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Thread: Pinning seams - always?

  1. #1
    Member MeadowMist's Avatar
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    Pinning seams - always?

    Hi - do you pin All of your seams before stitching together or do you only pin longer seams together?

    Is there a generalized cut-off - for instance if you are stitching 2 10" squares together, yes, pin them first, but if you are stitching 2 3"squares or less together it's okay to skip the pinning.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-06-2019 at 08:27 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  2. #2
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    I pin long seams together - in fact I halve and quarter them before joining them - and then match the half and quarter points. I do measure them first to see if they are the same length.

    If there are a lot of intersections that are not behaving well, I pin them. If they are behaving very badly, I baste them first before sewing them with small stitches.

    Piecing small pieces together, generally I just hold them together.

  3. #3
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    I'm a big believer in pinning, every 2" or so. So for me a 3" square would probably get two pins, one towards either side, but in general if I'm going to pin I'm going to use 3 pins at a time, so that would be a 6"-ish unit.

    But... when I am doing strip piecing of WoF (width of fabric) together, I do that without pinning. After it is subcut though or there is a seam, there is pretty much always a pin. One big reason is I press open and I like to pin down the leading edge so it doesn't get flipped. I use the big long quilt pins but they are well down from the seam line/presser foot, an inch or so down.

    I have friends who press to the side or don't press at all and their styles work for them. I've incorporated pinning time into a portable project that I can do at my Tuesday group, or I went to my husband's bowling league the other night, they are getting used to me sitting in the background pinning or hand sewing binding. Can also do while watching tv.
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  4. #4
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I only pin long seams, like a border. And I pin when there are tricky points to match up.
    Lori

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  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I very rarely pin, but I often pin the borders
    Nancy in western NY
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  6. #6
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    I rarely if every pin seams including binding. I find if I sew slowly as I match edges and pay attention to not stretching fabric everything works out. It probably takes as long as taking the time to pin then racing through the stitching. I think I was probably taught this way as I usually research any educational material before starting anything new. (It's been so long I really don't remember). Anyway, this works for me and I've been told my piecing is really good so I'll keep doing it this way.
    Sally

  7. #7
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    ​I pin long seams because I don’t like how they get twisted around before they go through the machine. If interactions have to match, I pin at the intersections and ease between them.

  8. #8
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    If there are a lot of intersections that are not behaving well, I pin them. If they are behaving very badly, I baste them first before sewing them with small stitches.
    i always pin intersections.
    on a long seam, i pin and then baste.
    once they are all basted accurately, i sew.
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  9. #9
    Super Member sewingitalltogether's Avatar
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    I don't always pin the seams. Straight seams are easy enough to sew. Curved seams I pin, a lot. And am gluing the curved seams that give me trouble.

  10. #10
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Since discovering how easy it was to glue, I rarely pin. I glue critical matching intersections setting the glue with my iron. I have a bottle of Elmers Washable school glue at my ironing board always. A critical matching intersection trumps length for me. I don't pin/glue small units and have gone as long as 12" with not pinning/gluing as long as there wasn't a critical intersection that needed to match up.

    Oops, edited to add, like "sewingitalltogether", I do pin curves. I have not tried gluing them so thanks for that input sewingit.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 11-06-2019 at 09:08 AM.

  11. #11
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    Depends on the seam. I don't pin when I sew strips. I always pin when I want my seams to line up. I've heard people say that "if you cut and piece accurately, you don't have to pin. So many factors weigh into that, though....fabric can shift, even for the best of us. When in doubt, pin.
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  12. #12
    Member MeadowMist's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your opinions. I usually pin (and baste) where intersections are and for longer seams, but I skip this step for shorter seams. Right now I'm sewing 2 3" squares together. Whereas before I would just stitch these together, this time I've decided to take the extra time to pin. Hopefully this will work to make things a little less wonky for me. If I were to sew two long strips together of the exact same length without pins, by the end of the strip I would have an overhang of a half inch or so on one strip. I'm not sure if it's just my sewing machine that does this or if they all do, or if it's something I'm doing to make it happen. So for the long ones I definitely need to pin.

  13. #13
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    If I am sewing something where the edges don't line up - like a triangle in a square unit , or a half-rectangle unit - I match the intersecting points, and then pin.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeadowMist View Post
    Thank you all for your opinions. I usually pin (and baste) where intersections are and for longer seams, but I skip this step for shorter seams. Right now I'm sewing 2 3" squares together. Whereas before I would just stitch these together, this time I've decided to take the extra time to pin. Hopefully this will work to make things a little less wonky for me. If I were to sew two long strips together of the exact same length without pins, by the end of the strip I would have an overhang of a half inch or so on one strip. I'm not sure if it's just my sewing machine that does this or if they all do, or if it's something I'm doing to make it happen. So for the long ones I definitely need to pin.
    A "regular" presser foot - as compared to a "walking foot" - usually feeds the bottom layer "faster" than the top layer.

    Which is why if something needs to be eased in - the longer length is "down" and the shorter length is on top.

    Something that has kind of helped me - when sewing long strips together - I hold the pieces so that they are about four to six inches above the machine bed.

    My theory is - the lower/bottom piece now has to travel a teeny bit further than the top piece - so sometimes that seems to help make the pieces "come out even".

  15. #15
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    Fabric has tensions of it's own in it, and then the seam has tension, and small amounts of tug or pull that we put in all contribute. And I say that some fabric is treacherous! It wants to move and shift and cause issues, even if it is all high quality cotton.

    I prefer the modern strip piecing methods and trim things down to fit. Whenever I can when I'm putting two sets of fabrics together, I sew first, cut second. If everything is scrap, that can be hard to do. But my preferred solution would be to use one long strip of "background" and then my individually carefully cut squares on top of that with maybe 1/2" between them to deal with those twists and strains.

    On a recent project I was taking process photos, this isn't the best but it shows the general idea. With these fabrics some were very large scale prints and I deliberately oversized the pieces a bit so I could at least be slightly fussy with the cuts.

    Edit: To clarify, those pieces that are on the dark green were further subcut into (two) 2-square units. As was the blue/brown piece. Originally when I used the green strip I would have had additional other 2-square units (maybe 6?) along the length but I cut the others off.

    And this is what it looked like finished. Sort of hard to envision from this picture here!
    https://www.quiltingboard.com/quilti...ml#post8284787
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    Last edited by Iceblossom; 11-06-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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  16. #16
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    I rarely pin - if there are sections to match I will beat the seams as I go and sew more slowly as I find this more accurate. Borders or long strips I do match up key points before I sew but tend to use clips more than pins.

    I use pins more in bag making when I want to keep several layers together

  17. #17
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    I’m a die hard pinner and starcher, these 2 things help me do my very best work. Does it take more effort? Yes, but for myself it’s what I like and it’s what works for me.
    Lisa

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tallchick View Post
    I’m a die hard pinner and starcher, these 2 things help me do my very best work. Does it take more effort? Yes, but for myself it’s what I like and it’s what works for me.
    I'm the same way. But I normally do not pin binding, haha, except at the mitered corners and I pin the heck out of those!

  19. #19
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I'm very on and off about pinning. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I usually pin borders but I don't pin intersections. I use a drop of Elmer's glue on intersections. I rarely have an intersection that doesn't meet since I've been using Elmer's.
    Patrice S

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  20. #20
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I always pin borders and carefully make sure the edges are even. I always pin intersections, I love for them to match perfectly.
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  21. #21
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I think Feline Fanatic and I must be twins. I'm another one who very rarely pins, but when I do find the need, I use a dot of school glue instead. I think pins can sometimes distort the fabric.

  22. #22
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    I only pin if I need to, or if it seems easier for one reason or another - really never when I'm just piecing, but long seams if there are lots of seams to match up.

  23. #23
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maminstl View Post
    I only pin if I need to, or if it seems easier for one reason or another - really never when I'm just piecing, but long seams if there are lots of seams to match up.
    Me Too! I agree only if matching seams...I've gotten very good at just lining up under needle cking as I'm sewing they are aligned and zip right down...I also use a 1/4 foot w/guide which helps.

  24. #24
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    I admit, I'm a pinner.

  25. #25
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    Pin pin pin !

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