Straight pins with colored heads and other “pointers” for people learning to sew…

Ball-headed straight pins extend from a wheel-shaped plastic spool. The balls on the head of the straight pins reflect light, and they are pale blue, purple, turquoise blue, white, and (in the distance) red. This is a close-up image, so we can easily see the balls at the head of the pins closest to us, while the other side of the wheel-shaped plastic spool is blurred in the distance.
Please visit for free printable PDF sewing patterns and tutorial videos for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Lately I’ve been building a list of the top 10 items every beginning sewist/seamstress/tailor needs to have in his/her sewing kit.

Coming in at #3 is the all-important collection of straight pins.

You may think your grandmother’s hand-me-down straight pins will work fine for a beginner, but they do not. Second-hand pins are not sharp, so they’re likely to create runs in the fabric.

There’s also the issue of rust, which you don’t realize is there until you’ve inserted the pin into the fabric and stained it.


The image, which is purely decorative, shows a heart-shaped pincushion with needles and pins in it. Beside this are two spools of thread.
Purchased from iClipart — all rights reserved.

There are plenty of companies that offer sharp, rust-free straight pins at a reasonable cost. My favorite is probably Dritz, but Singer makes a nice straight pin set as well.

And if you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do with your straight pins, please view this very short video entitled, “How to Cut Barbie Clothes Sewing Patterns” (scroll down in the blog post to see the video).

After you watch that video and read through that blog post, you’ll understand why straight pins are on my list of must-have essentials. They help hold the pattern in place while you cut.

On top of a woman's finger tip rests a green sphere belonging to the top of a straight pin. The straight pin is inserted at a slight angle into a doll coat pattern which is poised atop purple fabric.
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Just to clarify, you don’t want to buy the super-long quilters’ straight pins. Instead, buy the regular-length sewing straight pins. Add quilters’ straight pins to your collection after you feel comfortable with sewing, especially if you would like to try quilting.

Most regular sewing straight pins are going to be about 25 or 26 mm long (a little over an inch long), and it’s nice to have the colorful ball on the end.

That little ball on the end makes it easy to remove them from paper patterns and the fabric, even if you’re working with tricky fabric like satin or thick denim.

A variety of colors is nice too, so if you’re using red fabric, you can avoid using the red-ball straight pins; that way your pins won’t get lost in the project somewhere.

On a top image, we can see that someone has lain a doll's coat pattern over purple fabric. On the bottom image, they have added straight pins to hold the pattern in place. Each straight pin penetrates the pattern plus the fabric, with its straight pin tip emerging on the other side of the pattern. The line of straight pins goes all along the edges of the pattern, holding the pattern onto the fabric.
Please visit for free printable sewing patterns for making doll clothes to fit dolls of many shapes and all different sizes.

Do any of my long-time followers have additional advice about straight pins for the newbies out there? Feel free to leave your straight pin tips and pointers (no pun intended — okay, yes, maybe a pun is intended) in the comments section!

If you enjoyed this blog post, and you’d like to see my videos, you might want to navigate over to my YouTube channel, ChellyWood1 to look through my playlists.

If you would like to make a donation to this free doll clothes pattern website, please click here. There’s also a “Donate” button in the main menu.

For anyone who would like to expand their dolls’ wardrobes, you should really check out my “How to Alter Doll Clothes Patterns” course and my “Design Your Own Doll Pants Patterns from Scratch” classes on the Creative Spark online learning platform. Here’s my bio page on their website, where you can learn more.

This image shows four rows of artist's renderings of doll clothing items. The top row shows four different styles of pants. The second row shows four different styles of shirts. The third row shows four different styles of skirts. The fourth row shows four different styles of dresses, with skirts in long, short, and mid-length styles. The text reads at the top, "Classes in Doll Clothing Design" followed by this paragraph: "Have you ever wished you could create patterns of your own? Click on the links to Chelly's online courses below, to learn more about her paid courses in doll clothing pattern design techniques."

For any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to follow a schedule. Just sign up when you’re ready.

It’s a one-time fee for the course, and there’s no specific time limit to finish your course. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you. So go check out my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.

As always, feel free to pin, like, or tweet about my free patterns and tutorials.

To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.

Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:

*Please note: when you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include Amazon, JoAnn Fabric, Etsy, and the eBay Partner Network. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. To learn more about how my website uses affiliate marketing, please visit the website’s Privacy Policy page.

Chelly Wood and the website are not affiliated with any of the doll or toy companies mentioned in this blog post, but Chelly enjoys designing her doll clothes to fit a variety of dolls. To learn more about the doll companies mentioned in today’s post, please visit the doll or toy company’s website.

3 thoughts on “Straight pins with colored heads and other “pointers” for people learning to sew…

  1. I can’t seem to unsubscribe from your site. Please unsubscribe me as the emails I receive daily are NO REPLY emails. (

    1. Okay, I’ve spent a little time this morning searching for this. (I’ve never had this request before…) I assume you checked in your newsletter’s email, for an “unsubscribe” link, and you were unable to find one? It seems like there should be one. Isn’t there a law about that?

      My newsletters are generated automatically by my webhost, WordPress. And when I went into my “Newsletter” button on the Admin end of my website, I didn’t see any options to unsubscribe someone. If I haven’t found an option to unsubscribe you by the end of the day, I’ll submit a query to WordPress, to see if we can resolve the issue that way.

      I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. 😞

    2. Okay, after doing a little more research, here is what I’ve learned about unsubscribing from emailed newsletters on WordPress (quoted from the WordPress HELP Forums):

      “In the future we bloggers may be able to do as you wish [i.e. unsubscribe someone] but we cannot do so now…

      Your followers control their own subscriptions – you don’t and can’t do this for them. Here are brief instructions for unsubscribing from a blog if the person has a username account:

      1. click the “unsubscribe” link on the emails of the posts received at the very bottom of the emails.
      2. go here >!/read/edit/ locate and click the ‘x’ next to any blog there to unfollow it and no longer receive posts in the Reader or by email.
      3. go to the blog in question and click the unfollow/follow link on your Admin bar.

      If the [subscriber] does not have a username account then 1. applies.
      1. click the ‘unsubscribe’ link on the emails of the posts received at the very bottom of the emails.”

      So it sounds like you should see an “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the newsletters. However if you also have an account with wordpress, you may need to go to that link (above) and click which WordPress blogs you want to unsubscribe from.

      I sure hope that helps! (There’s nothing more unpleasant than being subscribed to emails you don’t want anymore…)

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