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What the colors on sewing machine needles mean

What the colors on sewing machine needles mean

Most new household sewing needles have two bands of color. The top color band indicates needle type and the lower color band indicates needle size. Special use needles, like those used for hemstitching, double eye, and quick threading, only have one color band to identify needle size.


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Double needle sewing machine compatibility

A double needle will work with your sewing machine if your machine can perform both straight stitches and zig zag stitches. If your machine can only do one of those two types of stitches a double needle will not work, it’s incompatible.

Why sewing machine needles break

Over time, sewing machine needles suffer stress damage or bend slightly, especially when sewing thick fabric. Too much bend can cause the needle to strike the feed dogs, throat plate, or bobbin case of the sewing machine. Excessive needle breaking can be avoided by slowing down while sewing or by using a sharper needle.

What 70 10 sewing needles are for

70 10 sewing needles have a slightly rounded point and are best for projects with woven fabric and knits. 70 10 needles are excellent all purpose needles that works with any household sewing machine brand. Brocade, fleece, thin leather and velvet also work well with 70 10 needles.

Difference between stretch and ballpoint needles

Stretch needles have a specially shaped ‘scarf’ or groove on the back side which ballpoint needles don’t have. Stretch needles are designed to push through stretchy fabrics, like those used for most swimwear. Ballpoint needles tend to miss more stitches than stretch needles in stretchy fabrics.

Between needles, when to use them

Between needles are what quilters use to ‘sandwhich’ padding and patterns together. The shaft of a between needle is shorter than average so that it does not bend as easily while quilting. Between needles come in different sizes, however, the best size for your quilting application is the one which barely allows the thread you are using to fit through the eye of the needle.

About size 11 sewing machine needles

Size 11 needles work well on light-medium weight knit fabrics and are the recommended needle size for light to medium weight embroidery. Size 11 works especially well when quilting with polyester thread. A size 11 needle should be part of a good basic sewing kit.

How to know what sewing machine needle to use

As a general rule: smaller needles are best used on lighter weight fabric and larger needles work best on heavier weight fabric. The thread used for your sewing project will determine the size and type of needle you choose. In general, product labels will tell you which fabric type they were designed for.

When to replace sewing machine needles

We recommend replacing old needles at the start of every project, or after every eight hours of sewing. Change your needles when they becomes bent, dull or develop a burr because damaged needles result in broken or shredded threads.

How to tell the difference between sewing needles

Larger needles have a smaller number while smaller needles have a higher number. Example, a size 18 needle is thicker and longer than a size 24, which is shorter. To discover which you like best try a variety of brands, types, and sizes until you find one you are most comfortable using.

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