Tuesday, 8 May 2012

There is Nothing Like a Good Needle!

I started sewing my niece's graduation party dress and yikes! I made a horrible mistake, I forgot to check my sewing machine needle. What a beginner move! What occurred was some damage to the smooth finish of the fabric.  An oops! that sent me back to the cutting table to recut the bodice back.

So here are some tips that I have gathered to help avoid my beginner move.

  1. Keep a good supply of needles, you never know when you are going to replace your sewing machine needle.  
  2. If your thread breaks, you might want to check your sewing machine needle. It could be caused by a dull needle.  
  3. Avoid sewing over pins. We've all heard this one before. Even if sewing over pins doesn't break your needle it could dull the point that could lead pulling and damaging your fabric.  
  4. Make sure you are using an appropriate needle for your fabric. There are a variety of needle types out there including speciality needles. My 1980 edition of Vogue Sewing has an excellent needle and thread chart found on pages 172-174.
  5. Size ranges of sewing machine needles from size 9 to 18. Typically, the smaller the sewing machine needle size the finer the fabric. A fine size 9 needle would be used for lightweight fabrics whereas a heavier size 18 needle would be used for very heavy and firm fabrics.   
  6. Consider changing your sewing machine needle every 8 hours of sewing. Or at the very least test your stitches and needle with the fabric you plan to sew before diving into a new project.    
  7. Sharp-pointed needles are recommended for most sewing. But ball-point needles are recommended for knits since the rounded point tends to slide between the yarns rather than piercing the fabric.  
  8. A blunt needle may cause of thumping noise as it enters the fabric. This is something to listen for as it may result in pulling on the fabric yarns or it can cause skipped stitches. 
  9. Skipped stitches can also be caused by a dirty or bent needle.
  10. Along with testing you needle and thread you will also want to consider you stitch width. As a general rule the heavier the fabric the longer the stitch whereas the lighter the fabric the shorter the stitch. Be sure to test these general rules out before starting a new project.      
Now that I have opened a new package of "Microfibre" size 9 needles I'm ready to get back to work.  

Happy Sewing!   

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