Ever wonder what pinking is or why fabric why people do it? Pinking is the serrated edging made with special scissors or a specific rotary cutter blade. For example, I used pinking shears to make strips for this heart-shaped wreath.
Manufacturer’s pink charm squares, layer cakes and jelly rolls. Is this to make them more attractive for sale? Or is there a reason for pinking fabric?
Some people will tell you that pinking prevents fabrics from fraying. That is not quite true. It minimizes the length of the threads that unravel.
If it minimizes the length of frayed threads, why do some shops advertise that they don’t pink fabrics? If you have ever sewn with pinked fabric, you know that they make a mess! There are little bits of thread everywhere. Some quilters do not like that mess. I can’t say I am fond of it.
There is another issue with pinked edges, how do you line up straight edges? Measure the difference between a pinked pre-cut and one that is straight cut. The pinked one should be larger as the “ditch” of the serration is the measuring point, not the “peak.” That is because the cutters know the peaks will fray some, but the ditch should be constant. So, if you are using two pinked edges, use the ditch rather than the peak of the serration as the straight edge. If you are using one pinked edge and one straight edge, put the straight edge on top and align it with the ditch of the serration.
Given pinked fabric adds about an extra quarter inch to each pre-cut, you may pay extra. This covers the fancy cut that may reduce long frayed threads and it covers that extra bit of fabric lost to the pinking. So keep that in mind when you purchase or cut fabric.