Choosing a Needle

I know this sounds really crazy but I am always wondering if I am using the correct sewing needle for my project.  So, after a visit to my favorite quilting store and a conversation with the lovely associate, I decided that I should probably know the difference between all the choices of needles.

I went to the SCHMETZ website and there was so much useful information, I didn’t know where to begin.  imagesI had no idea of all the parts of the needle.  I just knew I sometimes had trouble threading them and needed different needles for different projects!  Through some reading, what I have learned is this.  The number on the needles, for example 70/10, comes from a system of labeling needles.  The 70 is an NM or number metric and is a system that cam about in the 1940’s to standardize needle sizing.  The diameter of the needle shaft in millimeters X 100=70 or .70 diameter.  They made a system where we would not have to use the decimal!  Then the 2nd number comes from a  system of  “merging” the Singer system to a US needle system.  Interesting!

When using a sewing needle all the components of your sewing need to meet up or you could end up with the Bermuda Triangle, all components meeting but the outcome is not a good one!   If you use to big of a needle, you could end up with gaping holes in your newly pieced project.  That could bring tears to your eyes, couldn’t it?  You need a needle where the thread passes through the needle with little friction. When choosing your sewing machine needle, you look at the wight of your fabric.  The finer the fabric, the lower the number of the sewing machine needle. For quilting, you would probably be using an 11, 12, 13, or 14 size needle.

Here are some of the basic needles we may use for quilting or crafting:

Universal sewing machine needle: slightly rounded point and sews on most materials, especially wovens and knits.

Microtex sewing machine needle: very slim needle with a very sharp point, good for piecing, precise, and makes a small stitch hole. (60/8, 70/10, 80/12, 90/14)

Quilting sewing machine needle: slim, sharp point which is slightly rounded so it makes it easier to sew through multiple layers (75/11, 90/14)

Topstitch sewing needle: long/large eye and can be used with heavier threads or poor quality threads, has a very sharp point to be used on multiple layers (80/12, 90/14)

Jeans/Demin sewing needle: slim, sharp point, reinforced/strong blade, this needle can be used for heavier fabrics and has a special shape to decrease stitch skipping (70/10, 80/12)

There are many more types of sewing machine needles but these are the ones that I personally use on most of my projects. If you need more information,  SCHMETZ and Joann Fabrics are wonderful resources.  Happy quilting or sewing and I hope this information helps with your next project!






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