The Unsung Hero of the Sewing Room

The seam ripper. We don’t talk about it much, except to crack jokes about how much time we spend with it. But if you think about it, the seam ripper really does deserve a little more respect.

I’m old enough to remember correction fluid and struggling to realign my typewriter to correct a term paper so I didn’t have to retype the entire page. My typing speed was around 60 mistakes per minute in those days. Fast forward to word processing and its magic button, otherwise known as the delete key, which was nothing short of revolutionary. Now my fingers fly over the keyboard and words appear on the screen almost at the speed with which they are formed in my head. It’s all because I know I can correct my mistakes before anyone sees what I’ve written. Granted, the seam ripper requires quite a bit more time and effort than the delete key, but it allows us to undo our sewing mishaps and keeps them a secret. Nobody ever has to know how many times you redid that seam, or that you put the left sleeve in the right armscye the first time or you lost count of how many times you had to start over again with that collar. Only your seam ripper (and maybe the cat) know, and they’re not telling.

Yes, there are lots of clever sewing tools that get all the attention. And, the seam ripper is never going to enjoy the status of the “It” notion everyone is talking about. But in its own way, the seam ripper really does play a crucial role in our creativity, freeing us to experiment and push beyond the boundaries of our current skill level. In my mind, that pretty much makes the lowly seam ripper a sewist’s best friend.

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