Positioning Fabric & Pins

Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks: Positioning Fabric & Pins

Sometimes it can be hard to tell which way to position your fabric when you’re getting ready to pin and sew. Here’s a quick way to help you remember!

  • The bulk of the fabric always goes to the left of the sewing machine.

Basically, the inner area of the sewing machine should never be filled with fabric.
Another way to remember it is:

  • The seam allowance always goes to the right of the needle.

What if you’re sewing something small? The same principle applies. Even if you’re sewing a narrow strip, the larger portion goes on the left.

Positioning Fabric

Positioning Fabric

Exceptions: If you’re sewing a quilt or other large item, you may need to position the fabric so the bulk is to the right of the needle. The same holds true when topstitching.

Similarly, you need to know which direction to place your pins. When you’re pinning fabric for cutting, it doesn’t matter which way the pins face. But when you’re pinning pattern pieces together for sewing, you need to ensure that you can remove the pins easily.

Some prefer to place their pins so they’re perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. Personally, I don’t recommend this. Sideways pins are harder to remove quickly, and they can leave holes outside the seam allowance.

  • Assuming you’re pinning parallel to the edge of the fabric, your pins should always go with the heads facing you, so you can easily pull them out while sewing.

If you aren’t sure which way to insert your pins, remember the first rule: the bulk of the fabric always goes to the left. While you’re pinning, rotate the fabric so it’s oriented the same as it would be at the sewing machine. Insert your pins along the edge with the heads facing you and the sharp tips pointed away from you.




Looking for more sewing advice? Check the Sewing Basics menu for a list of beginner-friendly tutorials, or search under Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks.

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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