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user-61024 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I live in western Canada, and I’m a bit frustrated with the type of pins that are available in local stores. They aren’t very sharp, or they’re too thick, or they just don’t have a good feel. I have some old pins from the States that are just right: thin enough to sew over (I have an old Singer that doesn’t mind them), with a small glass head.

Any suggestions as to a source for pins? I’ll happily shop by the web or mail order.


  1. kid | | #1

    I'm sure there was an article recently in Threads (or perhaps it was Quilting Arts) about pins and included websites and suggestions.

  2. mygaley | | #2

    My favorite pins and my favorite source of pins is Clothilde's Sewing Notions Catalog.   Just google Clothilde catalogue, notions, pins. 

    My favorites for most fine fabric sewing are the 1-7/8 extra long glass head super fine steel pins (the heads are purple and yellow)  If you need a pin that is a sword for home dec or jeans get the 1-3/4 quilt pins.  I wasn't satisfied with the sharpness or fineness of the flower head pins.

    Order her printed catalog.  Browsing through it is like a lesson on sewing hints.  Recently, I read a quote from Clothilde that said she started out supplying pins to a manufacturer.  Her online and mail service are wonderful, and if you phone them, the person with whom you speak is familiar with the merchandise. 

    I am so sold on these pins, I will not use any other kind.  God Bless You as you sew.  Galey

    1. user-61024 | | #5

      I really appreciate your quick response, and will explore the Clothilde site. All the best of the coming holiday season to you. You've given me a great gift with your information!

    2. user-61024 | | #13

      Received the pins I ordered from Clotilde just before Christmas and have been using them. Have to get used to the length, and they're a bit bendy, but the fine-ness is just right.

  3. User avater
    paddyscar | | #3

    Issue 120 of Threads contained the article on various pins, their benefits and uses.  If you are interested in obtaining it, you can do so by clicking on Fiber Arts in the banner heading above and it will take you to Threads home page.

    120 August/September 2005 Threads A Pin for Every Purpose; Design a Chic, Flowing Skirt with Fabric Strips; Drivers' Ed for Sewing Machines; Ripple-Free Piping Can't Be Rushed; Sew Clothes that Keep On Fitting; Quick to Make Projects; Make a Pattern from Ready-to-Wear; Online Fabric Shopping
  4. Elisabeth | | #4

    Glass head silk pins are really nice. They are thin and sharp and the heads won't melt if you happen to touch them with the iron. I know what you mean about the carpenter nail type pins that companies try to sell us, what are they thinking! Clotilde is a great source and Judy Barlup also sells glass head pins on her Unique Techniques website http://uniquetechniques.com/ I have ordered from her before and the service was excellent.

  5. FrancesC | | #6

    May I suggest


    as a mail order source for you. They are in Surrey, B.C., close enough to you for the postage not to be a killer and in Canada, so you don't have to deal with Customs. I just looked at their site and saw quite a few pins available, although I didn't study them closely.

    Every year, they come to the needlecraft show here in Toronto, I have bought from them there and been quite satisfied.


    1. offerocker | | #14


      Thanks so much for the WebSite!!  I have the Iris Swiss Super Fine pins (1 1/4"), and keep them in a separate, safe place.  They are wonderful, and by far my favorite -consistently sharp, and don't bend.  I'm ordering more so that I can get rid of my 'others'; these are that special to me.  Thanks again.

  6. mimi | | #7

    Rocky:  Nancy's Notions (http://www.nancysnotions.com) are reliable, fast and reasonable!


  7. Maddyh | | #8

    I experienced the same problem with pins.   I have eventually bought some (after years of trying to find thin pins).   They are 4mm thickness which is about the thinnest you can get I understand, however, I have misplaced the name of the manufacturer.   I am in Queensland, Australia therefore a long way away from you, but I will try and find out the manufacturer's name.    I bought them from a sewing centre shop.   Maddyh

    1. user-61024 | | #9

      I have ordered some from Clothilde based on a previous suggestion in the Gatherings discussion. Am hoping they arrive soon so I can test them out!

      1. Maddyh | | #11

        Hope they are just what you want.   In an emergency I have been known to use fine needles but you do need to remember there is no protection on either end and you can end up with a needle prick and blood on the fabric!   However, just a little care is needed.   I will keep an eye open on the post to see how your pins pan out.   Cheerio for now from Maddyh

      2. Maddyh | | #15

        Hi there ... how did your pins work out?   I'm so pleased with mine I intend to buy another box but they are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE!   I noticed on the message board the mention of Irish pins.   Have you heard anything else about them?   I have a daughter living in Donegal, Ireland and may put PRESSURE on her to send me some (if they are as fine or finer than 4mm   All the best from Maddyh in Queensland, Australia where it is very very HOT!

        1. user-61024 | | #17

          You are right about the expense. Because I only ordered one box, and there is a minimum with shipping, I now own a $30 box of pins! They are nice and fine and sharp, but longer than I'd like, so a bit too bendy.

          Was in Calgary on the weekend and looked for Clover pins, as their website showed promise, but the fabric store only had one very short length style.

          I'll be patient and check on the Clover selections when I'm in town again.

          1. Maddyh | | #20

            Hi there again ... I don't mind the bendy bit ... I just like the way the pins work!   My next plan of attack is to find out if anyone can remember a flat cardboard dressmaker's dummy that was assembled with split pins available  around, say, the mid 60's!   It was dirt cheap at the time (thank goodness as funds were extremely tight then) but it really worked.   My husband threw it out as he thought it was junk as it became discoloured.   I came close to throwing HIM out, but I love him.   Thanks for your reply and good luck with your valuable pins.   Mine cost $A11 and that's without postage!   Lots of luck from Maddyh

        2. Berniece | | #18

          HI Madd,
          Where did you get your pins from? I have been trying to buy fine pins for a while and no-body has them.I'm on the Gold Coast. Qld Australia. and yes it is HOT.

          1. Maddyh | | #19

            Hi there fellow Queenslander.   I live on the Sunshine Coast and it is a little sewing shop in Kawana.   If you know Caloundra, it is opposite the Woolworths shopping complex.   I found them quite by accident, but found it hard to part with $11 for a box of 80 pins.   When I eventually got around to checking the number of pins, there seems to have only been 60 which was somewhat disappointing.   I haven't opened the new box yet, but just for the heck of it I am going to count them!   Can't really take them back because I don't really have a leg to stand on.   Only my word against the shop or manufacturer.   They were made in Japan, but there is no company name recorded on the packaging.   The lass in the Rocky Mountains who has just bought pins and paid postage ended up paying $30 their money!   Thanks for your reply and I think the name of the shop is Kawana Sewing Centre, phone (07)5477916.   The owner may be able to tell you the supplier's name and/or where you could obtain them down your way.   It is still TOO HOT!   Nice to hear from you and thanks for your message.   Regards Maddyh

          2. Berniece | | #21

            Hi maddyh
            I have heard of that shop,they were at the Stitches and Craft show in May.there web site is quite good.You wouldn't want to lose any at that price, nor drop them on the carpet to be troden on by family who complain about "mum and her pins".(A good way to keep them out of my sewing area.)

          3. Maddyh | | #24

            Hi there ... fancy being on the web and finding someone who has the same problem as me being in my own back yard (so to speak) and YES ... no DROPPING OF PINS and YES - keep OUT of my sewing room!   Instead of the vacuum cleaner, I'm going to use sticky tape to pick up fluff etc. and NEW $A11 PINS from the floor.   I must confess I am being a little bit more careful than usual about these PINS.   Who would have thought there would have been as many as 24 messages about pins, and I thought I was the only one out-of-step with the average available in shops.   I wrote an article which was published in Australian Stitches about pins and had a good reply about overseas pins.   Suggested here was Punch with Judy (I think it was) who may have had extra extra fine pins.   I would need to have added postage onto the cost which was probably the same as I paid locally.   Again, nice of you to contact me and all the best with your sewing from Maddyh

    2. offerocker | | #22

      I have the Iris Swiss Super Fine pins (1 1/4").   They are wonderful, and by far my favorite -consistently sharp, and don't bend. 

      1. Maddyh | | #23

        Hi there ... thanks for your reply ... in your (or someone's) message I thought the "Iris" was in fact "Irish" and planned to get my daughter to get me some.   HOWEVER, I now know they are Iris Swiss pins.   It is great to use fine pins I find.   They make it so much easier to work the material and I've chassed them for so long.   I originally had some but they eventually bent so much out-of-shape they had to be disgarded, regrettably.   I used them bent for quite some time but when they ended up with 2 bends, it was about time.   Mind you, I bought them around 20 (or more) years ago ... when that was what was available.   In general here in Australia, or at least on the eastern coast, the general line of pins from Birch seem to only go down to a 60 or 55 's.   The ones I have at last been able to get are 4's but I only know they were made in Japan, but no mention of the company.    The downside is that they hurt more when you prick yourself!   Still worthwhile though.   Seems as if pins are going out of fashion, as weights are being used when cutting out.   I prefer the pins though.   Thanks again for your reply and happy sewing from Maddyh 

        1. offerocker | | #25

          Here is a link to order the Iris Swiss pins: 


          They are only $7.50, which is less than I paid years ago for mine.  They are the BEST!

          You can get a very strong magnet to use to pick up pins from your carpet, or put a nylon stocking over the attachment of your  vacuum to keep pins from going into the bag.

          You mentioned the material weights - I made my own; just sewed small bags and filled with


          1. Maddyh | | #26

            Thanks once again for your reply.   I'm back on the internet after a couple of hours of sewing (and sticking my NEW pins into my fingers ... but I still love them) but it is good to give my fingers a break!   I'll get into the address you have given and have a look.   After all these years I still enjoy sewing.   I have tried the weights e.g. tins ... bags sound more professional, but I really prefer the flexibility the use of pins gives.   I notice you use "offerocker".   Is there any significance to sewing there?   Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.   Regards from Maddyh

          2. offerocker | | #27

            Hi, Maddyh,

            I don't use the weights either; made them for another purpose.  I'm still a "pinner", and always will be.

            Offerocker just explains me, ha ha!!   Or, maybe an apology in advance if I say anything ignorant?  I thought it was cute and applicable.  I'm really Kathleen, a name I do like.




          3. User avater
            Aless | | #28

            Thanks for this thread. I have been trying to find more of the pins I used to buy/stockpile from a far away shop before it changed hands and stopped stocking them.I have never found any others quite like them.They are fine but NOT bendy.

            After someone mentioned Clover products,I did a web search and am pretty sure I have found them (MUCH excitement!!!!).The Silk Pins are exactly the same colours (red as well as white heads,all in a clear plastic box).Having a picture has really helped. I never thought to ask around about  specific type of pin. They were a little more expensive than the run-of-the-mill, but not as dear as some people have been quoting.

            Hope this helps others too.

            Aless in South Australia

          4. Maddyh | | #30

            Hi Aless in South Australia ... who would have thought the subject of PINS would have brought forth 29 answers!!!!!!!   I must look for your red/white headed silk pins here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.   Is there a manufacturer's name on the pack?   I have seen silk pins on sale but to my eye they seemed awfully thick, particularly in view of my 4's gauge.   The silk pins I have seen here (and in N.S.W.) too, were from Birch and were 6's.   I think I saw a 5.5 in my search, too, but 4's are freakishly fine/bendy but lovable!   Regards from Maddyh in Queensland

          5. offerocker | | #31

            Maddyh, please, before you buy, do a search on SWISS pins, or IRIS (tm).  Iris makes pins from Switzerland.  I paid $7.50 for 400!  They are superb pins, and if you don't like them, I'll buy them from you!!

          6. User avater
            Aless | | #33

            Hi again! That's been the whole problem with sourcing The Pins...they have never had any identifying marks on the packet,not anywhere! I think I will check out some quilt shops I know for the Clover silk pins.If they are not 'It', I'll go looking for the Iris.

            Yeah,that(29+) replies shows how incredibly important good pins are for sewing.

          7. Maddyh | | #34

            Thanks for your reply "Aless".  PINS ... I'm working on a blouse in seersucker and these pins are absolutely brilliant.   I tried my old pins and they left black marks in some scraps of material.   It is a fairly hard fabric to pin it seems.   It is the finer weave I'm using, hoping I won't have to IRON it.   I don't really mind ironing, but it is such a waste in this steamy heat!   No sooner is a garment worn, than it is sweaty and back in the wash.   Thanks again for the pinny info.   Regards from Maddyh

          8. Maddyh | | #29

            Hi there ... I think I'm somewhat "off-her-rocker" too everytime I look at my stash of material and patterns ... but at least I'm ahead with my BEAUTIFUL PINS!   They really do make a big difference.   I like Kathleen and should do especially as I have two Kathleen granddaughters ... one Jessica Kathleen and the second Kathleen Lucinda, named for me.   Apparently the Irish like to include family names and a second daughter wasn't planned when Jessica was born.   Kathleen is after their father's mother.   My next project is to try and locate a VERY OLD form of "dummy" ... not for "dummy spits", but I did have a cardboard dummy put together with split pins, which could be collapsed if necessary.   I guess this format has gone out of vogue, but I'm going to try for a second-hand one and if necessary add  PADDING!   Kind regards from Maddyh

          9. offerocker | | #32

            Maddyh,  If you wouldn't mind sending me your email and personal address privately, I will send you some of my Iris Swiss SuperFine pins.  I understand your privacy, but I want you to try these before you purchase any other - I think if you have the opportunity to try them, you'll love them as I.    If you'd rather not, just post here.  Postage not a problem, I'll tape them to a 3x5 card. Kathleen/Offerocker.

  8. User avater
    Thimblefingers | | #10

    I live in Edmonton and there are a number of stores that sell a beautiful fine glasshead  pin made by Clover.  Any store that sells Clover Notions will have them - some Fabriclands, Estee's Fabrics, I think Central Sewing and The Notion Place.  Estees Fabrics does mail/phone/e-mail orders.  (You'll find them with the Clover Notions not with the other pins).  They're expensive but worth it - I wouldn't use amything else. http://www.estees-fabrics.com

    1. user-61024 | | #12

      I love my Clover seam ripper and fine point, so I'll look next time I'm in the big city.

  9. islandgirl57 | | #16

    I got my glass head pins at one of the local quilting shops.  They have white heads on them and are very sharp.  I have had to wash blood out of many things I was sewing on.   I live in FL

    Edited 1/4/2006 10:42 pm ET by islandgirl57

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