Choosing the right needle for the right fabric

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Wondering why your sewing projects don't look great? Could it be because you're using the wrong needle for the job?

If you are new to sewing you might not know that there are several types of sewing needles and their uses. In fact, sewing needles come in a variety of thickness, length, point shape and even down to the size of the needle's eye. But if all you've been doing with your sewing machine are simple projects, then chances are you would have been using the same standard needle that came with your sewing machine.

Even though the standard needle does an okay job for most fabrics, there are certain types of fabric require you to switch needles. Hence knowing the various types of sewing needles and their uses will come in handy, especially if you want to sew beautifully without ruining your fabric.

Types of sewing needles and their uses

Just like sewing needles, there are plenty of fabrics in varying thickness and durability. Which is why choosing the right needle for the job is important. For certain types of fabrics, using the wrong needle may ruin the fabric completely. Other times you might even end up breaking a needle or two. Read on to see if you've been choosing the right needle for the right fabric:

Knits

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When it comes to dealing with knits, you need to choose a ballpoint needle. The reason for this is because ballpoint needles have rounded tips that allow the needle to pass between the fabric threads instead of piercing through them like regular needles. If you use a regular point needle on knit fabrics, you will only end up damaging the fabric. Not only will it catch and snag, but it will also cause the fabric to curl. A good tell tale sign that you're using the wrong needle is if you notice the stitches are starting to skip.

Denim

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When it comes to types of needles and their uses, you need to choose one with an extra fine point when sewing denim. Sharp needles are great for thinner denim, but you may need to increase the needle size accordingly when dealing with thicker denims. There are also Denim needles made specifically for sewing jeans, with a bigger eye for the thicker threads. A denim needle may look like any regular needle, but they are actually longer and sharper. A good tip is to have several sharp/denim needles on standby when sewing jeans. These needles dull quite fast, and you may need to switch to a new one midway. A blunt needle will make sewing difficult because it wouldn't be able to go through the fabric as efficiently as they should.

Leather

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When sewing leather, it makes no difference whether it is natural or synthetic leather. Any sort of leather sewing will require you to use a cutting point needle. It is also known as a wedge point needle to some people. They are durable and have a special shape and point designed to slice and penetrate leather with little resistance. You might not know this, but this special point creates a slit in the leather as opposed to making a hole like regular needles resulting in a neater finish.

Sheer fabrics

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Although generally standard needles should work on sheer fabrics, sometimes you might notice the seams puckering, or the thread might keep breaking on you. This usually indicates thread and fabric instability. One way is to try switching to a smaller sized needle. Sometimes certain sheer or lightweight fabrics require smaller and thinner sized needles to make sewing it a lot smoother.

Now that you have a basic idea of the types of sewing needles and their uses, do not shy away from future sewing projects. As long as you are using the right needle for the fabric you are sewing, with more practice you should be able to make sewing as easy as 1-2-3.