Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Read a Sewing Machine Needle Chart

A sewing machine needle chart provides a guideline for using the best needle for the type of fabric you are sewing. Read on for some tips for reading one of these useful charts.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Reading a Sewing Machine Needle Chart


Before you choose which needle you need by looking at a sewing machine needle chart, you need two pieces of information:

  1. Thread thickness: The thickness of the thread you will be using indicates the needle size you will need. 
    1. You won't be able to slip coarse upholstery thread through the eye of a fine gauge needle designed to sew sheer fabric, for example.
  2. Fabric type: A general guideline regarding fabric type is that woven fabric needs a sharp-point needle while knit fabric needs a ball-point needle. 
    1. A universal needle can be used on any type of fabric. 
    2. In addition to sharp, ball-point, and universal, there are other needle types designed for specific uses. 

Sewing Machine Needle Chart Terminology


A sewing machine needle chart tells you the meaning of the terms used in the chart, and shows you images that let you see the different types of needles used for different types of applications, such as embroidery, hemming, and making jeans.


In addition to the basic ways to use each type of sewing machine needle, the charts also give extra information on the types of fabric that work best with each type of needle. 


The Schmetz Needles company puts out a very nice sewing machine needle chart in PDF form that you can download or print out and save for future reference. You can also find a good chart on the Sewing & Craft Alliance website, or at your local fabric store.

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