Ripping, reverse sewing, frogging, whatever you call it, it’s by far my least favorite part of quilting – does anyone enjoy it? I am always open to trying new techniques and am still searching for the silver bullet. However, I do have two go to techniques. The first is the standard: use a seam ripper to take out every third or fourth stitch and pull the thread from the in-tact side. It works pretty well and applies to just about any circumstance.
The second technique is relatively new to me (I learned it from a friend a few years ago). It involves a rotary cutter and a steady hand. It’s the fastest way that I know to rip out a lot of seams. I do not use it if there are bias seams involved because I think it would distort the fabric too much. The key is to keep the rotary blade parallel to one of the fabrics while gently pulling the other fabric away from the stitching. Gently push the blade against the thread, barely rubbing against the thread – it doesn’t take much pressure.
As if the ripping isn’t bad enough, just when you think you are done you are left with all the tiny pieces of thread to take care of. I’ve tried all kinds of things to help with this: tape, fingernails, tweezers, etc. Then I tried a plastic eraser (it has to be the type of eraser that doesn’t leave any residue – when you rub your thumb across it, pieces of the eraser don’t rub off) – amazing. Just gently rub the eraser across the threads and it will pull them out. It’s fast and efficient.