Knowing the types of pins for sewing can ensure the perfect preparation for any task. “A pin is a pin...” Perhaps you would say that if you didn’t know just how important this little sewing notion is to the dedicated seamstress. Using the right type of pin will prevent holes and marks in your favorite fabric and make your sewing job much easier.
Types of Pins for Sewing
What are Sewing Pins Used For?
Pins hold fabric in place until you are ready to sew. Pins help with pattern laying, darts, seam adjustment, adding trims and setting hems at the right length. A pin is invaluable for marking alterations and fittings.
The types of pins list is lengthy and just when you think you have covered it all, another purpose for a pin pops up!
Types of Pins - Classifications
If you had to dissect a pin these are the parts you would look at:
- The Head – Probably the most important consideration is the tiniest part of the pin which is the pinhead. Popular materials include glass, plastic or metal. A hot iron on a plastic pinhead is not going to be a pretty sight. Ruined fabric and sad seamstress! Make sure you use a glass head pin or one with the tiniest metal top.
- The Point- These come in standard, extra sharp, or ballpoint. The ballpoint pin ensures no snags are found in your beautiful knit creations.
- The Metal – What pins are made of can vary too. Most are made from steel but occasionally they can be copper or brass.
- Thickness – Pins vary in thickness to suit different fabrics. As a general rule use fine pins for fine fabrics and thicker pins for thicker fabrics. You wouldn’t want to use thick pins in a fine fabric like silk as it would leave holes.
Best Types of Pins to Buy
All Purpose Dressmaking Pins
There are 2 types of dressmaking pins you will easily find online and at your local haberdashery shop. The first is the round plastic head pins like in the photo above on the right. These come in circular cards with lots of pretty colors.
The second type is the ones with tiny metal heads. Personally, I'm not a fan of this type as the smaller head makes it easy for me to miss some when removing. They are very popular however and my Mum insists they are much better. Try both and see what you like. They are cheap.
Glass pins have glass heads instead of plastic. I'm sure that is no surprise. The advantage of using these is that they won't melt when you iron over them. They are generally much better quality and as such are a little more expensive.
Plastic Novelty Head Pins
You can buy many novelty pins with hearts, large flowers and butterflies on the end. Apart from making me smile, what I like about these pins is that they are generally longer and will hold thicker fabrics. Stay away from craft or really cheap ones as they tend to be thick and leave marks in finer fabrics.
Silk pins are fine to prevent marks from being left in delicate silk. An alternative is to use regular pins and ensure that you pin in the seam allowance so any marks do not show.
Silk pins tend to have those tiny metal balls on the end and can come in different thicknesses.
Ballpoint Pins - Knit Pins
These pins are handy if you are regularly sewing knits that are prone to snagging. Like my recommendation for silk pins, I usually just use regular pins and pin in the seam allowance.
I'm not sure if safety pins are technically a pin but they seemed important enough to include in this types of pins list.
Safety pins are a must-have in your sewing room for threading elastic through casings. They are also useful when quilting to hold thick layers of fabric and batting together.
Purchase sturdy safety pins as smaller weak pins can come undone halfway through threading a casing and drive you crazy.
Next time you have a wardrobe malfunction you will be so pleased that your sewing kit has a few spare safety pins.
Quilting pins are longer and less prone to bending as they are designed to go through multiple layers of fabric and batting. Use ones with plastic colored heads to make them easier to spot and remove. Never use metal headed pins in a quilt as they are too easy to lose in the layers.
Now you know all about the types of pins, you just need somewhere to put all those pins!
The white pin cushion on the left is magnetized making it useful for when you drop pins on the floor for the hundredth time. I'm sure you will recognize the red berry pincushion on the right. These come with a little strawberry attached filled with sand that will clean and sharpen pins.
Pin Cushion Patterns
All these pincushion patterns are available for free on my blog.
Types of Pins - In Conclusion
If you want a professional finish and good support for your project from quilting to applique and sewing with jersey knits, then you need several types of pins in order to have the right pin for the task on hand.
Now you have all this useful information you will have to agree - you can never have too many pins for your sewing pleasure.
The conscientious seamstress will keep a careful eye on those pins, take out the rusty and bent ones and remember the old saying ‘’ if you see a pin and pick it up then all the day you’ll have good luck.’’ That must make anyone who sews one of the luckiest people in the world!