How To: Remove Stitch Marks from Fabric

With The Refashioners 2015 juuuuust around the corner,  and this years community challenge running in parallel, there may be just a few people this August refashioning shirts! I thought, what better time to share this little technique  for getting rid of stitch marks! The kind you get when you unpick a hem or  dart, or remove a pocket.; and simple pressing just isn’t cutting it.  Welll…it is possible to minimise and, in some cases, completely remove those marks. It’s not a complete cure in all cases  as it depends on a few different factors. BUT, I think you’ll agree from the before and after shots, it’s worth a try, right?How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk


How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Here’s what I’m talking about. This is a piece of cotton fabric where I was trying out some Sashiko embroidery. Wasn’t happy with it, so unpicked it in order to start again. One problem….stitch marks!! (I’m using this as a sample for this how to as the weave is larger and easier to photograph, but this applies to machine and hand stitching alike.)

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Here it is after a simple press. Better. But not great! What happens with holes is the weft and warp threads of the fabric get moved out of alignment as the needle passes through the fabric and they stay that way even once the thread is removed. If you look closely at the first two pics (tap to enlarge and zoom in) you can see the individual threads are skewed around the stitch holes.

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Now for the secret to erasing those stitch marks! Use your nail…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

…or a spoon. With a firm pressure appropriate to the sturdiness of your fabric, drag it across the weft (left to right then right to left) and the warp of the fabric (up and down) Press with steam and repeat 2 to 3 times.

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

See the difference? The repeated dragging action manipulates those warp and weft threads back into place and the steam fixes them there. Clever huh? But we’re not quite done…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Flip the fabric over and repeat on the other side. Drag your nail/spoon across left and right, then up and down then press with steam…

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

All done!

How to minimise or remove stitch marks from fabric at www.makery,uk

Quite a difference huh? This technique will work on most wovens to a greater or lesser degree depending on two factors. The fineness and weave of the fabric itself AND how long those stitches have been in there. In some instances the fabric will be too delicate or the stitches will have been in too long (I’m talking existing garments type long!) for this to be completely effective. BUT in a lot of cases this will help erase all memories of that bodged stitching (we all bodge seams right?!) so no-one will ever know 😉

 

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15 Comments

  1. Joana July 17, 2015

    Excellent tip! I’ve already used the “nail” technique, but never occurred to me using a spoon and steam after!

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Joana

    Reply
    • portia July 18, 2015

      You’re Welcome Joana!

      Reply
  2. Sarah July 17, 2015

    Very cool!

    Reply
  3. Jane July 17, 2015

    Brilliant! I started following you this morning after reading So Zo’s blog with a link to The Refashioners 2015. I bought a shirt from a charity shop at lunchtime so I could join in and was just wondering how difficult it would be to remove the stitch marks if I take the pocket off when your latest post popped up! Now I know. Thank you.

    Reply
    • portia July 18, 2015

      Ah yay! Hello and welcome Jane!! On shirt pockets you may or may not be able to completely erase the stitch holes; but this will definitely diminish them significantly. Usually enough for them not to be obvious unless you look for them. On a patterned shirt it’s even better as the pattern helps to disguise it some too. Chucking it through the wash a couple of times in addition to this process can help too 🙂

      Reply
  4. Nicole July 17, 2015

    What a timely post. So awesome!

    Reply
  5. Melissa July 17, 2015

    Wow, that’s fantastic. Thanks for the info. I will have to try this out as I have been doing a lot of “de-constructing” lately.

    Reply
    • portia July 18, 2015

      You’re welcome Melissa! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Brenda Ackerman July 17, 2015

    Wow! This is fantastic information….that will come to use in my world of sewing, quilting and embroidery quite often. Thank you for sharing. I hope that you have a wonderful day creating!

    Reply
    • portia July 18, 2015

      And to you Brenda! Thank you and you are welcome! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Alexandra Mayhew July 17, 2015

    You are WISE m’lady 🙂

    Lexie (sewing_parlour) X

    Reply
    • portia July 18, 2015

      😉

      Reply
  8. Anne July 19, 2015

    Wow! What a neat trick! I have never heard of this before. This would really come in handy as I fancy transforming thrifted clothes. Thank you.

    http://www.annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com

    Reply
  9. Lisa G January 22, 2016

    Thank you for this!! I am making my granddaughter a dress for her 5th birthday, using the same fabric for lining as the outside, and accidentally sewed my “Made by Mimi” tag onto the back of the dress last night! I remembered reading a blog post about removing stitch holes, so I did a quick search and here it is! You always post great tips!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Portia Lawrie January 22, 2016

      Yay! So glad it helped and thank you 🙂

      Reply

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