The most common form consists of a handle, shaft and head. The head is usually forked with a cutting surface situated at the base of the fork. In some designs, one side of the fork tapers to a sharp point to allow easier insertion in tight stitching.
In use a seam ripper, the sharp point of the tool is inserted into the seam underneath the thread to be cut. The thread is allowed to slip down into the fork and the tool is then lifted upwards, allowing the blade to rip through the thread. Once the seam has been undone in this way the loose ends can be removed and the seam resewn.
- Roach, Kristin M. (2012). "Mending Tool Kit". Mend It Better: Creative Patching, Darning, and Stitching. Storey Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1603427783.
- Moyes, Patricia (1999). Sewing Basics: Creating a Stylish Wardrobe with Step-by-step Techniques. Taunton Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1561582662.
- MacIntyre, Lynn; Tilton, Marcy (2009). "Seams and Seam Finishes". Easy Guide to Sewing: Tops and T-Shirts, Skirts, and Pants. The Taunton Press. p. 167. ISBN 1600850723.