14 comments on “Pin Direction – What is the best technique when sewing doll clothes?

  1. Crystal Brunner on Feb 10, 2013 12:06 am | Reply

    I also place my pins this way. I think it helps to hold the fabric better because it holds more of the fabric together. For me, it’s also easier.

  2. Ann Tillotson on Feb 10, 2013 1:05 am | Reply

    I had always put my pins across stitching line but think I saw in one your videos that you put them in direction of sewing and I thought it held fabric better and I agree it’s much easier to press. Due to a family I still watched my DVDs but I hope there are many more hints !

  3. Cherrylmaree on Feb 10, 2013 2:04 am | Reply

    Hi Rosie, my pin position seems to change depending on the item I am sewing. I find on smaller items such as doll clothes that your method is best and the fabric doesn’t move around. If the material has a lot of stretch to it , I tend to pin crossways to help it ease in. I have been inattentive and hit a pin with my needle…not a pleasant experience, the noise certainly got my focus back where it should have been. The other ‘problem’ with pinning , I found my friend,who is just learning, has is remembering which way the fabric is going to be sewn so that the pins are the right way around for ease of removal. Best wishes

  4. renebj001@gmail.com on Feb 10, 2013 2:28 am | Reply

    I trend to pin with the pins sticking out so it can be easily remove that way i know i wouldn’t stitch over it. You give some good advise. Keep up the good work i’m always willing to learn.

  5. Thanks ladies, it’s great to hear your preferences. I think the best thing to do is be flexible when sewing and if something is not working with this project, then try something different.

    I answer some more of your questions in a blog coming soon. Until then, happy sewing

  6. Ann Mellor on Feb 10, 2013 7:09 pm | Reply

    I also find it easier to pin in the direction that I’m sewing in, along the stitch line. But, no matter how I pin it, I will never find it easy to sew in a sleeve. No matter how careful I am while sewing, I always seem to catch a little of the material, and have to take out at least one sleeve nearly every time I sew. Is there something I should be doing differently? Does anyone else have a problem with sewing in sleeves? Rosie…any tips? I’ve watched your videos and you make it look so simple, but for me it just isn’t.

    • Hi Ann, I know how frustrating it can be to sew in sleeves as I too have caught fabric that is not meant to be sewn in, especially with puff sleeves as there is much more fabric to work with. It is difficult to say what you need to change without watching you sew but I do suggest that you take your time and stop frequently, lift the fabric in front of the presser foot and check that you have only the fabric that is to be stitched together going under the presser foot. You may feel like you are sewing way too slow but if you take your time with this step it will save you time in the end as unpicking and restitching is way more frustrating and time consuming. Let me know how you get on with your next sleeve.
      Happy sewing

      • Ann Mellor on Feb 11, 2013 3:14 pm | Reply

        Thank you for your response, Rosie. I just finished another top with sleeves, and did exactly what you said and took it very slowly. Much better. I have really painful arthritis in my hands, and I think some of the problem is trying to keep the fabric smooth and sew at the same time, but it all seems to come out in the end. I can’t tell you enough how much I love all of your sewing patterns, and how many things I’ve made using them. Best money ever spent when I signed up for your course. Thank you!

        Hope your weather is getting better for you folks. Here in New England, we’re digging out from a blizzard that lasted an entire day. About 28 inches of snow where I live, but more then 30″ in many places. It will be awhile before all of it melts, that’s for sure.

        • Wow, I’m so impressed that you continue to sew with painful arthritis in your hands. It must be very difficult at times. I am pleased to hear that your latest attempt at sewing in sleeves has been successful.

          Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback on my course, I’m thrilled that you have enjoyed it so much and made (and continue to make) lots of doll clothes. I’m sure the grandkids are too! 🙂

          Yes Ann, things are back to normal here again with the weather. Boy that was a lot of snow you had yesterday. I think it would be fun to experience it just once, I’m not sure I would enjoy getting around in it all the time though as it must be so dangerous. Take care Ann and of course
          Happy sewing

  7. peggy.stirling@ns.sympatico.ca on Feb 10, 2013 11:03 pm | Reply

    Hi Rosie,
    Like you, I normally place my pins the same as you for nearly all my projects. However if I am sewing in a puffy sleeve or doing a ruffle I tend to place the pine across the seam as it helps me to adjust the ruffles or gathers as I am sewing.
    A few months ago I hit a pin with my serger and did about $150. damage to the plate underneath. Now I am extra cautious and make sure the pins are out well before the needle reaches the blade position. However, I also missed a pin while sewing with the regular machine and actually bent the pin into the little hole where the needle goes down. Yup, the pin was placed on the seam in the right direction but I didn’t get it out in time. I guess I need to pay more attention to what I am doing to get the pins out in time.

  8. codaym@hotmail.com on Mar 13, 2013 4:46 am | Reply


    I have to be honest, when I went through the lessons I thought that this was all stuff I already know so I’d have to ask for a refund. Then I used you suggestion about placing the pins horizontally rather than my usual vertical and, voila, that made all the difference in the world. Most, if not all the problems I’d been having were due to my pins not keeping the fabric stable and in position. Now, I’m going back through the lessons and blog and looking for other tidbits that I’ve missed.

    I’m making a doll wardrobe for a charity auction and it e paying for them. For the past week, I’ve been forcing myself to relearn pinning and it’s working wonderfully. It’s taking a bit of retraining and, sometimes, I forget but, all in all, I’m getting used to it.

    I cannot thank you enough Isn’t it funny how one little thing can work wonders?

    MaryJo Coday

  9. codaym@hotmail.com on Mar 13, 2013 4:53 am | Reply

    My response got somewhat messed up but using your pinning method, the gathers stay flat, the small pieces stay in place, the trim stays where you want and doesn’t move or gap – can’t say enough good about it!


  10. I have just recently tried putting my pins in with the sharp point facing out rather than in. I place them horizontally, but the head of the pin is lying on the fabric and not beyond the material. I find this a great way to avoid breaking needles, but, of course, I always stitch fairly slowly unless I’m sewing on a heavier fabric. I too have fallen in love, again, with making dolls and doll clothes. This method works very well on small pieces. If it’s simply too small to stitch by machine, I just seam it by hand!

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