pin cushionUs sewers all use pins almost every single time we sew so even though we don’t talk much about them, they are VERY IMPORTANT. I thought it might be good to have a post focusing just on pins.

magnetic pin cushion

The lovely Japanese pin cushion at the top of the post was a gift from a co-worker a while back and I love it. It has a wooden base and then what looks like maybe silk fabric over the puffy part. It is just heavy enough not to go sliding all over my sewing table but not too heavy to be a hassle to move around. I also have several magnetic pin cushions (above) at work and at home. They are great……until they drop off the table. I think every one I own has a chip or major ding! They still work but are not so pretty anymore. I also have a shallow magnetic bowl which holds a LOT of pins. I’m thinking this was originally an office stationery supply thing for paper clips or something similar so that might explain why I poke myself every time I reach for a pin as many of the pins get magnetized head end down & point up. Ouch!

pins 3

After my recent 3 day sewing marathon (yes…..some people report they run marathons and are sleek & super fit. I sew instead), I really got irritated by my motley and sometimes painful collection of pins & pincushions. So I set about tidying up in true type A style:

pill bottle for broken pins

For a long time, I have had an old pill bottle which gets filled up with used, bent & broken pins & needles. When it is full I give it to my daughter who is a nurse and she disposes of the contents in a sharps bin. I understand that some drug stores will do this for you, maybe your Doctor’s clinic will also be helpful? Or failing that, I see sharps bins on the walls of some public washrooms so you could put them in there too I suppose? Hopefully no-one will get the wrong idea about why we have so many “needles” to dispose of?!  But so long as we dispose of them responsibly and they don’t end up in the landfills where they might injure a person or animal, it is all good.

I'm am definitely going to buy more of these....they are long, sharp and have a clear glass head. I like them for every day sewing & quilting.

I’m am definitely going to buy more of these….they are long, sharp and have a clear glass head. I like them for every day sewing & quilting.

I have many different types of pins, some good and some not so good. I am currently weeding out the ones I don’t like and they are going into that little pill bottle together with BENT PINS…….BTW: WHY do we persist in keeping bent pins as we just end up putting them aside every time we pick them up???   TOSS…no use in keeping bent, rusty or blunt pins…..they are just annoying as they break the creative flow of sewing.

The flower head pin (which is on very thin ice in my sewing room as it has already got a little bent!)

The flower head pin (which is on very thin ice in my sewing room as it has already got a little bend!)

I also noticed recently that my different types of pins had got awfully mixed up so when you think you are reaching for a fine silk pin, you get a cheap plastic head pin instead…….again: that minor annoyance.  A flower head pin is wonderful for whenever you do not want the head to be in the way (such as cutting pinned sections of fabric with a rotary cutting ruler like stack & whack) but they do bend quite easily as they are so long so I prefer not to use them for everyday sewing especially with thicker or stiffer fabrics. I keep these in a cute little vintage tin for occasional use. TIP: get yourself one of those cute little plastic towers of drawers and store things like these little pin boxes, elastic threaders/bodkins, tube turners, screw drivers, tube of iron cleaner, hand sewing needles, etc. My little mini sewing notion “dresser” stands on the corner of my cutting table and is about 5 or 6 inches wide by maybe 8 inches high. I think it has 4 drawers. SO useful to have all these little items in one storage container – easy to access and they don’t get all mixed up as they have their separate drawers.

I’m all for a peaceful, stress free life so OUT goes the jumbled up pin collection (type A’s don’t generally do jumbled & disordered!) hence my nicely ordered pin cushion at the top of this post.  Plastic head pins are now SO yesterday in my sewing room. They served their purpose but I think I have out grown them now. And blunt points have also been given their marching orders. WHAT is the point of keeping a blunt pin?? …..pun intended. SO: toss the junk and pins you no longer like to use, buy good quality pins only and keep your types of pins separate as they truly do have different functions.

Metal Heads

Metal Heads

I love these metal head pins as they just appeal to me, I thought they were pretty (I swear I might have been a magpie in another life!)  I think they came on one of those plastic wheels. Come to think of it, I have not seen them very often so they might be hard to find? I have used mine a lot and have a collection of gold, silver & bronze colours.

I remember thinking these were quite expensive and so I bought the little box rather than the bigger one......mistake! I LOVE them so the little box doesn't make sense now. Note to self: cheap pins are probably more expensive in the long term so buy better quality!

I remember thinking these were quite expensive and so I bought the little box rather than the bigger one……mistake! I LOVE them so the little box doesn’t make sense now. Note to self: cheap pins are probably more expensive in the long term so buy better quality in bigger quantities!

Good quality glass head pins with strong fine and sharp points are what you want. I have been very happy with my little boxes of Clover glass head pins – I think I have an assortment of white, blue & red heads.

red clips

I could not talk about pins and not mention the Clover Clips. These are not strictly pins but little clips which are absolutely incredible for holding any edges together like quilt bindings, seams etc. They are also super useful for fabrics that are very thick & difficult to pin or a pin would leave a mark like on faux leather & plastic/vinyl. Clover clips to the rescue! I like the little red ones. I also bought the big jumbo lime green ones…..mistake, I should have bought more little red ones…..LOVE them.  The green ones are too big and cumbersome for most of the things I sew.  These Clover clips are quite pricey so I bought the little packet rather than the larger quantity. Again, I ended up going back for more so save yourself the time & trouble – buy the box of 50!  And NO, Clover are not paying me to say this although that is not a bad idea!?

green clip



DISCLAIMER:  Here at Janome Canada we do not stock or sell pins to our dealers so any information offered in this post is purely my own opinion formed from my personal sewing experience. I am very aware that there may be many other brands of pins and pin cushions out there which are equal or better quality to the ones I have mentioned.

If you have thoughts about pins, send us a comment….we’d love to hear what worked for you.


About Janome Canada

For over 100 years, Janome has been the brand of choice for sewing, embroidery, longarm quilting, sergers, coverhem machines - and MORE! Our Janome Canada head office; our Janome HQ, is the Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Be sure to follow us here on Janome Life blog, as well as our other Janome Canada social media so you get the most from your Janome machine! @janomehq @janomecanada Janome HQ Facebook, Janome Canada Facebook Janome HQ You Tube channel, Janome Life You Tube channel
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  1. prujoy says:

    Very good tip re saving dud pins & needles in a separate container that can then be safely dissed of, thanks for that.

    I also just recently rearranged my muddled up pins. I machine embroidered 2 cupcake pin cushions, one holds my home dec pins & the other my general glass head pins. I keep my fine pins in their plastic container. But I am definitely going to get myself a wristband pin cushion too, save all those back & forth trips round the house to fetch pins, lol!

    Plus I did see the sweetest little Janome pin cushion accessory that fits in the extra spool slot on top of your machine, might have to get that too!


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Prujoy,

      Glad you liked the post. Thanks for reminding me about our Janome pin cushion. Going to add it to the post as I use that all the time on my 8900!



  2. cherylsewing says:

    Thank you for sharing your “Pin” experience. I to have learned over the years that to buy quality pins pays in the long term. I also find the Clover clips to be excellent. I introduced them to my daughter in law and saw that she is teaching her children to use them to. Little Gerald, who won the Show Case of the Year Award at last year’s Saskatoon Exhibition was asked to do a sewing demonstration this year. She needed to help him as he is just 6 years old, he was sewing a pair of pants and Mom had clipped the side seams with the clips about every 3 or 4 inches. I don’t know that I would have thought of that, but that way there is no danger of the child getting hurt when they are sewing. This young fellow, like his older sister, love to sew. I’m really proud of them.


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