Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sewing Machine Needles - What a conundrum!

Whenever I do sewing machine shows on Create and Craft, I come home to a slew of queries about certain aspects, like "what is BobbinFill" or "what feet can I get for my new machine", so I find the best thing to do is write a blog post! This week's big question was about sewing machine needles, and what the numbers and colours mean! Once you have taken the needle out of the packet, how do you know what type it is, or what it is for? Where the clue is in the colours on the needle!

The first thing that you may notice on a sewing machine needle is that there are coloured bands on the needle shank. This means that once you have removed the needle from the packet you will still know what it's for!
The top band represents the needle type:
Needle Band
  • Universal (All purpose for wovens & knits) - No colour
  • Embroidery needle (embroidery threads) - Red
  • Quilting Needle (multiple layers of fabric) - Green
  • Microfibre Needle (Woven Fibres)- Purple
  • Stretch Needle (Elastic Fabrics) - Yellow
  • Ballpoint (Knitted fabrics) - Orange
  • Jeans Needle (Denim) - Blue
  • Leather Needle (for leather and vinyl fabrics) - Brown
  • Topstitching (Exposed Stitching) - Light Green
  • Metallic Needle (metallic thread) - Pink
Some specialist needles don't have colours on them because there is no need - you can tell what they are by looking i.e twin needles, winged (hemstitch) needles or twin eyed needles. 
The lower band shows the needle size:
  • Size 60/8: Light green
  • Size 65/9: White
  • Size 70/10: Green
  • Size 75/11: Pink
  • Size 80/12: Orange
  • Size 90/14: Blue
  • Size 100/16: Purple
  • Size 110/18: Yellow
  • Size 120/19: Brown
  • Size 125/20: Black
  • Size 130/21: Red
Not all needles are available in all sizes. So what do the sizes mean?The Metric system for sizing needles runs from 60 -110, while the American system is number 8 to 18. Most makes show both numbers, and the smaller the number the finer the needle. The larger the number, the thicker the needle will be.

There is a very useful guide available from Schmetz  here with more details about needles, and it's a very interesting read. Generally any needle should fit any machine. They have a flat back on the shank (the top part of the needle) so that it will only slot into your machine one way. You can't fit it backwards unless you REALLY try! (Don't do that!!!!)

So I hope that answers some of your questions about sewing machine needles!

Brother Sewing Machine Feet

This is my first post of 2017, so I thought that along with my good wishes, I would post some useful. So I thought I would answer one of the many questions I have been asked recently, where do I get all of those extra Brother Feet?

I am delighted that so many of you have tuned in recently to my shows launching the Brother FS210  sewing machine on Create and Craft and Ideal World. This machine has proved hugely popular, and many of you who already have the Brother FS130QC are asking whether you can get the additional feet offered with the FS210 to use on your existing machine.Well the answer is Yes you can! Please note, most feet are generic, but not all! Check the machine listing to be sure.

These feet are available directly from Brother, or other Brother stockists - just check out the codes.

Adjustable Binder Foot F071
This foot has clear plastic bias tape guide for attaching various width bias tape from 3/16” (5 mm) to 3/4” (20 mm).It helps you add binding quickly and accurately because it holds both sides of the binding in place as you sew. This cannot be used for binding quilts as the wadding is too thick to pass through the foot, but it is great for binding dresses!
Image result for brother F071
Adjustable Binder Foot F071

Gathering Foot F012N
This one gathers more fabric the longer the stitch, and the finer the fabric. Thick fabrics don't like to gather much unless you add the second fabric through the top slot at the same time. You will find tutorials on YouTube about how to use these feet.
Brother Gathering Foot (F012N)
Gathering Foot F012N
 Pintuck Foot F069
This is used to create fabulous heirloom sewing corded and non-corded pin tucks on blouses, shirts and many home decorating projects. When used with a twin needle, it creates perfectly parallel pin tucks. Great fun and very professional looking results.
5 Groove Pintuck Foot, Brother #SA194
Pin Tuck Foot F069

Straight Stitch Foot F042N
This foot is used for straight stitching on lightweight or fine fabrics. The single needle hole prevents fabrics getting pulled in the feed dogs.
Brother Straight Stitch Foot (7mm) (F042N)
Straight Stitch Foot F042N

Adjustable Zipper and Piping Foot  F036N
This foots allows greater flexibility of positioning the foot against a zip or piping than a traditional zipper foot. A very useful addition to your sewing tool kit.

Brother Zipper And Piping Foot (F036N)
Adjustable Zipper & Piping Foot F036N

Non Stick Foot F007N
I love this foot - it helps you stitch 'sticky' fabric like oil cloth, vinyl and leather because it runs smoothly over the surface of the fabric. It glides over difficult fabric surfaces with ease, while improving stitch quality in many problem fabrics. Some fabrics may get stuck under metal feet causing problems with a normal sewing foot resulting in poor stitch quality. It is perfect for hemming plastic tablecloths!

Image result for brother f007n
Non Stick Foot F007N

For more info on using these feet, there are plenty of tutorials on line - just google it :)

Also, if you have Brother quilting feet that came with your FS130QC, like the embroidery foot, the 1/4 inch foot and the walking foot, you can use them on your FS210 too!