You would probably have started sewing and hopefully enjoyed it, therefore you might have noticed that the sewing machine you are using has needles that have numbers on them. Well, it’s not rocket science, the numbers on sewing machine needles show the different needle sizes available. Generally, there are two sizing systems for sewing machine needles.
The first one is European and the latter is American sizing systems. If it is an American sizing system it is numbered from 8 to 18 whereas the European sizing system is set from 60 to 110. Irrespective of the sizing system, the finer the needle would be the lower the number. On the other hand, the higher the number, the larger the needle would be.
Usually, you would see these numbers on needle packaging, they are usually quite visibly shown and divided by a slash sign (/). For Instance, 90/14. If you are interested in finding out more about the numbers, needle size and their parts, you have come to the right place. This article is designed to help you get a much deeper insight into everything you need to know about needle sizes. Furthermore, you would also be guided on the best sewing machine needle sizes.
What exactly do the numbers on the needle represent?
In order to make it simple for you, try to understand that the numbers shown on a sewing machine needle are relevant to its size. Almost every sewing device needle has two numbers that are divided by a slash. 90/14, you might be familiar with this way of number presentation, and the rule is very simple, the larger the number, the thicker the needle.
As the left side represents the larger number, it is for the European sizing system, which actually ranges from 60 to 120. The American sizing system always ranges from 8 to 20, the numbers are represented on the right. These are the common sewing machine needle sizes: 70/10, 60/8, 75/11, 90/14, 80/12, and 100/16.
How to find out which needle to use?
Well, it’s true that many needles may seem interchangeable, but the thing is that using the wrong needle in your sewing machine would certainly turn out disastrous. There are chances that the mechanisms of your sewing machine might get damaged. Plus, using an inappropriate size sew inferior stitches, therefore, make sure that you choose the right needle for your job. It would be better to consider some important factors before choosing the needle in order to ensure that you are starting working with the correct one.
So the thing is that different needles are specifically made for different fabric types. Not every needle will work with every fabric type. Therefore, the type of fabric is a significant factor in determining the shape of the needle’s tip. Whereas, the weight of the material will help you to know the size of the needle to use. So, the first thing you need to consider is the fabrics that you are willing to work on. Regardless, it’s a thick fabric, a light one, or even a stretchy fabric. This factor will surely help you in narrowing down the choices you have regarding needles.
It is also important that the needle being used should also suit your sewing thread. Well, the general use with thread is that it should not occupy the diameter of the needle’s eye more than 40%. In case the thread you are using does not smoothly pass through the eye, you would probably have problems with your stitches. It is better to ensure that you already have an idea of the thread you plan to use when you go needle shopping.
The case with commercial sewing machines is different. They sometimes use various needle systems but usually, most home sewing machines use a specific system. So, the thing is that the needle system on your sewing machine does not really change, whatever the size of the needle is. So, again, before you buy a needle, make sure that you are aware of the needle system that your sewing machine has. One thing is certain almost all home sewing machines normally use a 130/705H flat shank needle system.
Parts of the needles you need to know
The sewing machine needles have several parts that are important for you to know. The flat and rounded part is called Shank which is used to mount the needle onto the machine. The shaft is the length that spans from the end to the tip of the needle, plus it also includes the Groove, which is the eye and the tip of the needle.
The Groove is the rest of the needle that represents the shaft down to the pointy tip along with the eye and the tip. The Eye is that part where the sewing thread passes through. It is important for the eye to work with the thread. Lastly, The point is usually sharp or rounded. Normally, standard needles are sharp and ballpoint needles have a rounded point.