When you machine stitch with a particular brand of thread, the thread creates a groove in the eye of your needle that is unique to that brand. If you change thread you must change your needle as well since otherwise the groove won’t match the thread and your thread may well snap or fray – leading to extreme tension and stress!
Machine needles are classified into three types of point:
Regular – this is the finest point, for piercing the threads of woven fabrics
Chisel Point – these are for stitching leather
Ball Point- used for knitted or stretchy fabrics. This type of needle reduces cut threads by pushing them out of the way rather than piercing them.
Most major brands of needle are colour coded to show the type of point and they come in sizes 9 (thinnest) to 18 (thickest).
For machine embroidery you should use a universal needle in a larger size to minimise wear and tear on the thread. For metallic threads use an extra-large eye to avoid fraying. You can also purchase spring needles to work machine embroidery without a foot – or you can use a darning foot which allows you to see your work as you stitch.
Remember – there is no such thing as a cheap needle. Cheap is exactly what it means. The needle is one of the most important components in your machine, so use a good one.
Always use the correct needle size and point style for the job in hand.
Change your needle regularly, the point and the blade can be easily damaged, especially in difficult applications.
And finally, if ever you have a stitching problem, the first thing you should do is change your needle as this often resolves the issue without further fuss.
*Article from Bustle & Sew Magazine: March 2017. Find out more here.*