Merchant & Mills Heavy Fabric Pins

Strong, high carbon content steel pins with real glass heads. Won't bend under the weight of thick canvas or heavy blankets and drapery. 49 mm (1.93 inches) long. Made in Spain. (more info)

  • Merchant & Mills Heavy Fabric Pins - Kaufmann Mercantile1
Merchant & Mills Heavy Fabric Pins - Kaufmann Mercantile

As strong as they are long, and with a black glass head to match, these heavy fabric pins are not for the delicate. The impressive 49 mm (nearly 2 inches) of high carbon steel can tack down the heaviest fabric without buckling or bending. These are the pins you want when sewing blankets, winter-weight drapes, waxed canvas bags and other heavy fabrics. The daintiest job you'll want this for is to pin a rose to your lapel.

Produced in a century-old Spanish factory, the nickel plating ensures superior wear, a sliding polish and a sharp point that will sink into thick fabrics. Pins like these were the precursor to buttons and were used to hold together heavy Victorian dresses and bear the weight of binding corsets.

The glass heads mean you can iron over them, and the pin's length gives it enough leverage to hold down even thick, stubborn rolled seams.

Use & Care

Make the most of the length and strength of these pins on heavy cloth and large projects — blankets, tote bags, tents. The subdued black means they'll work for holding down bouttonieres, errant seams and other temporary weight-bearing tasks. 


When using these for sewing be sure to pin meticulously — it'll make a difference in the accuracy and beauty of your final product. To pin fabric, place the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric, and arrange them about 3–4 finger widths apart. Since these pins have glass heads, you can iron over them, but be sure to pull them out just before they are set to go under a sewing machine needle.

Store these pins in their box, on a pin magnet or stuck into a pin cushion with a good quality filler — wool felt is best. A bad, grating filler will dull the point and wear away at the pin's polish. You might want to make sewing a proper pin cushion (with trusty fillings) your first project.

Production & Design

Pin-making was cited by economist Adam Smith as an example of the benefits of division of labor during the industrial revolution. Before the advent of the assembly line, pin production was a complex, time-consuming task, and it was hard to make it financially viable. Even after production was industrialized, it took the invention of John Ireland Howe’s pin-making machine in 1832 — capable of churning out 60,000 units per day — to take pins from expensive precious jewels of metal-crafting, to common, trusty tools for tailors and homemakers.

It was this, the beginning of large-scale pin production, which led to widespread domestic usage – and the derivation of the curious name: pins sold in large numbers to textile firms were known as "bank pins," while the smaller batches sold to homemakers were known as "toilet pins."


49 mm x 0.78 mm 4.2 mm head diameter   Uses
Pinning layers of thick fabric, like curtains or blankets, or for keeping a corsage in place Materials
Nickel-plated high carbon steel with a black glass head Made in
  • USA
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