Different types of pins and uses

Pins may be a small (and easily lost!) sewing tool, but they play a big part in the making process of any garment. Not only do they hold pattern pieces in place, but they can be used for fitting garments, holding on trims and maintaining seam allowances. There are many different types of pin available, and this guide is designed to help you figure out which type is best to use on your project.

Pin components and types:

While there are many different types available, they essentially have the same components, the head, point and shaft, and simply vary by thickness, length and metal content. Here are different styles of pins, and what they can be used for;

  • Flat Headed Pins-Also called 'no-head' pins. These pins can be pressed with a hot iron. Thread will not catch on these pins, so they are good for hand sewing. This type of pin can be difficult to see on textured or heavily patterned fabrics. 
  • Plastic Headed Pins-Ball-shaped, plastic head pins come in a variety of sizes and colours. You can also get larger, flower-shaped plastic head pins, which are easy to spot, and lie flat against the fabric, perfect for pinning Lace, Eyelet fabric and loose Woven fabric. These pins have heads that may melt if heat and pressure are applied. *d2d
  • Glass Headed Pins-Similar to ball-shaped plastic headed pins. These have small, ball-shaped heads that are easy to see and that don't melt when heat is applied.
  • Sharps Pins-An all-purpose pin, perfect for all different weight and compositions of fabric.
  • Extra-Sharp Pins-Long, fine, tapered pins, with a sharp point designed for use on delicate fabrics.
  • Ballpoint Pins-Perfect for use on stretch and knit fabrics, with a rounded tip to push the fabric fibres aside, rather than piercing through them.
  • Appliqué Pins-A 1/2" to 3/4" length pin, perfect for applying appliqué, trim and sequins. The smaller size is perfect as you can put lots of pins close together, without them overlapping.
  • Dressmaking Pins- Usually 1.5" in length, appropriate for all different types of sewing!
  • Quilting Pins- Long, thin pins, made especially for pinning through multiple layers of fabric and batting. The long length means they rarely slip out of place.


Curved pins:

  • T-Pins-A 13/4" long, thick pin, which pierces and holds heavier weight fabrics. These pins are usually used in upholstery, and for outdoor projects.
  • Fork Pins-Fine, 15/8" long pins, with a double pronged end. This pin has two prongs which curve up at the end, allowing you to pin difficult to handle fabrics together, such as linings, without having to lift them. These pins are also great for lining up plaids, stripes and other geometric designs.
  • Pleating Pins-Fine, strong and sharp pins. These pins are usually about 1" long, perfect for pinning accurate pleats.
  • Twist Pins-A thumbtack-style pin, which has a plastic head, and a short corkscrew type shaft. These pins are great for holding slipcovers and mattress pads in place, or for other upholstery projects.

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