Pinning Tip

I have been exploring curved piecing and really running with a lot of different ideas in the past month. I wanted to share with you a quick pinning tip that has transformed pinning for me – and not just pinning for curves.

Pinning Tip - Pin Heads to the Left

Pinning Tip – Pin Heads to the Left

I personally use a seam guide on my machine, as you can see in the photo above. It bolts to my machine and is adjustable to allow me to change from scant 1/4″ seams to full 1/4″ seams or a 3/8″ or 1/2″ seam – whatever I need. It’s a valuable tool for my piecing accuracy.

However, for years, I’ve been a bit frustrated with pinning due to the seam guide, but a simple change that I have adapted to over the past month has revolutionized how I feel about pinning. Instead of having the head of the pin sticking to the right, make sure the head of the pin is to the left.

Pinning Tip - Pin Heads to the Left

Pinning Tip – Pin Heads to the Left

With the head of the pins to the left, I can now sew all the way up to the pin and easily nudge the pin out of the way of my needle with my left hand as I am piecing to keep from hitting the pin with the needle. Another fun tip for curved piecing, I sew slowly and have a stiletto in my right hand to keep the fabrics aligned as I go.

Do you pin? If so, do you already pin in this way?

Linking up with Kathleen McMusing‘s Tips and Tutorials On The 22nd #7.

21 thoughts on “Pinning Tip

  1. Dorothy says:

    I thought everyone pinned this way. 🙂 How else do you get the pins out of the way of the needle at the last second? 🙂

  2. Dorothy says:

    Also, with curved piecing, I was taught to pin at the start, at the end, and 1 in the middle=3 pins total—and yes, sew slow

  3. allisonwp says:

    I was so excited to see your adjustable seam guide! I am really happy with my Juki machine but have been struggling to create consistent seams. I had no idea a seam guide attachment was available – I’ve ordered one from the dealer, can’t wait for it to arrive 🙂

  4. Gina says:

    I have been sewing for 40 plus years and have never pinned this way…..THANK YOU. In early Home Economics class we pinned from the right, pulling out the pins before the needle, it was difficult at times, but you did it. I use glue basting for much of my piecing now, but the pins from the left will be a great aid!

  5. Lea says:

    Hi Yvonne, I pin this way too. I used to pin the other direction until I got a Singer Featherweight. I didn’t want to scratch her so I started pinning the way you do.

  6. JanineMarie says:

    Yes, I too, use a seam guide (one of those little plexiglass ones) and started pinning that way when I got it. I read it on someone else’s blog, so I’m sure other quilters will appreciate your mentioning it here. Lately, more often than not, I also pin parallel to the sewing line with the head of the pin toward me, especially when I’m sewing long seams with few seams to match or cross.

  7. Susan MacLeod says:

    I usually use 3 pins, beginning, middle and end. I’ve been trying to learn to pin on the left, but it’s so awkward after 50+ years of pinning on the right. I will keep practicing.

    1. Suzanne says:

      Hey Susan, after 60+ years of sewing I think pinning this way will be awkward for me too. So rather than “unlearning” how I pin, I think I’m going to try swinging my pieces to the right so I still can pin from right to left and have the pin points at the edge. Did that make sense?

      1. I have been pointing the seams away from me and pinning “up” to make this change work, but anything that works for you is the way to do it!

  8. patty says:

    Great tip. And timely. I was making some improv curve blocks yesterday, pinning ‘in the wrong direction ‘, and they were flying all over the place!

  9. Suzanne says:

    Brilliant idea; why didn’t I think of it!? Because I’m not as clever as other quilters, that’s why! (head smack – duh!) I’m going to try this. I also just bought a special little presser foot contraption that is supposed to make sewing curves easier. I haven’t tried it yet so I’ll cut some curved pieces and see which works better.

  10. Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts says:

    I always pin with the head to the right, never thought about switching it. On the first sewing machine I owned, I had a seam guide that screwed in like yours. My newer machines don’t have one, but I remember how helpful it was to have. This is a very useful tip, especially for sewing those curves!

  11. Connie Enevold says:

    Yep, have a presser foot with built in guide on the right so have to pin on the left. Now, if I could only find a place to keep the pincushion on the left without it getting in the way of what I’m sewing

  12. Chris K. says:

    I’m left-handed, so I’ve always pinned this way. Wow, something where left-handers have an advantage!

    1. Sheila Allen says:

      I,too, am left-handed so I’ve always pinned from the left. My mother was right-handed and a wonderful seamstress. When I started learning to sew, she’s saw that it was much easier to pin the way I did, so she took up the habit.

  13. That is a genius way of doing it. It took me a long time to get in the other habit but when using that seam guide – it makes perfect sense! Thanks for linking up today too!

  14. TheGranChris says:

    That is a great Serger pin technique. I did learn a long time ago to put 2 pins like a cross at the end. That allows me to hold the final pin and not use a stiletto. Take “2 bites” with that pin and you can slowly remove it. Works like a charm for me.

  15. I’ve pinned this way for a long time, it is much more efficient!

  16. Rose P says:

    I pin with the heads to the left when stitching with my Featherweight because I have a seam guide on it, but on my other machines I pin with the heads to the right and I use magnetic pin catchers.

  17. Zenia Rene says:

    Well Duh! So funny how it really makes perfect sense but I didn’t think of it. Thank you!

  18. Linda Brewe says:

    Love the pinning method. I first learned it in a class at Back Porch fabrics in Pacific Grove.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)