What’s Behind the Scenes of Professional Sewing? All Worth Knowing About a Sewing Needle
Does a sewing needle below seem giant to you? It reflects the power that sewing supplies have on your every fashion project.
Sewing needles are crucial―no matter if we talk about hand sewing needles or machine-dedicated ones.
A good needle stands for good quality of the fashion craftsmanship.
Image source: Pinterest
We can see the Fashion Center kiosk at Seventh Avenue and 39th Street in New York City in the picture. Pentagram Architectural Services designed this 31-feet tall installation in the 1990s. It’s a homage to the city’s fashion industry. Check here the whole story of this installation.
For us, the meaning of this artwork transmits an important message. It underlines how much of our sewing efforts depend on a good sewing needle!
Table of Contents
Sewing needles―the beginnings
All the sewings supplies deserve a fair close-up. Yet, this one is special for many reasons;
As Martha Stewart writes:
“Because they are so simple, it would be easy to assume that any needle will do, but choosing the right one is what will make your project come together with much more success.”
It’s not to underestimate how hand sewing needle sizes and types vary. Mind that this road will be harder without a backpack full of knowledge on our shoulders.
The sooner we get to grips with all the useful pieces of advice we may get, the better!
Image source: SewingLoveToKnow
Sewing without a needle
How to sew… without a needle? Undoable as it seems, there’s always an option.
You can bind fabrics without using a needle and thread. Just get the help of a couple of no-sew fusible alternatives. See TheSpruceCrafts to learn more.
You can also sew without a needle by adapting different sharp metal items:
- a nail,
- a fishhook,
- a safety pin;
you would never expect how imaginative sewers are in inventing needle-like objects.
Discover the full range of options on SewingIsCool.
Image source: Technocrazed
As there is a giant needle―and there must always be balance in nature―other artists got inspired by the miniature size of the needle head. Amusing Hulk invites us to share a couple of happy moments with a needle in hand.
If you don’t know where to start your sewing experience, we will repeat it. A needle is what takes a random enthusiast from a sewing hobby to successful sewing business; and this is why we’ll pay loads of attention to it right now.
Also, check these easy beginner sewing projects to get even deeper into the fascinating sewing game.
For starters, to get you in the right mood, let’s see how needles are made. This way, we will start this guided tour on needles from the very core of the issue.
Next time, when a random kid asks you where needles come from, you’ll know the answer!
Types of sewing needles
We’ve learned how to make a sewing needle. Let’s get to grips with their types.
For starters, let’s understand one overwhelming number. There are 100’s of needle variations for every use and discipline. We’re not going to name them all.
Yet, to put them in some order, let’s get to grips with their main variables:
Image source: Sapiens.org
As we got to know them better, we can’t wait to share our discoveries! Let’s start with a couple of the most popular ones.
Sharps are needles used for general purposes, i.e. for most types of sewing:
- hand sewing,
- all household projects,
- and more;
They are usually medium-length and come in different sizes. They pierce and glide through the fabric easily without leaving unnecessary signs.
- a rounded eye,
- a sharp point (where they take their name from);
The thinnest of them are very slender. This type of needle is excellent for delicate fabrics like chiffon or silk. The thicker sharps can also work for heavier fabrics like canvas or denim. That’s why some call it a denim sewing needle.
For an exhaustive overview of all the needles out there, go to Jjneedles.
Ballpoints are like sharps (they also have a small eye) but with a rounded end. It makes for not damaging the fibres of knit fabrics. The rounded tip allows the needle to pass through the fibres. Otherwise, it would snag or cut through them.
If you’re interested in hand embroidery, you’ve found your type of needle!
Crewel (Embroidery) needles are similar to sharps except for the longer eye to accommodate thicker threads or several strands of embroidery floss. They are also known for having a blunt tip.
Thanks to StitchFloral you can now find out how to choose the best embroidery needle.
Why is it critical to use large sewing needles for this type of work? You’ll be able to open the fibres of the fabric, being sure that it doesn’t lead to unnecessary wear on the thread (typical for embroidery).
Quilting Needles (Betweens)
They are also known as quilting needles. We choose this type of needles when we want to:
- carry the thread through thick quilts,
- create tiny stitches and holes;
- very sharp points, and
- a small rounded eye;
They’re delicate and short, designed to ensure precision in tailoring. For example, they are going to work great when finishing details on garments and for the creation of even stitches on quilts. Also, best choice if you’re doing heirloom sewing or altering clothing. With these needles, you can dip through the fabric and load several tiny stitches onto the needle in no time.
For a guide through types of needles, check this guide by MarthaStewart.
What’s typical for beading needles is that they usually have a fine gauge, small eye, and are long. These features allow you to slide them through beads. They usually come in sizes 10–15, so you can thread many beads at once in a row. Short ones are perfect for attaching decoration to fabric featuring extra embroidery.
The main point for using beading needles is embellishing garments, embroidery beadwork, and creating jewelry with beads.
Beading needles are ideal for working with:
- pearls (especially threading and stringing pearls);
Also, put some effort into finding a strengthened beading thread. Mind that the inside of beads is often sharp and can cut regular threads. Remember that you have to choose the needle that isn’t too large! Otherwise, it can destroy the beads from the inside.
To conclude this chapter:
|Sewing needle type||Description|
|Sharps||The most popular type, used for the most types of sewing.|
|Ballpoints||This needle can pass through the fibres so it doesn’t damage the fibres of knit fabrics.|
|Crewel (Embroidery)||Top choice for working with embroidery. It can open the fibres of the fabric.|
|Quilting Needles (Betweens)||They can carry the thread through thick quilts and create tiny stitches and holes. Ideal for finishing garments.|
|Beading Needle||Perfect for working with embroidery beadwork, jewelry, embellishments;|
These were a few examples of the most elementary types of sewing needles.
Did you expect the issue to be so complex? Did you know that sizes of sewing needles would go great with one sort of fabric and destroy another at the same time? And that’s regardless of the super tiny sizes they have anyway!
If you’re already excited about all these handy instructions, don’t go anywhere. In the paragraph below, we’ll share other exciting types of needles with their descriptions.
But first, for a six-minutes-long relax, let’s watch “Hand Sewing Needles Basics” by Professor Pincushion on YouTube:
Have you noticed the cute little needle for twin needle sewing in the video? Have you learned a couple of useful tricks? You’re welcome; that’s what sewing friends are for!
Image source: ArtNews
As promised above, let’s tackle a few other types of sewing needles. Knowing them equals knowing a couple of sewing hacks to always have at hand.
Sewing needles and thread are ruling in the sewing kingdom. Don’t miss the lesson!
Read also about sewing threads types and tips to shine in sewing among other professionals.
Chenille is a hand sewing needle that we usually use for
- the thicker yarn,
- tightly woven fabric,
- crewelwork, and
- ribbon and needlepoint embroidery;
What are their specialities?
- a sharp tip, and
- a large, elongated eye
Bodkins needles are large and flat. They work great for threading:
You can use them to thread through casings, as a replacement for a safety pin.
They usually have a rounded point, thanks to which the end of the needle doesn’t pierce the side of the casings. Mind that being quite long they can occur hard to operate within baby clothing.
Darners, as their name suggests, are amazing for:
- darning (for example socks), and
These needles are usually much longer than others, have a larger eye (for thicker thread or yarn), and semi blunt tips. Yet, they do have a sharp point, just like many other popular needles. You’ll crave to get them if you need to repair a hole in a knit item.
Tapestry needles are long with:
- a rounded point,
- large, elongated eye, and
- a blunt tip;
They are typical for needlepoint and cross-stitch. They will do the job if you’re sewing on the open weave, thick fabric. In other words, everywhere where the needle can easily pass through the fibres without needing to pierce through it.
Have a well-sat lesson on tapestry needles on FibersAndDesign.
Upholstery needles usually aren’t included in standard needle books.
They are long, large, heavy-duty and sometimes curved (curved sewing needle can work at different angles). They are designed to hold up to dense fabrics. You’ll get crazy about them if you do:
- upholstery work,
- furniture, or
- quilts and coverlets;
They work well when you have to get into odd spots. They are also perfect if you can only access the outside of the object.
Curiosity: leather sewing needles stand out among other upholstery needles because their points are triangular.
It helps them:
- pierce through leather,
- suede, and
- vinyl smoothly;
|Sewing needle type||Description|
|Chenille||Chenille goes well with, among others, with cross-stitch, crewel work, and needlepoint embroidery;|
|Bodkins||They will be most suitable for threading tapes, ribbons, cords, etc.|
|Darning||Darning and mending are their specials.|
|Tapestry Needles||If you’re sewing on the open weave and the thick fabric they will work wonders.|
|Upholstery Needles||Designed to hold up to dense fabrics so upholstery and furniture here we come!|
Now we know most of the basic hand-sewing needle options. Watch out; you can become a professional in a blink of an eye. It will happen also thanks to the SuperLabelStore offer.
We’re talking about custom woven labels and care labels that will add a touch of professionalism to the garments you create. Don’t worry about not being able to find your type; there are plenty more fish in the sea!
35 intermediate sewing projects are there waiting for your next move!
Sewing machine needle sizes
Until now, we talked only about hand sewing and needles that we use for hand sewing.
But a significant part of sewing in the contemporary world is done by a sewing machine. While we won’t present all the sewing machine needles available on the market, we’ll start with a solid introduction to the topic.
Image source: Commons
Feel free to look at this in-depth research discussing “The Right Sewing Machine Needle For Every Project”. We’re sure you won’t have difficulties deciding on which one to choose anymore.
But the best is yet to come!
Down below, we present another cute little table. It contains all the pros and cons of using hand-sewing and machine sewing techniques for your projects (by Masterclass).
Feel free to have a look, if you feel like it’s too hard to decide which way to take.
|Hand sewing||Great for beginners||Inconsistency|
|Portable||Time-consuming (unless you’ve got a really well-organized sewing kit and great sewing room ideas)|
(discover these 10 reasons to start sewing clothes)
|Precision and control|
|Machine sewing||Faster than hand sewing (read about sewing fabric in general)||Costly|
|Convenient||Learning curve (this road is bumpier than the manual one)|
|Professional||Less control than sewing by hand|
Moreover, let’s see what types of projects are best for each type:
Hand sewing will excel as a tool with:
- Attaching patches or appliqués
- Invisible stitching
- Buttons and zippers
- Embroidery and cross-stitch
- Baste fabric
A sewing machine will outdo sewing by hand if we’re talking about:
- Garment sewing
Read all the descriptions filled with handy information on the subject on Masterclass.