All about needles
There are some golden rules which apply to the correct selection of needles. These rules are not always followed in the embroidery industry.

Why? Well, it's because embroidery machines have lots of needles and for many, it's too much trouble to change them.

If you want to produce the best quality embroidery, you had better pay attention to the type and size of needle you use.

How to choose the correct embroidery needle
1. Choose the needle size & type that suits the fabric you are stitching.

Woven fabrics - use sharp point needles

Knitted fabrics - use ball point needles

Fine fabrics - use a size 9 or 10 needle

Caps and heavy fabrics with seams
use a size 10 or 11 needle
2. Choose the thickness of thread to suit the size of needle you are using.

As a general rule of thumb, the thread that you use should be thin enough to lie inside the long groove which runs down the back of the needle.

If the thread is too thick it will not fit into the groove and may possibly be too tight through the eye of the needle. This will result in serious stitching problems. (See image below)
Embroidery needle size should match the thickness of the thread being used

But this is embroidery it's different . . . Isn't it?

Yes it's true that embroidery is a little different to the sewing industry.

We have only a few options when it comes to finding different thicknesses of embroidery thread.

Some thread stockists keep a limited stock of colours in finer thickness embroidery thread but we find that most embroidery machines are threaded up with a 40s count which is similar in thickness to a thin sewing thread. It's a good middle of the road thread!

For best quality on fine knits like T-shirts, polos and fine woven fabric - try a size 9 needle. It really makes a big difference to the quality and greatly reduces the chances of damaging the fabric. For even better quality - use a size 9 needle and thin embroidery thread like King Star fine thread.

For caps you may be better to use a thicker needle like a size 11 because. This is because cap fabric can be quite tough and because of the very thick centre seams which some cap styles have . The thicker needle will help to minimise needle flexing & breakage.

Consider using fine needles and thread on just one or two needles on each head. Keep them threaded with commonly used colours like Black, White, Navy. This way you won't have to keep changing needles all the time and you will always be ready for that demanding customer who expects the impossible.

It's your choice . . . . . . Do you want to produce the best possible quality?
Do you want to make life as easy as possible and take the 'one size fits all' approach, regardless of potential quality issues?

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