We’re going to take a quick break from Frozen costumes for another installment of “Oh No You Didn’t!”. This time we’re going to talk about the hidden dangers of using safety pins as a quick-fix in costuming.
Don’t get me wrong! There is a time and place for safety pins. They are my go-to for marking clothing when I’m doing a fitting. However, you don’t want to leave them in the costume while it is being worn.
- There’s always the chance that the safety pin could spring open and jab an actor.
- An actor could catch their heel in the space between the pins if safety pins are used in lieu of a hem.
- The costume material can work its way into the coil at the base of the safety pin and make a hole.
I put that third point in bold text, because this is the must destructive result of using safety pins, and I have seen it happen more times than I can count! In fact, it happened to this table cloth that I found at Goodwill.
I love the green to brown ombré and the interesting texture of its material. However, its loose weave made it a victim to the ravages of a safety pin! The weight of the material on the hanger and the way it was probably tugged about caused the fabric to bunch its way into the coil of the safety pin.
This is a perfect illustration of what can happen when safety pins are used to take in waistbands or other “stress zones” on a costume and then worn with the pin still in place. It’s a great quick-fix, but it can have damaging consequences, especially on vintage clothing or fabrics with a loose weave.
So, how do we fix it? Take a deep breath and grab some wire cutting pliers. Place the coil of the safety pin between the cutting edges of the pliers and squeeze the handles. Be careful, as sometimes the pieces of the severed safety pin will go shooting across the room as they are cut!
It may take one or two snips, depending on which part of the coil contains the caught material. Gently remove and dispose of the safety pin fragments.
The honest truth? Sometimes I still use safety pins and leave them in, despite knowing the risks. It happens. Time runs out and/or there is a “wardrobe malfunction”. Safety pins can be a handy expedient!
However, especially try to avoid leaving safety pins in vintage clothing, sheer materials, or materials with loose weaves. These are particularly susceptible to safety pin damage…Not that I know that from experience, or anything…
So, now you’ve been warned, but you also have a solution, for WHEN (not IF) you have to use safety pins as a shortcut!