Pins and Needles: Tiny tools, huge impact

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Pins and needles are the tie that binds my love of knitting and sewing. Here are my go-tos, at the heart of my haberdashery stash.

Knitting and crochet

I have my headed pins and blunt needles for knitting and crochet.  As you might guess, I have several needles in different sizes for different gauges of yarn.  The headed pins are super for setting in sleeves and it’s hard to lose them with coloured heads like that!

Machine sewing

Photo 3 features my sewing pins and needles.  I have tried a few pins over the years and now have two kinds I use for dressmaking.  The ones with a plain metal head are by Prym; they’re very pointy, ideal for draping and a nice length.  I don’t use pins shorter than 3.2cm because you can’t ‘see-saw’ them back up to the surface after poking them into the fabric.  The pearly pins are for general dressmaking; they are sharper than the Prym, a bit longer, and can deal with any kind of fabric, including coatings.

Photo 4 features a new addition, the Clover forked pin.  This is great for lining up bulky seam junctions: the kind that makes your sewing machine have to do a hill start, or makes you have to stuff some fabric behind the presser foot to get going.  Waist seams and underarm seams are prime candidates for forked pin usage.

Hand sewing

My go-to needles for hand sewing are thanks to knowing some lovely milliners…milliners’ sewing needles are BRILLIANT!  Not only are they sharper and more durable, they’re also noticeably longer than standard sharps.  This makes it much easier and quicker to ‘draw’ with the needle and take several stitches before pulling up the thread.  As a card-carrying member of the hand basting club, the introduction to millinery needles was amazing.  Never looked back.

Protective measures

Finally, photo 5 is of my thimbles.  I need one for my index finger, but there is a Clover leather one on my middle finger and my late grandma’s red thimble is on my thumb.  As ever, my family is never far away.

More helpful tips

Take your time building up the gear you need for clothes making. I went through a lot of trial and error finding the things I needed, or found most helpful. If you go back through my posts, especially the sewing ones, you’ll see many of these pins and needles in action.

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Pins and Needles: Tiny tools, huge impact

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Natalie in Stitches

I design size inclusive knitting patterns for clothes makers who want their garments to fit well. Clothes should serve you, not the other way around. You alter clothes to fit you, not alter yourself to fit the clothes. I also teach people how to sew, how to design knitwear, and am currently creating a comprehensive, year-long knitwear design course, covering everything from illustration to pattern grading. If you're enjoying my content, you can get more by following me on Instagram or Pinterest @natalieinstitches, or signing up to my newsletter. Thank you for reading!

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