Sew Over Pins at your own Risk!
Long ago, there was a character around Zede’s Sewing Studio who would say, “The man who sold me my first sewing machine told me I could sew over pins with it!” I would silently think, “Well, he was a damn liar!”
First off, let’s define the situation here. The phrase “sewing over pins” makes one think that the needle is missing the pins- and that would be A-OK! But, we all know that when we try to sew over pins we accidentally sew through pins– and not really through them.
What happens next, is that two pieces of metal- the needle and the pin- hit one another. One of these pieces of metal is cheap and plentiful (the pin), the other is more expensive (the needle) and it happens to be connected to the well-timed, finely-tuned, probably-pretty-expensive sewing machine.
So don’t do it- right?
But people do! Over and over!
We see this all the time in our repair department, and we’d rather not see you there for something so easily avoidable- it makes for happier customers and happier Mallorys.
What happens when you hit a pin?
- First, you’ll certainly bend or damage your needle. If you are sewing and you hear a sudden “thunk”, as though you hit one of those pins in your fabric, you should immediately stop and change your needle. At best, it now has a burr on the tip. This will snag your project and make your sewing sound loud as you try to jam a dull needle through your fabric. If the needle is bent, you can now do damage to your bobbin system. Have you ever had a tech tell you that you “punched holes” in your bobbin case? Has a tech had to “file burrs off your hook”? These problems are often caused by some type of trauma- such as a needle being out of line. Your needle can be bent by things other than pins, but it’s so easy to avoid them- so let’s do it!
- Second, the machine was working so hard to send the needle through your project that now the machine could be out of time. If you have a newer, higher end machine, hopefully only the needle broke and the machine is not out of time. What I mean is, the machinery within is so strong and well put-together that it will send the needle down with such force that any kick-back from a pin will break only the needle, instead of changing the timing of the mechanisms within the machine. Many of the electronic Baby Lock machines even have a “safety device”.
This function stops the machine before it jams, so that you avoid damaging anything internal. If the machine displays the message “Safety Device Activated”, you’ll need to turn it off, back the needle out of the sticky situation and then turn the machine back on. After that, please, quit trying to sew through solid metal. If you don’t have a “safety device”, you may not be so lucky. You’ll need a trip to the repair shop for re-timing, since it is a difficult thing to do at home.
- In the case of a serger, you will nick your upper knife. Along with the issues mentioned above, you could have a bill for $40-ish to replace that upper knife. Mom and I owned a Baby Lock Imagine serger and had the same blade in it for over 5 years. We sewed through dot-sequin, faux fur, silk, polyester, you name it! Except, we didn’t sew through pins.
Upper knives should last a long time if treated properly! The upper knife is made of a softer metal than the lower knife, so that if something traumatic does happen, only the upper knife is damaged- we seldom replace lower knives.
Now, don’t get me wrong- I use pins! They’re all over our studio and I spent my childhood picking them out of the bottoms of my feet. I have even gone against my own advice and left them in as I sew. I thought, “Oh, I’ll be able to miss them”- well, guess what? NO!
I do use pins when I sew, but less than most other people I know- and Zede uses fewer than me! We’re not telling you to ditch the pins- just don’t expect your sewing machine to sew through them!
Next week, we’ll show you not only how to avoid sewing over pins, but how to avoid pins altogether!
Have you ever hit a pin? What happened next?