How To: Use Pins

It’s often taken for granted that everyone knows how to use pins while sewing. When I first started sewing I was putting pins in every which way. It turns out that there actually is a best way to put pins in fabric while you’re sewing! And most people will tell you not to use pins while using a serger but I disagree! Pinning is very important. Especially when you’re using stretchy fabrics.

It’s really very simple. Not a lot of explanation is required.

How to use pins while sewing

Make sure to pin often! I usually err on the side of over pinning when working with difficult fabrics.

Sewing Machine:

Pin with the head off to the right side. Reason? It’s easy to take them out while sewing. Slow down to take pins out before you run them over. Your sewing machine needle will not like hitting a pin.

Serger/Overlock Machine:

Pin about 1″-1.5″ inside the fabric. Pin heads should be facing down. This will prevent you from being stabbed as well as making it easier for you to remove them while serging. Of course, you don’t need to remove them because they are safely out of the way of the blade!

Are you an over pinner or an under pinner?

Andrea Pannell
Andrea is the owner and designer of Go To Patterns, Go To Sew, and The Train To Crazy. You can find her playing with her four kids, designing clothing and sewing in her spare time. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.
Andrea Pannell
Andrea Pannell
Andrea Pannell

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  1. I am an over dinner- I am always nervous that the fabric will shift. I’m still a beginner, and I had no idea that you should remove the pins as you go….no wonder I’ve gone thru so many needles!

  2. Whoops, meant to type over pinner ….

  3. Generally, I’m not a pinner at all. So many things, I have a really light touch on that I find I don’t really nee to pin. Now, a gathered *anything?* That is getting the business pinned out of it. Gathers and ruffles are some of my favorite things, but gracious do I have a heard time with them!

  4. I overpin, NOW, I went through a stretch in my sewing career where I was an underpinner- the ripping didn’t make that pay off! Good tip on serger pinning. I pin my sergering but not like that I’ll have to give it a swing.

  5. Like Laura, I don’t pin all of the time. It depends on the fabric and bulk.

  6. Sometimes we all need some basic reminders like this! And I really need to start pinning the right way for my serger! :) I’ll be featuring this on my blog tomorrow!


  7. I’m left handed and learned to sew from my left handed grandma, so i put the pins in the other way when using a sewing machine. My grandma said she does it that way to prevent the pins from picking up extra fabric by accident.

  8. I,too, am a leftie and always put my pins in ‘backwards’. If I can remember to not push them past the edge of the fabric, I can get by without creating a wall of tiny spikes to scratch myself on as I tend to spead sew and caution usually is not part of the deal. Oh, well. A little spit applied to any blood spots breaks down the spot. Yes, I am definitely “Old School”. Happy sewing! ; )

  9. thanks

  10. Kathy Green says:

    If you have pets or small children, it is a good idea to always count your pins before a project so that you can be sure you do not leave any on the floor. Count before and then after your project.

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