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I just realized I have been sewing with the wrong needles for the past few months. My sewing machine came with some needles for woven fabrics but I didn't really understand how machine needles work.

When I bought some needles from John Lewis, I thought thickness was all that mattered. I went and bought the pack that had the most types of thickness. I then proceeded to use the Singer "purple" needles for leather and denim :)

In fact, I thought I had it all figured out until I read two completely different blog posts. The first one, by Carolyn, was about The Right Tool For The Job. But things didn't really become clear until I read Oona's post about that cute dress she very nicely provided a tutorial for. I didn't even realize there were two types of needles.

I only read Oona's post when I was in New York so I didn't check at that time what needles I had (I was pretty sure I had no needles for knits though). Then I was sick and forgot. But today I went on the John Lewis website to look for tracing paper and started looking for these ball point needles Oona was talking about. And then it hit me ....

What do you think I have in my needle stash?

Pack 1: This is the most unimpressive one really. It's a twin needle that doesn't even say what type it is (well, it says "2025" - denim is "2026" and woven is "2020"; knit is "2045"). I'll assume for now all twin needles are the same and that's what you get.

I personally used it to make a T-shirt for Mr. T. He never wore the T-shirt because he wants a "London Underground" applique on it - I know exactly where to get one but haven't been in that area in ages!

Pack 2: This one, at least, hasn't been used in a weird way. I bought it at Mood in NY thinking "It says denim, and I've got this thick wool I need to sew". Then, when I got home, I saw that the needles were marked "purple" and I was "yay, I can use this for leather". Well.

I made the grey Rooibos (better pictures here) with it. It went ok I suppose. I am, at this point, still wondering if I should have used a 2020 in the same size? I need to research this a bit more.

Pack 3: (prepare to be stunned). I made several things since July (?) August (?) with one of the blue needles and the purple needle from this pack:

Notice anything? 2045, which for Singer is the ball point needle value. Gah. I actually sewed Mr T's laptop sleeve with a ball point needle??!?!

(Missing) Pack 4: the original pack from my machine. It was 2020 90/14, which is usually used for normal cotton. I have no idea where it is. It still had two good needles in it as I recall. Maybe I'm mistaken though and I threw it out because I had used all the needles in it.

So, all in all, I need to go and buy proper needles. I need a stash of 2020 needles in all sizes. Then, I need to buy a real leather needle since I still have most of the leather I bought for the laptop sleeve. I suppose that's all I should get for now.

I also need to figure out what sort of needle I should to use for my black wool (the one I used for the Rooibos). The purple denim one seemed ok, but the wool is not as tough as denim. I'll research this for a bit more.


  1. These should help: and


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