making your own medieval dress pins

Dress pins
Dress pins are a must have for the person wearing veils and wimples and so. But they are surprisingly expensive for what they are. I do understand why but still, I am a student and sometimes it is hard on the wallet to pay around four to five Euro for one single dress pin.

A metal working friend of mine said “well do them yourself, they are really not that hard to make”. But I did not really believe her, nothing is hard when you already have the skills of the material.
But when cleaning my worktable I found a piece of silver wire I bought a few year ago to wire wrap some jewellery and I thought that I can try it anyway. You can not really do anything worse then failing and if you do you don not have to tell anyone that you even tried.

But really, they ARE NOT that hard to make. It took me around 20 minutes to complete my first two needles, they are not all that pretty, but they are not ugly and works perfectly. And they cost me virtually nothing at all and are in fancy real silver.

A popular type of pin heads are the wire wrap and there are a lot of extant medieval pins found with this type of heads.

Dress pins - 1
I started with a piece of wire, it is quite soft at the moment but don’t worry, we will harden it later.

Dress pins - 2
Using a round nose pliers I started to make the wire wrap.

Dress pins - 3
Keep twisting the loose tail around.

Dress pins - 4
Here are my tools, the small pilers are a bit to small to be easy to use, but I got them ages ago and they were dirt cheap. The big one is just a ordinary wire cutter.

Dress pins - 5
Work your heads and try to make them look even and nice. When you have finished the wrap, cut the remaining tail of.

Dress pins - 6
I make two pins at the same time, to save time.

Dress pins - 7
On my tiny anvil I hammer the thread with a hammer. Any hard surface will work, but there can be marks on it after so use nothing to fancy. The hammer is just an ordinary builders hammer nothing fancy at all. We hammer the thread to make it harder, as it first was to soft to be able to use as pins.

Dress pins - 8
I try to hammer the thread all around, it will become a bit flat but we will sand it later so no worries.

Dress pins - 9
Sand it down with a piece of fine sand paper.

Dress pins - 10
Then cut the pin in two, try to cut at an angle. This will save you time later.

Dress pins - 11
When just cut the end are a bit to blunt to be used as they are.

Dress pins - 12
I use a file to file the ends to sharp points.

Dress pins - 13
See the difference.

Dress pins - 14
And that was that, they are now ready to be used as dress pins.