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The correct selection of sewing machine needles to suit the thread and fabric being sewn results in more satisfactory stitching. Fine fabrics should be sewn with fine a sewing machine needle, heavier fabrics with heavier sewing machine needles. For best results, sewing machine needles should be replaced when they become even slightly dull or bent or at the completion of every other garment.
What is a sewing machine needle? It is a slender strand of wire, shaped to precision that delivers thread to the machine to create a stitch. Sewing machine needles have become more sophisticated because of new sewing threads and novel fabrics available in the marketplace. Needles are found in various sizes, with different shapes and with more than one needle on a single crossbar.
Needles range is 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. It defines the needle shaft diameter in fractions of a millimeter. The lower number relates to the system in the U.S and is used to indicate needle shaft diameter.
Conventional sewing machine needles are standardized by manufacturers, but not so with serger needles. There are about 13 needle systems available for sergers. Always consult your serger machine manual when replenishing your needle supply.
A serger may take a special needle such as an industrial needle with a flat or round shank. Other sergers may use the standard machine needle sizes 11/75 or 12/80 as well as special needles such as ballpoint, metallic or embroidery. Test the stitch formation by manually turning the wheel to be sure the loopers and needles interact properly.
When two needles are used with the serger, the needles are set at slightly different heights. This is the correct configuration. Check your manual to be sure the right needle is supposed to be lower than the left needle on a 2-thread serger. This height difference is due to the rising arc of the upper looper as it comes up and over the fabric.
A guide to follow for conventional sewing machines is to insert a fresh needle after every 10 to 12 hours of sewing or after every two garments. Select the needle size according to the fabric you are using. Another sign that it may be best to try a new needle is when you encounter stitching problems with a new type of sewing thread or a new sewing technique.
For serger machines, consider changing the needle after eight or ten garments. Since serger thread doesn't slide back and forth through the eye of the needle, changing the needle may not occur as often. If the serger does begins to skip, try changing the needle.
The new all purpose golden ball sewing machine needle is ideal for working with knits, as well as woven synthetic and natural fibers. The elongated scarf virtually eliminates skipped stitches. The golden ball point will not damage delicate fibers.
A regular sewing machine needle is suggested for use with woven fabrics. Style 15 X 1 sewing machine needles, are used on the majority of household sewing machines, (European equivalent Syst 705). They range in sizes from 8 to 20 with the lower number indicating the finer sewing machine needle. Most popular sizes are 11 and 14.
A rounded "ball" point sewing machine needle is recommended for use with tricots, jerseys, lingerie and power net. Unlike sharp, pointed sewing machine needles which pierce fibers of knit / fabrics, destroying elasticity, ball points slip between fibers, preventing damage to fabric, and annoying skipped stitches. Select light or medium ball in the correct size to suit fabric.
A wedge cutting point sewing machine needle is recommended for use with leather and leather look vinyls.
Wedge cutting points pierce leather more easily than ordinary sewing machine needles, resulting in more satisfactory stitching. [All Denver Fabrics' wedge point sewing machine needles are identified as "leather sewing machine needles".]
A general rule when replacing sewing machine needles, is that the flat side of the sewing machine needle is placed to the back of the machine, if the bobbin is put in from the front. If the bobbin of the machine is put in from the side, the flat of the sewing machine needle is placed to the right.
Sew News, January 1996 and http://www.denverfabrics.com, August, 2005Information provided is for educational purposes only.