When I got my very first sewing machine, I didn’t even know needles were removable, let alone that there were about a gazillion options available. I thought you just used the same needle for every project – forever. But I was just a wee little Sarah back then and didn’t know much of the sewing world. So, so naive. Keeping up with all the needles available is hard, even if you are a sewing veteran. And if you’re just starting out? Impossible.
Here’s the thing – the needle you use is just like a painter’s brush and you’re thread is the paint. Having the right tools REALLY matter. But there are a few tricks of the trade that take time to memorize and figure out for yourself. But, as a busy woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
So we did it for you.
We literally scoured libraries, magazines, websites, and experimented ourselves for months to gather all the information needed to select the correct needle. We discovered that it’s one thing to have the correct needle for the fabric type and weight, but what about the task? I’m not going to use an Universal Needle to top stitch with metallic thread on cotton fabric. Normally, a Universal needle size 80/12 or 90/14 would work wonderfully, but only if I’m just doing construction.
What about heirloom stitches? They’re decorative top stitches, right? Yup, so go ahead and grab that Winged needle. Clear as mud, right? Nope. So, save yourself time and frustration and consult our Needle Chart before you start stitching. Toss out that old machine manual needle guide, because this is the last needle reference you’ll ever need.
From the shaft, to the fine point, to the metal it’s made of, sewing needles come in various sizes and types. They may look similar, but these days they’re engineered for optimal performance. Some actually slice the fabric to create a stitch, while others spread the weave to lock in the stitch.
That’s all well in good, but you’re here because you love to sew, not because you want to moonlight as a sewing machine needle specialist, (as fascinating as that sounds). Get back to what you love. Get back to that sewing machine and sew the best project even knowing you’ve got one of the most important tools taken care of.
P.S. Sometimes, needles are interchangeable. It’s true, you can get away with using a top stitch needle to sew metallic thread. Or, perhaps in your experience, a certain needle works better over another, and that is great! Always use what works best for you. This chart is what has worked for us and what is recommended by others pros in the sewing biz. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a message below. We’d LOVE to hear from you!