I’ve recently been talking about the best way to remove lines of stitching, AKA Stitch ripping. The “ripping” part of that phrase always sets my teeth on edge. I envision fabric being ripped, and that awful sound that accompanies it! Ack! Of course, stitch ripping thankfully doesn’t actually involve ripping fabric—as long as you’re doing it right!—but it will unavoidably leave holes in your fabric where your stitches were. Here’s how to get rid of those little suckers when simple pressing just doesn’t cut the mustard. Of all the sewing tips and tricks I know, this is one of the favorites.
Here’s what I’m talking about. This is a piece of cotton fabric I was using to try out some Sashiko embroidery. I wasn’t happy with it, so unpicked it in order to start again. One problem….stitch marks!! A note: I’m using this project as a sample because the weave is larger and easier to photograph, but this applies to machine and hand stitching as well.
Now we can begin eliminating those stitch marks!
Step 1: Press It
Here’s the fabric after a simple press. Better, but not great! As the needle passes through the fabric, the weft and the warp threads of the fabric get moved out of alignment, and holes are made. The fabric then stays that way even once the thread is removed. If you look closely at the first two pics you can see the individual threads are skewed around the stitch holes.
Step 2: Nail It
Now for the secret to erasing those stitch marks! Use your fingernail…
…or Spoon It!
With a firm pressure appropriate to the sturdiness of your fabric, drag it across the weft (left to right then right to left) and the warp of the fabric (up and down). Press with steam and repeat 2 to 3 times.
Step 3: Keep At It
See the difference? The repeated dragging action manipulates those warp and weft threads back into place and the steam fixes them there. Clever huh? But we’re not quite done…
Step 4: Repeat It
Flip the fabric over and repeat on the other side. Drag your nail/spoon across left and right, then up and down then press with steam…
Quite a difference huh? This technique will work on most wovens to a greater or lesser degree depending on two factors. First, the fineness and weave of the fabric itself, and second, how long those stitches have been in there. In some instances, the fabric will be too delicate, or the stitches will have been in too long–but I’m talking existing-garments type long!–for this method to be completely effective. In a lot of cases, though, this will help erase all memories of that bodged stitching. C’mon, we all bodge seams at one time or another, so no one will ever know. Shhhh….
Hey! Want to know how to quickly and easily remove lines of bodged stitching? Find out how!
Which of the methods above do you prefer? Let us know, and then check out my blog!
- Sewing Tip: How to Remove Stitch Marks From Your Fabric - June 25, 2020
- Sewing Tip: How to Remove Stitch Marks From Your Fabric - June 9, 2019
- Sewing Tip: How to Remove Stitch Marks From Your Fabric - May 11, 2015