When I first began this website a few years back I asked my friend who
was encouraging me to start a sewing website, “What would I ever say
to people?” She took a quick glance around the room and shouted,
“Pins. Talk about pins!” I laughed at her suggestion, thinking that
everyone already knows about pins. Almost a thousand pages later I
realized getting the point across about the importance of pins was
actually a great idea.
In sewing, only use straight and sharp
pins. The straight pin is the most popular and usually of medium
length and thickness. It’s useful in all types of sewing--whether
dressmaking, quilting, or crafting. The pearl-headed pin is longer and
as a colored pearl head which helps fingers pin through multiple
layers of fabric. This type of pin is used in our sewing studio. Be
careful not sew or iron over these pins, as they will bend and melt.
The Dressmaker’s pin is similar to a straight pin, but longer. They
are great for beginner sewers.
There are a variety of pin types
available for you to purchase at your local fabric shop. The best pins
are to be high polished and made of steel. A ballpoint pin should be
used on pile or
knit fabrics. A magnetic holder makes pinning and clean-up
a lot easier. The thinner and sharper the pin the better. A good pin
will easily slide in and out of fabric without pulling or damaging it.
Trash old pins that are bent, rusted, or dull, as they can damage your
On a recent trip to colonial
Williamsburg, Virginia I took a step back in time when I entered a
dress shop and all the ladies were in costume, sitting and chatting
while hand sewing. I daydreamed of living just for one day in the
colonial era, and took in sights around me. As I was looking, I
noticed straight pins. Thinking I "caught" them using a modern tool, I
questioned them about the pins. To my surprise I found out that pins
are one of the oldest artifacts known to mankind. Throughout the
years, human beings have invented methods of holding two pieces of
cloth together: Pre-historic people used thorns and bones as pins. In
ancient Egypt pins were made of bronze with beautifully decorated
heads. In archeological digs throughout the world, there have been
findings of pins made from bone, ivory, silver, gold, and brass.
Colonial women also used pins to close or mend many of their clothing
together, men too. They would hide the pins in the seams of their
clothing. (I image it was uncomfortable working like that.) Evidence
of this is found in James Town, Virginia where you can find a skeleton
of a man and everything that was found with him, including a bullet in
the leg and yes, five straight pins. I'm sure they were helping hold
his clothing together. So the next time you're prepping your newest
project with pins, think about the long history it carries, and the
importance of how something so tiny can be so helpful.