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A Pin for Every Purpose

Although they are among the tiniest of sewing tools, pins have very important jobs.
Specialty pins assist with various sewing tasks
Traditional tomato pincushion
Although they are among the tiniest of sewing tools, pins have very important jobs.

Although they are among the tiniest of sewing tools, pins have very important jobs.


Metal content

A pin's content is important, especially if you are allergic to certain metals. There are six types: stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel, which is the strongest option. If you aren't sure of the metal, test it with a magnet; stainless steel and brass pins won't cling.

Put through a salt-water test, only nickel-plated brass passed. To test the rust-resistance of various metal types, we spritzed each pin with salt water. The results were surprising, as nickel-plated and chrome-plated steel should only rust if the plating is damaged; stainless steel should offer the best resistance. Brass tarnishes, but any residue washes out.

Metals
Left to right: Stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel.


The bottom line
: Never leave any pin in fabric for very long, especially if you live close to the ocean's salty environment.

Specialty pins
  Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.


Specialty pins
For certain projects, you need special pins. The ones shown here aren't always available at the local sewing shop, so you may need to order them.

T-pin This 1-3/4-inch-long thick pin can pierce and hold hefty upholstery and outdoor fabrics.

Fork Fine and 1-5/8 inches long, this two-prong pin curves up at the end, which allows you to pin hard-to-handle fabrics, like lining, without lifting it. Also use to align stripes and plaids.

Glow-in-the-dark If you drop this pin, simply turn off the light, and look for its glowing head.

Tidy Similar to the fork pin, but flat and square. It was created to secure doilies, arm covers, and slipcovers to furniture.

Pleating This fine, strong, sharp pin doesn't look all that special, but is 1 inch long, which allows you to perfectly pin out pleats.

Twist The thumbtack-like plastic head and short corkscrew shaft hold slipcovers and mattress pads in place.



Safety pins
Safety pins won't wriggle free or stab you as you sew. They are available in a range of metals and colors, as well as sizes: size 00 (3/4 inch long), size 0 (7/8 inch long), size 1 (1-1/16 inches long), size 2 (1-1/2 inches long), and size 3 (2 inches long). 

Safety pins
  Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.

Skirt Also known as a kilt pin, this decorative pin holds skirts and kilts closed.

Button The bump in this pin holds delicate, nonwashable buttons temporarily in place.

Curved The bend makes basting quilts easy, and ensures that the layers never shift.

Traditional These pins can be used for sewing, quilting, and crafts.

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Comments (4)

dmc000 dmc000 writes: Those bug pins are interesting I see that they sell a variety pack: http://www.indigo.com/lab_supplies/insect_pins/33515-All-insect-pins-stainless-steel-10-sizes.html#.VYXPVRNViko
I still have a hard time finding super fine long pins with glass head for general sewing. I think I used to order some from Clotilde? It's good to buy back up when you find the good ones! I might try the bug pins, they have stainless as well as the black enamel.
Posted: 3:41 pm on June 20th

mjpoll mjpoll writes: I am looking for pins to hold doilies onto furniture. Do they sell them on this website?
Posted: 3:00 am on August 21st

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Posted: 2:30 pm on July 4th

cynsew cynsew writes: This is a great article. I have sewed for years and still read needle info that I did not know. Thank you!
Posted: 6:36 am on March 23rd

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