Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Selecting the Right Needle for your Craft Project

Needless to say, there are a variety of needles to select from when it comes to crafting - by hand or by machine. Selecting the right needle for your sewing project isn’t always as easy as it may seem. I will touch briefly on the sewing needles most commonly used with Pattern Mart patterns.

Hand Sewing Needles
For general sewing purposes, a sharp needle will do the trick every time. As depicted by its name, a sharp needle has a sharp point, as well as, a round eye and is of medium length.

Embroidery, or crewel, needles are identical to sharps but have a longer eye to enable easier threading of multiple embroidery threads and thicker yarns. I personally like to use these for my general sewing because of their ease to thread. Ü

Betweens, or quilting, needles are shorter with a small rounded eye. These are usually used for making fine stitches on heavy fabrics such as in tailoring, quilt making and other detailed handwork.

Beading needles are very fine with a narrow eye so as to more easily fit through the center of beads and sequins. They are usually long so that a number of beads can be threaded at a time.

Doll needles are long and thin and are used for soft sculpturing on dolls, particularly facial details. Size normally ranges between 2.5"-7" long.

Sewing Machine Needles
Below are some general rules when selecting a sewing machine needle, however it’s always a good idea to check your sewing machine manual for proper needle selection.

All sewing machine needles are numbered. The smaller the number, the smaller the needle. Therefore it’s a good idea to use the smaller numbers (11 – 14) for light to medium weight fabrics, such as sheers and cottons. Use the higher numbered needles (16 -18) for thicker fabric such as denim. If you’re unsure of the size you should use, purchase a package of assorted needles and practice on scrap pieces of your actual project. You’ll be looking for the needle to penetrate the fabric without breaking due to being to thin or leaving huge holes due to being too large and there should be no loops or puckers in the stitches. Sometimes a simple tension adjustment will fix puckers (loosen the tension) or loops (tighten the tension).

Happy sewing!

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