Unpicking 3 different stitches

Unpicking 3 Stitches

Sleeve sewn into a armhole?  Collar sewn on upside down?  With all the late night holiday gift sewing going on, sewing mistakes are bound to happen.  Sometimes repeatedly.  Have no fear, most stitches can be unpicked without any permanent damage.  Here are my go to methods with video!  The videos were another brilliant idea from Jill of Oh Crafty One.  Let me know in the comments if they’re helpful.


Unpicking a Straight Stitch

I’m a fan of the pull and gather technique.  I use a dull tweezer to unpick enough stitches for me to grab with the tweezer.  Then I use the tweezer to grab one of the threads, pull and gather down the fabric.  I scoot the gather down the stitch until it breaks or comes out.  This is really quick to do and it saves me from potentially poking holes into the fabric with a seam ripper.  It doesn’t work on stiff or very thick fabric or really short stitch lengths.


Unpicking a Serged Stitch

I usually serge with a 3 thread serge but this example I’m using a 4 thread serge because it seems to be more commonly used.  To unpick, I grab the straight stitches and do the same pull and gather as the straight stitch.  Once the straight stitches are removed, the other 2 threads come right off.  With a 3 thread serge, it’s even faster because you only have one straight stitch to remove.


Unpicking a Cover Stitch

This one was the trickiest to unpick and took me a bit of trial and error to figure out.  Side note: I’m not sure if this can be done with all cover stitches.  I have the Brother’s 2340CV.  If anyone tries it on another machine, please let me know in the comments if it works.

Starting at the end where you finished stitching, slip your seam ripper under the set of vertical blue threads, under the diagonal blue thread and through the tiny red thread loop.  Cut the threads with the seam ripper.  Now you want to gently pull on the looper thread until you get a magically unraveling of the stitch.

Close Up

Thread 1 (vertical blue) Thread 2 (diagonal blue) Thread 3 (red loop)

3 Easy Steps

3 Easy Steps

We all can use less unpicking in our lives but hopefully these tips will help you get through it quickly.

Happy (un)sewing,

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16 Responses to Unpicking 3 different stitches

  1. Rabbit says:

    Will I be able to unpick a coverhem stitch on a RTW dress? Where would be the best place to start?

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  4. pella says:

    Thank you so much for this, the videos really help!

  5. Angela says:

    Thank you!!!! I use your method for the straight stitch, but could not figure out the 4 thread serged stitch. I actually can’t wait to have to take one out now to try it! lol

    • You’re very welcome, Angela. On the 4 thread serge stitch you need to unpick the 2 stitches that look like a straight line. There are 2 threads that are wavy, one one the top, one on the bottom. You don’t want to unpick those. If you try, to pull these they bunch up and makes a mess. You want to unpick the other 2 threads. If you thread your serger with different color threads for each you can see these a little easier. You want to unpick the ones that comes from the 2 needles. I’ll see if I can e-mail you a close-up pic. Don’t forget to clip the thread ends first.

  6. Alice Crawford says:

    It seems (no pun intended) that the cover stitch was a lot easier than the serged stitch so it must have been a serged stitch that I was working on. I’m going to put your videos in my favorites so I can refer back to them. Thanks for posting that.

  7. Alice Crawford says:

    After watching this and watching the seam melt away, I mumbled, (to myself) “I don’t believe it!!!” I literally spent hours picking at a loooooong seam. Thank you, thank you, thank you and thanks for taking YOUR time to figure this out…I sure tried but unlike you was not successful. My hands still hurt from that fiasco.

  8. Nancy D says:

    Genius! I’m tempted to go sew a seam just so I can rip it out using your tip. I’m sure I’ll be practicing it as soon as I start my pants…

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Victory Patterns Lola

Victory Patterns Lola

While shopping at The Fabric Store with my IRL sewing friend Jill from Oh Crafty One,   I came across this lovely deep red Merino sweatshirt like fabric.  I really loved the fabric but wasn’t sure I wanted to make sweat pants from such a beautiful piece of fabric.  This is where my in-the-know sewing friend comes in to rescue me.  Jill recommended the Lola pattern from Victory Patterns and it was just perfect.


A match made in sewing heaven.

A match made in sewing heaven.

Given the pricey cost of the fabric, I bought 1.5 yards despite the fabric requirement of 2 yards.  Hey, I’m 5’ tall and cut in a single layer, how much fabric could I possibly need?!?  What a (happy) mistake this ended up being.  Without enough fabric I decided to make the sleeves in an oatmeal color fabric with a terry cloth-like wrong side.  And the extra from the oatmeal fabric would make a fantastic hood.

So the mystery begins…

How was I going to do this? First I measured the finished neck measurement.  I needed the bottom edge of the hood to be the same length.  I borrowed the hood pattern McCall’s 4261 which I had in my stash.  I measured the bottom of the hood and discovered that even the largest size wasn’t big enough because the pattern’s wide neck line.

measure hoodmeasure neckline

At this point my choice was either to

A)     Make the hood bigger or

B)      Make the neck line smaller by raising it

Raising the neckline was a lot more difficult than it seem in my head.  The center back tapers in too much and ruins the lines of the dress.  I opted for option B.  Making the hood bigger was very simple.  I simply added to the front and some extra for a drawcord.  Now adding to the front is not the correct way to do this but I didn’t care too much about how the hood would fit.  Though a little more height because of the lower neck line would have been nicer.  To complete the hood, I put in a red eyelet using a Dritz eyelet plier.  For the cord I used a braided trim from JoAnn’s  with a simple knot at the ends.  I also did a red contrast stitching on the oatmeal fabric and oatmeal topstitching on the triangle detail.

Victory Patterns Hood Close Up

I really love how it came out.  And the dress is super cozy and warm.  I didn’t think I would like the pockets since I’m pear-shaped and this would have added more width.  It turns out the pockets don’t stick out too much and they’re also pretty convenient for cold hands. More info on my Pattern Review

Victory Patterns Lola Hood

 Victory Pattern Hood Side

Happy sewing,

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9 Responses to Victory Patterns Lola

  1. Gail says:

    How about becoming a triplet? ha ha. If I made this pattern I would copy your hood option too. So cute! It looks so warm & comfortable & definitely the best way to wear sweatshirt fabric!

    • Sure, Gail. I’ve always wanted a sister but a twin/triplet would be even better!! It is pretty comfy. I wore it to a New Years party last year with some tall boots without being cold. I’m referring to California “cold”.

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  3. Ms. McCall says:

    I love it! I tried to make a lola-esque dress with my raglan pattern, but it looks really boring. I think I’ll have to just straight copy you instead!

  4. Jill says:

    Cuuuuuuute! I love it! So you did need that other 1/2 yard! Good to know. But, it turned out awesome, definitely a happy mistake!

  5. Alice says:

    Hi Nhi!
    You’ve done a great job on this dress! It looks really warm and comfortable. I’m currently working on a Victory pattern (the Hazel one) and I agree about seam allowance, it’s a bit disconcerting but their models are so cool. I’m already eager of doing Ava dress for next spring 😉

    • detectivehoundstooth@gmail.com says:

      Thanks Alice. The Ava dress is very cute with the sheer fabric. I’ll make sure I follow your site so I don’t miss your creation. I can’t believe you’re already thinking about Spring.

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Hi and welcome to Detective Houndstooth


Detective Houndstooth is a sewing blog focused around unraveling the mysteries of sewing; hence, the detective part. No, I’m not a detective IRL, nor do I play one on TV. I am a crime show junkie and I love all sorts of activities that use my noodle.  The houndstooth part is a nod to the fabric and that I’m the proud pet parent of a basset hound.  What sewist doesn’t need piece of houndstooth fabric in her stash or a loving hound by her side?


More snoring than sniffing going on.

Phew that was a long explanation for a blog title.  Wonder if it needs this much explanation that I should even be using it…  Let me what you think in the comments.


Why a sewing blog?  Well I’m a sewing enthusiast.  For years my sewing friends have always been baffled at why I didn’t have a sewing blog.  Every other sewist in the world seemed to had one.  My only online presence was on Pattern Review which I used extensively as you can tell by my many reviews.  I’m just 3 reviews shy from #100!  Sewing has been a hobby that has stayed with me for decades while other hobbies came and went.  Read more about my humble sewing beginnings on the About page.

My sewing queue is fuller than ever.  I’m still learning more and more every day.  This blog is just another adventure in sewing and sleuthing.  I have lots of fun blog posts and unconventional ideas in the works.  I hope you decide to come help solve some sewing mysteries with me.  I need all the help and support I can get.  Over on the right sidebar you can subscribe to this blog by e-mail, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and bloglovin’.  If my IT prowess has failed there’s always good o’ e-mail  d e t e c t i v e h o u n d s t o o t h @ g m a i l . c o m

 Thanks & happy sewing,Signature small

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