Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Pins and Needles...well, needles anyway

Just when I think I finally understand how to pick the right size sewing machine needle, I forget what those dang numbers stand for! But Julie at Thimble Pleasures has made it much easier to understand...and remember. Low = fine, High = heavy-duty. Here's more from their latest newsletter:
General Needle Information
Needles range in size from very fine 60/8 to a heavy duty needle 120/19. Most needles use the two number measuring system. The higher number relates to the metric system used in foreign counties and the lower number relates to the system in the U.S. Both indicate needle shaft diameter.

For Standard Needles (Universal) - Used for woven synthetic and natural fibers
60/08 Very, very fine: for sheers, chiffon, silks
70/10 Fine : for blouse weight polyesters, silks, batiste
80/12 Most used: for cotton, rayon, blends
90/14 Mid-heavy: for bottom weight fabrics, wool, raw silks, corduroy
100/16 Heavy: for denim, duck cloth
110/18 Very heavy: for canvas, tapestry
120/19 Extremely heavy: for boat canvas, luggage handles
And, if that's not enough, there are:
  • Sharp Needles - light weight needles, great for "microfibers" and silk-type fabric
  • Ballpoint Needles - Used for knit fabrics
  • Stretch Needles - This needle is a super ballpoint needle. It is coated blue with Teflon and is used for more difficult knit fabrics.
  • Denim Needles - This needle has an extra fine, sharp point that pierces dense fabrics more easily. Also, the lighter sizes are used to achieve the "perfect" straight stitch. Teflon coated.
  • Embroidery Needles - This needle is for use with metallic and Sulky threads. It minimizes the shredding of these fragile threads.
  • Quilting Needles - This needle will not pull your batting through your quilt top, eliminating "pulling".
  • Handicap Needles - This self-threading needle is great for teaching kids to sew and for the "visually challenged".
  • Leather Needles - This needle has a special cutting point that makes it great for leather, vinyl, and plastics.
  • Topstitch Needles - This needle is great for topstitching with heavier threads.


shibori girl said...

I've broken many a fine needle by stitching fabric too heavy for it. I think I'll print up a little chart to put on my sewing machine as a reminder.

BTW, I'm celebrating my 200th (!) blog post with a giveaway contest. Why don'tcha swing by to see what's what?

And how's your schedule look for a lunch date? Pretty much any day is good for me... :)


lori vliegen said...

this is great information!! of course, i'm always using my sewing machine for paper anyway, so i guess that there's not much difference between a ball point and a sharp!! :)))

Michelle said...

Great post! I have been sewing since I was a girl and never knew what the needle numbers meant. I just memorized which needles mom told me to use with which fabrics. :) Good to know these details....