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How to remove embroidery stitches

The first thing I have to say is that patience is the embroiderer’s best friend. Things will go wrong. That is fine then you will learn how to fix them.

A friend of my recently said, you are not an embroiderer until you stitch something into the hoop. Well I definitely qualify; my best effort at this was to stitch the front of my jeans leg to the back of them with a 10,000 stitch design. I now see that as a very positive experience. The jeans were not expensive I could have thrown them away and bought a new pair. I chose to remove the stitching very carefully and redo my work.

I am going to share some ideas on how you can remove machine embroidery stitching without damaging your garment.

The first thing you should do is take care not to mess it up in the first place this will save you lots of time, but things will go wrong.

You can buy a tool for this purpose, there are two that I know of, one is called a peanut and the other is Peggy’s stitch remover. I don’t have either of these. I live in Australia and shipping power supplies etc… have made it a little arduous for me to bother.

Here is how I do it; in my disaster kit I have a quick unpick, a surgical scalpel, a pair of eyebrow tweezers and my good quality razor.

Place the Item face down on a flat hard surface. Very carefully using a good quality razor, shave the back of the design. This will remove the bobbin thread. Turn the design over and using your tweezers pull out the embroidery thread. Repeat this process until you have at least most of the design removed. For smaller more stubborn areas I use a combination of the scalpel and the quick unpick. This process requires a lot of patience so that you don’t put holes in your fabric.

If you do have a small hole a reasonable solution is to use an iron on repair product. Often as you will be re-embroidering the area this will be quite discreet.

If you only wish to remove a small part of the design leave the item in the hoop and chock up the part you want to remove. You will find you have removed the stabilizer from that part, simply float a piece of stabilizer under that section, this will save you re-hooping.

Now, why was my disaster with my jeans a positive experience? I have since had a couple of orders that I just wasn’t happy with the results. My time spent unpicking my cheap jeans meant that I knew exactly how to fix the problem quickly and neatly. Practice makes perfect, so if you mess something up that doesn’t really matter, if you have time unpick it anyway.

This technique may not work well on very light fabric. So again be careful not to mess up in the first place, especially if you are working on a very delicate one of a kind piece.

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