Fork Pins: The Best Way to Match Seams Perfectly

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

Nesting seams can be wonderfully gratifying or painfully stressful depending on your level of accuracy. But what if I told you that using simple and inexpensive fork pins could bring you success and accuracy pretty much every time? 

Well get excited, my quilty friends, because I'm saying exactly that! These funny looking pins lock your blocks together so well that there is zero moving and shifting while they pass through your sewing machine. Are you ready to be amazed?

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools
Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

How to Use Fork Pins

You pretty much use fork pins like you would use regular pins, except you are pinning both sides of a seam at the same time.

  1. Press your seams well. If you've been around the SQ blog for a while you already know this is where I plug the wonders of using a tailor's clapper. This simple piece of wood, paired with a hot steamy iron, will give you amazingly flat seams. But don't take my word for it! Try it out and see the mysterious magic yourself!
  2. Nest your seams. To get perfectly matching seams, the best technique is to press the seams of your two blocks in opposite directions. That way they fit together like a cute little puzzle. Lay right sides together and then...
  3. Pin both sides of the seams with a fork pin. Make a tiny seam sandwich with your fork pin as the bread and your seam as the peanut butter (the key ingredient to the best kind of sandwich.) It doesn't matter if your fork pins are facing out or in. Do what feels most natural to you.
  4. Sew slowly over your forks pins. This last point will cause some controversy, but I'm passionate enough about it that I'm saying it anyway. If you sew slowly you shouldn't have an issue breaking the needle in your machine or bending the fork pins. However, anytime you sew over your pins, there is some risk of that happening. If it does happen, simply throw away the bent fork pin and put a new needle in your sewing machine. No big deal.

    If you remove the fork pins before sewing over the nested seams, the chances of your seams remaining perfectly inline and nested drop significantly.
Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

I even made a cute little fork pins magnetic dish by super glueing magnets to the bottom of the Rifle Paper Co. ring dish! Now my fork pins feel even fancier than my straight pins.

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

See those perfectly matching seams? The fork pins line everything up and the tailor's clapper presses them good and flat. So gratifying!

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

Where to Buy Fork Pins

You don't need to spend a lot of money on these pins. I bought a pack of Clover pins for under $10 and they work great. My only complaint is that they are slightly thicker than my ultra fine quilting pins so I do need to work them into the fabric with a little more muscle than I'm used to.

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools
Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools
Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

Have you used fork pins before?

If you have, what are your tips! Is there a certain brand you love? Tell us about it in the comments!

Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools
Quilting with fork pins is the best way to match seams perfectly! Line up all of your quilt blocks and nest seams with these pins. suzyquilts.com #quilting #sewingtools

20 thoughts on “Fork Pins: The Best Way to Match Seams Perfectly

    • Pamela says:

      I have the same problem with the fork pins criss crossing whenever I try to pin which is really annoying and not as effective. Maybe the pins are designed for more lightweight fabrics? However, Clover does offer a sturdier version of the same fork pins: Clover Fork Blocking Pins # 3163. I haven’t tried them but some quilters recommend them. They are available on Amazon.

  1. Kathy says:

    You are the second quilter to sing the praises of fork pins. Now I must have them. Love getting the Voyage started. BTW, speedy delivery‼

  2. Jamie says:

    I love all your recommendations, so I’d love to try these out. I’m still confused about how they perform differently than just a single straight pin.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      They lock the blocks together on both sides of the seam so zero shifting happens. Sometimes with pins the blocks can shift just slightly under the pressure of the foot.

  3. Felicia says:

    Never tried fork pins but the idea of ring dish plus magnet… genius!! Excuse me as I further delay quilt progress and endlessly scroll the internet for cute ring dishes!!

  4. Vivian says:

    I have 1 tip for sewing over pins. When you are close to the pin, stop your machine, and use the hand crank wheel to stitch over the pin. Once you are over the pin, resume sewing normally. Even if you hit the pin when using the crank, it doesn’t seem to harm the needle at all – but sometimes the pin . This does slow you down, but it has stopped me from breaking needles and possibly harming my machine.

  5. Vickie Byler says:

    Annie Smith showed this technique in a class she was teaching at my LQS. It has been the key for me to get perfectly matched seams. She encouraged us to “walk” our needle over the fork pin using the hand wheel so as not to break the needle. I did this for awhile but learned if I went very slow I could sew over it and haven’t broken a needle yet. It works every time.

  6. Sara says:

    Yes! I finally purchased some fork pins and cannot believe the difference. Always thought I was a good pinner prior but these really do make a difference. Now I get perfectly matched seams 1st time around.

  7. Kathy S. says:

    I’m not a very experienced quilter but haven’t heard of these pins. I’m getting better with my seams but I am ordering these pins today. Thank you so much for the tip. I love quilting but am so inexperienced compared to the ladies in my church group – they are so willing to share and help and I’ve found that with all quilters. Quilters are a great bunch of people!!! Thank you all!!!

  8. Lisa A Flint says:

    I have been sewing for ages and ages and have never come across these little creatures! Will definitely be trying them out!!!! Thanks for the wonderful tips and sending you prayers and good wishes for a safe delivery!

  9. Mary says:

    I purchased these about 2 weeks ago after my Quilt Guild guest speaker mentioned them. They are Clover, but very dull points so very difficult to push through all the layers. I got mine at Joann, but they were in the knitting/crochet section. It seems they are made for blocking your knitted projects, so that’s probably why the points are so dull.

  10. Carolyn says:

    I love them but am wary of sewing over them so…… I pin them close to the edge of the seam with just the tips of the pins. Then sew till the pin is right behind the needle, while holding the other end to control it. Then with needle down and seam safely under foot, gently remove the magic fork pin. Takes a little more time but for me it’s worth it. 😊

  11. Amanda says:

    I have been using fork pins for a long time too, and I prefer to press my seams open where it’s practical to do so. I use Clover brand, and store the needles points down into a tiny tin of thread conditioner. The tiniest bit of lubrication that sticks to the pins helps them glide into the fabric so easily. Before that I would comb the pin down my ponytail (a hint from the old days of using nappy pins and cloth nappies, and is still a useful hint when pinning heavier fabrics with thicker pins).

  12. Cath B says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’m converted already and have just ordered some. Question though: will the fork pins interfere with the foot on the sewing machine? I have a 1/4” seam foot with a little black piece of metal- a guard that butts up against the edge of the fabric. Thanks again!

  13. Marikay says:

    Hair has its own natural oils in it. So swiping the pins up and down the strands acts as a comb and oil/lubricant adheres to the pin. This, she felt, helps the pin glide in more easily.

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