How to Pin Fabric – Pinning Fabric Correctly

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Are you wondering how to pin fabric before you sew your first seam? Pinning is a form of basting and is used to hold 2 or more fabrics together before you start sewing. There are 2 main methods you can use to pin fabric – horizontal to the seam or vertically (sometimes referred to as perpendicular).

how to pin fabric, pinning sewingPinHow to Pin Fabric


How to Pin FabricHow to Pin Fabric Horizontal How to Pin Fabric VerticalMore Ways of Pinning FabricHow to Pin Stretchy FabricHow to Pin a Pattern to FabricHow to Pin Fabric for Quilting How to Get Pin Holes out of FabricHow to Pin Fabric | TIPSMore Beginner Sewing Articles

How to Pin Fabric

My mother always taught me to pin horizontally so most of the time I use this method out of habit. There are circumstances however where vertical pinning will be more effective at holding the fabric.

Vertical pinning is great for curved pattern pieces and ruffles. Experiment and choose the method that suits you best. There is no right or wrong.

How to Pin Fabric Horizontal

When you pin fabric horizontally, you pin in line with the edge of the fabric.

Make sure the pins are pointing in the same direction as you are sewing so you can remove them easily without pricking your fingers. The heads should be pointing towards you.

Start stitching slowly and remove the pins as you sew. This method is best used for straight seams.

How to Pin Fabric with Horizontal PinsHow to Pin Fabric with Horizontal PinsPinHow to Pin Fabric with Horizontal Pins

How to Pin Fabric Vertical

Vertical fabric pinning is especially useful for sewing curves or ruffles as it securely holds the fabric in place. The pins are placed at a 90-degree angle to the edge of the fabric. Since the pins are pinned through your main fabric, it is advisable to first make sure they don’t mark the fabric.

You won`t be able to use this method for fabrics such as fine silk and vinyl where the pins will leave holes.

 How to Pin Fabric with Vertical Pins  How to Pin Fabric with Vertical Pins PinHow to Pin Fabric with Vertical Pins

Place your pins across the seam allowance with the heads sticking out. (If you are left-handed then you may find it easier to have them pointing in.) In theory, you can stitch over the pins but I have had many a broken needle caused by pins that weren’t removed – so don’t do it!

Further Reading:Can you sew over pins?

More Ways of Pinning Fabric

How to Pin Stretchy Fabric

It is recommended that you use a horizontal method for pinning stretchy fabrics. This is because many pins will snag the delicate stretch fabric and leave holes that will get larger after you have washed your items a couple of times.

How to Pin a Pattern to Fabric

Pinning a pattern to fabric involves pinning through the tissue paper and down into the fabric. The best way to do this is to smooth your paper pattern flat and then start pinning at the edges. Once the edges are sufficiently secured, place further pins in the center of the pattern piece. I always place a pin at the edges where there are notches so I can cut them accurately.

How to Pin Fabric for Quilting

Quilting can involve pinning through numerous layers including thick batting. The easiest way to hold quilting together is actually with safety pins rather than regular straight pins. You can purchase specialty quilting pins or use regular safety pins. Ensure you use large ones, however.

How to Get Pin Holes out of Fabric

If you use the wrong size pins or simply have delicate fabric, you may end up with holes where the pins were inserted. Here are some ways to remove these holes.

Run your nail or a small spoon end over the hole to move the threads to cover it. Spray with water, then gently massage the area.

How to Pin Fabric | TIPS

Keep a spare pin-cushion next to your machine to put the pins in once you remove them.If a pin has trouble piercing your fabric, throw it away immediately. Don`t put it back in the pincushion to have the same problem later. Use the correct type of pin for your project. Read my article on types of pins for sewing. Specialty pins for jersey knits and silk will stop unwanted holes or snags in your fabric.

You will need somewhere to store your pins. On this blog, I have several pin cushion patterns which are great beginner projects.

Round PincushionSquare Pincushion


If you have any extra tips on the best way how to pin fabric for sewing please share them below.

More Beginner Sewing Articles

Beginners Sewing Kit on a Budget – Find out the basic supplies to purchase for your first sewing kit.Cutting Tools – Find out the best tools to cut fabric and threads.Marking Tools – When sewing, you often need to mark the fabric. These are the best and cheapest tools to purchase.Sewing Machine Needles – Size and Type Guide.Sewing Machine Feet – Top 10 to buy.Hand Sewing Needles – Sizes and Type Guide.Sewing Thread Types – Choose the best thread type for your project.Dressmaker Dummy – Types to buy if you want to set up a business or will be sewing regularly.Pressing Tools – When sewing, items need to be pressed along the way with an iron.

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