Tool School, Straight Pins with Instructor Steve Butler


What is it? – In some of the oldest archeological digs around the world you can find ancient straight pins. They’ve been around that long and probably always will be. There are so many uses for them and in many cases there really is no substitute. We use them to hold patterns in place on our fabric, bind fabric pieces, tailor fabric to our bodies, hold seams together, anchor trims, beads or other embellishments in place and even block knitted products. Because of this wide variety of uses for straight pins we’ve developed a wide variety of pin designs to satisfy any specific requirements. Sewing, knitting and crafts all present unique demands. For each of these applications there is a “best” straight pin design that should be used. Taking the time to identify that pin is well worth the effort and will improve your sewing experience.

What does it do? – The design features of each style straight pin make one more suitable for any particular application than any other style pin. Clover provides straight pin essentials as follows:

Flower Head Pins – The defining feature is a large flat head. That makes it both easy to see and manipulate. It is especially well suited for pinning lace, eyelets or loose woven embellishments to fabric because the head will not slip through enlarged openings. You can also lay rulers flat on them when marking or cutting. The heads are not iron proof so keep them away from the heat. These pins come in three different diameters to provide strength without stressing your fabric.

  • Extra fine – Very fine shaft and acute point for delicate fabrics
  • Fine – Thin shaft and acute point for fine fabrics like silk or satin
  • Regular – Same acute point but a little stronger and longer shaft for multiple layers of heavier fabrics. Great for quilting.

Appliqué Pins – These little gems are perfect for applying appliqués, trims, beads, or sequins to your project. The sharp, tapered point prevents damage to your fabric. The small 3/4″ size allows detailed work when many pins are required and space is limited.

Quilting Pins – Quilting pins have a fine point and a smooth shaft to make them fabric friendly. They are longer than many straight pins so they can penetrate several layers of fabric and stay in place. Clover quilting needles are available in two shaft sizes, fine for more delicate fabrics and regular for heavier fabrics. They have glass heads so they can be ironed.

Patchwork Pins – Patchwork pins have very fine points for use on the most delicate fabrics like silks and satins. Two sizes are available, fine and extra fine. They have glass heads so they can be ironed.

Silk Pins – Silk pins have very fine points and a shorter length for use on fine fabrics. Glass heads so iron safe.

Fork Pins – Fork pins have two shafts connected by a turned up end. This allows you to pin fabrics without lifting them. Perfect for securing hard to handle or slippery lining materials. They are great for positioning stripe or plaid fabric pattern alignment prior to sewing in place. They’ve also found a new home in creative contemporary quilting where matching unique shapes is required. Blocking knitted garments? No problem.

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