Just like it’s important to know which machine needle you should be using for different fabrics, it’s equally as important to know what types of pins to use. Below is our quick guide to pins!
Plastic Head Pins
Possible the most commonly found type of pin, plastic headed pins are great for general craft projects. They often have large, brightly coloured plastic heads/ends or novelty shaped ends. They’re great for students starting out as they are easy to spot but do not put an iron anywhere near them as they will melt!
Quilting pins tend to be longer and stronger because quilting involves many layers of fabric and wadding. They’re often brightly coloured to make them easier to spot. Most ironing during quilting happens before/after a pin is used so melting isn’t as much of a concern as these pins tend to have plastic heads. Make sure that if your quilt isn’t that heavy, it may not need the thickness/strength of a quilting pin
Glass Headed Pins
Next to plastic head pins, glass headed pins are commonly used by sewers. Made out of nickel-plated steel, they’re strong but not overly flexible making them perfect for most fabric types. Use these pins if you’re wanting to use heat anywhere near your pinned work as the glass heads will not melt like plastic heads.
Ball Point Pins
Use these with stretchy fabrics such as cotton jerseys or interlock knits. Just like a ball point sewing machine needle, the slightly rounded tip on these pins will push between the threads that make up your fabric preventing laddering, snags and unravelling.
Some textiles are “self-repairing”. This means the fibres of the weave spread apart to accommodate the pin, then ping back to where they were once you remove it. As silk is made from very delicate threads, it does NOT do this which us why you need extra fine pins if you’re working with silk
Classic silk pins are all metal, with no heads/balls. (Sometimes these are called dressmaking pins or satin pins, both of which have their own slight variations.) They come in a range of weights, so like all other pins, you want to match the shaft thickness to your silk.
T-pins, which are made entirely of nickel-plated steel, are good for holding down upholstery fabrics You may not need them often for sewing, but sometimes you need something to really hold down a projectm, these are the guys! You can iron over them too!
Pro Tip: Always test your pin on scraps to see how the fabric recovers, and keep pins within your seam allowance to help avoid unwanted holes.