My Little Pin Village

When it comes to sewing pins, I prefer the It Takes a Village approach.

No, I don’t have a weird pin-fixation.  All of these pins have a purpose in sewing.  Use the wrong pin and you could ruin your project.

The thing with pins is they sort of all look alike and if you just throw them in a pin box you are likely to use the incorrect one when you get ready to sew.

So, to better keep up with my pins, I’ve devised an inexpensive system.

All About Sewing Pins

When you purchase sewing pins, they usually come in a plastic box and look like this.

A disaster if your pin box gets knocked off your sewing table and falls onto the floor.  I make no confessions, here!

Ball Point Pins 1

There are 75 ball point pins in this box, each 1.5” long.  These pins have a specific purpose.  They are designed for sewing on knits.
If I were to use a Universal pin, it would leave a small hole in my knit fabric.
If I use a ball point pin, it doesn’t leave a hole.  You always want to use ball points when sewing with knits.
But, these pins look just like my other pins, so I need a way to keep them separate.

To keep my ball points separate, but available for knit sewing, I purchased a purple tomato pin cushion for $1.00 at Joann’s (w/coupon).
I labeled it with a fine point Sharpy.  That’s how easy it is.

Ball Point Cushion

I use this cute little bird pin cushion to hold my round-head universal pins.  These pins are 1.75” long and need something deep to stab them into.

Universal - Plastic Head 
I use my Universal pins for most wovens. I keep these pins separate because of the yellow head.  It is plastic and would melt if I ironed over it.
I have another set of Universal pins, but they have a flat, no-melt head.  They also are 1.75” long and need something deep, as well.
I keep these pins in a large tomato pin cushion which costs about $2 at Joann’s (with a coupon).
Flat Head

Anytime you sew on sheer fabrics or silks you need to use extra sharp pins.
I keep these guys on a magnetic pin cushion.  Since I don’t use them that often, they can stay put in a drawer or on the back of my sewing table.

OK, I wasn’t completely honest, here.  These pins are S-H-A-R-P and I always draw blood when I over-handle them.  The magnetic pin cushion is the best choice for a blood-free project.

Magnetic Pin Cushion

It would be easier if all of my pins were on magnetic pin cushions, but I’m always a little concerned about having magnets close by my computerized sewing machines.

Since these aren’t used every day, they are fine on the magnetic pin holder.

Let’s not forget sewing machine needles.  If you use a heavy duty needle for something like hemming jeans, you don’t want to just toss it after one use.
Here’s my way of keeping up with barely used machine needles.  An inexpensive pin cushion and a fine point Sharpy are all you need.

Machine Needles

I really like the tomato pin cushions for keeping all of my pins organized.

For one, the little strawberry has a purpose.  It is filled with emery sand and will sharpen your pins.

The best reason for using them is that they come in a variety of sizes and colors, making it easy to keep your pins separated.
This makes pin-a-holics, like myself, very happy.



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  1. says

    Leslie, I had to laugh at your post because I, too, separate my pins. My extra long piecing pins have either gold or green glass heads — and I keep them on the magnetic pin holder with all the gold ones pointing one way, the green ones the other.

  2. says

    I had no idea that there were so many different pins and different uses for each one! Thank you so much for sharing this, I am going to go organize my pins now!!! :)

  3. says

    Very clever! I always enjoy reading about how other crafters/sewers manage the organizational tasks. I believe in having the right tool for a job and having a place for everything and everything in it’s place. (I said I believe in it, but like many things I believe in, putting it in practice is another matter!)

  4. Pat says

    Leslie, I’m so glad that you keep these older posts archived. I just made a trip to Jo-ann’s yesterday to get the ball point pins and a double ball point needle. Since my old machine was about 40 years old, I wanted to get back into sewing so I purchased a new one a little while back and then realized that many of my sewing accessories were not marked or hopelessly useless. I am already an avid labeler and love the pin cushion for the machine needles–plan to use that one right away. I have really enjoyed your articles and always look forward to the new ones.

  5. says

    I love this article! I have been sewing for years, and make draperies and other soft furnishings for clients. I like to use long glass head pins for my projects. I’m hoping to get back into sewing clothes, so the info about the ball-point pins was very helpful!

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