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Pins vs Clips: The Challenge

Summary

Ouch! Pinning can be a dangerous part of quilting. We explore the types and uses of pins and clips in this fun article.

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Pins vs Clips: The Challenge

Each sewer has a first memory of pinning. Mine is sitting on the living room floor with my mother and using common pins to pin a pattern onto the fabric. Learning to keep the pin parallel to the pattern and fabric and not sticking it into the carpet was a trick. Starting with dress making, I never learned to pin as in quilting – right angle to the fabric.

Pins vs Clips: The Challenge

 

My Quilting Hubby doesn't like pinning. At first, he would get me to do it for him. Now, he mostly just skips that step if he can. Because of large hands, he, of course, prefers the longer pins. What amazes me is that he can pin in any direction and doesn't have to turn his fabric around as I do.

 

Looking back 5,000 years, pins made by the Sumerians were either iron or bone. Earlier pins may have come from nature such as thorns. Pins were considered luxury items until the industrial revolution. The use of the common pin in the US was boosted by John Howe in 1841. His automated pin machine formed the head by compressing the wire on one end.

 

Pins are differentiated by type of head, length, thickness, and material. Here's a photo and some facts: The one on the far left is an applique pin. It is designed to hold the wool or other fabric on top of the background for stitching. Second from the left is an old fashioned common pin. Can you believe I found one among my mother's old notions? The center one has a large head – easier for those of us with arthritis to grip. This pin works well on heavier fabrics, and yes, I have sewed one in place with my sewing machine – right through the pinhead. It required un-stitching. Second from the right is a glass head pin – preferred because the glass head won't melt under the iron. On the right is a quilting pin with a plastic head. I like these because I can write a number or letter on the head when I'm doing a Whack ‘n Stack or similar pattern. I did not have a T-pin because I don't do upholstery.

pins

 

For safety, be sure to test a pin on a sample of your fabric to make sure that it won't leave a hole. There are special pins for fabrics like silk.

 

Now to our challenge: Pins work best for attaching patterns to fabric. You can't really use a clip in the middle of a pattern.

pattern

 

We found we loved the clips for bindings! The other discovery was that round fabric such as the top of a bucket hat works great with the clips.

binding

 

It is much less effort to reposition the clips than to unpin and re-pin as you ease the fabric. So, the winner of our challenge is both, but if you haven't tried the clips yet, I would suggest that you do.

round

 

Last and most important: Do NOT put pins in your mouth. My mother did it and I do it. At every sew day, someone needs to remind me not to put pins in my mouth. The best explanation that I have heard is that when you sneeze, you inhale first – that's the "Ah" part of the "Ah-Choo"! I can't prove this is true, but stories online suggest avoiding any possibility of lung damage, surgery, and pain. At least, I won't be putting any clips in my mouth!

 

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Glossary

Applique
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué


See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
Stack
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.

Same As: Stack-n-Whack, Whack
Whack
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.

Same As: Stack-n-Whack, Stack
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