Favorite stitching idea of 2018: Pin Diagonally!

Favorite stitching idea of 2018: Pin Diagonally!

I indicated to come up with a favorite idea for every year, but I couldn’t think of one last January. This year, however, I came up with a really good tip. In fact, this may be the best stitching idea ever. and it’s so basic it’s mind blowing.

Here it is:

Pin diagonally. Not perpendicular to the seam. Not parallel to the seam. Diagonally.

Apparently, there is some great dispute about whether pinning perpendicular or parallel to the seam is better. I’ve always been a perpendicular pinner, because that’s what my mother did. I never even thought about it. then I enjoyed Kenneth King’s Craftsy (now Bluprint) classes, where he advocates pinning parallel to the seam, so I made a decision I’d do a test to see which I liked better.

I’ve always pinned parallel to my seams when matching dart legs, but I hadn’t tried it on a whole seam. After trying pinning parallel along the seam a couple of times, I made a decision it was not for me. Yes, pinning this way keeps your fabric edges aligned better, but it’s harder to match seams or stripes, it’s harder to remove the pins, you can’t sew as close to the pins, and worst of all, I stabbed myself with pins whenever I tried it.

Then one day, I think when I was pinning down a bias binding, which is kind of bulky, I had a pinning epiphany. When you pin at a 45 degree angle to the seam, you get the benefits of both parallel and perpendicular pinning, without the drawbacks of either, plus a couple of additional benefits.

Here are the benefits of pinning diagonally:

The pins slide in a lot more easily.

The fabric is distorted less.

It’s much easier to pin through bulky areas.

You can sew close to the pins before eliminating them.

The pins are easy to remove.

The fabric can’t shift either side to side or along the seam.

You can easily match stripes or seam lines.

Here’s how I match a seam or stripe.

First, measure in the width of your seam allowance and stick a pin vertically through both layers of fabric, matching the seam or stripe ideal on the stitching line.

Now put a diagonal pin ideal on either side of the vertical pin, making sure the first vertical pin stays straight.

After those pins are in, remove the vertical pin and put it in diagonally ideal over the match point. finish pinning your seam.

When you sew the seam, sew ideal up to the pins near the match point before eliminating them.

Every time I do this I’m surprised at how well my seams match. I always had problems matching seams before I tried it this way.

While I’m on the subject of pins, I thought I’d share my recently discovered favorite pins with you. I’d been stitching with the same old pins for over twenty years, and then when I kept trying to replace them, I ended up with a whole drawer full of boring pins. I am so frustrated with the poor quality of nearly everything these days.

Links in this post identified by an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). UK* and CA* are links to the UK and Canada Amazon sites.

Finally I purchased Clover Marbled Glass Head Pins* (UK*, CA*). These are absolutely best for garment sewing. They are 36 mm long, 0.5 mm in diameter, sharp, and you can iron over the glass heads without melting them. They slip ideal into fabric, but aren’t so thin that I’m regularly bending them. [Edit: After using these pins for a while, I realized that these pins, while sharper than a lot of pins, are not quite as sharp as the patchwork Pins. This indicates they won’t slide into firmly woven fabric as easily, but they won’t slide into your fingers as easily, either!]

They are however, a little pricey, and you only get twenty pins in a package, which I found wasn’t enough. I liked them so much I hated having to use my old pins when I ran out of the new Clover pins.

I nearly purchased a second package of them, but then I realized that Clover patchwork Pins* (UK*, CA*) are the same diameter and length and also have glass heads, so I purchased a package of those instead. The patchwork Pins come in a package of 100 instead of 20. Don’t be put off by the word “patchwork” — they are best for garment sewing, too. The only difference I could see between these and the marbled pins was the color of the pin heads. So unless you really want pretty marbled pin heads, just get the patchwork Pins or Clover Silk Pins* (UK*, CA*) which are also the same length and diameter.

After checking the thickness of all of the pins that I have and testing how easily they slide into fabric, I made a decision that 0.5 mm pins are the thickest I ever want to use for garment sewing. For thick fabric that would bend the pins, I switch to using wonder Clips* (UK*, CA*).

For thin fabric, I use Dritz Ultra fine Glass Head Pins* (UK*, CA*), which of all of the Dritz pins I’ve tried are the only good ones. These pins are 0.4 mm thick and very sharp. They bend easily, soI only use them when I really need thin pins. Clover also makes 0.4 mm pins, if you’d like to stick with the Clover brand:  Clover patchwork Pins-Fine* (UK*, CA*) (don’t confuse these with Clover “Quilting Pins” which are longer and thicker).

Pinning diagonally is so basic and effective, I’m wondering why everyone doesn’t pin this way. have you tried it?

* links in this post identified by an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you).


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