Whenever I go to the fabric store, Dad would always tell me to invest on a pack of needles. Dad’s go-to is the 10-pack Universal needles that comes in size 10, 12, and 14 (retails for $6.69). They are the ‘do no wrong, everyday sewing’ needles. As a newbie, I didn’t seen the importance of changing needles on a regular basis. Since then, I have learned my lessons.

Dad taught me the most crucial notion in sewing is the machine needle. It will go through hundreds of stitches per seam, thousands per garment, multiple threading, and lots of fabric puncturing. Any imperfection on needle can damage the whole garment, or the lot in production. So when should I change a needle? Dad said,

  • At the start of a new project
  • When using a different fabric type than the project before
  • If the needle was bent
  • Hit a pin while sewing
  • Dropped to the floor
  • Fabric grain pulls/tugs

Dad is experienced enough to feel a needle and tell you what’s wrong with it. So when I was sewing the Renfrew top, I only had the regular needles on hand. I was able to sew the whole garment but there were some skipped stitches. The skips were once every 8 straight stitches. With the stitch length at 2mm, an odd skip could still hold the seams in place. The big problem was doing zigzag stitches. First stitch is fine but the second skips. Not nice when there is zigzag topstitches.

Schmetz Stretch Needles

Dad told me to buy a pack of ‘Yellow Head Needles’. I was puzzled until I went to the fabric store and saw them. The pack has the word ‘STRETCH’ on it. It is slightly longer than the regular needle and the needle tip has a small ‘ballpoint’ bubble. Plus it has a yellow band on the top, makes them easier to differentiate.

My Renfrew was sewn with the stretch needle. There were no skips and zigzags are nicely done. Just need to make sure the needle is all the way up or you risk the tip dragging on the fabric.

Investment well worth it.