By far one of the most indispensable tools in any embroidery toolkit is the humble seam ripper. As one famous saying goes, to err is human after all – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned veteran in this craft or a complete beginner, mistakes will be made. In this case, these mistakes relate to stitches.
Fixing these mistakes is the tricky bit. You can’t just ‘rip and tear’ through the stitch as it would totally ruin your entire creation. You have to instead un-sew the mistake carefully, stitch by stitch which can be hugely time-consuming and monotonous. No one likes doing this – especially over excruciatingly long periods of time.
This is where seam rippers come into play. While they come in a range of designs from looking like a blend between a bladeless knife and fork all the way to looking like your local barber’s shaver, they all share one universal purpose: to make your life easier. From thread cutting to opening buttonholes to removing stitches, correcting any mistake will become a breeze in the park with a good seam ripper.
This is where our list comes in – we’ve all struggled with correcting our own embroidery mistakes in the past and have spent countless hours covering them up. This has allowed us to go through numerous seam rippers and with our knowledge and experiences, we’ve compiled what we think are five of the best seam rippers out there for any embroidery project!
Best Seam Ripper for Embroidery in 2020
1. Galaxy Notions – Electric Seam Ripper – Battery Operated
We start our list with the most unique seam ripper we’ve reviewed – Galaxy Notion’s Electric Seam Ripper. Functioning as the only battery-operated seam ripper on our list, this is an excellent tool for just about anyone out there irrespective of skill level. With its design uncannily resembling that of a shaver, you’ll find that using it is highly intuitive and straightforward – you just plug it on, push it down onto a stitch and then let its sharp adjustable precision blades do all the cutting work.
Further, thanks to these blades, accuracy won’t be an issue at all, so you need not worry about cutting the wrong stitch and messing up.
Portability is also a huge plus given its compact design and how it weighs barely 0.02 pounds – you don’t have to worry about it wearing your hands out! However, one thing you should consider is its battery life.
While battery-operated seam rippers make for a super easy un-sewing process when compared to doing it by hand, you’ll find yourself spending a little extra money on constantly replacing batteries. Galaxy Notion’s ripper is no exception – it doesn’t boast a very long battery life so be prepared for frequent battery replacing.
2. Ultima 5.5″ Razor Sharp Surgical Seam Rippers/Seam Cutters
Returning back to more traditional forms of seam rippers, we continue on with Ultima’s 5.5” Razor Sharp Surgical Seam Rippers. Combining both surprising durability and razor-sharp cutting experience, these seam rippers will be able to go above and beyond your average ripper.
Boasted as being able to cut through multiple stitches like a hot knife through butter while maintaining a delicate balance by being gentle on the underlying fabric compared to other similar products out in the market, for the price you pay, this is an absolute steal.
This gentleness is a definite plus which strongly plays into how various reports emphasize how perfect these rippers are when it comes to embroidery-related stitches, which often deal with more delicate materials (e.g. fine silk). Its curved design and super lightweight further make it easy to use which positively impacts the accuracy of the product – it’s crucial to know what you’re cutting after all.
If we had to pick a single con, it would be how these rippers are non-replaceable. You can’t simply remove the blade and insert a fresh new one once it dulls out – you instead have to throw the entire thing away and start using a new ripper altogether.
Thankfully, this isn’t too much of an issue given how these are often sold in multipacks but you should keep this in mind before making any purchase.
3. Dritz 5111 Seam Ripper, Large with Ergonomic Design and Safety Cap
The most unique feature of Dritz’s 5111 Seam Ripper is in its ergonomic grip that puts user comfort to the foray. Composed purely out of durable and sturdy rubber, this grip grants users both comfort during long sessions of embroidery while providing a solid grip to the hand.
So even if someone suffers from sweaty palms, this becomes a non-issue when using Dritz’s Seam Ripper. This is hugely important as in most cases, tired and fatigued hands make for weak grips thus causing even more mistakes to be made on your precious embroidery.
Regardless, its emphasis on ergonomics doesn’t detract negatively from the actual cutting. Drtiz’s ripper is still just as every bit sharp as its competitors and even comes with a safety ball that protects delicate fabrics from unintended cuts. Additionally, further prolonging the lifespan of the seam ripper is its detachable protective cap.
At the end of any session simply pull it off from the end of the ripper and place it over the blade. This prevents your blade from knocking into other surfaces which can lead to dulling.
Do take note however that the Dritz isn’t designed specifically for embroidery in mind. It is intended to be a universal tool that can be used for all sorts of tailoring-related tasks. That being said, it should do just fine for any embroidery project!
4. SINGER 47325 Comfort Grip Seam Ripper
Coming from a company that in this day and age, is almost synonymous with the term ‘sewing’, SINGER’s Comfort Grip Seam Ripper unsurprisingly lives up to this established reputation. Similar to the Dritz 5111 Seam Ripper, SINGER’s Comfort Grip comes attached with a comfortable rubber grip handle that boasts easy usage even during the longest of sessions.
It too comes with a similar protective rubber tip and lid to protect both the blade from dulling and the user from injuring themselves or others.
What sets SINGER apart, however, is first, in its blade. This is far sharper than your average seam ripper out there in the market and will be more than capable of doing just about any task related to embroidery. Secondly, its color comes in a much more appealing blue/white scheme which may or may not be a factor for you depending on your personal tastes.
And thirdly, durability was a key consideration in the design of this product. If taken care of properly, you should be able to use this ripper even under the heaviest of workloads for many more months to come so you shouldn’t need to expect yourself to stop by the market for a new product anytime soon.
5. SINGER Bundle – Detail Scissors, Thread Snips
The final entry on our list is yet another SINGER product: the SINGER Bundle which comes with just about anything you may need for embroidery – detail scissors, thread snips and of course, a seam ripper. Starting off with the seam ripper in question, upon usage, you’ll find that it is just as sharp and comfortable to use as any other ripper on our list.
From picking threads to removing mistaken stitches, with a swipe of your hand, you’ll be able to all of these with minimal hassle. This is, of course, thanks to its tempered, stainless steel blades which can also last for a very long time under optimal conditions.
The two other tools in the bundle don’t offer any less excellent experience as well. The pair of scissors and thread snips provide incredible cutting power and will work their way through any fabric or stitch. Further, given its comfortable design, accuracy is also a given so for embroidery projects, this will be able to do the job nicely.
The only con we feel applicable to the bundle is its scissors – they are quite sizeable so they may not be suited for all sorts of projects so depending on your needs, you may have to opt for an additional product.
Regardless, the bundle is an excellent choice for amateur or professional alike and will equip you with tools that you will undoubtedly find handy either now or later down the line in your embroidery journey.
Three Things to Consider in Seam Rippers for Embroidery
While using a seam ripper can seem intuitive after you’ve given it a go, don’t let its deceptively simple appearance trick you – many incorrectly use seam rippers all the time! The biggest gripe we’ve seen has to do when users use only the shape edge of the ripper to remove stiches which causes damage to the entire fabric – you have to use both tips and know what they’re for to prevent this.
The general rule of thumb is that the sharper tip is for fewer stitches (or even just one) while the other tip is meant to remove entire seams in one single large motion. We strongly suggest you ask someone experienced or watch a YouTube video (or two) before using your ripper just to be safe even if you get the idea.
Seam ripper blades can be sharp – surgically sharp even! This means you have to consider two things: protecting yourself and protecting the ripper. On the former, always make sure you point the blade away from you and your fingers while keeping it out of reach of any children.
And on the latter, when note in use, do store your seam ripper in a dedicated toolbox or cover it with a cap (if included). These blades are often very delicate and if you accidentally bump it onto any hard surface, you can be sure that it will immediately start to dull. We don’t have to explain how this can rack up costs so keep you and your ripper safe!
Depending on the fabric you choose to play around with, you may have to adjust how you use your seam ripper accordingly. While this topic is very intricate and can go quite into depth, we’ll do our best to summarize the key points. Generally speaking, if you’re working with very delicate materials like silk, you can go ahead and use your seam ripper as you normally would – no need for any adjustments here.
Conversely, if you’re working with sturdier materials like fur and lace (or even very thick silk for that matter), you have to be a bit rougher in your approach. They are various how-to tutorials out there, so we suggest you follow them step by step to prevent needlessly damaging your overall creation.