Ranting about the evils of irresponsible industrial design in the form of vile itchy clothing labels is not new to us.
What is new is Rick’s discovery of a humble little tool that’s changed his life.
Ten minutes before we headed to the airport last week to drop me off for a business trip, Rick came into the kitchen muttering dark words and yanking at the back of his shirt collar.
“It doesn’t matter how much you pay for a [insert muttered dark words here] shirt, they sew itchy useless labels into them all. And why do I care if it’s ‘Modern Fit’ or ‘Island Crafted’ anyway?! I’ve already bought it, now I just want to wear it. And you can’t ever cut the damn things out without making a hole! Why do they DO that?!”
As the grinding of molars and huffing and puffing continued while he changed into an ancient t-shirt, I slipped into the garage to my sewing stuff tote and emerged with the inexpensive yet indispensable gadget that was to become Rick’s new best friend.
After ensuring that the label wasn’t sewn into a seam that was holding the shirt together, I showed him how to remove the clothing label by carefully placing the pointy end under a loop of thread, slicing it with the small but extremely sharp blade that sits in the curve of the ripper.
Then we headed to the airport and I forgot all about shirt labels and seam rippers for a week.
Not only did he successfully (AKA didn’t make a hole) remove the prickly bits from the offending shirt but apparently whiled away the lonesome hours while I was gone by attacking the rest of his closet as well.
In fact, in his typical Rick-like “focus like hell and master whatever he puts his hand to” approach to life, he even tackled this beast: a beautiful, butter-soft European fine linen work of craftsmanship with a triple-layered label demon topped with a fourth offender sewn right into the collar seam.
Rick has been so enthusiastic about his new little blue buddy that out of curiosity, I went to Amazon to see what other options there are in the seam-ripping department.
It turns out that for years, I’ve owned the #1 best selling seam ripper Amazon has to offer:
The amazing thing is that this puppy has over 250 reviews and a 4.6 star rating. For a $5 tool whose primary purpose is to cut thread, that’s a LOT of enthusiasm, and not just from seamstresses. The key word that shows up time and again in the reviews is “multi-tasking.”
The curved blade design lends itself to all sorts of tasks that scissors and knives just don’t work as well for: removing nasty clothing labels (see above), slicing into plastic packaging, opening envelopes and cardboard boxes that are taped shut, opening Ramen seasoning packages, cutting hair out of vacuum brush rollers, unclogging soap dispensers… apparently the list goes on and on.
According to one reviewer, “The seam ripper may be one of the most underrated tools, ever.” Another states, somewhat ominously, “Just one of those everyday item you can never seem to have enough of, I like to keep them next to where ever I might be sitting, You never know.”
Anyway, it’s been a good week. I feel like I’ve discovered a precious gem that’s been hiding in plain sight all these years, Rick is no longer held hostage to malevolent clothing manufacturers, and we’ve been able to make the world a better place by sharing our newfound knowledge with you.
Meanwhile, I’m going to buy a handful more of these: one for my briefcase, one for the kitchen, one for the laundry-room and one for the coffee table, because, well… you never know.