Everything on How to Sharpen Sewing Pins In 2023

As a sewist, sewing pins are one of the common and compulsory sewing tools used to hold fabric patterns together, hold the seams before sewing, and press layers while you quilt. 

They hold the fabrics together to prevent the fabric pieces from shifting away from the position. However, sewing pins work perfectly only when they are in a good state of sharpness such that they easily penetrate through the fabric and hold them in place. 

Sewing pins like every other sewing tool get blunt and continuous use makes it difficult for them to pierce through the fabric. It is however necessary that you sharpen a sewing pin for proper use.

Everything on How to Sharpen Sewing Pins In 2023

Most people do not see sharpening sewing pins as necessary and this is because sewing pins are well-sharp to pierce through the fabric but if you do not have a replacement for the dull needle, sharpening your sewing pins can be done with so many methods such as using sandpaper, emery board, steel wool, and many others. Let’s have a detailed discussion on these methods:

1. Using The Emery Board

Emery board is one of the household use items commonly called ‘a nail file’. An emery board is any wooden or card tool coated with emery or any other abrasive. It is however effective enough to sharpen your sewing pins. Follow the step below:

  • On your emery board, add a little droplet of machine or any type of oil to lubricate it. 
  • On a flat surface, place the oiled emery board and hold the blunt sewing pin in between your fingers. Then, run across the rough part of the board with a bit of pressure while twisting to properly sharpen your sewing pins.

2. Using Sandpaper

Sandpaper is a sheet of paper or cloth coated with an abrasive material glued to one side of the surface.

To sharpen your sewing pins with sandpaper, it is best to use one with fine grit for tiny pins while the one with higher grit for thick sewing pins. This has the same process as using an emery board.

3. Using An Aluminum Foil

The aluminum foil helps to keep your sewing pins sharp. Get a large piece of aluminum foil and fold it into a semi-compact shape.

Then, stick your sewing pins into the folded block and pull it out. Repeat this several times till it gets sharpened.

4. Using A Soap Bar (Polishing)

Polishing your sewing pins with soap helps to remove the scratches, lubricates, and polishes your sewing pins (after it has been sharpened using the emery board or sandpaper). This makes it sparkly new. Here is how to use it:

  • Place a bar of soap on a flat surface
  • Insert the sharpened pin into the soap repeatedly.
  • In case of transfer on fabric, there’s nothing to panic about since the soap residue is washable.

5. Using Steel Wool

The Steel Wool can be used as a pin cushion. To sharpen a metal surface, steel is generally used and is best in the smooth sharpening of sewing pins (since they are also made of metals).

This is easily done by pushing the sewing needles into the steel wool and pulling back repeating this for a while.

6. Using An Ordinary Oil

Any oil works for sharpening your sewing pins including regular cooking oil, body oil, etc. Oils are lubricants that allow metallic tools to run smoothly.

You can oil your sewing pin by dipping it into the oil drop or container and rubbing it several times. After, clean the needle with a cloth and use it. The oil makes it return to its state of being sharp.

7. Using Emery Strawberry

This sounds like using the strawberry fruit but sorry, it is the emery strawberry packed with emery sand that comes with the tomato pincushion. To sharpen your sewing pins with the emery cushion or strawberry in the absence of an emery board, do the following:

  • For a stable position, place your strawberry cushion on a flat surface.
  • Insert the blunt sewing pin into the cushion and turn it a few times.
  • Then, pull the pin out to check if it’s sharpened. 

8. Using Wool Piece

A wool piece to sharpen dull pins sounds quite shocking, but of course, it works!

  • Get a fabric piece and layer it with a cut-out piece of wool (an old sweater or any wool project).
  • Then, run your sewing pins through the wool piece twice or more. 

9. Polish With Paste

Using any kind of polishing grit paste like toothpaste, metal-polishing paste, or automobile-paint polishing paste to polish your sewing pins is considered a long process but has proven to be successful in sharpening, polishing, and making them smooth after grinding. Here is how to use the polish grit paste:

  • Apply a portion of the desired paste on a cloth piece.
  • Then, stick the pin over the paste and pull through backward repeating it several times. Doing this requires a downward force.
  • The gritty paste then gets blackened – this means that the sewing pin is being polished and after a while becomes smooth.
  • Then, clean the gritty paste off the pin and wash your hands with hand wash, soap, or detergent and clean water.

What Is The Importance Of Sharpening My Sewing Pins?

Like every other sewing tool e.g the sewing needles, sewing pins also get dull and blunt. the sewing needle is however different from the sewing pins – the needles have an opening for the thread to pass through while the pins do not. This then makes it compulsory to sharpen them.

When you’re using a blunt pin to sew, it slows you down and even tends to be annoying and discouraging (it looks like you’re wasting efforts). Sharpening your sewing pin is a good idea as the following are achieved:

  • Improved sewing quality such that the stitches are straight, fine, and well-formed.
  • Using a sharp sewing pin allows you to sew smoothly and make it even more fun.
  • A sharp pin won’t damage the fabric unlike a blunt pin forcing its way through the fabric.
  • The issue of skipped stitches won’t occur as the pin is sharp enough to catch with the fabric.
  • It helps to hold the pattern of the fabrics and seams together perfectly and prevent the fabric from shifting while you sew or quilt.

Why Do My Sewing Pins Get Blunt?

Sewing pins are an essential tool for any sewer, but over time they can become dull, blunt, and less effective. There are reasons why this happens, some of which are common causes are:

  • Sewing pins are made of metal, which can gradually wear down the more you use them. Overusing them reduces how well they can hold the fabrics together.
  • The tips of sewing pins are prone to bending or damage which can make them less effective at piercing through the fabrics.
  • Regular use of sewing pins on heavy and thick fabrics makes them become dull quickly.
  • Improper storing of your sewing pins is likely to get them damaged or bent which can then result in bluntness. 

How Do I Know When My Sewing Pins Are Blunt?

It is pretty much easy to detect when your sewing pins are blunt and ought to be sharpened. Between your thumb and forefinger, hold the sewing pin to point down. Then, run through it lightly with your pinky or index finger on the other hand while you ensure to touch the whole point. If your finger is able to catch any point on the pin, then it means it is dull and needs to be sharpened.

How To Protect And Keep My Sewing Pins Sharp?

There are different ways to keep your sewing pins sharp and away from bluntness. After all, a sharp pin is essential for a successful project.

  • Use a pin cushion: A pin cushion will help protect your pins from getting damaged or bent. 
  • Avoid using them on thick fabrics: if you are working with a thick fabric, it is advisable to use a heavy-duty pin. Sewing pins are designed for light to medium-weight fabrics.
  • Use a pin sharpener: This is a quick and easy way to keep your sewing pin sharp. All you have to do is have one close by, and sharpen your sewing pins anytime they are getting blunt.


Sewing pins are considered to be disposable but if there isn’t a replacement yet, it is best to get them sharpened which is more ideal than forcefully passing a bent pin through the fabric. 

It is highly recommended that you get a new sewing pin for perfect holding as it is sharper than a dull-sharpened one. All the listed methods of sharpening are exciting and easy to do. To keep your sewing pins in good condition, it’s important to care for them properly by storing them in a safe, cool, and dry place where they are well protected from getting dull.