Sewing Machine Accessories

Of all the sewing machine accessories available today, none is both loved and hated as the seam ripper. Naturally, many view this tool with disdain, since reaching for it usually means some kind of mistake has been made; yet seam rippers are useful in other ways. Whether a seamstress just learning to sew with a Janome Magnolia 7318 or one with years of experience on more advanced machines, every sewing kit has a seam ripper that has many uses.

What Are Seam Rippers Used For?

Despite its more aggressive name, the basic function of a seam ripper is to gently cut threads so seams can be carefully opened without damaging the fabric. Most people associate this tool with having made some type of error; in actuality, it can be used in other ways.

Because seam rippers are so sharp, they can be used as a thread snipper without having to stop and pick up a pair of sewing scissors just to cut threads. This is especially convenient for trimming finished pieces where start and ending threads need cutting. A seam ripper makes the perfect tool to neatly and precisely open up buttonholes.

The Anatomy of A Seam Ripper

Seam rippers are strange looking sewing machine accessories found in most sewing kits with various parts that each serve a certain purpose. The ripper itself is a metal u-shaped hook with the bottom portion longer than the top. The longer bottom of the hook itself has a sharp point, while the upper portion has a point covered by a plastic ball. The curved span between the two points is the sharpened blade for cutting. Handles can be anything from simple plastic to carved wood. Some companies offer ergonomic varieties that are easier to hold and control.

Using the Seam Ripper

Making friends with a seam ripper means knowing the right way to use it. That long, thin point is there to pick up stitches and open up areas so the hook can be slipped in. The ball on the upper portion of the hook prevents the ripper from catching on the fabric from the outside, while gathering the stitches in the curve so they don’t slip off. All it takes is a little bit of pressure and the ripper will slide gently through the stitching, cutting it. Sewists must be careful to only cut the stitches and not push so hard that they cut the fabric itself.

Opening up buttonholes sewn on a Janome Magnolia 7318 is equally simple. The long tip of the seam ripper can be easily pushed through the fabric to the blade, which will slice open the small space. Opening up buttonholes is usually more difficult with a pair of scissors. The seam ripper provides perfect control without forcing the hole open and ruining the buttonhole.

When used correctly in suitable ways, seam rippers are tiny tools that make a few parts of the sewing process a little bit easier. Yes, they are a sewing machine accessory usually used only whena mistake has made that needs to be ripped out. Yet this little tool reduces wasted fabric and wasted effort. So don't groan when you need to use it. Make use of a seam ripper to its fullest when working on machines like the Janome Magnolia 7318 and it can become your favorite tool in the box! 

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