Sewing pins are an absolute requirement for sewing, but they’re also one of the essential items that we tend to neglect.
How often do you consider the maintenance of your pins? Do you keep track of your pins and ensure that their points are sharp?
There are so many different ways to store pins, some safer than others. We all know the little boxes that pins are stored in when sold for retail are terrible – they make a tangled mess of the pins and break easily, leaving your floor riddled with sharp booby traps – so there has to be some good alternatives out there.
Thankfully, there are quite a few alternatives! Here are some storage methods that I’ve used in the past.
The Tomato Pincushion:
This is a timeless classic. You know the one – with the little strawberry attached via a vine to the top. It’s small, red, and adorable. While not big enough to store all of your pins, it will provide a reliable source of storage for a large portion of them (at least, until the cat gets a hold of it, the silly monsters).
There’s something special about this pincushion, though. More specifically, about the little strawberry attached to it. The strawberry is filled with emery sand; a fine grain metallic sand that’s more commonly known for its role sandpaper and nail files. Running a straight pin or sewing needle through this strawberry a few times will shave down the points, helping to maintain their sharpness. This will keep them ready to pin even the most delicate of silks.
Just about everyone who sews has owned one of these tomatoes at a point in their lives. I’ve had several, since my cats keep managing to dig them up from where I’ve hid them and tear all the saw dust out!
Another classic method that I use to hold my pins. I’ve been told it’s not good for the points of the straight pins, so you may only want to use this technique if you frequently replenish your pin collection (or if you manage to lose or break them constantly and are forced to buy new pins more often).
The great thing about using magnets is that the pins are usually forced down flat against the magnet. This means that your fingers will be poked less often than if they were in a regular plastic bin.
Magnets are easy to obtain and can be stored in handy-dandy places.
Project idea: make a wrist strap with a small magnet, for use while doing fittings, or laying your pattern (this will be less obtrusive than a traditional pin cushion).
Bobbin storage case:
Sometimes the best storage methods are completely unconventional. The bobbin storage case just happens to be the right width for straight pins as a pin organizer. The kind that works best has thin plastic separators between where the bobbins would be in rows inside the case. The rows are just big enough for the pins. The separators keep all the pins lined up in the same direction to keep fingers from being poked to death during the retrieval process.
Create your own Emery Sand Pincushion:
Want to keep all of your pins sharp while also having them conveniently stored? Back on the topic of a more traditional pincushion and the emery sand mentioned before, customize your own pincushion to maintain and fit all the pins you need.
Emery sand can be purchased online, for around $5-$10/pound, and can be found in smaller quantities as well. Pair some of this with your favorite fabric, some cotton, and maybe a little bit of decoration, and you’ll have an amazing pincushion that is not only unique, but also extremely functional.
If you don’t have access to emery sand, you can also use some steel wool. However, if you decide to use steel wool, don’t store your needles in them for long periods of time. It can cause the needles to rust. Instead, use the steel wool pincushion to sharpen your pins right before a project.
How do you store your pins and keep them sharp? Let us know in the comments below!