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Sewing Basics: Needles

Needles have a multitude of uses, from hand sewing a button to hemming, closing up openings or attaching trims. With quilting, a tapered needle with a sharp point for stitching through multiple fabric layers and intersecting seams is often what is needed. This guide will help you select the best needle for your project.

How often should I change my needle?

You should replace your needles at the beginning of each and every project each and every time. A dull needle or one that is bent or has a burr can cause the thread to break or to snag your fabric! Bent needles can outright break or cause stitched stitches, so avoid the hassle and change your needles frequently!


Tips for preventing needle problems

• Use a needle appropriate for your fabric and thread. Using the wrong needle can cause stitch problems, broken thread, and broken needles
• Make sure to insert your needle correctly (consult your sewing machine manual) and that it goes all the way into the needle bar
• Test your needle first by sewing stitches on a scrap of your fabric before starting your project.
• Keep an assortment of needle types and sizes on hand so you'll always have the right needle for your project


Selecting Machine Needles

Universal Needle: A sewing-machine needle with an average point at the end. This all-purpose point allows the needle to be used on both knit and woven fabrics, as it will most likely penetrate the fabric without breaking any threads. If you need to keep a general needle on hand in your sewing studio - this is the perfect choice. However, keep in mind that it is always better to purchase a fabric-specific needle when you have the opportunity to do so.

Ball Point Needle: This sewing machine needle has a slightly rounded tip - the design of the tip allows the point of this needle to glide very gently between the threads of knit, jersey and stretch fabrics while being sewn in the sewing machine. This makes the ball-point needle an ideal choice to prevent accidental thread breakage during the sewing process, keeping the knit weave of the fabric intact at the end of the project.

Sharp/Microtex Needle: This sewing machine needle has a fine, ultra-sharp point. The sharp point allows the needle to pierce through the threads of woven fabric without breaking any fibers. It is always best to pair the fabric being used with an appropriate needle, and the Sharp/Microtex is best used for woven fabrics.

Wedge-Point Needle: A sewing-machine needle that has a beveled shaft just above the point. The sharp bevel pierces through heavy fibers and non-fiber materials, like leather and vinyl. A needle with a smooth, tapered shaft will not have the same force has a needle that is designed with a wedge point, making it an ideal choice for thick materials or heavy fabrics.


Specialty Needles

Twin Needle: A sewing-machine needle with two prongs coming off of the same base. Both prongs are needles with eyes near the points. The twin needle is a speciality needle that requires two spools of thread. Both needles will stitch simultaneously, creating two lines of stitching at the same time, with a zig-zag stitch on the underside. Twin-needle stitches are often used for decorative detailing. They also provide a great way to hem stretch fabrics with a conventional sewing machine, as the threads allow the fabric to stretch when pulled.

Denim Needle: A sewing-machine needle with a very sharp point and stiff shank for stitching tightly woven fabrics like denim, canvas and multiple fabric layers. Equipped with a strong, sharp point, slender eye and a strong shaft these needles will easily penetrate dense fabrics.

Wing Needle: Wing needles get their name due to the distinct flanges on each side of the needle that create a hole in the fabric which is held open by the stitch. These needles can also be referred to as hemstitching needles since they are often used on hems and borders. They are used for decorative finishing.

Metallic Needle: Metallic needles are designed with a larger eye to accommodate heavier thread and to make threading easier. Metallic needles also have a long groove to prevent the shredding and/or splitting of thread. The eye of a metallic needle is coated to protect more delicate specialty thread during stitch formation.

Quilting Needle: Quilting needles are designed to meet the demands of going through multiple layers of fabric. Quilting needles have a tapered point and a stronger shaft than a regular needle, allowing it to stitch across multiple layers and even across seams. The shape of the needle is also designed to minimize damage to the fabric.


Top stitch Needle: The Top stitch needle is a robust needle with an extra large eye and large grooves that accommodate top stitch and other thicker threads. The needles design also helps stitch perfectly straight lines and even stitches.


Embroidery Needle: For use with rayon and other specialty machine embroidery threads including polyesters. The special scarf, long smooth groove, and large eye, of this needle protect these more fragile threads and guard against excess friction.


Stretch Needle: Made especially for synthetic suede or highly elastic synthetic knit wear. This needle is constructed with a medium ball point to help prevent skipped stitches.


Triple Needle: Triple needles are actually three needles mounted on one shaft and are used to create three rows of decorative stitching at the same time.


Self-Threading Needle: A general purpose needle with a slip-in threading slot for people who have difficulty threading needles. These needles are helpful for children, those with vision problems, or those having difficulties with fine motor coordination resulting from arthritis or other conditions. Due to the limited types and sizes available it may be preferable to use a needle threader which is purchased separately or built into the machine to accomplish a full range of sewing techniques.


Needle Selection Chart

As a general rule for all needles, a heavier thicker fabric requires a larger size needle and a thinner lighter fabric requires a smaller size needle. Many thread manufacturers have recommendations printed on the spool - check the thread label for more details.


FABRIC TYPE NEEDLE TYPE MACHINE NEEDLE SIZE
Sheer to lightweight: Batiste, Chiffon, Georgette, Organza, Voile Regular Point 9/70 or 11/80
Lightweight: Challis, Chambray, Charmeuse, Gauze, Handkerchief Linen, Silk, Taffeta Regular Point 11/80
Medium-weight: Broadcloth, Brocade, Chino, Chintz, Corduroy, Flannel, Linen, Poplin, Satin, Velvet Regular Point 14/90
Medium to Heavy-weight: Coating, Damask, Drapery Fabric, Fake Fur, Gabardine, Wool Regular Point 16/100 or 18/110
Medium to Heavy-weight: Denim/Jeans, Canvas Denim 16/100
Sheer to Lightweight Knits: Jersey, Single Knit, Spandex, Tricot Ballpoint 10/70 or 12/80
Medium to Heavy-weight Knits: Double Knit, Sweatshirt, Sweater Knit Ballpoint 14/90
Specialty Fabrics: Leather, Suede, Buckskin Wedge Point 14/90 or 16/100
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STORE HOURS:

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Quilt Beginnings - Sawmill Road Store

LOCATION:

QUILT BEGINNINGS
6591 Sawmill Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017


STORE HOURS:

MON - THURS 10AM-6PM
FRI & SAT 10AM-5PM
CLOSED SUN


CONTACT US:

Call us! (614) 799-2688

Email: quiltbegin@aol.com