Timaru Sewing Centre - Inspiring Creativity

Hand Sew Needle Guide



HAND SEWING NEEDLE GUIDE
 
Just like the needles for your sewing machine it is important to select the best hand sewing needle for your project.  You will need to take into consideration the type of fabric that you are sewing, the type of thread that you are using and the type of technique used.
 
The eye of the needle will need to be just large enough to accommodate the thread.  The needle size will need to be small enough to stitch through the fabric without stretching or damaging but strong enough not to bend or break. 
 
The length and thickness of the needle increases as the size gets smaller.  For example, a size 1 needle will be thicker and longer, while a size 12 needle will be finer and shorter. 
 
There are many different types of needles, here are the main types:
 
Ballpoint
Features a rounded point ideal for knits as a sharp point can easily damage knit fabric
 
Beading
These needles are very fine, with a narrow eye to fit through the centre of beads.  They are long in length which makes it ideal for stringing beads.  Because of the length they do bend very easily and if you are sewing just an individual bead onto fabric an alternative needle could be used.
 
Betweens or Quilting
These are shorter than sharps and feature a small, rounded eye and are used for making fine stitches on heavy fabrics such as in tailoring and quilt making.  Quilting between needles (if the manufacturer differentiates) are slightly shorter and narrower than a quilting needle.
 
Chenille
Chenille needles are very similar to tapestry but with a sharp point.  They have a large, long eye, are thick and have a sharp point.  The eye accommodates ribbon or several strands of floss while the sharp point makes it easy to stitch through coarse fabrics.
 
Darners
A darning needle has a large eye (for yarn); are long in length and have a sharp point.  There are different types of darners such as cotton, long and yarn.  The thickness and length vary between the types.
 
 
Doll
These are exceptionally long, thin needles with a sharp point and are traditionally used for doll sculpture or stringing arms/legs onto a doll. 
 
Embroidery or Crewel
These are similar to sharps but have a larger eye for easy threading or for the use of thicker threads for embroidery on tightly woven fabrics. 
 
Knitters
Similar to tapestry but thicker and with a larger eye to accommodate knitting yarn/wool for closing the seams on knitted garments.
 
Leather
The leather needle features a triangular point for stitching through leathers or imitation leather type fabrics without tearing. 
 
Milliners/Straws
Similar to sharps but longer in length they are traditionally used for hat making but are very useful for basting and pleating.
 
Sharps
These are general purpose hand sewing needles and are of medium length with a round eye and a sharp point.
 
Tapestry
The tapestry needle features a large eye and a blunt tip to pass through loosely woven fabrics without damage.   They are used for needlepoint, embroidery and decorative stitching providing that the fabric is open weave as well as tapestry.
 
Upholstery
These are specialized needles especially for upholstery and include heavy, long needles as well as curved.  Curved needles are used wherever a straight needle is awkward or impractical.


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