When I first began sewing, I underestimated the importance of proper sewing needle use. I figured I could use the needle that came with my machine for all projects until it broke, right? Wrong! Using the correct needle and frequently changing the needle makes ALL the difference. Think of it like this, you wouldn’t use a wrench to hammer in a nail. It’s not the proper tool for the job. Sewing needles are the same way. You need to match the needle with the project.
As with any other tool, sewing needles will eventually wear out. The rule of thumb is to change your needle every 4 to 8 hours of sewing. For great quality needles, you may be able to go longer. For poor quality, best to change every project. Personally, I don’t keep a timer on my needles, so I pay more attention to how it sews. For instance, if I see skipped stitches, bunching, snagging, or anything other than a perfect stitch, I’ll change the needle. Knowing you are using the correct needle is just one less variable to worry about.
Let’s get to know what kind of needles are out there.
Spring – This needle is most commonly used for free motion sewing, embroidery, and monogramming. the wire coiled shaft acts as a presser foot to depress and release the fabric. Only available in universal, stretch, and quilting.
Understanding the Sizes
So you’re ready to purchase your needles, but what do the numbers mean? There are two sizes, the American size and the European size with a ‘/’ separating the numbers. The larger number is European sizing and the smaller number is American sizing. The size needle you need depends on the weight of your fabric. Think of it like this, a size 70/10 needle is for fine fabrics and the strength or the shaft and point are designed as such. If you use a 70/10 needle to sew two pieces of denim, chances are that needle will be out of service very quickly. Let’s look at some general guidelines:
60/8 – For the most lightweight fabrics, like Organza, Chiffon, or Georgette.
70/10 – Light weight polyester or Silk, like you would use on a light blouse.
80/12 – Most Commonly Used – Cotton, Rayon, blends.
90/14 – Mid-heavy fabrics, like Corduroy, raw Silks, bottom weight fabric.
100/16 – Heavy fabrics, like Denim and Duck Cloth.
110/18 – For Very Heavy Fabric, like Canvas or tapestry.
120/19 – Heaviest Fabrics, like luggage handles and boat canvas.
Not sure about the right needle for your project? Leave us a message in the comment section below and we’ll help you find it!