The Schmetz company was founded in 1851 and has since become known as a leader in the sewing machine needle industry. They were the first manufacturer to introduce a standardization of needle systems. Schmetz currently manufactures needles for industrial sewing, tailoring, tufting and for home/hobby sewing. More information and a history of the company can be found here.
A general-purpose needle that can be used on knit or woven fabrics. Most of the time, a universal needle will do the job. However, if you are having difficulty, you may want to choose a needle more specific for your type of fabric and/or thread.
Have slightly rounded tips that allow them to go between the threads of knitted fabrics, rather than pierce them. This prevents runs, snags and skipped stitches.
Have very sharp points that actually cut through the leather while making the stitch. While they work great on leather and non-woven materials, they should not be used on textiles.
For use with metallic threads. Metallic threads can be difficult to sew with as they often shred in the needle. Metallic needles have a Teflon coating and are designed to reduce the friction on the thread thereby keeping them from fraying.
Machine embroidery is often done with rayon thread, which like metallics, tends to fray in the needle. Schmetz embroidery needles are designed to handle these threads in order to make smooth stitches.
Designed for denim and other tightly woven fabrics. They will also go through multiple layers of fabric, which can be useful for projects like quilting.
Have very thin, sharp points and are perfect for stitching through high thread count fabrics such as silks and microfibers. Because they are so thin, care should be taken not to break them and they should be replaced more frequently than other needles.
Consist of two needles mounted on a crossbar on one shaft. They are great for twin needle topstitching on hems. Two spools of thread are needed and they should be placed so each unwinds in a different direction (this keeps the threads from twisting around each other.) Only one bobbin thread is needed. The bobbin will form a zigzag on the underside of the stitching, which provides some built in stretch. Twin needles have two numbers on the packaging. The first is expressed in millimeters and is how far apart the needles are from each other. The second is the size of the needle. Take care when using a twin needle that a zigzag throat plate is in place to accommodate the extra width of the needles. Also be careful when using a zigzag stitch that the outer needles will clear the throat plate on each swing.
A boon to us whose eyes are getting a bit older. There is a tiny slot in the side of the needle that one can pop the thread through, rather than having to poke it through that tiny eye. (Is it just me, or are those needle eyes getting smaller every year?)
Different from twin needles in that they are one needle with two eyes. These are often used for decorative topstitching with two different colors of thread. Like the twin needle, two spools of thread are needed and each should unwind in a different direction.
Specially designed for trouble-free stitching through the multiple layers of a quilt.
When choosing Schmetz needles consider that the smaller the number, the lighter weight fabric and thread you should be using. As a general rule:
It's a good idea to have an assortment of needle sizes and types on hand in order to be able to experiment and find the one that works best for your combination of needle and thread.
The needle in your machine is one of the hardest working parts. Consider how many times it goes up and down through the fabric in the course of a single project. This is why it's important to change your needles frequently. When the needle gets too old, stitch quality will suffer. Change your needle whenever you start a new project.
Throughout my years of sewing I have found two things that will solve most stitching problems (provided you are already using the correct size and type of needle.)
Visit the Schmetz Needles Website for more information about products, and special features.
With over 30 years of sewing experience and more than 20 years of crafting I've rarely met a craft I didn't like, and have all the gadgetry to prove it. You'll often find me in my sewing and crafting room where I design and make garments, quilts, scrapbooks, cards, paper crafts, dolls, home decor and jewelry; just to name a few. I'm always interested in trying the next new thing and love to share my knowledge with others. For great sewing and crafting inspiration, ideas and tutorials, check out Keepsake Crafts.