What needle do I use for bag making?
(Feature picture courtesy of B Russ who does beautiful top-stitching :) )
Choosing the right needle for your bag making project can save you a world of frustration.
So, you've just about finished your beautiful bag and your doing that last bit of stitching. Suddenly, your thread starts to fray, or your needle gets stuck and your machine starts sewing mini stitches, or even worse a slash appears in your vinyl.
Your bag sewing can only ever be as good as your machine, but let's face it, most if us only have one sewing machine. You can't change your machine easily, but you can change your needle.
Did you know that sewing machine needles are designed for specific fabrics and tasks? Needles also have different shaped tips or points.
Types of projects and recommended needles
Sewing multi layers of cotton or woven fabric, with interfacing and/or stabilizer.
Try a Denim or Jeans Needle —These have a medium ball point and reinforced blade. They are designed for penetrating extra thick woven fabrics, with minimum needle deflection, reduced risk of needle breakage and skipped stitches. If your project is not too thick, you can also use a heavier weight universal needle, 90/14 weight.
Sewing Faux Leather and vinyl
Microtex/Sharp Needle —These have a sharp point for straight stitches on delicate and microfibre fabrics. The sharper point will pierce micro fibres, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, coated materials more easily, damaging it less. The very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching.
Leather Needle - These feature a cutting point designed to penetrate hide. Use on leather, heavy artificial leather and heavy non-woven synthetics. Do not use on faux leather or lighter vinyls as the point may slash the fabric leading to tears. (Both the rips and the wet variety. :)
If you're using regular thread, then stick to the needle that works best for your bag. Sew a test piece first with the same materials and thickness. If your thread starts to fray, or you want to use top-stitch thread, then switch to a Top-stitching needle. These have a long eye which means there is less friction on the thread as it passes through the fabric.
Bags tend to have many layers, so for most projects you will need a needle with a weight of 90/14 or above.
Happy sewing! For friendly help and advice, join our community on the Kiwi Bagineers Facebook group