Fabric Pattern Piece Straight Pins
Sewing Patterns

How to Pin a Sewing Pattern to Fabric

In this article, you will learn a few helpful rules to pinning a sewing pattern to fabric accurately and then how to do so accurately.

Okay, I know!

You’re itching to get sewing.

You’ve prewashed and ironed your fabric; squared your fabric; and laid out your pattern pieces!

And now, you are finally ready to pin those pattern pieces to your lovely fabric.

And since it is super easy, you’ll be cutting and marking in no time at all!

So let’s begin…

Pinning: The Rules

Rule #1: Grain line is everything! It is important to make sure that all grain lines are parallel along their entire length to the selvage! Because a garment that is laid out and pinned properly is a garment that is more likely to hang beautifully on your body.

Rule #2: Choose straight pins appropriate to the type of fabric you are sewing.

Rule #3: To avoid fabric distortion, use as few pins as you can and pick up as little fabric and tissue pattern as you can.

How to Pin Pattern Tissue to Fabric

It is important to pin your pattern pieces to your fabric in a certain order…

Step 1…

Layout your sewing pattern pieces on your fabric, making sure that everything is smooth and flat.

Step 2…

Take your 2×18 grid rulerseam gauge and measure the distance between one end of the grainline and the selvage. In the image below, the selvage is 5 inches from one end of the grainline arrow.

Next, go to the other end of the grainline and make sure it is exactly the same distance from the selvage as the other end and pin.

The ruler must line up the same distance from the selvage(s) at both ends!

Measuring Grainline - Stitching in Colour

When measuring the grainline, make sure to use a grid ruler or seam gauge, NOT a measuring tape, for greater accuracy!

Step 3…

Next, pin the corners on the diagonal.

Corners Pinned at Diagonal - Stitching in Colour

Step 4…

Now, pin at the notches.

Then, pin at the hemline.

Step 5…

And finally, place pins no more than a hands-width apart along long, straight seams to avoid fabric distortion. (This step is optional. I don’t do this!)

To avoid fabric distortion, use as few pins as you can and pick up as little fabric and tissue pattern as you can.

However, do keep in mind that you may need to place pins a bit closer around curves or when pinning slippery, naughty fabrics.

Oh, and here’s a great tip…

Place your pins within the seam allowance (SA) to avoid making holes that could be visible from the right side (RS) of your finished garment.

Sew easy tip: It is a good idea to leave your pins in until you are ready to sew your garment. But DO make sure that your pins are rustproof!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn all you need to know about grainlines!

The End

Learning to pin properly is super easy and essential if you want professional results.

It is critical that as you layout and pin that you respect the grainline!

Well, now that you know how to pin your pattern pieces to your fabric, you’re ready to learn how to cut out your sewing pattern and fabric with gorgeous, even edges.

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to unleash your dressmaking superpowers and learn how to sew a simple dress! Warning: This is a MEGA 5-part series!