What do safety pins mean? Another word for the more popular term safety pins is a fastener, and is rightly so because safety pins are used mainly for fastening two surfaces together – usually two or three fabrics at a time.

The modern safety pin was invented by an American mechanic named Walter Hunt and he did so because he had a debt that had to be paid off pronto. The first modern safety pin (which was designed by Hunt) was actually made from a piece of brass, folded and coiled at the center to ensure that it would have a spring mechanism.

The spring mechanism allowed the safety pin to open from a shielded clasp that helped prevent the use of getting jabbed or injured. The great thing about modern safety pins is they have been around for so long that a great many variations already exist. These variations include jumbo safety pins for nappies with larger plastic shields, as well as higher gauge safety pins for use in sewing.

Admittedly, safety pins have been the most useful to people who are sewing, which is why we are sharing with you today the different kinds of safety pins and pins used in sewing, so you know what many types there are.

Types of pins

  1. Safety pin – The modern safety pin was derived from the singular pins that didn’t have spring mechanisms or clasps. While other types of pins can also fasten clothes, what safety pins introduced was a chance for the seamstress to fasten a point between two surfaces so the fastened point would not move.

    The addition of a clasp and spring mechanism also meant that people were jabbed less often because the sharp point was hidden inside the clasp and will no re-emerge again unless the safety pin was undone.

  1. Headpins – Headpins have a large bulb of plastic for the head and that head is there mainly for gripping purposes and to help the seamstress see where she put her pins in the first place.

    The downside with this type of pin is you can’t iron over the plastic because of course, plastic melts with the introduction of heat. Once the plastic melts, it may no longer be a good idea to keep using the pin.

  1. Flat pins – As the name suggests, flat pins don’t have the bulbous plastic heads and they’re better suited for projects that require a lot of ironing of the attached fabrics. It is important for you to use the right type of pin depending on the project. The downside of flat pins is that they are harder to see, although they do have a flat terminal point that catches the fabric so they don’t slip off, once they’re buried in the fabric, you need to remember where you put them.
  1. Glass pins – Glass pins are constructed exactly like ball headpins but they are actually safer to use because you can iron over them as they won’t melt. Aside from looking really pretty, they are also easier to see, which is a boon for people who sew but have a tough time seeing pins while working on their construction.
  1. Metal ball pins – Metal ball pins are considered one of the rarest types of pins, but they’re also awesome because they provide all the advantages of plastic ball headpins minus the risk of melting. They also look awesome in your supplies rack, so that’s another plus for this type of pin.

Our general recommendation for people who are stocking pins is to always use the best ones and remove the rest from the set. If the tip of a pin is getting dull, there’s no real reason to keep them. Keep your pin sets as sharp as you can and make sure that you store them well to keep moisture away from the metal.

There are also some further classifications of pins, depending on their sharpness. The most common type of pin based on sharpness is the sharp pin. These are designed for woven textiles, medium textiles, and heavier fabrics that have much denser fibers. The sharpness helps puncture the textile so the pins can penetrate and whole two points or fabrics together.

The second type of pin based on sharpness is the extra-sharp ones. Extra sharp pins are needed for fabrics that are glossy and delicate.

The extra sharpness helps maintain the integrity of the fabric, so there would be no visible holes in the fabric after sewing. Such metal will pass through the fabric as cleanly as possible, and this makes the fabric better suited for sewing on the whole.

The final category would be the ballpoint pins. Ballpoint pins are manufactured mainly for the knitting, as the rounded tip of the pins is designed to pass through the gaps of the knit without damaging the fabric. Those who work with yarn know for a fact that you are going to have a tough time when the yarn is damaged because the yarn is going to unravel if you are not careful.

When buying pins, make sure also that you check the length of the pins so that they would be matched with what you really need. Some pins are only half an inch, others ¾ of an inch, and more. There are pins that are extra-long for sewing purposes.

However, if you use pins that are too long, they may overlap with each other in an awkward manner, so this may not be a good idea if your pin keepers or containers are small, or if you are going to use your pins for relatively thin fabrics that don’t require thicker metals.

Medium length pins (1.16”) are recommended for all kinds of sewing needs and are considered general-purpose pins. These can be used for a variety of applications, from sewing to just emergency applications. Pins are exceedingly handy and all you need is to be creative with how to use it.