The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

Do you use pins to hold your fabric in place?…ever question 5/8" seam allowance?…how about when to use interfacing?


That Gertie…she has an answer for everything and if she doesn't, she knows someone who does. Check out this posting:


I kind of have an aversion to pins. I do see how they can buckle fabric and I can be lazy and sew over them and you know, break my needle…I think I need to try the pin-less technique but I wonder about curves…time to experiment! Let me know if you have any advice to share…

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I read that blog post by Gertie's friend with interest Cathe. I'm afraid I am a pin user as I didn't even know pattern weights existed until I came here, and I don't have any although I do dabble with tins of tuna (as suggested by Stevie who uses giant washers as weights I think, I am going to try that). I am quite old fashioned, I don't have a rotary cutter, I don't have a serger..... I'm not a big baster either - it's pins for me!

Cathe, Great topic...

 I do use pins alot.... I think  because our day..that is what we were taught to use..  I too, sew over the pins and break my needle..And I would love to try the weights [Charolette t. I didnt know they existed ,until SW either..ha]


  I guess I kinda use weights though. I cut on my kitchen bar counter and  I have a big candle sitting on it.. I lay my fabric on the counter and to keep it from sliding.I sit the candle on the edge of the fabric.ha But then I pin my pattern peices with pins.. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks!!! [charolette t.. have you heard that one before??ha]


Charlotte…tins of tuna, must be cans of tuna here! Love it.

Judy I'm with you, I use pins too and would find it hard not to. I have old irons (as in really old, the type that would be heated on the stove before ironing) that I found for cheap that I use to hold down fabric when cutting. I like their shape good for getting weight in the corners and I now prefer a rotary cutter over scissor, I never ever thought I would say that!

Oh  Cathe, What a great idea..I have one of those old irons too. I will have to go and rescue it. thanks.


Yep...I caught it too..tins of tuna.. Love you Charolette.ha

Of course the really nice thing about an old iron is the fact it has a handle…almost as handy as a tin of tuna ;-)

I'm a pin girl- I know it's better to use weights, but I usually get so much assistance in the form of dachshunds and cats while I cut out that it's like a time challenge- I need to the pins to secure the project before it is pulled away, rolled  on or just slept on.

I'm with you on that! My cat sees any laid out fabric as an invitation to a rumpling-up party, so pins are a must.

I saw that post and thought those were interesting peeks into professional sewing. I do use pins, although after I saw the post I did experiment, but I found that my fabric (even just regular cotton) moves around too much. I think that on certain types of fabrics, pins don't have to be used (I'm pretty sure I've gone pinless while sewing various thicker knits) but I'm not good enough to risk it on other fabrics!

I definitely skimp on interfacing.  But I do question the 5/8" seam allowance regularly, particularly when I have to trim that entire seam allowance back to make an armhole curve work.  It just seems like a waste.

Oooh I used to run over my pins a break my needles too, now I just pin further away from the edge of the fabric and less often, I think it helps the buckling too since it is further away from the edge.  As for pattern weights, my current weight of choice are the metal notions in boxes that I use for bags, but anything that is heavy and lying around will do.   I've always questioned the 5/8" seam allowance, seems like such a waste and I tend to use a 3/8 one instead (mainly because that is the edge of the foot and I can follow that better! haha)


Oh and Judy - We say "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" think it means the same thing. I've been loving all of the phrases, been trying to think of one to teach you, how about  "a full stop"


  what is  "a full stop"...does this mean stopping at a red light???/ Got me going here? ha.

I use pins too and admittedly have used a glue stick to hold a really fussy seam before sewing it!


I agree, I have had patterns call for 1/2", 3/8" and the standard 5/8" seam allowance and never gave it a ton of thought but now I think less might be better!


The only time I have used "full stop" is in reference to stopping at a stop sign, not a "rolling stop"…

Cathe...wonder if our rolling stop ,is the same thing.ha.. cant wait to get the answer.. Arent we learning from these UK girls???


  I love,love,love t throwing out these "sayings" in front of people.They look at you ,like you have lost your mind..ha. then I tell them ...where it came from.ha..


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