Sewing Clips are Colourful and Tiny but Irreplaceable. Can They Actually Take Charge?
It’s fair to say that sewing clips aren’t heroes of the magazine covers, neither common ones nor expert sewing publications. Needle and thread overshadow them most of the time (discover sewing threads types and tips here).
Yet, that doesn’t mean that they are not worthy of our curious attention. Believe it or not, sewing clamps can do a hell of a job out there!
Image source: AreNews
For starters, let’s hear what real-life sewers have to say about sewing clips. Firsthand practical information happens to outperform theories quite often (read the whole interview on Byannie).
“Q: Were there any tools or tricks that made the process easier?
A: One part of sewing I never enjoyed when I was a kid were those darn pins. Using Wonder Clips made my life so much easier. I was able to quickly clip and unclip pieces and parts of my project as I was sewing.”
Why did she mention Wonder Clips and not sewing clips? We first learned of these sewing supplies under the brand’s name. Like the verb, ‘to hoover’ took its name from The Hoover Company. Mind that some people also call them “magic clips”.
The message is clear. The best sewing clips can make an impression even on experienced professionals.
Image source: BlogCloverUsa
Table of Contents
Sewing clamps―what are they?
We reached out to SewingBySarah to provide you with the best definition of sewing clamps.
They are plastic clips with an internal spring mechanism. This characteristic enables them to clip together fabric tightly. They come in a multitude of colours with measurement markings on the flat side (3/16″ 1/4″ and 3/8″). They are never large, but in their tinyness, they come in a variety of widths and lengths.
Image source: PatternTrace
How and why use sewing clips?
There are a few advantages of using sewing clamps.
We will also tackle another fundamental and eternal question. Should we use sewing clips instead of pins? It’s a big one so let’s get back to it later.
For the quick introduction, sewing clips:
- are quick to use,
- can hold together many layers of fabric.
They do wonders for:
- quilters as they bind their quilts,
- paper piecing,
- curved seams,
- bag and garment sewists―fabrics that can’t or shouldn’t be pinned (vinyl, leather, or waxed canvas/cotton),
- knits―they help keep the pesky edge from rolling,
- delicate fabrics: silk, satin, Liberty Tana Lawn,
- jeans, for flat-felling seams;
Sewing clips only seem irrelevant. In some situations, you won’t go far without them.
Image source: BlogCloverUsa
Sewing clips vs pins
When you think about fabric clips for sewing, you may find it troublesome to get to grips with one question. Weren’t pins made for the same thing?
The answer is: yes… and no. After all, you’ll find pins in all the sewing kits essentials. So why do we get crazy about sewing clamps?
Image source: TheYvetterene
Let’s see what are the pros and cons of both of these sewings supplies.
In the YouTube video below, we will see the reflection on “When and why do you use quilting clips instead of pins?” (for the record, quilting clips is another name for sewing clips).
In the list below (created with the help of DoItBetterYourself), we gathered the most essential information about pins.
Below, we came up with a similar summary on clips.
Feel free to discover all their brights and shadows with us.
Price and availability
Pins don’t cost much. You don’t have to pay attention to them. You can lose them and get a new pack in no time in all
Tiny and slim pins are often lost in the fever of work. It puts you and your machine at risk of being hurt or damaged.
They are reliable. Even if pulling or stretching, they’ll do the job and keep fabric right in place.
Pins are not for children and there isn’t much to add.
These two entities go on well together. Maybe it’s because they’ve known each other for so long?.
Pins are tiny and thin. They break often, especially if you work on thick or multiple layers of fabric (read about sewing fabric);
You can use pins in many situations, not only for simple sewing.
Pins always leave a track on the fabric.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the topics mentioned above.
As pins are so tiny and slim it’s more than likely that you’ll lose a couple of them sooner or later. Let’s make it clear―they can be almost invisible.
What’s the problem?
Having a few inconspicuous pins popping out of nowhere can put you at risk of hurting:
- Your machine (A needle lost in a serger can mean a broken blade)
- Your extremities (Thimbles can help prevent stabbings. Yet, we all know that this brilliant idea doesn’t really work with precise accuracy)
- Your body (Think about a deep scratch on your face when slipping your garment over your head);
Pins are not for children. These sewing supplies make it hard for your little cuties to play in the sewing room. We don’t even want to make you imagine what the result could be. Also, read about sewing room ideas on the SuperLabelStore blog.
Stabbing leaves a mark even with a tiny pin. That’s unavoidable and if you decide to use pins, you’ll have to face it. Some fabrics can handle it whilst, for example, vinyl will seriously deteriorate.
When it comes to feeding
- under, or
- close to a presser foot,
pins are the best.
They keep your hold for as long as possible. Mind that it doesn’t work that well with sergers.
If you already have them in your sewing kit, you know what we’re talking about. You can use pins at any point on your sewing path and, as an extra, for many other non-sewing projects.
As you see, pins are not that good. Since pins have so many disadvantages, many sewers prefer sewing clamps over them.
Look at this “Sewing Tip: Binding Clips instead of Pins” YouTube video by Alexander Dyer. It will introduce you in short to the idea of using sewing clips.
Sewing clips instead of pins sounds like an option, doesn’t it?
Now let’s crack the pros and cons of clips to have a full and exhaustive view on the subject. DoItBetterYourself came in handy as before.
Clips are dull and flat. No jabbing, stabbing or unnecessary blood while sewing or afterwards.
You won’t need any special tricks to learn to use them. It takes one hand and two seconds to snap a clip to your hem.
Look carefully: there’s no real attachment involved.
Many tiny sewing clips have even smaller seam allowance markings―a base for accurate reference.
Sewing clips come in various sizes. Yet, it doesn’t mean that they are extremely versatile.
Clips can hold thick and tricky fabrics without damaging them as pins would.
Unlike tiny pins, when using several clips, your fabric (particularly knits) can become weighed down and distorted. You’ll need to pay attention and feed it up to the machine with a tender move.
Sewing claps don’t pierce the fabric. You don’t have to worry about holes or snag on.
Cost and availability
Sewing clips are much less common. You can buy them online (sewing clips Michaels will do). They cost more than pins.
Clamps are visible and pins are easy to overlook.
You can hardly find a reason against making your kid play with them.
Let’s crack a few points that need a more exhaustive explanation:
Pins are easy to overlook.
If you’ve ever heard the pin unexpectedly scratching over your serger, you know the pain it can cause (btw, get to know sergers here).
Nothing of a sort will happen with sewing clips. These thick bright sewing supplies will sit right on the fabric.
- sewing clamps are fun to play with,
- they’re not dangerous,
- they’re easy to use,
- you can even come up with a funny, educational game for your kids,
- no injuries onboard!
Unlike pins, sewing clamps sit on the top and bottom of the fabric. What’s between has no real attachment so they can be slippery during work (especially jersey or elastic).
Are you surprised by how specialised these seemingly alike notions above can be? Now, it’s up to you whether you go with the novelty or good old pins.
In the article The Best Sewing Clips for Keeping Your Fabrics in Order by ArtNews, you’ll read which brand to go for.
Mind that in sewing, it’s all about quality. Don’t give it up for the sake of saving. It will take revenge later!
Image source: MadameSew
When to use sewing clips?
Do you feel like trying out the practical side of sewing pins? If you love upcycling fashion as much as we do, try out this step-by-step one-hour basket DIY instruction. Make your item with the use of sewing clips all by yourself.
Check also these:
If you’re hungry for more, go for advanced sewing techniques.
You can also watch the YouTube video “Clover Wonder Clips” to go through the use of sewing clamps for machine sewing.
Image source: BlogConnectingThreads
We’ve checked with PatternTrace to get to grips with the optimal use for sewing clips.
This is what we’ve found out:
- They will work wonders when you’re binding (sewing quilts, or binding a neckline). These clips can hold the binding whilst the fabric is wrapped around your raw edge.
- Bag straps – they are hard to pin in general. In the case of cotton webbing, for example, it’s hard to get pins in because it’s so thick. With magic clips, you can hold the strap edges by the top of the fabric. Then you can then start stitching from the bottom of the handle.
- Sewing curved edges, like sewing necklines, attaching sleeves. Putting pins around curves is hard. It’s much easier to use sewing clips.
- Sewing delicate fabrics will be much nicer with clips. They won’t snag your delicate fabrics causing runs.
And so on! Don’t forget that no one promised that the way from a sewing hobby to successful sewing business would be easy!
Image source: PatternTrace
It seems that the choice is not whether to choose pins or clips, but when to incorporate which. Some situations will need a different approach than others.
Check these 10 reasons to start sewing clothes and don’t find the method that suits you best.
After you’re done with your fashion project, reach out to SuperLabelStore for these fancy custom
No matter how the work at the sewing table was going, the final effect is what really counts.
You can be sure that using these professional labels sets you a straight road to marketing success in fashion.