Apart from clothespins and tweezers, safety pins and pins lead the race to help people keep their fabrics together while sewing or when there is an emergency and you need to keep your hems intact. If you don’t know the different kinds of pins available, today we are going to introduce to you everything you need to know to be able to buy great pins for your sewing needs.

Types of pins

There are three kinds of pins depending on the sharpness of the pins. The basic sharp pins are designed for high-density fabrics as they are designed to poke a hole through the dense fabric. This allows people to use the sharp tip to combine two or more fabrics without bending or damaging the pin. The next type of pin is the super sharp pin which is at least twice as sharp as basic sharp pins.

Contrary to common belief, these sharper pins are actually designed for more delicate fabrics like satin and silk. The reason for this is that when you are working with more delicate fabrics, the chance of damaging the fabric with a dull point is high. You need to make sure that the pin you are using is going to go through the fabric immediately, so the damage is going to be reduced when you pull the pinout.

The final type of pin is the ballpoint type, which is made specifically for projects that involve yarns, like knitting. Sharper pins are not recommended for yarn projects because the sharp points can hook the yarn and unravel it. Unraveling fibers are bad news for knitting projects, so make sure you use the right type of pins.

Applying pins

In addition to the sharpness of the pins, you need to figure out what length is required for your projects. The average length is ¾” (these are called the gauge 12 ones). If you need to apply sequins and other small items to the fabric, you can use .5” to ¾” pins so you can sew as closely as possible to the different points that need to be sewn to the fabric. Avoid using longer pins when sewing on sequins as the overlaps might prevent you from affixing the sequins.

If you believe that you need more length, you may want the 1.16” to 1.5” pins as these are considered the general-purpose pins that can be used for almost any project. Garment sewing would be that much easier when you have these general-purpose pins at your disposal. Of course, the shorter ones will be more effective for attaching sequins and other smaller items like appliques. These are also excellent for binding together multiple layers of fabrics and textiles, and for fixing batting. These are considered fabric-friendly mainly because the fabric surfaces will not be slipping out of place.

What about thickness?

Thickness plays a huge role in ensuring that you will get good results when applying pins to your fabric. You can actually damage fabrics with large pinholes, so as a rule of thumb, you should select the thinnest pins that would work with the fabrics that you have at the moment. The only problem here is that the thickness of some pins are not consistent because the manufacturers do not list them as often or as consistently, so you would probably have to eyeball the pins to make sure that you are getting the right ones for your project.

The thinnest traditional pin for sewing measures 0.4 mm and is recommended for sheer fabrics, especially that ones that really take damage when the pins are a bit thick. Next on the scale is 0.5 mm and these are often called “superfine” pins.

0.5 mm pins are manufactured mainly for fabrics like satin and silk, and they provide just the right amount of space for the rest of the pin to come in, without damaging the surface that much. We highly recommend this pin thickness if you can’t find the 0.4 mm ones, as they are best suited for more lightweight textiles. “Extra fine” pins may also be 0.5 mm, if you are not sure then compare with the next one in the gauge or scale and see which is thicker.

The 0.6 mm pins are the ones that are often marked as “fine” by the manufacturers. Fine pins are considered the “general purpose” pins of the pin family, and they can be used for a variety of purposes, but they are mostly perfect for textiles that have medium density or weight. This thickness is also the most common and you will see it more often than other thicknesses of pins.

And finally, we have thickest gauges for pins: the 0.7 mm ones and the 0.8 mm ones. These should only be used for fabrics that are extremely thick like wools and spun denim, and also for multilayered constructions made of the quilt. On the downside, these pins tend to leave larger holes when used so do not use them for sheer fabrics and delicate fabrics. You are better off using thin needles than these bad boys as they can really cause fabric damage.

Not interested in sewing but are interested in collecting bugs? You are better off with something even thinner than what is traditionally used for sheer fabrics. We are talking about insect pins, which are meant to be used on preserving insects.

These pins measure only 0.3 mm and are designed to shield off rusting for as long as possible because they’re meant to be used on insect displays. Professionals use them all the time because they are also double-coated with black enamel, which prevents moisture and insect fluids from ruining the metal. Find these if you want your insect displays to last longer.

And finally, make sure that you buy pins that do not cause allergies on your skin. Some people are allergic to specific kinds of metals and prolonged contact can cause rashes, itching, and other unsavory symptoms. Pins are plated with different metals like nickel, chrome, brass, etc. Those that are plated with stainless steel and brass will resist magnets, so this is an easy way to test.