Choosing a gift for your loved ones—whether it is for a birthday or a holiday—can be a difficult task, especially for the person who owns everything. How do you find the perfect gift that won’t be tossed under the bed or worse, re-gifted next year? That’s where handmade gifts come in; they’re invaluable. There really is nothing like a beautiful handmade gift from a loved one—no matter the season. Sure, the latest technology acts as an exciting gift, but nothing matches the meaning that comes from a handmade gift. You guarantee that your gift is not only unique, but incredibly meaningful.

 

Unique

Each gift you make is one-of-a-kind. There is nothing out there that looks exactly like your gift. That makes your present all the more special.

 

Personal and Customized

Handmade gifts are perfect for the picky person in your life. If you can’t find the perfect gift for them, you can make it for them, and what could be better? Maybe you’re looking for a certain color or cut of clothing and you can’t find it, or your special someone is particular about the scents and lotions they use. You can take their needs and wants into account and customize a beautiful gift for them. You won’t have to worry about a gift being slightly the wrong color, size, or mix of fragrances, because you will have customized the gift yourself.

 

Made with Love

Can you say that television you found on Black Friday was made with love? Maybe not, but that quilt your Aunt Helen made you for your birthday last year has love hand-stitched into every inch of fabric. Handmade gifts take so much more time and effort than store-bought gifts. You really show people they mean something to you when you spend hours crafting something specially for them. Plus, you’ll have a great time making the gifts!

 

Save Money

While it’s true that handmade gifts can be pricey and end up costing more than a store-bought equivalent (we’re talking to you, woolen sweaters!), sometimes you can save money by giving handmade gifts. For instance, consider how much money you spend on store-bought candles of bath products. The handmade equivalent, especially when made in bulk, is much more affordable. Quilters can stock up on materials when they’re on sale. You might be buying fabric in bulk in February for quilts you plan on making for Christmas several months down the road.

 

Do you need some time away from home and work to get to work on your holiday gifts? Schedule some time to visit Woodland Ridge Retreat!

 

Now that we’ve covered the basic parts and pieces of sewing machine needles and that the variation in needles is determined by the shape and size of the parts, let’s look at some actual examples of the different types of sewing machine needles:

 

Universal Needles have a slightly rounded point and come in various sizes. These needles are the safest choice for many general projects and fabrics.

Topstitch Needles have a larger eye which makes them perfect for topstitching with heavier threads. Due to its larger eye, topstitch needles are easier to thread and the thread is less likely to fray.

 

Embroidery Needles have a special scarf, a slightly rounded point, and a slightly larger eye which makes them ideal for metallic and specialty threads. The thread used for embroidery is thinner and more fragile so the larger eye and special scarf prevent that thread from breaking or fraying.

 

Denim Needles have an extra sharp point so as to penetrate finely woven fabrics without impacting the needle.

 

Quilting Needles have tapered point and light ballpoint to glide through layers and batting easily.

 

Stretch Needles have a unique design to help eliminate skipped stitches due to fabric flex. The eye of the Stretch Needle is shorter and narrower and the scarf is deeper.

 

Twin Needles, as you can imagine, have two separate needles mounted to one shank. These are used for decorative sewing. The larger the number the wider the space between each needle. There are also Twin Stretch Needles that have two stretch needles mounted to one scarf.

 

Leather Needles have a wedge-shaped point to penetrate the thicker material of leather and faux leather.

 

The Microtex (sharp) needle is perfect for working with batiks and hand-dyed fabrics because of its thin accurate point. It’s designed to be used with microfibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, and coated materials. It’s ideal for piecing and general sewing.

 

It’s also important to remember that dull needles will negatively impact your project so use new needles every time! Sewing machine needles can bend and become dull quickly so it’s a good idea to switch needles after around 7 hours of continuous sewing.

 

If you or your sewing machine need a weekend away, contact us for retreat times!

 

Whether you’re just learning to sew, are a seasoned pro, or find yourself somewhere in between the two, one thing is certain; the wrong needle can quickly derail even the simplest project. While all sewing machine needles have the same basic parts, needle shape and size vary depending on what you need. Sewing machine needles are all made up of these basic parts:

  • Shank
    • This is the part of the needle that fits into the sewing machine. The front side is rounded while the back is flat. The flat side goes toward the back of the machine.
  • Shaft
    • This part tapers down from the shank. The needle size is determined by shaft diameter.
  • Groove
    • This is the indentation that runs in the front of the needle to the eye. The thread is seated securely in this groove when the needle penetrates the fabric. You can feel the groove by passing your fingernail over the front of the needle.
  • Scarf
    • The scarf is the indentation on the back of the needle above the eye. The scarf allows the bobbin thread to pass closely to the needle eye catching the needle thread to create a stitch.
  • Eye
    • The eye of the needle is where the thread passes from front to back. The eyes vary depending on the needle.
  • Point
    • The point is the sharp portion of the needle that penetrates the fabric. The points differ depending the type of fabric.

Selecting the correct sewing machine needle for your project is just as important as selecting the right fabric and thread. A good general rule to keep in mind is that the lighter the fabric, the smaller the needle should be. Needles are sized in metric and imperial. The smaller the numbers the finer the needle. Next month, we’ll continue with this needle guide in more detail!