what is the best sewing machine needle for cotton?

SCHMETZ Universal (130/705 H) Household Sewing Machine Needles – Size 90/14-2 Cards – 20 Needles

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Contents: super universal needles from SCHMETZ | System 130/705 H-SU with flat piston…

Special feature: Low-friction non-stick coating ensures significantly less adhesive residue on…

The super universal needle is particularly suitable for embroidering with adhesive backing and…

Suitable for the following fabrics/materials: Material processing from thin to thick (also…

Can be used on any standard household sewing and embroidery machine (e.g. from Bernina,…

The needle systems 130/705 H and 287 WH

There are two needle systems with which almost every machine works. The most common type of needle when sewing with the machine is 130/705 H. These are so-called flat-shank needles whose needle shank, i.e. the upper end of the needle, is flattened on the back. For newer machines, you usually need needles of this type.

The second needle system, which is also often used in machines by hobby sewers and seamstresses, is marked with the system number 287 WH. These sewing machine needles are round shank needles which, as the name suggests, have a round shank.

You can find out which sewing machine needle you need for your machine from the operating instructions for your sewing machine. Now let’s take a look at what the information on the different needle types means exactly.

Which needle for cotton and cotton fabric?

Let’s start with the universal needle, or the standard needle par excellence, which is wonderfully suited for processing cotton in your sewing machine and should be available as basic equipment in all households with sewing machines.

The universal needle 130-705 H, with a strength of 60 to 90, is suitable for firm and non-stretch fabrics such as cotton, linen, thin denim fabrics, and poplin. With its slightly rounded tip, it penetrates well into these types of tissue.

The higher the needle size, the stronger fabrics you can work with. For example, a gauge of 90 is appropriate if you want to sew with a coated fabric.

In general terms, this needle has an excellent working performance in all types of fabric that are not too thick or too thin and do not stretch out at all.

How to choose the best sewing machine needles

When you buy your first fabric and thread, you will need to choose the right needle for it.  That is why I have decided to write a short article on how to choose the best sewing machine needles.

First of all, let me tell you that there are several types of needles, which are distinguished by size (gauge), length and thickness.  Each needle has its own advantages and disadvantages:

Gauge – which determines the thickness of the needle. The higher the gauge, the thinner the needle will be.

Length – a longer needle offers better penetration into fabrics and allows you to use more stitches at once. However, this can result in poor stitch quality and twisting or puckering of your stitches if you use a long needle without having learned how to sew properly.

Thickness – thicker needles allow you to make thicker stitches with less effort because they don’t move as much as thinner ones do. However, thicker needles also require more pressure from our fingers when applying them on fabrics so they tend to hurt after a while when we get used to them (this is especially true for beginners).

Maybe you just discovered that there are different sewing machine needles and you’re freaking out…

If you haven’t been sewing for a long time, it is very likely that you are doing simple projects in patchwork cotton fabric. So for now, don’t worry, at this moment you don’t need more types of needle than the Universal 90 gauge, at most you will have to use a 100 needle if you need to sew several layers of fabric.

Because yes, as the saying goes “each sheep with its partner”, the same thing happens with the needles: there is a perfect one for each type of fabric and for the type of sewing that is going to be done.

What do the letters mean?

You may have wondered what the letters on the needles or their needle packs mean. Depending on the manufacturer, there are slightly different variants, but basically, the following meanings apply:

H = fluted needle

E = Stitch advantage

 J = Jeans

M = Microtex

Q = Quilt-Steppnadel

S = Stretch

LL = Leader

SUK = Medium Ball Point (Stretch / Jersey)

ZWI = Zwillingsnadel

DRI = Drillingsnadel

MET = for metallic yarn

WING = wing needle for hemstitch stitch

SPR = spring needle

A little tip on the side: Feel free to save this page or my website, then you will always have the contents and this overview quickly at hand! 

What needle size?

Sewing machine needles come in different sizes, depending on how thick, strong or fine your fabric or the material of your sewing projects is, you should work with a different needle size. There is a principle for this:

The thinner the fabric you want to sew, the smaller the needle size should be. 

The needle size is indicated on the package as a combination of numbers. The number indicates the diameter of the needle in 1/100mm above the fuller. In addition to this metric number, the old needle size according to American measurements is often given. 

For example, if a package says 90-14, the metric needle is 90. So it’s a 90 gauge needle, which is 0.9mm. The number 14 indicates the old American needle size, but we don’t have to worry about it any further.

Why using the right sewing needle is important

If you’re new to sewing or have never used a variety of different needles, then it may be surprising that there are so many different types available.

The range of needles is similar to the seemingly endless selection of buttons and beads that we have all faced, more or less overwhelmed. This is especially true if you’re just starting out with your sewing machine, when you don’t know exactly what size needle to use.

There are different types of needles, marked with numbers, letters, colors, and different strengths depending on the use. For your successful sewing project and seams that are impressive, you need the right needle for your fabrics – a needle for cotton differs from one for leather, and one for embroidery differs from a universal needle.

A wrongly chosen needle can break while sewing, causing ragged seams or even damaging your fabric, leading to a hole or runs.

When choosing the right needle for your project, it’s important that you check whether the needle diameter meets your requirements.

The quality of your fabric is also important when choosing the correct sewing machine needles: if you use cheap fabrics that are not suitable for sewing machines such as chiffon or lace, these will tear easily when using these needles.

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