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Living a Pin-Free Life

November 23, 2010

I love pin cushions. Their small size makes them perfect candidates for cute designs. Pin cushion pastries, fruits, animals, mini dress forms -- I love them all! But, the pin cushions in my life are just decoration now. There's nary a pin in sight. I haven't used pins in my sewing for over 6 years, and I couldn't be happier.

My divorce from pins was catalyzed by a kitten. In the fall of 2004, my husband and I adopted a tiny black fluffball with no tail... and a compulsion for eating non-food objects. Kitten Jiji attempted to consume anything that would fit in his mouth, including thumbtacks and, sadly, pins. We managed to catch him attempting to nosh on all such items before any damage was done, but we realized this was a serious problem. So we went on a cat-proofing rampage to beat the band. Since I was using our apartment's dining area as my sewing room and had no means to close it off, that meant the pins had to go.

9-26-Camera String with Brian's Hand.JPG

Initially, I was terrified. My sewing was so slow. I had to baste everything! Cutting took me forever because I wanted to maintain accuracy using only pattern weights. I was so trepidatious about every stitch. I thought I was doomed to sew in slo-mo forever.

But, over the next few months, I got more confident, and I got faster... and faster... and (dare I say it?) faster than I had been before pins. Now I always opt for pattern weights in lieu of pins. I baste sometimes, but not always. My husband is thankful he never steps on pins I've accidentally dropped on the floor. And I feel like I've gotten an even better sense of how fabrics want to go together.

The bottom line is: I am a better seamstress without pins. I encourage any of you out there who are afraid of going pinless to try it once in a while - just in the interest of stretching your skills. You don't have to make the switch permanently, but challenge yourself from time to time. Start small, with simpler projects, and tackle bigger challenges as your confidence grows. I bet you'll find it as liberating as I do!

11-22 Pattern.jpg
My little Jiji bear is no longer with us, but he was my constant companion in the sewing room throughout his life. He loved to "help" lay out patterns and play with instruction sheets and he always stuck close to supervise my work. I love that he left his indelible mark on the way I sew just the same as he did the rest of my life.

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Holly, I am so sorry about the loss of your kitty. I had to put my long time canine companion down just a few weeks ago. Thank you for your 'pins' tip. That is also important if there are small children in the home. If animals like to 'taste'...children are even worse!!!!! Have a great Thanksgiving! Blessings, Bobbi

You know that fabric you bought that you look at now and promise yourself you'll throw it away before anyone ever knows you bought it????? cut it into strips 6 inches wide and sewinto tubes. Fill with beans or rice (I used lintels in the shorter tubes I made and pinto beans in the lonbger tubes). Then use them for pattgern weights. Short ones for shoulder areas or childrens patterns and longer ones for blouse fronts, etc. If your shoulder starts to hurt or neck gets stiff because you forgot to get up and stretch (shame on you) pop one in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and you have an instant heat pack! leave in the freezer for awhile for a cold pack! I have a box full made from denim, interlock knit and some really ugly cotton.

That's a fantastic tip! I often find myself using decks of cards, the tv remote, my pressing ham - anything that will fit the space and hold things down.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on November 23, 2010 12:23 PM.

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