No, we are not going to look for needles in a haystack, but we do need to dig out all those needles in our sewing box and organize them. I teach an Embroidery 101 workshop, which covers the use of stabilizer, threads and needles. It still surprises me when my students ask me the difference in needles. I’m going to try to simplify this mystery and give you a place to go back to when you need to choose a needle for a certain sewing, quilting or embroidery project.I have worked with most of these needle types and when you use the correct needle, your project will always look the best.
You want to choose needle size according to thickness of your thread and needle type according to your fabric application.
Universal – Sizes 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 .. These needles have a slightly rounded point suitable for use with woven and knits. An all purpose needle. The most used size is 80-12. For thicker material a 90-14 works well.
Ballpoint Jersey – Sizes 70, 80, 90, 100 – This medium ball point needle is made especially for knits because it does not damage or break knit fibers.
Ballpoint Knits – Sizes 65, 75, 90, & twin has a special eye and point for sewing on Elastic and highly elastic knitwear. The special ball point is designed to help prevent slipped stitches.
Microtex Sharp – Sizes 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 Use this one for Micro fibers, polyester, silk, artificial leather, & coated materials.This very thin acute point needle creates beautiful top stitching, and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is paramount. Also a good universal needle
Top Stitch – 80, 90 100, For Top Stitching, heavy, multiple layers or poor quality threads. Machine, perfectly straight stitch lines and even stitches when using a straight stitch plate.
Jeans – 80, 90, 100, 110 Modified medium ball point and reinforced blade. Use for denim and similar fabrics. Advanced point design is a Schmetz exclusive. For penetrating extra thick woven fabrics, denim, or quilts with minimum needle deflection, reduced risk of needle breakage, and skipped stitches.
Embroidery – 75-11, 90-14, & Assorted Twin (color code red) Light ball point, wide eye and groove. Use with rayon, polyester and other specialty threads. The wide eye and groove protect fragile threads and guard against friction allowing trouble free embroidery and decorative stitching
Quilting – 75, 90 (color code green) Special taper to a the slightly rounded point. Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The special tapered design allows easier fabric penetration and helps eliminate skipped stitches.
Leather – 70, 90, 100, 110, 120 Cutting point. Use for leather, artificial leather, heavy non-woven synthetics. DO NOT use on knit or woven fabrics.
Wing or Hemstitch Needle – 100, 120, Twin This needle has a wing on each side of needle. Use on light or medium woven fabrics. Popular for heirloom sewing and to create decorative cut work. **special note; DO NOT use automatic needle thread when using this needle.
Metallic – 80, 90, Twin This is a must have needle when working with metallic threads of any kind. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads.
Serger – 80, 90 ** Only use the needle specially recommended for your Serger.
There are several brands of needle manufacturers. Schmetz is the most popular and will work in all machines. Singer makes a needle for their machines and Floriani has a stainless steel needle for all types of sewing, made by Schmetz. You can also get an excellent needle made by an old line company called Organ needles. If you look in your Grandmother’s needle box you will probably find an old looking package with the Organ name. The last is the Titanium coated gold needle. These needles last a little longer, but sometimes won’t work with automatic threaders on your machines because of the coating.
You may also like to experiment with the various sizes of twin needles. There are 8 of them. Use these for decorative stitching, and for doing a mock Serger top stitch hem on T-Shirt knits.
I hope this helps to take some of the mystery out of needles and their different applications. Never use an old or bent needle. We have had machines brought into our service department and the sewer can’t understand why their machine isn’t sewing correctly. Rob will ask the last time they changed the needle and some have said never because the needle didn’t break. OUCH!! Please, for the sack of your machine, and your sanity, Change needles often for, best sewing results.
Watch for the next blog where I talk about embroidery placement for towels, shirts, etc. Yes, there is a rule of thumb to go by. Sign up to follow this blog, and you will get notices when a new blog posts.
Until next, time. Happy sewing!
*** Source; Schmetz Needle Guide
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