Which Needle Do I Need For My Machine?
The type and size of needle you need for your industrial sewing machine will depend on the type of fabric and the sewing task you are performing. Industrial sewing machines can handle a variety of materials, so it's crucial to choose the right needle for the best results.
Here is some more detailed information to help you choose the right needle for your industrial sewing machine:
Needle System: The needle system often consists of 2 groups of numbers or letters with an X separating them. For example, 135 X 17 or DP X 17. Sometimes the needle system consists of a group of numbers with a letter at the end such as 134R, or just a series of numbers 134-35.
Fabric Type: Lightweight Fabrics (Cotton, Silk): Use smaller-sized needles, such as 70/10 or 80/12. Medium-weight Fabrics (Cotton Blends, Linen): Use 90/14 needles.Heavyweight Fabrics (Denim, Canvas, Leather): Choose larger needles, such as 100/16, 110/18, or even higher. We use sizes 18/19 for the boat canvas side and 21/22/ sometimes 23 for the boat seats in leather or vinyl.
Needle Coating: Needles can have different coatings for specific purposes. For example, titanium-coated needles are durable and resistant to wear. Chrome-plated needles are also popular for their smooth sewing. We use mainly chrome plated.
Thread Type: Consider the type and thickness of the thread you'll be using. Heavier threads will require larger needle sizes to accommodate them. Usually the thicker the thread the larger the needle. Start by going up one size and see how that sews. Always test first until you get the hang of sizing/which needle to use.
Specialty Needles: Depending on your project, you might need specialty needles, such as quilting needles, embroidery needles, or needles designed for specific materials like metallic or elastic. We will do another blog on speciality needles but for now keep it simple.
Needle Point: The needle point can be crucial. For most general sewing, a standard point is appropriate. However, for specialised tasks, you may need a ballpoint, wedge, or even a cutting point for certain materials. The needle point is the “point” or tip of the needle. There are different needle points available which will determine both the appearance of the hole in your material and the appearance of the stitch. We advise you to get used to the machine with different materials first and basic needles, then when you start to specialise you can experiment with other needles.
Needle Brand: Stick to reputable needle brands. Some well-known brands include Schmetz, Organ, and Groz-Beckert. Quality needles can make a significant difference in the sewing process.
Needle Sizes: The size of a needle refers to the thickness of the needle's blade. You will see both the metric and US size on your needle pack. It will look like this - 90/14 (metric/US size).
A larger size number usually means a heavier, stronger needle, the eye is larger to allow for heavier, stronger, more visible thread and larger needle holes are sewn in the material.
Generally, the best needle size is the one that is just large enough for the thread to go through its eye, keep holes as small as possible especially in the marine and outdoor environment.
There are other considerations such as the decorative side, the need to sew through layers of material, and the capabilities of your machine. As long as the needle system is correct you can play with a few different sizes to get used to it.
Always make sure to check needles regularly, as dull or damaged needles can cause stitching problems and damage your fabric. Additionally, keep in mind that different industrial sewing machines may have specific requirements, so referring to the manual is essential for accurate information.