Choosing hand sewing needles sizes and finding the right type of needle is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack if you don’t know what to look for. There are a variety of sizes and specialty needles used for hand sewing and a guide to these different options will certainly help every seamstress to find the right needle.
Further Reading: Sewing Machine Needle Guide
Hand Sewing Needles: Types
Needles vary according to:
- Needle size
- Shape of the eye
- Type of point
- And the purpose of the needle
Needle Size and Length – The larger number needles are finer and shorter. (This is probably the opposite to what you would have thought!) Needles come in packs and can be assorted or just of one kind but the number range in the pack will be written on the front of the pack at the bottom.
Shape of Eye and Point – The eye size and the tip size determine the kind of thread you can use and the fabric they are suited to. A ballpoint tip is particularly suited to stretch knits while the thick curved needle is best for upholstery.
Purpose – The purpose of the needle helps to determine what the needle is used for and the number length and shaft size, as well as the size of the eye, determine the type of fabric the needle is suited to.
Common Hand Sewing Needles Types
Sharps is the name of the general purpose, medium length sewing needle. Used for hand sewing, dressmaking and all household projects it comes in different sizes and also in multiple packs. Look for the sizes on the front of the pack.
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Ballpoints have a rounded end so that it does not damage the fibers fo knit fabrics.
Chenille needles are used for embroidery and thicker yarn as they have a sharp point and large, elongated eye to enable you to thread several pieces at once.
The list below will give an indication of the name and size and some of the uses of different needles so that your search for the right needle is no longer an impossible task.
This list contains all the specialty needles excluding Sharps.
No article about hand sewing needles would be complete without adding a little about thimbles. A thimble is a protective cover worn over your finger to stop the hand sewing needle from pricking your finger.
Now you are equipped with a comprehensive list of needle sizes and their uses looking for the right needle in future should not be as confusing as looking for a ‘needle in a haystack.’