Q: You often mention that we should change our needle after every garment or project. Aren’t you just trying to sell more needles?

A: I am trying to sell more needles, but only because the needle is the part of your sewing machine that works the hardest, and needs to be replaced most often. The needle is the “busiest” part of your sewing machine. It carries the thread, passes through the fabric, meets the hook (bobbin thread) with just a fraction of a millimeter of clearance. Your needle is subject to all kinds of abuse. It builds up heat due to the speed that it is moving through your fabric, many of you sew over pins and this is also hard on your needle and will create burrs that damage your fabric. The point is very fine, and will get dull, even if it is not dull to the naked eye. Because of the heat buildup, the metal will soften, and your needle may bend. (Again, this may not be apparent to the naked eye, but your first indicator is that your needle threader may no longer be aligned with the eye of the needle.) Once the needle is bent, it may damage the machine, as it may be hitting the hook (which is the heart of your sewing machine, the part that determines your stitch quality and accuracy).

Think of changing your needle as good nutrition for your sewing machine. Would you go more than a day without eating, relying on the reserves in your body? Would you go a month, six months or a year with out eating? Of course you wouldn’t. The same is true with a needle. You should change your needle after every project, just as you would eat 3 square meals a day. Your body runs better with nutritious food, your sewing machine runs better with a new needle.

Just SEW You Know…
Written by Amy Smith

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