Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Confession



I change my sewing machine needle after every project.

Am I being obsessive and wasteful? Or is this a good idea? How often do you change the needle in your sewing machine? In your serger?

Photo courtsey of House of Sims

18 comments:

Faye Lewis said...

Wow, your question pierces like a needle (lol). I'm guilty of not changing needles probably not often enough. I guess I get my money's worth from each needle. I do change when I'm sewing knits, but other than that if I'm not having a problem I do not change needles. Several years ago I bought a low budget machine and didn't change the needle until it finally broke a year and a half later.

Webfrau said...

Yes, I would usually change after a major project. Probably not after just a couple of seams. I never used to I would just use them until they broke, I never used to be very good at changing my needle type for the work either. When I started using different threads for surface embellishment in quilting I soon learned how a fresh and appropriate needle for the job could make or break a project. Now I keep a wide range on hand and change regularly - when I actually get round to doing any sewing that is. :)

linda said...

Every couple of projects unless I know that a particular fabric I have been sewing is hard on needles.....I typically use a universal needle so I don't usually change according to fabric type (woven or knit) unless a knit is super finicky then I use a ball point.

I use one of those tubes that the mini M & M's come in to put my used or broken needles. The lid snaps shut securely and once it is full (takes a long time to fill it) I toss the container and start a new one!

Linda Turske

julia said...

I am going to admit something that I'm ashamed to admit. I change mine only when it breaks or I am sewing a fabric that is a very different weight from what I was sewing last. I sometimes use my twin or wing needles, but that doesn't count. I need to go buy some needles now. You are supposed to change it with each new project, or so I've been told.

marysews said...

I do use the appropriate needle for each fabric, so I do change the needle for that.Sometimes I will throw out a needle when starting a new project, but not usually. I throw out a needle when I hear it punching through the fabric, my sign that it's getting dull.

AmeliaSews said...

I will change needles for different projects, as needed, but I will put back the same old needle when I switch back to needing that size. I then use it until I feel pangs of guilt about not changing it or it breaks. I am trying to be better with my new machine however.

The shop I bought it from told me it should be changed after 8 hours of sewing time (and you should also oil your machine at this point too).

I need some sort of log to keep track of the time I put in on each needle!

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

I don't change needles with each project. I tend to sew multiples of the same garment because I'm still learning. I will change when I switch fabric types. I have a large collection of needles for my Bernina (universal to leather) because I sew at night and I don't want to be in the groove and not have the right needle for the project. I use old medicine containers to store old needles and when it's full, I throw it anyway.

casserole said...

Friday true confession? I change the needles when they break. I know - baaaaad... Sometimes if I can tell that my stitches aren't looking right I'll change a needle, and then I save the needle in a case marked "dull needles" for the next time I want to do a papercrafting/stitching project.

gaylen said...

I change my needle at the start of every project and sometimes in the middle.

I don't change my serger needles as often as I should but do change them with each thread change. g

Karin said...

Uhm... I guess I should be ashamed too. I only change needles when I feel that the needle gets dull, or when I start sewing a fabric for which I think of to get an appropriate needle (I tend to forget that too). I think I should change needles a bit more often too :-)

gwensews said...

Yes, I do change my needle with each project. If it's a large project, I may use two or more needles. I also change needle type appropriate to fiber. I prefer a sharp to a universal on MOST wovens. Ballpoints for knits. Stretch needles for lycra. Microtex for faux suede and other like fabrics. Denim needles are essential in all sizes from 70 to 110. They are my favorite all purpose needle.

Julie said...

I used to be a fan of using the same universal needle until it broke. When I was sewing my wedding dress, I discovered how much easier it was to sew and handstitch when I changed my needles regularly. All the little mistakes that I thought were attributable to my own or machine error were actually fixed when I changed the needle. Now I'm a huge fan of 50% off needles at Hancock's and JoAnn's!

Becky said...

Haha, I'm so bad at this-- usually when I change a needle, it's either because it broke or it's snagging the fabric and is therefore too dull! Unless I need to do something like change to a denim needle. As for the serger, I think maybe I've changed the needles once since I got it, about 2 birthdays ago.

Shannon Hillinger said...

I am another one who only changes her needles when they break. I try to remember to change it, especially when I'm switching to a radically different fabric, or working on a very special project, but I'd say I only remember maybe 10% of the time. I never change the needle on my serger, unless it breaks. It's such a pain to do it. I count on my yearly (well, not quite yearly) maintenance to get those needles changed.

mamafitz said...

i change my sewing machine needle fairly often. usually every garment, but if i had just been doing some mending or made something simple, i won't change it. i also change for fabric type/weight (stretch vs sharp needle, for instance, or a 9 vs. 14. size 10 is my fave. i don't use universal needles). i will change the needle multiple times if i'm working on a large project, like a quilt.

my serger, on the other hand, i don't change often at all. i forget! i also rarely use my serger for construction, mostly just for seam finishing.

Summerset said...

Not after every project, but then again, I use many different types of needles specific for each type of fabric or task. I will change to a new needle when starting a project with delicate fabrics or stitching something like lining which would snag dreadfully under an old needle.

Claire S. said...

Ditto, same as AmeliaSews - I change it when I feel guilty about NOT changing it. I also switch out for each project if the fabric is different, but I DO put back in the old needle if I'm not having any trouble with it.

meredithp said...

I change the needle for every substantial project. By that I mean, when I sew a couple of seams on a t shirt and do the rest on the serger and coverstitch, I'll wait until I do a few more small projects. Now a full garment (usually woven) definitely, or a tailored jacket, maybe multiple times. I also clean up the machine at that point too, and probably add a drop of oil per Bernina's instructions. Now the serger is another story. I may change the needles when it gets gross/linty enough to vacuum out, rather than just brush out.

Blast from the past: when I had been sewing 2-3 years, in 1970, I found out that needles were indeed intended to be replaced. Mom never mentioned that (she being of the "sew till it breaks school"). She was on her honeymoon (2nd husband) and I broke a needle. I had NO idea what was wrong and no one to ask. So I examined (what was left of) the needle, got out the instructions and thus discovered there were even different SIZES of needles, depending on the fabric and thread being used. Who knew? I even remember the dress (polyester shift with long puffed sleeves) I was making. When Mom returned, I got her to confirm that I did everything correctly (what an anal child) and point out to her that there were different sizes ;-)