There are only 2 really important things that you need to know about sewing needles. You need to know sewing needle sizes and types. Sewing needle sizes and types will depend on what type of sewing machine you have. A sewing needle has different parts and a seamstress is someone who understands the importance of all of these different parts. A sewing needle parts list would include size, shape, butt, shoulder, blade, point, groove, eye, and tip.
The shank part of a sewing needle is what fits into your sewing machine. The shank has a flat side which goes towards the back of the machine. The blade part of a sewing needle will determine the needle size. For example, a size 75 sewing needle will have a blade diameter of .75 mm. The shaft part of the sewing needle is basically the body of the needle.
The needle shaft will have a groove that runs along the length of the shaft. This groove is used to hold the needle threat. The needle thread that you use should occupy no more than 40% of the groove. The tip and point of a sewing needle will refer to the shape, size, and length of the needle.
There are three main needle types including Jersey needles, Stretch needles, and Universal needles. These three main needle types are used for most sewing projects. However, there are a few specialty needles as well. A universal needle is a general-purpose needle that has a slightly rounded tip. The Universal needle will be used for sturdy knits and wovens.
A Jersey needle has a medium ballpoint tip. This needle was developed specifically for knit fabrics due to the fact that it can slip between a knit fabric without causing breakage or damage. The Stretch needle may often be confused with a Jersey needle because it too has a medium ballpoint tip. However, this needle has been designed with a special eye for fabrics that are elastic or extremely stretchy. A good example for this type of needle would be a swimsuit.
Some of the special needles that you can purchase include needles for sewing leather, denim, and suede. There are also specialty needles for quilting, needlepoint, embroidery, and top stitching. When selecting a needle it is important to first select it on fabric usage or type and then on the size of thread and the weight of the fabric.
It should be noted that there are two different needle sizing systems including European and American. European needle sizes range from 60 to 120 whereas the American needle sizes range from 8 to 19. A larger number indicates that the needle has a larger blade. Some needles carry both American and European sizing numbers.
A needle is probably the least expensive component of your sewing machine so it is good idea to change your needle when starting a new project. A sewing machine needle will only have a lifespan of between 6 to 8 hours and that will be reduced depending on the fabric. The bottom line is that it is not worth damaging your expensive sewing machine by using a dull needle.