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Sewing 101 Sewing Help Getting Started Tips & Hints
Sewing Machine Needles
SINGER® prides itself on creating superior sewing machine needles that are designed for more than 17 types of sewing. The high-quality materials used provide durability that delivers performance and sewing ease.
The needles are made in SINGER®’s very own factory, where quality control and consistency are key - check it out for yourself!
SINGER® recommends to change your needle every 6-8 hours of sewing and/or type of fabric to achieve the most professional result.
The main parts of the needle are the shank, groove, eye and point.
- - Shank: Top part of the needle that fits into the needle clamp of the sewing machine. The front side of the shank is rounded, and the back side is flat. The flat side of the needle always faces the back of the machine.
- - Groove: Runs down the middle area of the needle, starting below the shank and ending above the needle eye. The groove helps guide the upper thread as it is sewn.
- - Eye: Hole through which the thread passes. The size of the eye is proportionate to the needle size.
- - Point: The shape and size of the needle’s point varies, depending on the type of fabric it is designed to sew.
SINGER® needles have the added benefit of being labeled with needle type and needle size so consumers can easily recognize them.
Needle style indicates the type of fabric the needle is designed to sew. For general sewing, the most commonly used needle styles are SINGER Style 2020 and SINGER Style 2045.
- The SINGER® Style 2020 is a Regular Point needle, designed for sewing woven (non-stretch) fabrics. It is usually indicated as a regular point needle by a red color on the top. Regular point needles are sometimes called ‘sharp’ needles.
- The SINGER® Style 2045 is a Ball Point needle, designed for sewing stretch (not woven) fabrics. It is usually indicated as ball point needle by a yellow color on the top. Ball point needles have a rounded tip, allowing them to “push” their way between the fibers of stretch fabrics without snagging.
After you determine which needle style is right for the general type of fabric you want to sew, then select the size of needle that is appropriate for the weight or thickness of the fabric (see chart below).
Needle size refers to the thickness of the needle’s diameter, which essentially determines the weight or thickness of fabric it can sew. The smaller size numbers indicate a smaller (thinner) needle size, used for lighter weight fabrics. The larger size numbers indicate a larger (thicker) needle size, used for heavier weight fabrics.
There is a wide range of sizes available, but the most common sizes used are SINGER® sizes 11/80 (for light weight fabrics), 14/90 (for medium weight fabrics) and 16/100 (for medium to heavier weight fabrics). There is also a size 9/70 available for very light weight fabrics (chiffon, lace, etc), and a size 18/120 for heavy weight fabrics (upholstery, etc).
Needle sizes are displayed by two numbers, simply due to the use of two measuring systems – American and European (Imperial/Metric).
Choose the Right Needle for Your Project
Here’s a guide to help you select the right needle for sewing some common fabrics.
Top 10 Needle Troubleshooting Tips
1. For best sewing results, needles should be replaced every 8-10 hours of stitching time.
2. Snags or pulls in woven (non-stretch) fabrics:
This can occur if the needle is either bent or dull, or you are using the wrong style of needle. Use a regular point needle (Style 2020) for woven fabrics.
3. Skipped stitches on woven fabrics:
This can occur when the needle is old, bent or dull.
Remove and discard the old needle. Replace it with a new regular point needle (Style 2020).
4. Skipped stitches on stretch fabrics:
This can occur if you are using a regular point needle instead of a ball point needle.
Switch to a ball point needle (Style 2045) which is specifically designed for sewing stretch fabrics.
5. Popping sound while you are sewing:
This is a good indication that the needle is bent or damaged. Remove and discard the old needle. Replace it with a new one that is appropriate for the type and weight of fabric.
6. Thread is shredding:
This can mean the needle is too small for the thickness of thread, so change to either a larger size needle or a finer weight thread.
Shredding thread can also occur if the thread is old or poor quality (uneven filament).
7. Needles are breaking:
This can be an indication that the needle size is too small for the thickness of fabric being sewn, so change to a larger size needle. Additionally, when you sew, do not “push” or “pull” the fabric, but rather, let the feed dogs draw the fabric along. If you push or pull the fabric as you sew, the needle could deflect causing it to break.
8. Large holes in the seam line of lighter weight woven fabrics:
This can be an indication that your needle is too large for the weight of the fabric. Change to a smaller needle size.
9. When removing and inserting needles, it can be helpful to place a small piece of paper over the presser foot area, so that you don’t accidentally drop the needle down into the machine!
10. When inserting a new needle, be sure that is inserted correctly into the machine, or it may not sew properly. The flat side of the needle should be facing toward the back of the machine. Make sure it is all the way up in the needle clamp, then tighten the needle clamp screw securely. Check your machine manual for specifics on your machine model, or contact SINGER Customer Care here for personal assistance.