Uncle Bill's tweezers

Uncle Bill’s help

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As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, I’m becoming a lot more open to the idea of unpicking work and re-stitching it. I have become quite good at it whilst working on the fox!

One little ‘tool’ that I have found to be of great assistance when doing this, is a pair of small tweezers called ‘Uncle Bill’s Tweezers’. Now I don’t know why Uncle Bill, and not Uncle Bob (as I tend to call them!), but I do really like these tweezers!


Uncle Bill's tweezers
Uncle Bill's tweezers in a handy storage container


I had heard about these little things a few years ago and didn’t think anything of them, until I needed to start again on this leaf on the Trevelyon Cap Course. I had other various jeweller tweezers, but I just couldn’t pull out all the tiny stitches. So I jumped online and found myself some Uncle Bill tweezers.

So much easier with Uncle Bill’s help!

The difference they make! They have a tiny point, and are quite small, so you can get a lot of accuracy by using them, and pull out just what needs to be taken out. They make pulling out even the tiny stitches made when starting and finishing a thread so easy!

Uncle Bill's tweezers are nice and small for accurate stitch removal


My method of unpicking – with Uncle Bill’s help!

So, how do I actually go about unstitching an area? I have found the method that works best for me when un-picking thread painting is to flip the work over, and carefully cut through all of the stitches, on the ‘top’ side of the stitches. This does of course need to be done very carefully, as you need to be careful to not cut either the fabric, or the stitches you want to leave in. I then flip the work back over, and using my new best friend Uncle Bill, I pull the threads through into a nice pile of small threads. I find the small catching threads for the beginning and end of threads can be easily pulled through without needing to cut them on the back.

how to unpick with Uncle Bill's tweezers


Whilst un-picking work is never particularly enjoyable, this seems to make the process not only easy, but also quite quick to do, so it’s not long before I can get back into another attempt at it!

Where to buy your helpful tweezers

Where can you pick these little guys up?  I purchased mine on Amazon, but I believe some embroidery stores also stock them. So, if you have an embroidery shop close by (lucky you!!), you may be able to pick them up there or ask them to order them in for you.

I would love to know how you go about un-picking your stitching you aren’t happy with. What tips and tricks do you use?

8 thoughts on “Uncle Bill’s help”

  1. i have never heard of this type of tweezers. glad you found them. I ripit basically the same way. i use surgical tweezers. I am lucky to have known someone who used to work in surgery.
    Kathleen Mary

    1. I had never thought of surgical tweezers! But I’m not sure where I would get my hands on them either. Glad you have found something to help when needed. Anything to make it easier!

  2. I have to say that fox is looking very good, the use of thread painting makes the fur look very realistic, you are doing a great job.

    Unpicking for me is sometimes a messy business! For a small amount I use the eye of a needle but for a larger piece I tend to snip the threads and take them out as best I can with my finger nails, I remove any ‘fluff bits’ with a little sticky tape. I have never thought of using tweezers!!

    1. Thanks Ann. I had never thought of using tape to mop up the ‘fluff bits’ – I will definitely be giving that a go! I can definitely recommend tweezers for picking out larger areas if you can come across them.

  3. I also do Needle Lace which requires the careful use of precision tweezers. I bought a pair of Gingher tweezers years ago for $20. At the time, I thought it was a lot to spend for tweezers! But I’m so very glad I bought them. Good tools, like good thread and fabric, are a pleasure to work with. Unfortunately, they’re not manufactured anymore.

    Surgical tweezers sound like a good idea. I asked my good friend Google, and came up with http://www.techni-tool.com/Tweezers which offers both ‘economical’ as well as ‘precision’ tweezers. Wow! Who knew there were so many different options?

    1. Completely agree with you – whilst spending money for some things seems a little over the top at times it is well worth it in the long run. Such a shame the Gingher ones aren’t produced any more. I will definitely be checking out your link – thanks for the tip!

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