One of the most annoying things about sewing is when you suddenly
you realize your thread is balled up above the eye of the needle. Especially when working with embroidery and the needle is moving so fast that by the time you catch it, your thread has broken. And if you’re not quick to stop the machine, a broken needle follows closely behind.
Often, our first thought goes to the thread — it must be a bad spool.
What about when you’re working on stretchy material and you can’t seem to get a consistent zig zag stitch on the right side of the needle swing. Working in the
service department, this is something we run into a lot.
People brought machines in for service thinking they were out of time. Believe it or not, these common problems are often solved with a lot less than an adjustment on your sewing machine. One of the most common causes is simply that you’re using the wrong needle.
For the best advice, talk to our expert staff at A-Best and we’ll help you find the right needles for every task. Give us a call at 507-377-8244 or stop in with your project in hand and we’ll steer you in the right direction based on your project, fabric and thread.
I remember a specific situation where a customer had brought her machine in repeatedly because it was skipping stitches. Our technicians would look at it and tweak the timing just a little bit, but usually just change to a fresh needle. It would leave the shop stitching perfect. However, like clockwork, it would be back within a couple weeks.
After maybe the fifth time, a pattern finally emerged. It always went out with one of our needles (we only use the highest quality in the shop) and came back with one of the customer’s needles. After sending her home with a pack of quality needles designed for what she was doing, her problems ceased. What an annoying problem and simple fix! Don’t only change your needle often (which this customer did) but make sure you are using the correct needle for the job.
You need to use needles designed for your sewing purpose. Not all needles are created equal.
What do you mean not all needles are created equal? Glad you asked!
There is a science behind how needles are made and where the eye is placed, as well as how the scarf is placed and how deep or shallow it runs. The tip of the needle (no pun intended) is also incredibly important to the finished result.
Believe it or not, there is a huge variance in performance based on measurements in fractions of millimeters. Thankfully, we don’t have to do the science! Some very smart engineers have come up with entire lines of needles that cover wide varieties of sewing applications.
If you are going to be sewing on cotton, it is important to have a sharp needle designed to separate fibers precisely, without pushing them into the needle hole or tearing them.
Likewise, a denim needle is designed to work with tighter woven fabric, but also stronger so it will go through the fabric easily without jams, but also withstand the bulky jean material. It also has a deeper scarf to allow for some minor flex (which is unavoidable) without skipping a stitch.
If you are sewing on knits, it is important to have a ballpoint needle. Knit fabric is stretchier than cotton and has a tendency to shift more while sewing, so it requires that the needle that is slightly rounded. This way the needles slips through the fibers without penetrating the yarn (the fibers) in a way that would cause it to tear and unravel.
Embroidery needles are made for high speeds (up to 1000+ SPM consistently). They also have a larger eye to allow for the more decorative threads that are used for embroidery to run through without shredding (and we come full circle). The point is neither sharp nor a ballpoint, but something of a cross between the two.
The metallic needle is similarly designed. However, the eye is even larger to reduce friction on the metallic threads, which are very delicate.
Leather needles are designed with a chiseled tip, designed to actually cut a hole in the leather. Think of a leather awl. A standard needle has a lot of trouble “punching” a hole through the leather. It starts with a small point and since leather does not have fibers that move around the needle, as it widens out, the needle meets a lot of resistance. This causing the needle to heat up, which can cause the thread to break. It also is a bonafide way to break needles. The chisel tip on leather needles allows it to cleanly pass through without incurring resistance.
Of course, the most common needle that people seek is a universal needle. It is considered the safe choice. It is a blend of the attributes from the other needles, but really not specific to any one sewing task. It is OK if you’re doing a little bit of everything, but not ideal for most applications.
Have questions about the right needle for your project? Call us at 507-377-8244, or stop in to discuss the right needles for your projects.
Customer Solutions Consultant
A-Best Sew & Vac