Have you ever wondered how to undo serger stitches without ripping them out one by one? Here’s how!

Overlocked fabric edge with a seam ripper showing how to undo serger stitches

Hey y’all, today I’m sharing an answer to one of your sewing questions, a quick tip on how to easily remove serger stitches. There’s a fast trick to undo an overlock stitch and I’ve got both a video tutorial and a picture/written tutorial. You’ll see how to undo a serged seam on your fabric without having to use a seam ripper and ripping every single stitch.

P.S. If you’re looking for how to seam rip straight stitches from a regular sewing machine, check out this post.

Anatomy of a 4 Thread Overlocker Stitch

Most of the time, my serger has two needle threads and two loopers threaded to do a 4-thread overlock stitch. So the tutorial I’m showing today will cover how to remove that. The same technique can be used to remove a 3-thread overlock stitch, you’d just skip the first step.

In order to understand how we’re going to remove all this stitching without making a mess, it’s important to understand what an overlock stitch looks like on the raw edge of the fabric. So I’ve got an image below.

Right side and wrong side of a serger or overlocker stitch

If you look at the threads in the image above, I have hot pink thread on the left needle, blue on the right needle, white on the upper looper, and black on the lower looper. The pink and blue needle threads are much easier to see on the right side of the fabric than on the wrong side of the fabric. And the lower looper threads are barely visible on the right side.

When you’re unpicking the seam, you want to make sure you’re doing it with the right side of the stitching up. And since your threads will not likely be different colors like mine in the image above, it’s easiest to look for the side that has the two lines of straight stitching.

How To Remove Serger Stitches (Fast!)

I made a video showing how to quickly undo serging threads. You can watch it below or on YouTube here if you prefer. If you like the written tutorial, scroll below the video.

Steps to remove serger stitches easily

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How to Remove Serger Stitches

  1. Place your fabric right side up. Locate the right needle thread.

    Place the tip of your seam ripper, a straight pin, or the tip of your scissors under a stitch from the right needle thread. This is the line of straight stitching closest to the edge of the fabric.

  2. Remove the right needle thread.

    Using the seam ripper, straight pin or scissors loosen one stitch to the right side. Pull gently until the thread comes out of the entire seam. It will look like image 2 above when the thread is removed.

  3. Locate the left needle thread.

    The left needle thread stitches are easiest to grab between the loops of the upper looper thread. Find one, loosen with a seam ripper, pin or scissors, and pull that thread out.

  4. Remove the looper stitches.

    Once you have the threads from the left and right needles removed, the looper stitches will pull off like magic, since nothing is holding them any longer.

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Tips and Tricks

And that’s how you undo serger stitches the easy way! Here are some more tips and tricks to remove serger stitches.

  • This seam ripper (affiliate link) is my favorite one. It has an easy to grip handle and when you’re ripping a seam from a regular sewing machine the end comes in handy to pick out all the extra little threads.
  • On a long seam, you may find it easier to use your seam ripper to cut the needle threads in a few places and remove the overlocking a section at a time.
  • If you have a thread tail on your seam still, you can locate the needle threads in it and start pulling. This only works if the tail hasn’t been stretch to the point where you can’t tell which thread is which.

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