I thought it would be a good idea to pause between projects and go into more detail about one of the most essential bits of sewing equipment (after buying your sewing machine of course).
Your sewing machine needles.
Now I know it can seem a bit tedious (I certainly thought so when I first started sewing) but using the right needle for the project is 50% of success. Not bad odds, right?
Ultimate guide to Sewing Machine Needles
So how do you choose the best needle for the job? It all boils down to the fabric you’ll be using.
FYI – there are two needle sizing systems: American and European. American needle sizes range from 8 to 19, and European sizes range from 60 to 120. The larger the number, the larger the blade of the needle.
Delicate fabrics (like silk, chiffon, voile, fine lace or organza) work best with a fine size 9 or 70 needle
For lightweight fabrics (synthetic sheers, batiste, taffeta or velvet) use a size 11 or 80 needle.
When working with medium weight fabrics (gingham, poplin, linen, muslin, chambray, wool crepe, flannel, knits, jersey, wool, wool suiting, or stretch fabrics) a size 14 or 90 needle is a good choice.
Medium-heavy fabrics (gabardine, heavy suiting or tweed) use a size 16 or 100 needle.
When working with heavy fabrics (denim, ticking, upholstery or canvas) a size 18 or 110 needle is the best choice.
What about special fabrics?
It may seem like a pain, but it really is worth investing in a few specialty needles for special fabrics. The key ones in my sewing box are:
The sharper point of leather needles pierces through leather easily without tearing the fabric.
Jersey, stretch or ballpoint needles are best to use with knit fabrics as the point slips through the fabric rather than piercing the fabric and leaving holes.
Twin needles are by far my new favourite pieces of kit. They give a great finish to top stitching.