Friday, April 1, 2011

Needles, Needles, Needles

Okay, so I have been sewing since I was 12, and knew just "a little" about sewing machine needles - or, so I thought :) 

Anyway, when sewing, did you know that you should change out your sewing machine needle based upon what type of fabric you are sewing on???  Of course, I'm sure many of you know this; but, perhaps what you may not know is just HOW MANY different sewing machine needles there are out there based upon fabric type.

So.... here is a brief, but necessary lesson:

(1)NEEDLE TYPE                                              
*Universal - General purpose w/a slightly rounded point
Most wovens (and w/some brands, knits), synthetic leather, & synthetic suede            

*Ball Point - The rounded tip slips between yarns rather than cutting them                      
Knits such as interlock, rib knits, fleece, double  knits, and jersey            

Slinky knits & knits containing Lycra

*Jeans/Denim - A stiff shaft, sharp point, & a slender eye          
Denim, canvas, & other thick tightly woven fabrics

*Leather - The slightly twisted cutting edge at the point penetrates hides  
 Natural leather or suede; NOT for synthetic leather or suede

*Quilting - A thin, sharp, long point for sewing  
Cotton quilt fabrics & batting multiple layers

*Microtex/Sharp - A supersharp point pierces the finest yarns & produces quality topstitching  
Fine, delicate, & tightly woven fabrics

Okay, here is a bit MORE needle information - but still VERY important.

Needle SIZE depends on your THREAD

**Needle size is listed as two numbers:  60/8, 70/10, 80/12  (just a few, for example)
The first number is the European system, the second the American system - in essence, the smaller the number, the finer the needle.  As a general rule:  Use the smallest needle you can for your thread.  Below is a list of a few brands/types of thread and their appropriate needle size.

Mettler (60wt. cotton)     60/8
Metrosene                      70/10
Gutermann                      75/11
Invisible                          75/11
Embroidery                    75/11
  Dual Duty                     80/12
100%Cotton 50wt
  Quilting                        80/12
Metallic                          80/12
Jeans/Denim                   90/14
Buttonhole/Twist            90/14 or 100/16
Topstitching                   90/14 or 100/16

A dull or damaged needle can snag your fabric, affect stitch tension, break threads, and cause irregular stitches.

Perhaps if I had learned these details earlier, I WOULDN'T HAVE BROKEN SO MANY NEEDLES THIS WEEK! Oh well, there is always something new to learn.

Well, I hope this has been helpful, I know it was for me.  Good luck, and have fun sewing!

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