Maybe I’m just sensitive, but a scratchy label is enough to keep me from enjoying a garment.  Even when I occasionally buy a prestige brand, the ego stroke isn’t enough to overcome the annoyance of that darned label. But I’ve ruined a few garments by cutting the fabric instead of the thread when removing a label.  Then a professional seamstress showed me this trick.

Use a sharp single-edge razor blade.  I know, it sounds scary.  I argued with her until I tried it.  It works for nearly every situation that involves removing stitches, but here’s how to use it for labels:

  • Cut between the face of the label and the little turned-under bit.  The middle area is easiest place to start, since both ends are likely to be back-stitched.  Use the tip of the blade, keeping as flat against the fabric as possible.
  • When that middle area is un-done, you can pull the layers (tag and garment) apart and carefully cut each remaining stitch.  Work the blade against the label, not the garment and go one stitch at a time.
  • AAAHHHH.  Comfy at last!

Labels aren’t the only things you can remove with this method.  I’d pulled this casual dress out of my off-season closet for a quick holiday get-away to the Florida panhandle.  You may have seen it before,  because I already talked  (in my Craftsy class) about removing the bottom two pockets to eliminate the hip-line horizontal they created.  When I wore it on the trip,  I didn’t like the top pockets either.  I wanted every bit of emphasis to go to the center front vertical of the decorative zipper and the newly-tapered skirt.  Razor blade to the rescue – what do you think of the results?

What unflattering details in your own wardrobe could you eliminate this way?


About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Katrina B on January 29, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Labels are the worst! I have enough skin problems without those scratchy things. I have always pulled out my trusty seam ripper to remove them (always inside the label, not on the garment side!), but I know not everyone has one of those.

    I like your black dress but I would mourn the total lack of pockets. Can you add side seam pockets? Or are you a no-pocket person?

    • Nancy Nix Rice on January 29, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      I’m not a big pocket person but if you are it would certainly be easy enough to add an in-seam pocket. Good idea!

  2. Laura DeLong on February 6, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Exacto knife instead of razor. Magic seam ripper too.

  3. Barbara on February 6, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    I used the single edge razor to remove a strap and velcro on a pair of black flats. They were just right except for the (in my case -un-needed) arch strap. So I took them off and now I get complements on them.

  4. anne jewell on February 8, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    why, nancy! you have made a ‘new’ and much prettier dress with your alterations.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 8, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Anne – I sure feel more comfortable wearing it this way. We often overlook the option of alterations by subtraction, when so much of the “goop” piled onto garments in the name of style actually detracts.

  5. Ann Gosch on February 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    The Ann agrees with Anne . . . I like the pockets version just fine for casual, while the “new” version is more elegant, along with being more slimming. Great idea, Nancy!

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