Well, just needles, actually. No pins today.
I often am asked, “How often should I change my needle?” My general rule of thumb is after every project. There are exceptions, of course. If I’m just making something very small, then I don’t bother to change it. Conversely, if I am sewing with a particularly difficult fabric, I may change it in the middle of the project. Here are a few guidelines that I use.
Change your needle when:
- You’ve completed an ‘average size’ project. This could be any garment.
- You’ve logged 6-8 hours of sewing time on the same needle.
- You change weights of fabrics. Silk chiffon requires a different needle than silk faille, for example.
- You notice any pulling of fabric threads when you sew.
- You run over something and you hear your needle go “clunk”.
- You hit a pin or other object.
- You feel a burr if you run your finger down the needle’s tip.
- You’re not sure when you last changed your needle.
I err on the side of “less time on the needle means less time dealing with problems.” I have had students tell me that they never change needles unless their needle breaks. They get a stern lecture from me, I can tell you. A bad needle can ruin a sewing project. A needle, even an expensive needle made from titanium, is such a teeny part of your garment’s cost, why chance it? I like to take the L’Oreal approach. I’m worth it, and my sewing is worth it. So with every new project, start with a new needle. You’ll be glad you did!