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July 2015

Hello again <<First Name>>

So let's talk all about PINS

There are so many different shapes, sizes and types of pins but they all essentially do the same job - temporarily hold two (or more) pieces of fabric together prior to sewing.

Professionals rarely use pins but as a home sewer, I use them all the time.

Scroll down to read about the different types of pins as well as how to use them.  I'm also amazed at how many things I thought of as extra tips to help you use them effectively.  So let's dive in and get to the pointy end of pins!  

I'll be back in your Inbox again on the 7th August (how did we get to August already!) to show you what I've been up to.
Until then, Happy Sewing ♥ Sarah x

If any terms or words are new to you - click below link to view a
Sewing Glossary of Terms

Types of Pins & Where to Use Them

As I alluded to above, there are lots and lots of different types of pins.  I rounded up a few I found in my sewing room.  The main parts of a pin are the metal shank - sharpened to a point at one end - and the head.

Starting from the top left we have - 
  1. Dressmaking Tack
    Mainly used during fittings as they don't sew with many pins.  Short, sharp and industrial.
  2. Heavy Duty Heart
    I love these pins for their wide shank.  I use these a lot for bags and vinyl.  
    Would You Like Some?  I'm going to be doing a bulk order of these heart pins next Monday 27/7.  Pack of 30 is only  $8 per pack incl postage to Aust.
  3. Flower Head Pin 
    My favourites.  A great general purpose pin.  Long shank and heat-resistant flat head.
  4. Glass Head Pins
    I think these ones are for quilting.  The blue ones are much finer than the yellow.  I use them for my branding labels so I know to watch out them when sewing that seam.  They also don't melt when you iron over them.
  5. Chuck Out Pins (vertical) - a Novelty Pin and Plastic Berry (these come on a plastic wheel) 
    Easy to find and cheap but hopefully you'll soon out-grow these sorts of pins.
  6. Safety Pins
    The large one I use for threading elastics, the bottom two are used for basting quilts and attaching binding (I use safety pins while attaching the binding as I prick myself too often with normal pins ).
There are also lots of alternatives to pins - such as paper clips, bulldog clamps and bobby pins - which are particularly useful for thick layers and waterproof or delicate fabric where you don't really want a pin to leave a hole in the fabric.

The How To - Pinning Technique

You'd think that pinning would be a fairly easy skill to learn - and you are right.  But there are still some tips and tricks I can tell you about to make the whole pinning process much smoother.  Like all new skills, success comes with practice so experiment, practice and get a feel for how you like to do things.

1.  Flat fabric equals straighter seams

The idea is to keep the fabric as flat as possible when you insert a pin so that the two layers remain correctly positioned for sewing.  See above animation (ha ha - how fancy right!?).  The aim is to only lift the fabric enough to slide the pin down, under and up, and out again.

You also want to insert pins so that the head is towards you when you're sewing along.  I'm right handed but the pin will face the same direction even if you are left handed as the bulk of your fabric is always on your left as you sew with a machine.  Speaking from experience, it's quicker to flip pins around and try again than to pull them out past your presser foot and needle. ;) 

2. Parallel or Perpendicular?

It depends if you're pulling the pins out as you sew or if you intend to sew over the top.  If you are sewing over pins, pin them perpendicular to the edge of the fabric and always slow down as you approach so the needle has time to jump the pin rather than strike it.  I'd hate to have a shard of metal hit your eyeball at speed.  I do both depending on if I need the extra hold pins provide or not.
In the above zipper pouch, I've pinned parallel (note the direction of pins) but I wanted extra hold across the zip so I pinned perpendicular and I sew over that pin to keep it all aligned correctly.

And just to scare you a little bit - please don't hold pins in your mouth (or if you do, make sure they have a nice big thing on them to hold onto with your teeth.....  I inhaled a pin into my lungs....)

3. Where to Pin

I tend to pin about 1/4"/12mm from the fabric edge, which is my usual seam allowance.  I pin closer to the edge (called 'within the seam allowance') if I'm using clear plastic or vinyl fabrics so that my pin holes will be invisible behind the stitching line in the finished project.

Other Tips and Tricks

Pin into the corners of pattern pieces.  Make sure the ends of the pins stays inside the pattern piece so you don't damage your scissors or rotary cutter as you cut out your project.
Push pins down into your ironing board to hold pleats and hem folds in place while you press them flat with the iron.  They won't burn nearly as much as your fingers will, particularly if you are using steam.
Next time you make a pin cushion, use a steel wool as stuffing. This will keep your pins and needles extra sharp, as it sharpens them every time you poke them back in.  Stuff it even fuller with rice, which will help absorb any moisture.  Source
Make your own novelty pins using air drying clay.  I snapped the heads off some flower pins to make these for my woodland stump and then painted them with normal acrylic paint from an arts and crafts store.

Inspiration from around the Interwebs ~

Every good pin deserves a super cute pin cushion.  Here's a great round up of a few favourites.
See List...
Every wondered how needles and pins are made?  Watch video...
A pin cushion is a great first project.  In fact I've included it as a bonus kit within the Ready, Set, Sew tool pack.
Learn more...
About Sarah

Hi!  I'm so chuffed to be in your Inbox.  Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter : )
I live on a farm in rural Western Australia.  I love living in the country; there are so many things that I enjoy about the rhythm of life out here. I love to sew and it's my aim teach you how to sew too - no matter where you live.  I've got a series of DIY Kits that I mail out to you and then provide you with lots of help and support via email or Facebook as you sew at home.  You can join the Hunting for Ladybugs Helpdesk group HERE and check out all the kits available in my shop HERE.  Please reach out if you've got any burning sewing questions.  I'm only too happy to help.  Chat again soon, Sarah x

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