Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hand Sewing Needles

I know my sewing machine needles but not my hand sewing ones. Using the example of handsewing binding on a quilt:

What would your choice of needle be and what size?

What type of thread would you use?

Double or single strand?

About how long of a thread do you start out with?

11 comments:

Lisa Boyer said...

I like a very long thin needle. I used to use Milliner's needles all the time, but I started breaking them too much--not sure if I got stronger or they got weaker! I like Bottom Line by Superior threads as sewing thread--it's almost invisible and very strong. (I use it all the time in my machine, too.) Single strand and I guess I'm lazy--I use about two feet. I can use over 18" when I run it through that wax block or the stuff that comes in the little blue plastic cube--it's great!! It keeps the thread from tangling on itself. Oh...and I love those little leather thimble pads that stick on--on a really big binding, it keeps you from getting a hole in your finger.

Jennifer said...

Great question Jen - I will be watching the responses, as I don't know much in this area either - I do one strand of hand quilting thread (to date, have just used something I bought at Hobby Lobby). I have a long thin needle that a bee friend gave me the first time she saw me sewing on a binding with my needle...I have no idea what it is, but I love it! I guess I will have to ask her!

Bethany said...

I use size 11 applique needles. If they are too thin, a 10 might work. I double strand it with matching thread in short lengths as I seem to tangle things up.

I don't use a thimble or anything.

That Christine said...

I use a small fine needle like a between or hand quilting needle. The smaller the needle the easier it is to push through the fabric. I use hand quilting thread as it has a little body to it but only single strand. I also learned that the length of the thread you cut should be about fingertip to elbow length. If it's much longer you "work harder" moving your entire arm while sewing. It also seems like the thread is pulled pretty thin and frayed after it is pulled through again and again. One other tip some great quilter taught me was to knot off every five to six inches of binding without cutting the thread. You are creating little stops so if your binding breaks in an area you'll catch it before it goes too far. Enjoying your blog Jen.

That Christine said...

I use a small fine needle like a between or hand quilting needle. The smaller the needle the easier it is to push through the fabric. I use hand quilting thread as it has a little body to it but only single strand. I also learned that the length of the thread you cut should be about fingertip to elbow length. If it's much longer you "work harder" moving your entire arm while sewing. It also seems like the thread is pulled pretty thin and frayed after it is pulled through again and again. One other tip some great quilter taught me was to knot off every five to six inches of binding without cutting the thread. You are creating little stops so if your binding breaks in an area you'll catch it before it goes too far. Enjoying your blog Jen.

Sarah said...

I also use small hand-quilting needles. The thread I use is typically a hand quilting thread and I usually cut a pretty generous length because I don't want to have to start and stop.

As for the double/single strand, I cut a single strand, but I actually sew with a double. What I do is cut the single strand twice as long as I want and then bring the cut ends together. I put those through the needle and pull them through a bit. When you start sewing, don't pull the thread all the way through the fabrics. When you stop partway through, you'll notice there's a loop at the end of the thread where you doubled it over, just slip your needle through the loop and pull tight. You've just knotted the end without having to actually tie a knot. I've found this makes a very secure and pretty much invisible knot. I've never had problems pulling the double thickness thread through the fabrics, plus with the double thickness, if one thread breaks there is a second thread that needs to break before the binding comes undone, so you can catch it before it actually comes unsewn.
~Sarah

Anonymous said...

Hey, there, Jen. I'm always learning from you - now it's my turn. I like a sharp #10 - it's the smallest I can thread and feels just right to hand sew with, but that may be all those years of turning hems. Applique needles are too apt to bend when going through the thickness. Oh, and I use between 18 - 24 inches of regular sewing thread. I like using the Thread Heaven libricant on the thread and I do knot about every 8 inches or so.

Jeannette in CO, where I face another sunny day

Christine said...

I'm lazy. I just use the same quilting between that I used to quilt the project. I use the smallest betweens I can find. And I usually just use hand quilting thread, unless I want a specific color to match the binding then I'll use a good quality cotton thread. It's better to match the thread to the binding than the backing. Your stitches will show up less. I agree with the fingertip to elbow length. Any longer and you'll be asking for problems. I use a thimble.

Now get your fanny over here and show me how to machine quilt before I throw this machine out the window. LOL

Eva said...

I use a quilting needle, like a between, and any thread that I am using, and have used quilting thread and also polyester. I use a single thread and not too long so you don't have to stretch out your arm and I also think then if a thread does break, not too much of the binding is released. I just teach myself though, but rules were made to be broken!! Whatever works for you....

Cindy said...

I'm embarassed - I "still" "machine it"...ALWAYS. Guess I'm bad.

Cindy said...

I'm embarassed - I "still" "machine it"...ALWAYS. Guess I'm bad.