Handling and keeping fabric in place is one of the trickiest jobs to do while sewing, especially when you are dealing with silk, velvet, velveteen or related fabrics. To tackle this thing and keep fabric cut pieces in place, pins are used by seamstresses almost all around the world.
People have been doing so for decades. When one steps into a shop to buy a sewing machine or is using a sewing machine for the first time, they wonder whether they can sew over pins? The answer to this question is:
Yes, but there is a lot more to know before you start doing so. You should know what kinds of pins you can sew over and what are the circumstances if something goes wrong.
In this article, we will cover all major kinds of pins used in sewing machines while discussing when or if these pins can be sewn over. We will also talk about how you can sharpen sewing pins and why some seamstresses don’t recommend sewing over pins. So, let’s just dive in.
There are many kinds of pins that can be sewn over even though it is not considered a very good practice especially if you are just a beginner.
The thing is that the skills of seamstress matter more than the type of pins. You can damage needles, your sewing machine, or yourself while sewing over pins if you don’t know the do and don’t.
Almost all kinds of sewing machines whether they are traditional, electronic, or any other modern sewing machine. Even the machines used about 30 years ago were able to sew over pins.
However, the ability and efficiency vary from product to product. Therefore, it is recommended to talk with the company’s representative before buying a sewing machine for yourself.
No, it is never a good practice to sew over pins as they are mostly made of metal and sewing needles cannot just go through them. Most people indeed sew over pins but it is never appreciated as the needle and pin collision can result in damaging the sewing machine or in worst cases, hurting you as well.
The best way to use pins and sew clothes without risking your machine’s health is to keep on removing pins whenever it gets too close to the sewing foot.
You can use a magnet to make things easy and remove pins just before the stitch will be applied in that area. You can hold the fabric with your fingertips until it gets past the sewing needle.
Pins of many kinds can be found in the market but you should look for ones that are best suitable for sewing and fabric-related activities. The pins should be able to go through the fabric easily without damaging the fibers at all. If we talk about major, pins are divided into three parts:
And they vary in terms of length, thickness, sharpness, strength, and the material used in manufacturing. With that being said, below are some of the best pins commonly used in sewing and fabric-related activities.
- Glass head pins
- Metal head pins
- Flat-head pins
- Plastic head pins
- Pearl head pins
- Silk pins
- Ball point pins
- Quilting pins
- Straight pins
Sharps pins are also known as all-purpose pins as they can be used for almost all kinds of fabrics in almost all kinds of sewing projects. Its long version is known as extra sharp pins which are specially designed to be used for fabrics with delicate fibers like silk.
Straight pins are the simplest form of sewing pins and are used to just keep two parts of cut fabric joined together. They are used on the seam line area just before sewing. They are only for a temporary time and are removed one by one once it reaches the sewing needles.
T-pins are in the shape of a ‘T’. These pins are made solely from steel usually plated with nickel. These pins are great to be used for heavy fabrics like upholstery, velvet, and silk.
They are designed in a way that they hold the fabric firmly and never let go of two parts whether you are sewing, ironing, or just moving fabric from one place to another.
Also, they are easy to push and can efficiently be used in small projects such as artworks and decorations, because of their small size of just ½”.
Plastic pins are used in sewing as well as many other activities like holding a scarf or keeping a handkerchief attached. It is better to be used in craft-making projects where felt and related fabrics are used.
At the end of these pins, there is a plastic head usually in the shape of a ball but can be a flower, heart, or star as well. There is a risk of melting down when ironing and that’s why it is mainly used in crafts, decorations, and gift packaging where ironing is not usually required.
Glass head pins are great as they have a very thin metal shaft of just ½mm which does not cause visible holes into the fabric. These pins are usually used at the time of pressing to hold fabric parts. Because of their glass head, these heads don’t melt like plastic head pins and make ironing easy and stress-free for seamstresses.
Pearl head pins are not that common but are great as they are multi-purpose and can be used to hold trims, tiny beads, seam allowances or to attach bias tape and make a cloth fit well with your body.
These pins can be used under heat as well but should be taken out of the fabric before it reaches the needle because it is a bit thicker than other sewing pins.
Ball point pins are the most common and widely used to hold the stretch and knit fabrics. As these pins have rounded tips like a ballpoint, it doesn’t cause a hole instead it simply slides through the fibers while pushing them apart to make space. These pins are of almost the same size as plastic head and glass head sewing pins.
Silk pins are specialized to be used for delicate fabrics and specifically for silk. The shaft is so soft that it does not cause a noticeable hole in the silk. Just because they are specialized for silk fabrics, they may have a bit high price as compared to other regular sewing pins which can also be used for silk or any other delicate fabric.
Quilting pins have plastic heads but this is not a matter of concern because while quilting, ironing is done before or after the process.
These pins are long and designed to go through multiple layers of fabric while keeping them together for as long as it is required.
Quilting pins are great to be used for fabric like cotton and other heavy fabrics that can bear the weight of these pins easily and without damaging their fibers.
Flat head or no head pins are good to be used in hand sewing but may not work efficiently on sewing machines or heavy-weight fabrics with multiple layers. This is because these pins don’t have heads, they can slide through the fabric while leaving the fabric pieces apart.
No, you should never use pins on a serger machine as it has a knife or blade that cuts the edges of the fabric, many times in a single inch.
This means that pins are bound to come under the blade and when this happens, it can break and the pieces can fly into your eyes, face, mouth, or any other parts of the body.
If you want to use pins while sewing on a serger machine:
- Place pins in a way that they remain outside of the seam allowance.
- Align pins parallel to the edge or border of the fabric.
- At the time of stitching, pins should be at the left or opposite side of the needles and blade.
Yes, almost all sewing pins are made of metal or related material that doesn’t melt when you iron it out. You may take care of pins having a ball tail made of glass, plastic, or any other material.
If we talk about the best sewing pins that can be ironed without worrying about their head end or anything melting, t-pins come at the top.
These are made solely from metal and can be ironed at any temperature you like. Also, they have flat heads which don’t disturb you while moving iron on the fabric.
Although pinning a fabric seems like a simple job, you should do it with proper care because inserting pins incorrectly can damage the fabric or can hurt you as well. The simple technique is as follows:
- Start by placing different parts of the fabric together. The right sides should be joined together.
- Weave one pin at a time, in and out of the fabric. Make sure that the weave is neither too small nor too lengthy. A small weave may break the fibers from the middle while a lengthy weave may take the pin head out of the fabric edges.
- Also, the pinpoint should be towards the fabric edge while the end with a glass/plastic ball should be facing toward the fabric center.
- It is better to let the pinned fabric stay flat on a table because moving too much or folding may mess up the pins as they can get inserted into other parts of the fabric as well.
- Now start stitching the fabric and keep on removing pins one by one before the needles come close to the next pin.
Yes, pins are made of metal and have sharp tips which mean that they can get dull when used multiple times. You don’t need to buy new pins because they can be sharpened using many different techniques. The best thing is that it can be done while sitting in the comfort of your home.
You can use any sharpening technique that you apply to needles. However, below are some best and most commonly used techniques and products that can sharpen the sewing needles in almost no time.
1. Steel wool
It is one of the most efficient things to sharpen your sewing pins. The steel wool may cause difficulties because of its small size but if you can use it properly, it can bring back pins into their original sharpness within a few rubs.
2. Emery sand/powder
These products can be found in many stuffed toys, accessories, or some cushions having strawberry or cherry on top. This sand is highly effective in sharpening the needles as well as sewing pins. The sand is better than other products as it is solely composed of metals and different minerals which create abrasive characteristics in it.
Why avoid sewing over pins?
- The sewing machine may sometimes miss the pin but as soon as it gets under the needle, the needle will break immediately.
- This can cause severe damage to your sewing machine.
- Broken needle pieces may injure your eye, mouth, or any other part of the body.
- You may end up damaging fabric because of wrongly inserted pins.
- It May waste a lot of your time as you need to first pin and then remove pins one by one while sewing.
- You may lose your concentration on other activities while removing pins while sewing.
- Doing so will make you tired way more than sewing simply.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you sew over scotch tape?
Yes, although scotch tape is not used on clothes or related items it is used on large stiff fabric pieces mostly in industries. However, you can sew over scotch tape even if you are using it on your clothes and stitching with your regular sewing machine.
Can you sew over fabric tape?
Yes. Fabric tape is specially manufactured and designed to be compatible with fabric in all aspects.
It can be bought from any nearby sewing store as well as other general stores because it is considered one of the essentials in any part of the world. Fabric tape is just a normal part of fabric but has a resin or polymer adhesive coating. You can sew over it without a slight pressure on the sewing machine.
What are lace pins?
Lace pins as the name suggests are used by seamstresses to confine the lace length soundly at the collar, neckline, or related areas of the clothes.
These pins are specially designed for such a round area and can also be used to join drapery at the arms or shoulders of your dress.