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The Needle & Eye

Notes from Carola Russell’s one hour lecture about:

Needles & Thread: what they mean to each other and the fabrics they are stitched through.

In our lives, there are rules to live by. Then there are rules that can and cannot be broken.

Below is a list of rules, suggestions, tips, trick and techniques. This list is my list. I have tried and succeeded, tried and failed, tried and found success. My list is here to help you in all that you do with needles and thread. Use the information to enhance your levitra 5mg buy xyzal passion for sewing. Use what makes sense to you and discard the rest.

When it comes to sewing, it is not just about the end result, be it a quilt, a crafty item or a garment. Enjoy learning all there is to learn about sewing with a needle and thread. The more that you learn along the way, the more joy your craft will bring you.

Enjoy my list.

Most important: The life expectancy of a standard sewing machine needle is 4 – 8 sewing hours.

Less hours if you are working with synthetic fibers, more hours if working with natural fibers .


What size needle should I use?

This is a BIG question. In fact it begs more questions. What are you sewing? How heavy or how thin is the fabric you will be sewing? How many layers of fabric? What is the thickness of the thread?

  1. Fine(thin) fabric = Fine(thin) Needles  = Needles size 70/10 are fine(thin) needles
  2. Medium weight fabric = Medium Needles = Needles size 80/12
  3. Heavy fabric = Heavy(thick) needles = Needles size 90/14
  4. VERY heavy fabric = Very thick needles = Needles size 100/16

What are fine, medium and heavy fabrics? According to me, fine fabric is sheer like organza and batiste, very flimsy. One layer of quilting cotton fabric or broadcloth are a fine fabrics.

Medium weight fabric is pant weight fabric, one layer of light weight denim or corduroy, one layer of heavier muslin or one lay of decorator fabric.

Heavy fabric is a thick denim, corduroy, polar fleece, more than one layer of medium weight fabric.

A QUILT is HEAVY FABRIC. A quilt consists of several layers, some of the layers may be thin, but the multiple layers including batting, add up to “a heavy fabric”.

Use a size 70/10 or a 80/12 needles for “seaming” a patchwork quilt or garment project

Use a size 90/14 needle to quilt or stitch through multiple layered projects such as quilts, totes and other crafts

Use a 100/16 for very thick projects only. This was my solution for sewing thick denim patches to heavy denim

pants. The size 100/16 needle is VERY THICK and will not break as it easily sew through the thick fabric. A thinner needle (80/12 or 90/14) will most likely have bent and broken before the job was complete.

What type of needle should I use? There are so many different types!

Universal needles have a rounded tip and are generally a good needle for ALL sewing.

Skipped stitches: The cause of skipped stitches could be that the needle is struggling to pass through a high thread count fabric such as batiks. Switch to sharp needles such as Microtex Needles. At the time of writing this information, there is a debate that some denim and jeans needles are no longer “sharp”. Please make sure that the pack of needles says “sharp.”

Universal needles and ballpoint needles have a rounded tip. This means they won’t pierce through the fibers of the fabric. INSTEAD, the needle is deflected by the fibers and will stitch BETWEEN the fabric’s fibers.

PRO: the needle will not damage the fiber, especially if the needle is not in top condition.

CON: the stitches may look irregular especially if the fabric is not straight (off grain). A universal needle may struggle to get through batik fabric and instead push the fabric down into the throat plate, causing the fabric to get caught in the stitching hole of the plate

Microtex Needles and “some” Denim and Jean Needles have a sharp tip. This means they will pierce through the fibers of the fabric with ease.

PRO: By piercing straight through the fibers (not deflected) the needles will stitch a very straight stitching line. No skipped stitches. The fabric will not be pushed down into the throat plate. The machine will sound quieter as the needle glides through the fabric with more ease.

CON: The sharp needle may damage the fibers of the fabric if the needle is damaged.

What is the right type of needle for heavy and fine thread?

After you have picked the right SIZE of needle for your project, you need to pick the type of needle that has the right SIZED EYE for the thread.

This is not important if you are working with fine thread or medium all-purpose weight thread.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT if you are working with heavier, thicker threads. Follow these tips and you will have success sewing with thicker thread in the eye of the needle of your sewing machine.

My favourite needle for heavy thread is the Metallica Needle and the Top Stitch Needle. Both these needle have a large oval eye.

Why do you need to use a needle with a larger eye when working with heavy thread? The smaller eye of a standard needle may not be a large enough for the thicker thread to move through with ease. A small, snug needle eye may cause resistance, the thread will chafe and finally break, again and again.

The Metallica has a bonus feature. The eye of the needle is Teflon coated. This means the needle is ideal not only for heavy thread, but also fragile threads such as rayon and troublesome threads such metallic threads.

The bonus feature of the Top Stitch needle is the long groove along the front of the need is extra deep to accommodate extra heavy thread.

Smaller needles are never a good idea for heavy thread. The smaller needles not only have smaller eyes, they have smaller grooves down the front of the needle. Important fact: The thread must be lying in the groove at the front of the needle as the needle pierces through the fabric. If the thread is not in the groove, a skipped stitch is born.

One more solution to thread breakage and skipped stitches. The scenario: You are machine quilting on a fantastic machine, with beautiful fabric, excellent thread and are using the right needle for the job. Why is the thread breaking, fraying or skipping?! Consider this fact: A stitch consists of about 3mm of thread. That 3mm long “spot” on the spool of thread must pass through the fabric approximately 16 times before it becomes an actual stitch on the fabric! This means the thread is being chaffed by the fabric and batting as it passes through all the layers. The Solution: Change to a larger needle. The larger needle creates a larger hole in the fabric layers allowing the thread to pass through layers with ease.

Carola’s favourite Notions:

Schmetz and Inspira brand Microtex Needles

Aurifil Egyptian Cotton Thread

Thread Heaven – Thread conditioner, no more tangles and knots

Machingers – Quilting Gloves

Sew Slip – Teflon Quilting Sheet – makes the bed of your sewing machine smooth and slick.

Heirloom Clever Clips and Clover Wonder Clips – the new “pinless” way to pin

Clover Fabric Folding Pen – when you don’t want to use an iron

Heirloom Seam Fix – a seam ripper that cleans up after its self

Fons & Porter Glue stick – temporary wash away glue

Roxanne’s Glue Baste It – Temporary wash away glue

One thought on “The Needle & Eye

  1. Great, I really like it! Youre awesome

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