A sewing pin (Late Old English: pinn) is a small piece of pointed bone, metal, thorn, wood, etc., used to fasten or hold together parts of a structure. By the medieval period, in Europe, it had become a slender piece of wire (usually brass or iron) with a sharp tapered point and a flattened round head.

Until the twentieth century pins were normally made with a separate head and shank. The head was made from a short length of wire that was coiled around another wire (the shank). The head coil was then slightly flattened and secured in place by soldering together the two elements. By the mid-twentieth century most pins were in one piece, using stainless steel, except for specialist pins, such as those used by lace makers that were still made of brass.

See also the TRC Needles entries on American sewing pinspin cushionand pin money.


  • GROVES, Sylvia (1966). The History of Needlework Tools and Accessories, Feltham: Country Life Books, pp. 49-56.
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: 'Pin'.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 7th July 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 13 May 2017 09:43
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