February Tip

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Let’s talk my favorite sewing machine needles 

Universal needle (top) and Topstitch needle (bottom)

One of the most important parts in your sewing machine and often the least appreciated is the needle.  A needle is a slender strand of metal, shaped to precision, which is used to deliver the thread to the machine to create a stitch.  As we all know, we spend thousands of dollars on the most advanced machine, use the most lustrous threads, and the most beautiful fabrics to make our projects.  But, all too often we use an old, worn needle or we use the wrong size for the project.  Having a dull, bent or damaged needle can contribute to frustrating thread breaks and a frayed look on your finished project, let alone the pounding sound of your machine. The best advice I learned while attending a seminar in Utah was to use the correct needle and replace often.  Overall, a clean new needle will result in well-shaped stitches.  Needles are fairly inexpensive and easy to change. You will definitely see a difference in the stitches.

There are a multitude of different kinds of needles – ballpoint, denim, embroidery, leather, microtex, quilting and topstitch to name just a few.  And they all come in a range of sizes.  Think of all the expense if you have all these, plus the time trying to decide what to use with what.  Choosing the correct one for your project can be overwhelming.  So here is what I prefer – the Topstitch.  Yes, I only use the Superior brand Topstitch needle for all my projects.  These are my go to needle for everything.  I use them for quilting, piecing, sewing and embroidery on all types of fabric.

And here is why: 

A thin layer of titanium nitride makes it last up to 6 times longer than a standard needle.  Yep, that’s right.  It will stay sharper longer because of its excellent abrasion resistance.  There is a misconception that a titanium needle is so strong that it can cause damage to your machine if it breaks.  The titanium-coated needle is only coated with a thin layer and it is not constructed out of titanium.  This is no stronger in terms of breaking strength than a standard nickel-plated needle.  I have found that it will bend before it breaks.

  •    The groove in the back of the needle is where the thread passes through the fabric during stitching.  The topstitch needle has an exaggerated groove to protect the thread when sewing especially at high speeds.  We all tend to do some speed sewing at times.  Having a deeper groove will allow the thread to pass through the needle easier.  Although, a needle that is too fine for the size of thread, will result in inconsistent stitches and breakage.
  • The eye of these needles is extra-large and easy to thread.  – Save those eyes.
  • This needle has a rounded sharp point and can be used on both woven and knit fabrics.

Sizes –

  • 70/10 – Use for Paper-piecing, Piecing, Applique’ & Embroidery for very fine threads
  • 80/12 – Use for Piecing, Applique’ & Embroidery for fine threads
  • 90/14 – Use for Quilting, Applique’ & Embroider for medium weight threads
  • 100/16 – Use for Quilting, Applique’ & Embroidery for decorative threads

My go to needles are the 70/10 for Paper-piecing and the 80/12 for piecing my quilt blocks.  If I am sewing clothing or a bag with a heaver thread, I will use the 90/14.  Once in a while, I will use the 100/16 for some decorative stitching, but yes, those are the only needles I have for my machine.  Using the right size needle for the thread and fabric you are sewing is the key to successful even stitches.

In a nutshell, my preference is to use Topstitch needles for all my sewing projects.  Just think, you only have to keep track of four different size needles.   And make sure you replace the needle more often than not.  I have found that the only machine that they will not work on is the Singer, because the flat side of the needle is inserted into the side of the shank instead of the back.

Remember to change that needle.  My opinion is to just try the Topstitch needle and I think you will really love them.  What do you think?  Mikey tried and liked!!

Quilted-Connections has offered a coupon code of NEEDLE20 with a 20% discount if you purchase either size 70/10 or 80/12 Superior brand Topsticth needles by March 15, 2021.  This cannot be combined with another discount code. Such a deal - thank you Tara and Brian.  Purchase here 


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