Needles and Thread
Today’s Janome Jump Start Blog contribution comes from one of Janome America’s most adored Educators, and one half of the dynamic Janome Duo known as Polka and Dot…… Amy Meek!
Amy has traveled the US and Mexico demonstrating and educating on Janome sewing machines, sergers and software.
Amy has taught basic sewing, garment construction and pattern making at every level from children and adult beginners to advanced techniques in a university setting. Amy has also developed a program as a para-professional therapist teaching sewing and quilting as a skill set for adults with chronic mental illness and traumatic brain injury.
Sharing her love of sewing, knowledge of machines and accessories to consumers and dealers is the reason Amy loves her job.
You may also recognize Amy from her video on the Janome Sewing Classroom Page on Facebook introducing the Janome CP3000 Professional. Still, today we are delighted to have her incredible experience and input on some of the most overlooked things in sewing. Needles and Thread!!!
Take it away Amy……
The hardest working part of a sewing machine is sometimes the most neglected. We worry about keeping the fuzz out and keeping it moving and happy. But we seldom think about the hardest working parts: the needle and thread.
First, let’s talk about the thread. You have invested in a good machine; the fabric you love (and it likely cost a pretty penny); maybe a pattern; your cutting tools; marking tools; pins, or clips, and then your time to gather all this together. But then you reach in your drawer to pull out Grandma’s stash of thread on wooden spool from the 40s to thread your machine. STOP!!!!!!!
Thread has a shelf life. Thread, like fabrics, has gone through changes in the last few decades. Also, manufacturing has changed over the years. Select a high-quality thread and stock up on neutrals; black, white, off-white, beige, gray in dark and light hues, which are the go-to threads which blend well with many colors of fabric. Matching thread or contrasting colors are purchased according to the project. Then there is always the favorite color that makes you smile when you see them to round out the collection.
Needles are the hardest working part of your machine and really need to be maintained. There are lots of kinds of needles. Most people don’t realize that the bobbin and needle movement are all designed around a specific needle brand. The machine’s movements are calibrated around that needle, this includes the needle threader. Each needle brand may vary by just millimeters, but this is enough to throw your machine into a tizzy. Sometimes you may need a specific type, winged or double-needle, and can only find one brand. Those are specialty needles that are used for techniques that are decorative and not for construction and will be fine. You will want to use the needle suggested by your machine manufacturer for general sewing and construction purposes. Janome’s needle of choice is Janome or Organ needles.
The size of your needle is based on your project. A small needle (10 or smaller) will NOT work with a needle threader, the eye is too small for the threader hook and two strands of thread—the larger the needle, the bigger the eye and the heavier job it is meant to do.
There are several types of needle scarves (that’s the part of the needle around the eye) that determines the size of the hole in your project. The other is the type of the tip or point of the needle. The Universal or Sharp point on the needle is to pierce natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool or silk. This will allow the thread to meld into these fibers of the fabric. Ballpoint needles are for knits and man-made fibers that will weaken when pierced. A ballpoint tip moves the fibers out of the way and goes between the strands of the fibers to keep their integrity.
Needles should be changed by project or every 6 to 8 hours of sewing time. It also needs to be changed if the machine is skipping stitches or when working with heavy fabric or metallic fabric. It is a small price to pay for a machine that works so hard.
So be sure to keep these tips in mind when working with your sewing machine. While today’s sewing machine generally does not require a great deal of maintenance, it is crucial to pay attention to the commonly overlooked yet essential parts such as the Needles and Thread.
We will leave you with the always handy Sewing Machine Reference Guide for your viewing pleasure.
Until Next time…..