Custom Style

Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

Sewing Tip: Simplify Fittings with Safety Pins

For a long time, I’ve told myself that I didn’t want to write a “learn how to sew” blog because I’ve always felt there are plenty of online resources for that type of thing, and I don’t want to bore my non-sewing readers. (I really love teaching someone to sew, but doing it in person is much more fun.)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found that I enjoy leaving helpful hints here & there, and when I do, I get a lot of positive feedback from others in this Land of Blogging. (I sometimes forget that not everything I know is common knowledge to other sewists, because a lot of little things are just how my coworkers and I have always done it at work, and I don’t always remember where I picked the information up.)

Since so many of you seem to like the tips I’ve mentioned in the past, I thought I would start to include some short “sewing tips” posts on my blog periodically.

So today’s tip is one of the very first things I learned when I started sewing professionally: use safety pins for fittings instead of straight pins.

(Every costume shop and wardrobe crew has a HUGE box or two of safety pins because they are essentially disposable.)

For fittings, I like to use a pincushion that contains only safety pins (I personally prefer the standard #2 size pins). They are all pre-opened & stabbed into the pincushion so they can be grabbed one at a time with one hand, which saves tons of time during a fitting.

My designated pincushion for safety pins.

Using safety pins for fitting a mock-up or marking a minor clothing alteration (like a hem) has the added benefit of the pins not moving or falling out when the model removes the garment after the fitting. And, of course, the wearer can’t be poked with pins while undressing either.

Keeping the safety pins in a pincushion also helps with cleanup after the pins have been removed from the garment to make alterations – just open the safety pin, remove it from the fabric, and stick it back into the pincushion. There’s no need to reclose it, and it’s ready for next time.  =)

If you ever have a sewing dilemma, feel free to leave a comment or ask me by email – I’d love to help out if I can!

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5 responses to “Sewing Tip: Simplify Fittings with Safety Pins

  1. caprimontgomery April 19, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Great idea. My mother was a straight pin fitting person because she never had a problem with it, but for me there were always really loud Ouch! moments. She couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get the clothes she was trying to fit me for off without sticking myself :). Eventually she started using safety pins, but she didn’t always remember and so now I do the same thing she did. I like the tip to put the safety pins in a pin cushion. I’m going to try that and then leave it in sight so I don’t forget to use them instead of the straight pins.

  2. agirlinwinter April 30, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Hi, I’ve nominated you for a Versatile blogger award, please see http://agirlinwinter.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/versatile-blogger-award/ for more details. I hope you will accept 🙂

  3. purplepincushion April 30, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I have used safety pins to do my fittings for years and they are amazing. The only thing I would caution is to make sure your pins are rust proof (nickle plated or brass). If you live in a climate with high humidity the cheaper safety pins can rust and leave a stain on your garment:-( Rusting can happen very quickly!
    I buy my safety pins by the gross in 2 different sizes. It is a bit of an expense up front but well worth it if you do a lot of alterations. They run $25-$35 per gross depending on the size and type (brass are more expensive than nickle).
    Excellent tip Brooke!

    • Brooke April 30, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Yep – I have a ton of all sizes of safety pins too. Lots end up coming home from film jobs because we always carry them in our pockets. Shows always buy in bulk too (tailor and laundry suppliers are great for that). And you are correct, rust proof is best. =)

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