I know it seems a little odd to be afraid of needles and choose to sew for a hobby. I do admit it is impossible to sew without them – machine needles and hand sewing needles are an unfortunate necessity if you want to join two pieces of fabric together. However! My fear of needles also extends to a fear of pins and I have managed to find ways to use pins as little as possible and make them more bearable when I don’t have a choice, so I thought I’d share a few tools/techniques to help anyone else who also would prefer to avoid sharp pointy objects as much as possible!
For some fabrics such as stable cottons I find it is possible to sew without pins at all! A few years ago I read in my Patti Pocket Skirt instructions that it is possible/advisable not to sew with pins at all! This was like a light bulb switching on! I’ve found the quote for you to read also, pattern designer Amy Nicole says:
D I T C H T H E P I N S !
You heard that right. You will rarely find me advising you to pin
seams in my instructions. I sew without pins about 80% of the
time. The idea that pinning each seam is necessary when
sewing is quite misleading for new sewists. Not only is it
unnecessary, but it is time consuming, distorts your seams,
and has the potential to break your needle. I recommend only
using pins to match critical points (i.e. notches, stripes,
matching seams) of which I will be sure to mention in the
instructions. It’s scary at first but TRUST ME – your sewing
practice will greatly benefit from ditching the pin habit.Amy Nicole
So, it seems like it isn’t the end of the world if we choose not to use pins! A lot of fabrics are fine with this and I avoid them whenever I can. However, I find this works best on more stable fabrics such as cotton or linen, shiftier ones or several layers often do need something to hold them together. Here’s what I tend to use if I HAVE to!
If I feel two pieces of fabric really do have to be held together, I try to use wonder clips as much as possible! I use them for almost everything, they hold the fabric, aren’t sharp and there’s no way to accidentally sew over one! I just have a collection of cheap ones I’ve bought on eBay (search wonder clips and you can choose what size/colour you prefer). Of course, they aren’t all-purpose – they can only hold onto an ‘edge’ of fabric and cannot hold things like patch pockets onto the front of a piece of fabric. They are also quite bulky and heavy – they work perfectly fine in place of pins for medium/heavy weight fabrics but for lightweight fabrics such as silk/rayons they can be too heavy and distort the fabric you are trying to sew.
For thin, slinky, silky fabrics that are likely to shift and are too lightweight for wonder clips, I prefer to use pins that I can keep a track of. My favourites at the moment are these Clover Marbled Glass head pins. They come in a pack of 20 in this little envelope to store them in. This way, I can check that I have them all as I go along and can make sure that I have put them all away at the end of sewing. I get so freaked out when people say they stood on pins, it makes me go cold! If I have all 20 packed away in their little packet at the end of my sewing, then I know that I’m not going to have any nasty surprises!
Attaching a patch pocket is one of the main reasons I find myself needing to use pins as it’s one of the tricky circumstances that wonder clips don’t do! For this I have been using pins, but was recently sent some wonder pins to try and I wonder if they might be the solution to this problem! They are like big safety pins that can be opened and closed one-handed so might be useful for those with dexterity issues? If you want to see how they work, you can check out this little video on YouTube demonstrating what they are. Of course I know not everyone has unlimited resources to buy all the sewing tools or the space to store them but I thought some people might like to know this product exists!
Finally, I want to talk about disposing of sharps safely as this is something else that gives me the creeps! I don’t want to have bent/broken needles or pins lying around in my sewing stuff or sitting in waste bins. I have repurposed an old glass herb jar (this one used to contain dried mint!) to be used as my sharps disposal bin. I have covered it in nice stickers (from Hello Hinny ) and keep it on the windowsill near my sewing machine. I just flip the top up and drop a sharp item in when I need to. I use this when I change sewing machine needles, and dispose of bent pins and broken needles. I keep it out of reach of my child and will tape up and throw the bottle into the rubbish when it is full.
I hope some of this was useful to someone! If not, it’s given you a glimpse into the life of someone who cannot stand sharp pointy things. It started as a fear of injections (though I will be RUNNING to get my vaccine when it is my turn, and will make sure I buy myself a biscuit for being a brave girl) but is now just a fear of all needles/pins and similar!
Disclaimer: ⭐️Clover Wonder Pins were sent to me free of charge as a PR Sample. All opinions are totally my own, and I was under no obligation to write a post.