Sewing Machine Needles and Other Pointy Bits

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See the bottom of the page for needles and needleclamps and threaders for sale...
Page Substantially remade, February 2016

In order to get the thread through the fabric (and back again) you need a needle. Ideally you need more than one, but I'll come to that.
Most old and modern machines you are likely to encounter take System 705, also called 2020 or 15 x 1 needles.
I have these in a range of sizes and different points (ballpoint, for knits, leather point etc), as they do seem hard to find for some people - see below
(Choose a good named brand, not Chinese, preferably made in Europe, and the Right Size. I like Schmetz, Organ; don't buy cheap unbranded ones)
This type has a flat side on the shank (the bit at the top of the needle) and two grooves - one almost all the way up on the rounded side, and a shorter one on the other (flat) side..
Jones CS and Family CS machines take a Round Shank needle (I stock these - £4 for 5 plus postage, also Leather ones, 2 for £4) - see below
These are probably always going to be available, so do keep on using the machine..

Other old machines may take an odd or difficult-to-find needle. My first advice on these is to be sure you can replace the needle you are using before you run out - always keep one for a pattern. I have some (for Singer 12, Singer 29k, Willcox and Gibbs Chainstitchers and others) but they are mostly no longer made. It's no good expecting to sew forever on your last needle....) WHEN IT IS GONE THE MACHINE MAY BE UNUSABLE FOREVER...

With me so far? Good...

When the thread comes off the reel at the top of the machine, it is carried by the needle under the plate and is offered to the Hook (or the point of the Shuttle), which makes the stitch by carrying the thread around the bobbin. The thread is then raised towards the top by the Take-up Lever and the Take-up Spring so that the loop needed to make the journey is neatly removed, and the stitch is made. (None of this quite applies to Chain Stitch machines - if you have one of those then the easy way to find out how the thread works is to look...)

Now, in order to make a neat stitch and keep the thread in good condition (the top thread will travel many times around the hook before it comes to rest in a stitch) the size of thread and needle should match. The needle needs to hold the thread in the long groove while it travels down, then release the thread as it comes up again. If the thread is too fat it will stick and fray, if too thin it will make untidy loops. So, look at your thread size first. Jeans need a fat thread (30) and a fatter needle (14/90 or 16/100). Dress-weight cotton, patchwork fabrics etc. need a thinner thread (40 or 50) and a thinner needle (12/80 or 11/75)
Fine silk needs a finer thread still (60) and a thinner needle (9/70)
Now, those of you with an observant turn of mind will have noticed that needles get fatter as the number gets larger, but thread gets thinner as the numbers rise.

Just one of those things.

(Actually, I know why, but it's good for your googling skills to research such things...)*

Needles Do Not Last Forever...

...and should be changed after each large or medium project; if bent or catching; if the wrong size for the work; if making a funny noise, or if you are having problems with the stitch. Changing needles should be as common as changing underwear, and about as frequent (after 8 hours of use...)

PLEASE DO NOT PUT THE OLD ONES BACK IN THE PACKET

You won't be able to tell which they are and they do not "heal" if allowed to rest. I recently evicted 47 needles from a student's machine. Some were broken, all were blunt, and several had noticeable bends in them...Not Good

(The one on the left I made myself, with a Bernina 730, a moment's inattention, and an extra-special curse word. Don't try this at home...)

Note - worried about "sharps" in your bin? Use a jam-jar (blades go in here too), or put sticky-tape round the point..

So, In Conclusion

Change your needles, look after your needles, and your machine will sew ever so much better...
I have tried to answer the commonest problems and questions I get, but if you need more information, please Email Me

* Here's a good link

Needles


NE000 Standard Flat-shank needles for almost all domestic machines. If your machine wants a 15 x 1, 705 system, or 2020, this is it;
£3 for 5: postage £1.50:
Sizes 9, 10, 12, 14 or 16, 18 (70, 80, 90, 100, 110) or mixed packs (if no preference is stated, I send a mixed pack of 12, 14 and 16s)
Buy 3 packs and get free UK postage
Overseas customers, please email for an invoice

Standard Needles

NE001 Jones CS Round-shank needles; £4 for 5: postage £1.50:
Sizes 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 (70, 80, 90, 100, 110) or mixed packs (if no preference is stated, I send a mixed pack of 12, 14 and 16s)
(Other non-standard selections only if I really like you...)
Buy 3 packs and get free UK postage
Overseas customers, please email for an invoice
These also fit Jones Serpentine (may need to be adjusted for height in the needle-clamp), and Essex toy machines, some Wheeler and Wilson machines, and others
I also now have leather needles in sizes 16, 18, and 19 for these; £4 for two, please ring or email to discuss. 01508 548137, working hours (see bottom of the page)

Jones Needles

NE009 206 x 13 Type Flat-shank needles, essential for Singer 206, 309, 319, 320.
£5 for 4: postage £1.50:
Sizes 12/80 or 14/90 only or mixed packs
(2 of each)
Buy 3 packs and get free UK postage
Overseas customers, please email for an invoice
These also fit Vulcan toy machines..
These I have at present may be the last I can get, so please don't leave it too long. I have just bought-out my supplier..
MY FIRM ADVICE - buy another machine for everyday use, and keep this one going as long as you can by being nice to it!

206 x 13 Needles

NE002 Schmetz Industrial 135 by 5 (fit lots of machines including Gamill); £5 for 10: 1 pack of size 14, 9 packs of size 16

From top:-
NE006 128 TLS-044
NE008 128 GBS-004 (ball point)
NE007 128 TAS-044
All £3 for 5 or £8.50 for 25
I now stock needles 24 x 1 for toy machines; £2.50 each
I also have small numbers of needles for Singer 12 and 13 class machines (£5 each, strictly ONE per customer), 29k bootpatchers, and others. Only one or two of some of these... From £2 each.
Also some 20 x 1s (£3.50 each, size 16/100)
And a very few Willcox and Gibbs Chainstitcher needles (this is the short one with the groove all the way up) in different sizes - £5 each, ONE per customer..

If you have a very unusual needle please measure it precisely (or send one) and I'll try to match it.
I can get all the various sorts of industrial needles but you should try online or locally first...

I have just bought an enormous lot of obscure and peculiar needles. I have made a page here with a list.. It's rather boring...
(Note, lots more just in.. Why not ask?)

Packets With Needles In

Not repeatable. For completists and collectors.
I also have lots of empty packets.. From £1 each
It amazes me that so much thought and design skill has been put into the making of such a small item as sewing machine needle packets. The minor differences are probably worthy of a small and rather boring book..

NE110 Pfaff large packet of extreme Art Nouveauness with intact liner and two 15x1 needles. My favourite; £6.50

NE110 Liner

NE101 Koenigs Nadeln packet with seven assorted 15x1 needles; £6

NE101 opened out..

NE097 Singer type needles in "fake" packet, Victorian;
2 x size 12, 1 x size 14; £4

NE102 Packet from the early 20th Century with 10 x size 1-1/2 (14)s Singer type (15x1); £7.50

NE103 Packet from the early 20th Century with 7 x Size 16 (100) Singer type (15x1); £5.50

NE104 Presta packet with 3 x 128x1 size 16 (100) VG; £7.50
Not shown but very much the same, NE114 with 5 of 128x1 in sizes 14 and 16; £8.50

NE108 Singer with one 12x1 needle, good; £6

NE111 Singer with three new 15x1 needles, size 14, good; £4

NE109 Singer with three new 15x1 needles, size 14, good; £4

NE107 Singer with six new 15x1 needles, sizes 11, 14, 16, good; £4

NE106 Singer with one 15x1 needle, size 11, good; £2.50

NE009 Pfaff with five 15x1 needles, size 9, fair; £5

NE095 Singer twin and two single Stretch Needles for knits, good; £3

Packets Without Needles In

All these were made for particular machines and are £2 each empty.. They can be filled with five suitable needles at the usual price in addition..

NE115a Alfa

NE115b Cosson

NE115c Elna

NE115d Husqvarna

NE116a Harris

NE116b Jones

NE116c

Needle Clamps

Have been moved to HERE

Threaders and Cutters


NC042 Assorted Thread Cutters. I don't like these, and take them off machines all the time. One free if requested with any needleclamp, or 50p otherwise..

EF287 "Witch" threader with instructions; £3.50

M004 Singer hand or machine needle threader, with repro instructions; £4

M010 Singer hand or machine needle threader; with repro instructions; £5

M010a, Spare hooks for M010; £1.50 each

M072 Singer machine threader (side to side); £2.50 (Out of Stock)
Not shown but similar: MO70 for front to back threading; £3.50. With instructions..


MO71a Singer hand-threader on original card; £3.50

M071 Singer metal threader for hand or machine; £1.50

TOTH001 One green only, with box and instructions; £3.50

TO1038 Little Green One, with instructions; £2.50

TOTH012 Little plastic Alfa threaders, pink or cream; £2 each

TOTH002 Kenmore, with box; £4

TOTH002a Cream Kenmore, no box; £3.50

TOTH003 Black metal; £3.50

TOTH008 "Blindfold", metal, very nice; £5

TOTH009 John James and Sons Patent Wool Threader, brass; £3

TO997 Betterwear 50p
My address is:-
Helen Howes
Helen Howes Sewing Machines
4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
From outside the UK dial:- 0044 1508 548137
helen@raindropkites.co.uk
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays