How to Sharpen Seam Rippers

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NSC Question

Hi! I just have a quick question about how to keep my sewing supplies in good working order. What’s the best way to go about sharpening a seam ripper?

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NSC Answer

Hi there! A seam ripper can be sharpened with steel wool or by using a tool called a bead reamer, which looks like a small rounded file. These can be found at most craft stores that carry beads.

Hope this helps!

Ashley

Related video: How to Use a Seam Ripper

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Discussion
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39 Responses to “How to Sharpen Seam Rippers”
  1. Wanda

    This is a good idea. I was wondering about sharpening a seam ripper and the bead reamer tool sounds perfect. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Berthenia

    You never answered the question. How do you sharpen with steel wool, and how does that “seam reamer work? I think the original questioner would like these more complete answers.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Berthenia. To sharpen a seam ripper with steel wool you simply wrap the wool around a small stiletto, crochet hook, awl or another small strong tool. You then run the wool along the cutting edges of the seam ripper several times to sharpen it.

      To use a seam ripper, you carefully insert the tool into a seam and then push the seam ripper along the seam- cutting all of the threads. Some seam rippers come with a small ball or other protector on one end, typically the shorter of the two ends. If your seam ripper has this, this is the side that should be inserted into the seam. The protector will help you from accidentally cutting the fabric.

      Reply
      • CraftyMrsG

        I actually adivse you to place the seam ripper with the ball point on the outside of the seam you’re ripping, not the inside. This actually helps keep the ripper from ripping the fabric. There are videos to show this method and it rips the seam in under one minute.

        Reply
      • Maryanne C

        I agree with Customer Service re putting the small ball end inside the seam. Before I was told that I did occasionally cut the fabric. Since I put the ball inside, I never cut the fabric. Thanks Customer Service.

        Reply
  3. Barbara

    When sewing a tshirt quilt. I catch the batting in all seams , is it necessary to tack the middle?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Barbara. Do you mean that after you have finished piecing all of your t shirts together you layer it with batting and a backing fabric and then stitch in the ditch over all of the seams? If so, yes it is fine to leave it at this amount of quilting if you like. However, typically quilting is usually done no more than a few inches away from itself. This helps provide more stability and ensures that there won’t be areas where the layers separate from each other. If it is possible to add more quilting without taking away from the t shirt designs I would.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      After several internet searches I have been unable to find any sewing patterns for a golf cart blanket, though there are several places that sell them.

      However, I think this is something that you could design your own pattern for. Not being a golfer, I do not know if all golf carts are the same- but I would first start by measuring the length and width of the golf cart seat. To those measurements I would add at least 6 to 9 inches, depending on how much of the blanket you want to hang over the edges and down the front of the seat. So for example, if your seat measured 24″ wide by 48″ inches long you would want to cut a rectangle of fabric that was around 30-33″ wide by 54-57″ long. From there you would simply cut a slit in the fabric where the arms of the cart would need to fit. Start with just a straight cut and then depending on how thick the arms are you can cut more fabric away. From the pictures I was looking at it seemed that you will probably need to cut a 3-5″ opening to get the blanket down over the arms. Once that has been cut and you have tested to see if the blanket lays flat on the seat and fits over the arms you can finish all of the raw edges. I would recommend doing this with a binding. A double fold binding can be attached around the entire perimeter of the blanket and bias binding can be used in the smaller cut out sections for the arms.

      Hopefully this helps!

      Reply
      • Aletha Gilbreth

        My husband has found that a bathroom rug works well. It is warmer and softer.

        Reply
      • Sandy

        You can also purchase an over sized towel to use for a blanket.That way all edges accept for the arm holes are already bound. Throw in washer when needed.

        Reply
  4. Barbara

    I didn’t realise you could sharpen seam rippers,I’m going to be busy sharpening all my blunt ones.Thanks

    Reply
  5. Linda Cook

    I just got a foot off the internet for sewing bais tape on and no instruction with it …..help

    Reply
  6. Lesley

    How do I take out the bulk when making a hem and going around corners as my machine is not able to sew through them?

    Reply
  7. Betty Mullek

    I recently borrowed an apron from a friend. I want to draw it so I have my own pattern, but need guidance. I would be happy with tutorials or an online class. Please help me so I can have a pattern and give my friend her pattern.

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Mary

      I use some old ugly fabric or cheap non adhesive interfacing. I either draw or cut around the pattern. I do it with patterns I will use multiple times.

      Reply
    • Randy

      Hi Betty: I borrowed an apron from a friend and simply pinned it to some craft paper, then ran a pencil around the apron to make my own pattern. It came out beautifully. I then made sure that all the lines were straight. Voila!

      Reply
    • Karen W

      You can do a search online or on YouTube for “how to make an apron”. That said, aprons are fairly simple to copy & make your own draft of an existing one. You don’t say what style it is, so a bibbed one is typical, so try this: Study the apron to determine it’s separate components & treat each part by itself (bib, sash/ waistband & main body & straps (neck/ waist). If the skirt is gathered at the waistband, you can generally assume its bottom edge is the same width. Take each part & fold in half (this is where you will place it on the fold of your fabric), then place on tissue or butcher’s paper. Mark that edge to indicate where the fold will be (this is typically the straightest edge of a pattern). Run your pen around the outside, tracing the shape of that piece. Repeat this step 1/2″ away from the original lines, to allow for 1/2″ seams. Do the same w/ all the other pieces. Be sure to mark directly on the paper, any measurements as you go & make indications as to what edges need to match up to another. This will also help you if you decide to alter the size of your pattern later. Instead of a pattern for straps, just make a note to the width & length, how many & where to attach them. I hope this is clear & that I haven’t left out any steps.

      Reply
  8. Ursula

    I have found that when I use the sharpener for my kitchen knifes (the round long steel things) and run it over it carefully it helps. Some of those sharpeners are made of some ceramic material and I feel that works even better. I sharpen my scissors with that too. I use it as if I was trying to cut the sharpener in half and go back and forth doing that after than I cut some foil and my scissors are perfect again.

    Reply
  9. brenda

    hi i am looking for a pattern for a mans ballcap. hsb has some sentimental things that he would like to see made into a cap. of course, getting a pattern rather than winging it would make it look much better. thank you. i have looked at conventional pattern books without success.

    Reply
  10. Heather

    Thank you for the advice on how to sharpen the seam ripper I should be able to get a bead reamer from our local spotlight Store here in The town of Bundaberg in Australia thank you so much.

    Reply
  11. Priscilla Rodites

    Great information on sharpening seam ripper, I keep buying new ones thanks.

    Reply
  12. JUDIE

    Ticket 19607 I have a question about sharpening! Is it possible to sharpen pinking shears? I have several very blunt pairs that won’t cut anything anymore!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Dear Judie,

      Thank you for your patience. In regards to your question-

      I do not know of a great way to sharpen these- other than cutting through aluminum foil. This sharpens them a small amount, though I’m not sure if it would be enough to fix yours if they are as dull as that.

      Cheers,
      Ashley
      National Sewing Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  13. CraftyMrsG

    Interesting about the bead reamer to sharpen a seam ripper, but wish it had gone into more depth. I’ll have to find a tutorial on YouTube now.

    Reply
  14. Susan

    I’m making covers from oversized pillow slips so they stretch and hold on the end, for my daughter’s babies changing table. How do you sew on decorative stretchable elastic?

    Reply