Sharpen Dull Seam Rippers with These Tips

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Like most quilters, you may be inclined to throw dull seam rippers away and replace them with new ones. That makes sense with inexpensive seam rippers you can often buy in bulk (like these).

But what if you love your seam ripper? Maybe it fits your hand just right or it’s a more expensive version you hope never gets dull. Or, maybe you just bought a new one that isn’t as sharp as you’d like it to be.

Sharpen Dull Seam Rippers with These Tips

Fortunately, you can sharpen seam rippers – and it’s an easy task that only takes a few minutes.

Two common sharpening methods use 000-grade steel wool or a bead reamer. The process, in a nutshell, is to wrap a strip of steel wool around the tip of a pencil or chopstick and use it to sharpen the J-curve of the seam ripper. A bead reamer is like a mini metal file and is used the same way.

Sharpen Dull Seam Rippers with These Tips

Learn more about sharpening seam rippers and get tips for keeping them in good condition in the following article from Sew Insider.

Click here for the “How to Sharpen a Seams Ripper: Steps You Need to Follow” article.

One thing to keep in mind when sharpening is to think of the seam ripper’s blade like a knife, or pair of scissors. You need to abrade it at an angle so the blade actually sharpens. Otherwise, you can make it even duller.

Kassandra demonstrates how to sharpen a seam ripper with a bead reamer in the following video. Notice how she files at an angle.


My favourite nickname for seam rippers is “Jack the Ripper” because the thought of having to use one scares me and occasionally hurts me

♬ original sound – Kassandra

Click here to watch the video at TikTok if it doesn’t play on your device.

Small jewelry files, the edge of a fine emery board, and more can also be used. @Face999 says this on Reddit:

“I have sharpened several seam rippers, brand new they are not very sharp. I have a round, diamond coated sharpener, think Japanese pointed chopstick shape. I use it for serrated knives, but perfect for this.

Improvisations, chopstick or skewer with some sandpaper wrapped around it, fish hook sharpener, Dremel.”

Keep your seam rippers sharp longer by always replacing the protective cap and occasionally rubbing them with alcohol to remove residue.

This excellent article from The Ruffled Purse explains several ways to use a seam ripper.

Image Source: The photo at the top of the page is from Janome Life.


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