Using A Seam Ripper What is the little ball for

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Using A Seam Ripper What is the little ball for?

How to use a seam ripper. What is the little ball for?

Have you ever wondered what the little ball is for on your seam ripper?

I’ve been sewing all my life and just found out a few years ago!  I had been doing it wrong all this time.

I’ve even taken sewing lessons and no one ever explained it. I just thought it had no purpose, but often wondered why it was there.

So, I thought I would share with you it’s purpose and the proper way to use a seam ripper.

How to use a seam ripper

Put the ball under the seam you want to rip out.

How to use a seam ripper.

The ball lets you glide the seam ripper through the seam as the edge cuts the seam. This makes ripping out a seam very easy and very quick!

seam ripper


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What is the ball for? Place the ball under the seam, the edge rips the seam.

How to use a seam ripper.


  1. Cheryl Bennett
    Well, color me blonde. I've been sewing for years and no one ever told me anything about the little ball. I've been doing it upside down for over 50 years! Now I'll have to try it the correct way. =)
    • A friend in my old quilt guild where I used to live told me about using a moustache trimmer to do her seam ripping. She would just zip along and never rip the fabric. I tried it, and by george, it worked!
    • A. E. Traylor
      Thanks for the info I've been doing it backward for years. You learn something new everyday !
  2. Oh my gosh! How did I not know this! Good to know!
  3. This works when you have a single seam. Unfortunately, my seam has too short a stitch in triple - lock stitch on microfleece fabric with a nap. Alas! I must seek out each tiny stitch! I'll have to readjust my stitch in the future.
  4. My mother told me the red ball was to keep you from catching the fabric when you slipped the pointy end into the seam. My mother was a terrible sewer, and she lied about so much you would not believe it, so I think I will go with your answer. THANKS!
  5. E. Darlene Veo
    Oh, my GOODNESS! Now I know how to properly use a seam ripper and won’t chance cutting the material by using it the wrong way. Thank you!!!
  6. Thank you! I never thought about it before seeing your writing, but finally I found out.
  7. JoAnn Feltman
    That is brilliant. Sooo much faster. Why hasn’t someone told us sooner?
  8. Mary Grother
    I am like you, I have been sewing for years and I never knew what the side with the little ball was for. Thank you.
  9. Thank u never knew and have been sewing for 40 plus yrs.
  10. Thank you. I didn’t even know that ??
  11. Thank you! I have been wondering about the red ball also! Well kept secret revealed!!
  12. Leah Reinsager
    I have tried this several times and it leaves small holes in the fabric every time! Any idea what I am doing wrong? ?
  13. Thank you SO much for that info and the video. Seems I've been using a seam ripper wrong all these years.
  14. This just baffles me that there are so many people who didn't know this!! Obviously, the ball is there for a reason! The long, sharp side is for starting or opening the more difficult seams, among a couple other reasons. If you want are looking for the best seam ripper, I suggest the Seam-fix. It has a rubber stopper piece on the end that helps grab loose threads. I've also used X-acto blade knifes but probably the strangest I've found that actually works nicely is an eyebrow razor that has a teeny comb attached, which I use for picking those stray threads. Don't forget to keep your LINT ROLLER handy also!
    • Maybe they’re like me, sewing for years for a hobby and has had no course. We learn has we go. That’s why I like to check out these sites.
  15. Thank you. You might know I’ve been using it wrong but thank you very much for the information just happened to see this on the web on your page and very much appreciate the information I’ve been selling for over 40 years God bless Carolyn
  16. I’ve been sewing for years never knew what the little ball was for!! Now teaching my grand daughters to sew so I will inform them of the purpose of the little ball!! Thank you for sharing!! John 3:16
  17. Very good info for me as a beginner.. Thanks to u to make this tutorial.. Loved it
  18. Still learning SOME THING NEW (at 91) . ???
  19. Ronni Morris
    Well imagine that! I'm 61 and have never gave the red ball a second thought. Bring on the next sewing undo.
    • Victoria Bennett
      Very cool ? I'm 65. and been sewing 60yr. Thanks I never knew?!??
    • Terhas Tesfay
      Hi there. Thank you so very much for sharing.
    • I never knew the red ball had a purpose. I thought it was for safety to cover the edge. Thanks for showing how to use a seam reaper correctly. Of course I use a seam ripper q often. .I have never seen a metal seam ripper until you showed it and how sharp it is. Wish I would get hold of one soon.
  20. Thank you so much for for the great info! I’ve been sewing for over 50 years and also never knew what the red ball was for. It would take me forever to take a seam out. Can’t wait to try it.
  21. DUH! Had no idea, admitting I hadn't given it much thought! After 50 years of sewing, learned something new - it's a good day :) Thanks.
  22. You’m Genius!! I’ll be rippin up a lot faster & safer from now on, thanks to you! I fell into your site accidentally, but will be back often. I make & restyle garments into period costumes for our “Sing Along” shows. We have 2 shows a year. The Spring show proceeds goes to pay for Spring & Christmas show, because we charge an unwrapped child’s toy in lieu of ticket price to attend the Christmas performance. We then haul truckloads of toys to a volunteered building, They are separated into rooms by age, There is also a WRAP ROOM set up with wrapping materials. The parents of less fortunate children, come with their list and make the selections, then on to the WRAPPING ROOM to complete their Christmas shopping. This is very rewarding in that we get to do what we love to do, SING and use our talents in all ways that are required in putting on a production of this kind, And there are a lot of happy smiles on Christmas morning. Costume Maker
  23. Gatic Rings
    You’ve made sewing mistakes a lot easier for me now. It never crossed my mind that there was a purpose for the ball, then that it was there for safety reasons and yes … showing off nice red color. Thank you so much for sharing this red ball mystery.
  24. Thank you for sharing. I always thought that the little ball was there to guide one. Have a great day.

  25. 1. Don’t recall if my seam rippers came with directions; are instructions on package? 2. I’ve got a couple of seam rippers that don’t have balls!?
  26. I thought it was so you wouldn’t poke yourself.. but that seems silly because the sharp end is the longer end so hahaha.. that wasn’t a good guess back when I took home ec. My great grandma taught me how to sew when I was very young, but I took home ec in middle school and no one ever explained the correct was to use a seam ripper. For all the sewing my great grandma did, I’d be surprised if she didn’t use her ripper correctly and maybe I just never caught on. This is good to know though! Thanks for sharing this tip!
  27. juliana Marcano
    I’ve been using it wrong, thanks for the info.
  28. Awesome!! Thank You!! Haha! Never knew that!! 63 And still learning new things! Love it!! What a blessing you are!!! ❤

  29. I've been sewing for 45 years and never knew what the little ball was for. I do a lot of mending, wish I knew that before. Thank you. Happy sewing.

  30. Thank you so much! I even use it today but not the ball side! Even my instructor never talked about the ball side cis she never knew what’s its for! Thank you
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  32. The first time I used a seam ripper, I thought that’s what the little ball was for, and it really is very convenient. Was just a lucky guess … I guess ?
  33. I have been seeing for over fifty years and never knew what that ball was for. One is never too old to learn .Thank you
  34. OMG! You’re kidding! So many people did not know what the ball was for? Oh my, someone took time to put a cute little ball on the end of my seam ripper! It’s so pretty. Yeah, I’m being sarcastic. Walmart paying you to advertise with them? Don’t waste your time with a cheap ripper from Walmart. Spend a little extra money and get a good one. After using a good one, you will pitch that “cheap” piece of junk. If you do much ripping, get one that is comfortable to use and made from good metal. The word is ergonomics – also known as comfort design, functional design. Oh, Just in case, I keep one that folds in my pocket for “emergency” uses. –Have a great day:)

    • June Webster
      It is amazing I’ve been sewing for years and never new what the ball was for thanks to Pinterest June Webster December 2017
  35. Jenny Evrard
    Thank you!! The video was so much help! Now I need the beautiful seam ripper you have ?
  36. That is worth sharing I didn't know that. Thank you very much for sharing. The vedio was a big help. Mtetar
  37. Holy cow! I have been sewing since I was a kid , including sewing classes every summer @ the Sears center, grades 7-12 in school ,plus taking quilting lessons and I have never heard that before. As a matter of fact, I never even wondered what the ball was for! LOL Being a LEFTY, I have pretty much had to learn to do things my way. But, it's nice to know, that here's one more thing that I have always done backwards. LOL--- thank you and have a GREAT DAY!
  38. Been sewing all my life didn't know that thankyou
  39. Kathie Wolfe-Strait
    Wow never ever knew this....thank you!
  40. Fabulously done. Wow'sers that is slick!!
  41. I too never knew exactly how to use the seam ripper ,now I know.Thanks to Pinterest.
    Wow! It's great.I had seam ripper but till now I don't known how to use . Thank you for sharing.
  44. That's a really nice seam ripper I've been sewing for 40 years and wasn't using it the right way...Thank you
  45. Nancy Gilligan
    Thank you
  46. I have also been using it incorrectly...I won't say for how many years...thanks for the tip.
  47. Learn something new every day
  48. Charmaine Wall
    Been sewing for 45 years and guess I didn't really know how to use a seam ripper properly. Thank you!
  49. Where exactly do we buy a beautiful seem ripper like yours???
  50. Wow, thanks for sharing this. It was not known..
  51. Thank you for sharing, just starting to learn how to sew, every little bit of information helps.
  52. Not only does it cut fast, the main purpose of the little red ball is not only to slide right thru but it does not stick into the material as it would if the ball is on the top....also be very careful using it on any thing thin or sheer and all knit material....happy sewing....I just found this site....
  53. Wow I never knew that thanks for the info sharon
  54. I am 80 years old and have been sewing all my live and I did not know what the little red ball was for on the seam ripper. I have never heard anyone exspain it.
  55. I'm so sorry that so many of you never knew that. My mother taught me that over 40 years ago. I just never thought of sharing it.
  56. I have always used the sharp inside curve of the seam ripper tool like this to cut the "hole" after making a buttonhole with the automatic setting on my machine. Just remember to put a pin across the far end first so that stops you ripping right through the bar tack!
  57. I want my money back! I bought one of those fancy seam ripper shavers (which I have never used successfully). Wow! Who knew - I just ripped a seam from a block in under 10 seconds (yes I did time it). I am so amazed at how easy it is and it doesn't rip your fabric! Thank you so much!
  58. Brenda Summers
    I have been sewing for 60 years and never knew this! How did that happen??? 😩
  59. Maria G. Alaniz
    WOW!!! I need this information since I started sewing. Thank u !!
  60. Geez, I feel quite silly. I've been sewing for nearly 50 years and have ALWAYS used this tool wrong!
  61. Crystal Mitchell
    I have been sewing for 50 years and I did not know this. Thanks!
  62. noel foster
    Thank you so much for that tip. I have been sewing for about 60yrs and did not no that
  63. Terima kasih..thank you..your video explains so much
  64. Hazel Spindler
    It also works great to rub over the holes ( especially with batiks) left after removing the thread...the fabric fills in great.
  65. Anna Hansen
    The way you show how to use the ripper - is there an other way to do it, then? I don't want to sound rude, but I was disappointed as I expected something sensational.
    • Thats the only way. I have found, including myself, that most people have been using it the wrong way. See the demonstration in the video for a "live" demo. :)
      • I found this interesting because in all the sewing classes I have taken, the instruction has been NOT to rip up the seam but to slice through stitches on one side of the seam at 3 or 4 stitch intervals. Supposedly, they told us, this puts less stress on the fabric when you separate the sides. But I have to tell you, I like your way MUCH better--much faster.
  66. Leigh Rollins
    I have used it in the past properly until I got careless and cut the fabric! Now I pick the thread.
    • I also do not use a seam ripper anymore because of cutting the fabric
    • The video never mentions what the ball is for. It just states the ball goes down. Well, I learned on my own what the ball was for. The first time I cut my fabric I tried it with the ball down since it just seem to make since the ball being round and smooth it would not cut my fabric and it would glide easily over the fabric.
  67. All my years sewing I had no idea I too was using the seam ripper incorrectly. Thank you for explaining. Maybe now I won't hate ripping out seams so much.
  68. Muchas pero muchas gracias tantos años de uso y no sabia de esa bolita su uso! Dios te bendiga abrazos desde México!
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  70. Jessy Rushing
    Wow! I'm 65 years old and had no idea what that little ball was for. I can't wait to make a mistake so I can use it like you showed in your video. thanks!
  71. That brass seam ripper is from It carries a lifetime warranty.
  72. Marla Ostrowski
    Where did you get your seam ripper?
  73. Where might I purchase a nice seam ripper like in your video? By the way, I did know about the little ball but I know most do not.

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