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The Right Needle For The Right Job!

Organ Needles

I get asked a lot about needles. What’s the right needle for the right job? There are so many needles out there right now. The vast majority of the time I use Organ brand needles, size 14. This is a medium weight needle, for medium weight fabrics. I embroider with, and piece with it. It’s a very good all around needle.

What About Quilting?

When I quilt, especially free motion, I use at least a size 16, best if I have a size 18. I learned this from Curt Catenhauser (owner of Missouri Sewing Machine Company) who has been in the sewing machine business his entire life. A size 14 is too flexible when quilting, you need a more stout needle so it won’t bend and hit your needle plate or bobbin case.


What About Stretchy Fabrics?

There are a lot of new fabrics out there with fibers that were really designed to be sewn on a serger in a factory, such as lycra, spandex, and minky. I ALWAYS recommend a stretch needle for these fabrics. Janome makes a purple tip needle that is a stretch needle, and so does Schmetz. These will keep your machine from skipping stitches. There’s even a stretch twin needle out there, but better yet, just use a serger in that case.


Leather, Suede, etc.

Some fabrics seem to want to catch and snag by simply looking at them. For organza and other “dressy” fabrics like that, I would use a micro-tex needle. Leather or suede, even fake leather or suede, create a lot of friction on your needle, which causes it to heat up. Curt showed me a demo once to showcase this. He ran leather through a machine with a regular machine, quite fast, and the needle was so hot that it actually glowed red. Since we don’t want things to catch on fire, I use a leather tip needle. It goes through the fabric differently, with a different shaped tip, to prevent heating up.

Overall, the important thing about needles is the most basic; change them, and change them often. Change them about every 8 hours of sewing, or with every bobbin change. If you’ve hit a pin, or your machine gets jammed up, you may not be able to notice, but your needle is most likely bent. It may just be the tip, but it’s probably bent.

For embroidery change them every 20,000-25,000 stitches. Sometimes that means in the middle of a design.

I hope you’ve found this helpful, and if you have any questions about which needle to use, we are always here to help!


Marlene Watts

Missouri Sewing Machine Company – North Store