As flimsy as they are, slippery silks and sheer chiffons are among the trickiest to pin down. And it’s their very softness and fineness that makes these fabrics so alluring, so the last thing you’ll want to do is poke permanent holes into the cloth with your standard pins. These thin entomology pins, with their smooth enamel coating are made to treat fine fabrics with the slight hand they require. Merchant & Mills, who are on a mission to find the best sewing supplies in the world, have re-purposed real entomology pins for use in the sewing room. The black enamel coating lets the pin sink into the most diaphanous cloth without snagging. The sharp point and thin shaft will break the surface with minimal, invisible damage. The dark gold head makes these pins easy to find on cloth, plus it’s subtle, classy and attractive enough to display framed and under glass, holding down delicate butterflies and glorious moths. Each box contains 100 pins. The gold heads are made of nylon, so remove them before ironing the garment.
Using the right pin for the job is essential for more accurate sewing and less frustration. While the core of these pins is strong steel, trying to poke them into thick, rolled selvege denim will bend them. Stick to delicate, tightly woven fabrics. To pin a project, place the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, about three finger-widths apart (closer if gathering, pleats or tucks are involved). This will minimize the amount of warping to the cloth. Store these pins in their box or in a wool felt pin cushion. Cheaper ones may be filled with various things that can scratch the polish on the pin or dull the point. Best to invest in a good pin cushion, or better yet, make your own.
Made for the poetically macabre work of spearing and mounting insects for display, precision is very important for these pins. Any chink in the surface could tear a wing, and a dull point could break the skeleton of a dearly departed Apantesis phalerata or Actias luna. All this is to say, these pins are to be trusted. And if youâ€™re thinking of sidelining as an entomologist, these are the pins for you. (Note that youâ€™d be in good company. Vladimir Nabokov, besides being one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, was also a research entomologist for the Harvard Museum of Natural History. He specialized in lepidopterology and once said: â€œA writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.â€?)
Black enamel with gold heads. Originally meant for mounting delicate insects but perfect for pinning silks and other fine fabrics without damage. 100 pins. Made in the Czech Republic. (more info)
– Pinning fine, tightly woven fabrics
– Black enamel pin
– Gold nylon head (do not iron these pins)
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