How to choose Pins for your Workroom?

Do you really understand the difference between the massive range of pins on the market.

What is the difference with what pin I use?

Confused which pin to purchase?

Are all pins the same? In a word… NO

The biggest problem with the market today is poor quality products. You need to learn about choosing well and minimising the chance of paying products that simply just don’t perform which will ultimately save you money in the long run.

Choosing the correct pin is essential to complete of a project to the best quality possible.
No snags from blunt pins, melted plastic marks from heads that can’t cope with heat, jumped stiches from pins that are too thick to name a few.

Pins like any sewing tools have a purpose, you need to marry the pin to the project.
They hold pattern pieces in place, anchor seam allowances as you sew, fit fabric on the body, drape fabric on the dress form and secure all sorts of squirmy trims, delicate sequins, and miniscule beads.

There are an incredible variety of pins on the market-some.

One pin can’t successfully tackle all fabrics and sewing tasks. Simply stated, different jobs require different pins.

Pin Head
The head is the most recognizable part of a straight pin.
What it is made of dictates if it can be pressed and the shape determines when you should use it in the construction process.


Flat Also called “no head,” this pin may be pressed with a hot iron. It’s also good for handwork, as thread doesn’t get caught on it. A flat head can be difficult to see on busy or textured fabrics,

Plastic Ball-shaped plastic heads come in different sizes and colors, and may be pearlized. These are a good choice for lace, eyelet, and loose weaves, as the large heads won’t slip through the holes in the fabric.

Glass This small, ball-shaped head is fairly easy to see, and won’t melt when touched with an iron.

Pin Tip
The points of pins should slide cleanly into fabric without causing snags or unsightly holes. Different fabrics require different types of points.


Sharp These all-purpose points are a fine choice for loosely woven, medium-weight, and heavy-weight fabrics.

Extra-sharp More defined and tapered, this point passes cleanly through delicate fabrics.

Ball point Created especially-and only-for knits, this point is rounded so it slips between the loops of the fabric and doesn’t pierce or pull the yarns.


Some sewing projects require long pins eg. quilting other ventures may do better with short, stubby pins. eg applique
Pin length used to be listed on packages as but most pin manufacturers now just list the actual lengths.

Pin Diameter-Thickness
To avoid producing holes in your fabric choose the thinnest pin to accomplish the task at hand., as it relates to actual diameters, isn’t consistent among manufacturers.
.4mm                           .5mm                   .6mm              .7mm or .8mm

.4mm The thinnest traditional pin we found was a .4mm “Patchwork Pin (Fine)” by Clover. It passes beautifully through the finest of sheers.

.5mm Called “extra-fine,” “super-fine,” “silk,” or “satin,” these .5mm pins are recommended for fine, lightweight fabrics, including some sheers.

.6mm Most all-purpose pins are labelled “fine,” and are best paired with medium-weight fabrics.

.7mm or .8mm Although harder to find, these diameters are great for thicker fabrics like heavy wools, denim, and quilted layers. But they do leave large holes in their wake.

Metal content
A pin’s content is important, especially if you are allergic to certain metals.
There are six types: stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel, which is the strongest option.
If you aren’t sure of the metal, test it with a magnet; stainless steel and brass pins won’t cling. Put through a salt-water test, only nickel-plated brass passed. To test the rust-resistance of various metal types, spray pin with salt water
To sum up, I have a variety of pins in my workroom to cater for a various fabric weights and construction. i.e. knit, woven, non woven and ones that I love to use for draping.

When choosing your pins, look at the following specifications:

  1. Head
  2. Length
  3. Diameter/Thickness

Fashion Workroom recommended products for your workroom:

  1. Crown Fox – Pearl Head Pins -For All Purpose Pins- Medium to Heavy Fabrics
  2. Iris Superfein Pins– Delicate fabrics, super fine excellent container
  3. Pony Dressmaker Pins- Fine fabrics, draping on the dress stand
  4. Birch Ball Point – Stretch/Knit fabrics.
  5. Tomato Pin Cushion– With strawberry sharpener which is filled with Emery powder to keep pins clear of metal burrs, notches and sharp

Reference: Threads Magazine is a great reference for anything to do with sewing..check it out.

Do you have a question? Email us


Dress Form or Mannequin???

What do I buy???


If you are thinking are starting any form of fashion career, selecting the correct Dress Form is as important as a photographer selecting the correct camera.

Many different names are used to describe both a Dress Form and Dress Mannequin so choosing the correct type is difficult when you are starting out.

Dress Form, Dressmaker Mannequin, Dressmaker Dummy, Womens Dummy, Tailors Dummy, Display Dummy, Display Mannequin…and so on

Here are a few important things to consider before purchasing a Dress Form.


  1. Dress Form or Dress Mannequin???

There is a big difference between the two.

A Dress MannequinDress Mannequin

  • Ultimately intended for displaying fashion garments
  • Retail clothing shops, Photographers- photo shoot campaign etc
  • Unrealistic proportions for body shape
  • Less body shape definitions ie. slender hip, less bust shaping and very little under bust definition.
  • Clothes hang better on the smoother shaping
  • No padding for pinning
  • Plastic or fiberglass shape.
  • Very lightweight for mobility
  • Approximately $100-200 depending on quality



Dress Form

A Dress Form

  • Ultimately intended for creating fashion garments
  • Pinnable, has a padded layer. The generous padding under the canvas cover makes your form easy to pin eg draping
  • More realistic body shape..make sure dummy has bottom shaping
  • Collapsible shoulder ..get this feature if possible, makes it easier to get garments on and off. eg skirt, dress
  • Much more sturdy …wheels if possible. Having a mobile dummy is very handy to move around the workroom
  • More weight making them much easier to work with e.g. draping
  • Full body or half body
  • Used by Dressmakers, Fashion Students Fashion Industry etc….
  • Approximately $300-1200 depending on quality & type


  1. Which one do I choose? 
  • What is the purpose…do I want it for displaying garments or creating them?
  • Do you intend to use often or occasionally i.e.. hobby or professional
  • How long do you want it to last?
  • What type of garments am I creating or I need legs??
    ie Dresses, pants, skirts swimsuit, intimate apparel etc.
  • Is it needed short term or long term?
  • Look for words like Hobbyist (this is generally a basic dress form designed for occasional use) or Professional (generally abetter quality dress form to be used often and required to last long term)
  1. How much should I pay?
  • Buying a dress form is like buying a car; Work out how much you can spend then do your homework to get the best deal and quality in your price range.
  • Generally the top end dress forms have mechanisms that are meant to last.
  • For custom garments there are adjustable models ranging in price & quality
  • A good ‘middle of the road’ budget is around $300-400
  1. What size to buy?
  • As there are dummies imported from all over the world the sizing charts will vary considerably.
  • Pay less attention to the size eg. 6,8,10,12 etc and focus on the bust waist hip and back length (if possible). You align your mannequins to the sizing you are intending to create.

example: The patterns I produce are for a 90 Bust, 68 Waist, 93 Hip. Take those measurements and align them as close as possible to the measurement chart to choose the dummy size you would like to purchase. By this chart I would purchase a size 8

Screen Shot 2017-01-28 at 1.13.19 pm


  1. Where to buy

To sum up….Before you purchase anything, assess what you need, how much you can afford and how long do you want it to last.

Reference Pages.. more info

Threads Magazine

Questions??? Email me



FW Summer Project-Lets Make a Pin Cushion!

I must admit I have a bit of a thing for Pin cushions!  Mine is used every day, as well as being practical they can have tones of personallity .

Here are some cool ideas which I have found requiring varying degrees of sewing. This is a great way to learn some new skills on a small scale such as Embroidery, Patchwork and Quilting.

I love this idea of storing all of your supplies in a Mason Jar! With just a little retro-fitting, an old-fashioned Mason jar can become a new sewing kit with a built-in pincushion on top.

My sewing room is full of these, no sewing required…
Get more information how to make this..

I love this one..  it has so much personality. Gorgeous Needlepoint Embroidery teamed up with some Log-Cabin Patch Work.
Create the centre piece you want, then surround it with some of the one the wonderful fabrics you have.
This would be a wonderful gift, or a great addition to your workroom.
Get More information how to make this

Log Cabin Patchwork

There’s nothing more inspiring than surrounding yourself with beauty in your work space. This felt flower pincushion is calling you to get creative!
t’s a simple project to stitch and is the perfect way to store your sewing pins! Using readily available materials, you can piece one together in an afternoon!
Get More information how to make this


Pick a favorite block and quickly create a sweet, stuffed pin holder with just a few fabric scraps and buttons.
It takes just a few fabric bits and buttons to make tiny pin pillows.
Give one away, use one to accent your sewing room,
or tuck one in your on-the-go sewing kit.
Get More information how to make this

Patchwork pin cushion 2

Don’t spend time searching for your pincushion. Big and Bold is the key.
Make a jumbo (6x6x3-inch), tufted cushion in bright, lively prints — finding it will be a cinch!
Get More information how to make this


So the first thing to decide is this – do you want a light-weight pincushion or one with some weight and substance to it?
Or does that not matter to you?
Do you like a pincushion that is soft, or do you prefer a firm, relatively solid pincushion.
What is the shape of your pincushion?
Is this pincushion something you actually intend to use, or is this something pretty that will sit on a shelf in your sewing room?
Your answer to each question will then factor into which filling you use and how much you use.

Stuffing / Fiberfill / Wadding.
This comes in cotton, polyester, and bamboo.  The benefit of this kind of filling is that it can be stuffed into a point and it will hold that shape.
For any shaped pincushion, this kind of stuffing is the best to use.

Sand – Silica or Play Sand.
Very popular fill for pincushions – it gives a nice weight to the finished pincushion, it is easily found and not very expensive. You can find both kinds of sand at hardware stores and home improvement stores.

Sawdust. This isn’t something new, most vintage pincushions are filled with sawdust. If you know any woodworkers or carpenters, then you’ve probably got an easy source for sawdust.

Ground Walnut Shells
A natural filling for pincushions and other stuffed crafts Gives a solid, heavy feel to the finished item.
NOTE: Not a suitable stuffing for anyone with an ‘allergy to nuts’

Emery Powder
When you use this black mineral to fill your pincushion it becomes one of the best pincushions in all the world! Emery pincushion! Every time you stick your needle or pin into an emery pincushion, it cleans it of the natural oils in your fingers and any impurities in your cloth.
It also sharpens the very tip of your needle, making your work quicker and easier on your hands
It’ll keep your needles clean, sharp and will give the pin cushion some weight.

Make one this Summer to start off the New Year!!