Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.

If you are like me, you appreciate shortcuts in quilting, like using pre-cut fabrics and chain piecing blocks. If you are familiar with her blog Diary of a Quilter, you already know that Amy Smart is a talented quilter who loves to teach fast and efficient quilting techniques.

I’m here to share with you my favorite quick quilting technique, which has to do with pinning. Actually, it has to do with not pinning! While I do frequently use sewing pins to piece curves, I tend to ignore them when it comes to many other patchwork shapes.

Quick Quilting Tips Pinning Alternatives

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Tiny Stitches Method

Okay, hear me out. This is my favorite pinning alternative, and I like to call it the “tiny stitches” method.


First off, I press all of my seams open. This is a great way to ensure accuracy when joining patchwork blocks.


Next, sew a few stitches back and forth (think of them as small “tacks”) over just the intersecting seams.

Open up the block, and check your work for accuracy.


See how accurate this is? Once you’re satisfied with your tiny stitches, you can fold the right sides of the fabric back together and sew along the entire length of the seam. And no pins are required!

I like this method for two main reasons:


1. Pinned fabric still shifts. See how the seam is off? I prefer to hold the fabric in place with my fingers when it is directly under the presser foot.


2. I find that these tiny stitches are more accurate than pins, and they save me time in the long run. If I find that the seam doesn’t quite line up just right, it’s easier to pull out just these tiny stitches than to pick apart an entire seam.


Fewer Pins

If you simply must use sewing pins, an alternative to heavy pinning is to use just a few pins at the seams where patchwork pieces meet. I often use this method if I’m piecing squares, where accuracy is important, but not as critical as when I am trying to achieve precise, triangular points.

Use two, four or six pins. Pin as much as you’d like, and if you are still not getting the accuracy that you desire, you may wish to try this next method.

Basting Glue

Another pinning alternative is to use basting glue instead of pins. My friend Alyssa of Pile O’ Fabric has a great video tutorial sharing her glue basting technique, which will save you from having to stick yourself with pins ever again!

For more time-saving quilting tips, make sure to check out the rest of the posts on the Fabulously Fast Quilts and Quilting Tips blog hop!

Monday, April 28
Sachiko Aldous of Tea Rose Home
April Rosenthal of April Rosenthal Designs
Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane
Tuesday, April 29
Jen Wilding Cardon of Stitch This! Martingale Blog
Amy Ellis of Amy’s Creative Side
Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet
Wednesday, April 30
Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts
Melissa Mortenson of PolkaDot Chair
Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock
Thursday, May 1
Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced
Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts
Jeni Baker of In Color Order
Friday, May 2
Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt
Lindsay Conner of Craft Buds
Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
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  10 comments for “Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

  1. ALyssa
    May 2, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for sharing my tutorial. Love these suggestions!

  2. Kathleen O'Grady
    May 2, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Wow! That was a great tip! I am going to try that. It totally makes sense and then you don’t have to worry about those seams not matching. Thanks!

  3. Jenny
    May 2, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I kind of feel like your tiny stitches method might be genius. Even if I don’t do it every time, it will be perfect for those problem joins that make me craaaaaazy.

  4. Sue from Massachusetts
    May 3, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I have been quilting since 1972 and this is the most awesome tip ever. I don’t know how many needles I have broken accidentally sewing over pins or how many stitches ripped because points did not match. Definitely will use this tip. Thank you.

    • May 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

      This makes me so happy! Glad it makes sense to someone else as well.

  5. Lori Morton
    May 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Love your Tip about Tiny Stitches,,,going to try this one real soon!! Thank your your Tips!!

  6. Michelle C.
    May 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I just tried this shortcut on a quilt top I’m working on. It’s brilliant! THANK YOU!

  7. Barbara
    May 5, 2014 at 3:51 am

    This just might be the best tip EVER! After making 2 equilateral triangle quilts in a row I have been SO frazzled with the challenge of lining up points. Now I’ll have to go make another one to see how this works for that! Thanks!!!

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