Sewing isn’t just about machine, fabric and thread, it’s also about the needle you use. Let me take you inside your sewing machine for a moment so you can understand the mechanism behind the stitching.
The sewing machine needle dips down, then the bobbin hook catches the thread and loops it around the bobbin thread; in theory this is all very straightforward, but your needle can really make a huge difference to this action depending on its age, thickness, sharpness and quality.
We stock, use and recommend Schmetz sewing machine needles, and always give our customers the following tips:
- In most sewing machines you insert the needle with its flat side facing away from you, however some machines are different! My Singer 201 requires needles be inserted with the flat side of the shank on the left. If you aren’t sure, consult your manual.
- Change your needle for every eight hours of sewing. The pressures of piercing fabric over and over can splinter the metal point or bend the shaft, and if your needle hits the throat plate or the bobbin hook you could end up needing repairs.
- If you hit the teeth of a zipper or a thick seam and feel the needle bend, replace it straight away. You could end up with machine issues or a little bit of needle lodged in you!
Here’s some info about needle sizes and types:
Universal – has a slightly rounded point and you can use it on knits and wovens. (Older machines may disagree!)
Stretch – a medium ball point with a special eye and scarf to avoid skipped stitches in fabric with elastane.
Ball Point – a medium ball point suitable for knits.
Jeans/ Denim – medium ball point with a reinforced blade to reduce the risk of needle breaks when sewing thicker fabrics.
Leather – has a cutting point to penetrate leather, artifical leather or really heavy non-woven fabric. Don’t use a leather needle on knits and wovens.
MicroTex Sharp – a very slim and sharp point that many of our quilters swear by for perfect straight stitching.
Twin Needle – create tuck piping and ornamental seams with ease.
Stretch Twin Needle – mimics a coverstitch on stretch garments for a professional looking finish.
You might wonder what the numbers are on the packets too –
60 – extra lightweight fabrics
70 – lightweight chiffons and voiles
80 – general quilting cottons and synthetics
90 – heavier fabrics like drill, corduroy and denim
100 – heavy cords, denims and suitings
Any questions? We’d love to answer them!