabrics even if you are doing it the all fashion way.

  5. Donna White says:

    It is great to use on minky seams! I love mine.

  6. ROTHA Bugter says:

    Yes i was taught that it was an Unpicker!!!! Telling my age, hey?? I have NOT got one but would love to get one. Where though?? i live in Australia regards Rotha

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Rotha, unfortunately, I’m not sure where to get one in Australia. Most of the sellers on Amazon don’t seem to ship to Aus. Have you tried Spotlight?

  7. JennyS says:

    I laughed when I read your comment about the term “seam ripper” Deby. I was reminiscing a while ago when someone called hers a “quick-unpick” , which was the term we used when we learned to sew at school 50 years ago in the UK. Our sewing teacher (the redoubtable Miss Fishwick) made us redo over and over again any parts of a seam that weren’t perfectly straight (always French seams). I’d never heard them called seam rippers until I retook up sewing about 6 years ago and found the global sewing community. Seam ripper seems so harsh, I’ll continue to call mine my quick un-pick. Thanks for all the fab patterns and inspiration.

  8. Marriane T says:

    Interesting! I don’t really use much seam rippers but this one looks cool.

  9. Dawn says:

    I bought the exact same thing (without the logo) at Freds Discount Store for $5

  10. Jennifer says:

    I’ve got one of those, I bought it to grimy hubbys sideburns and trim my dogs feet. Never hear them called seam rippers or used for that. I paid about £5 for mine. It is battery and has lasted for months

  11. MD says:

    The Wahl runs on a battery—not electricity.

  12. MD says:

    It is the same thing. I bought this Quick Ripper for $20 at a quilt show. I learned later that it is a Wahl hair trimmer. The little “sticker” on this picture that shows the “Quick Qripper” is covering up the WAHL logo! Buy it for $7-8 at aDrug Emporium!

  13. Calditer says:

    Why does the quick ripper looks like a hair trimmer? Will a hair trimmer work?

    • Deby says:

      It’s certainly very similar but this one is specifically designed for that purpose. If you have a trimmer, you could always give it a try on some scrap fabric and see how you get on. I know that not all electric seam rippers are created equal, after having had the opportunity to try out several. They might look the same, but this one worked the best for me, from all those I tried.

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