Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Needle know how

Choosing the right needle for the right fabric is vital to getting good results.Knowing what type and size of needle is another story.With so many different needles to choose from it can easily become confusing.

Q: How do I know what size needle I need and what do all those numbers mean?
A: When you look at a packet of needles you will notice a set of numbers at the bottom of the packet.
The packet that is pictured above says 90/14.The first number is what is used here in Australia(sizes 60,80,90,100.....) while the second number is the American equivalent(sizes 8,10,12,14......)
This number represents the thickness of the needle.The lower the number the finer the needle eg: 70/10. The higher the number the thicker the needle eg: 100/16.Therefor the finer the fabric the finer the needle will have to be.
So if I was sewing on chiffon I would choose a size 70/10 and if I was sewing on jeans I would choose a size 90/14.
The reason why you need to get the right size is that you either risk breaking your needle if using a needle that is too fine for thick fabric or making larger holes than needed if the needle is too thick for fine fabric causing puckering.Size 80/12 is the most common size used and is mostly used on regular weight woven materials like cotton dress making or patch working material.

Q: Now that I know what size I need how do I know what type of needle I should use?
A: There are many different types of needle for different types of fabric.There are four types that I think you should always have in your stash.

Ballpoint needle:Ballpoint needles are designed for knit fabrics.The tip is smooth and rounded like a ballpoint pen. Because of this rounded tip the needle gently separates and glides through the fabric without breaking through the fibers.This prevents snags and runs.

Stretch needle: A stretch needle is designed for fabric with a two way stretch.Fabrics with a two way stretch like Lycra are commonly used on lingerie and swimsuits. stretch needles help to prevent skipped stitches and are a must when dealing with very stretchy fabrics.

Jeans/denim needle: Jeans/Denim needles are used for thick tightly woven fabrics.These needles have a very sharp tip and a larger eye to easily penetrate the fabric with ease.Other uses for jeans needles include free motion quilting and machine embroidery.The sharp tip will penetrate multiple layers and the large eye will allow the thread to flow freely to help prevent thread breakage.

Universal needle: The universal needle is the most commonly used type of needle and is used for almost 95% of all sewing.The tip is not as round as a ballpoint and not as sharp as a jeans needle meaning it has many uses.If you still fell confused about sizes and types then ask for a universal 80/12 and you can almost guarantee that this will be fine for most of the work you will be doing.


EmmysBoosAndRawrs said...

Thanks for posting this! I've bookmarked it and it's very helpful for me! =]

Casey Raymond, A.k.a Boo said...

That's great and its my pleasure.Keep checking back as I hope to have many more tutorials :D