Choosing the right needles is essential to the success of any embroidery project. The problem is embroidery needles come in different types, shapes, and sizes. If you’re just getting started, it can be quite the challenge to figure out what kind of needles work best for certain projects.
What is the best needle for embroidery? The right embroidery needle must be thin enough for your fabric, with a large enough ‘eye’ for your thread. Different shapes and sizes will suit different projects and materials, but in general, crewel needles are the most common choice for embroidery.
Well, the answer comes down to what kind of embroidery you’re doing and what thread and fabric you plan to use.
Let’s go over the different kinds of embroidery needles available today and some important tips to keep in mind when shopping for embroidery needles. We’ll also look at some of the best embroidery needle products you can buy today.
Sewing Needles Vs Embroidery Needles
If you’re new to embroidery but have some experience with sewing, you might wonder what the differences between sewing needles and embroidery needles are.
Embroidery needles are basically specialized sewing needles, designed for embroidery purposes. In fact, “regular” sewing needles can be used for embroidery. However, they’re not ideal for the job and may cause embroidery floss to snap or fray more frequently.
So what’s the distinction between the two kinds of needles? Embroidery needles differ from sewing needles in two major areas: the size of the eye and the scarf.
Embroidery needles usually have much larger eyes than their sewing counterparts. This helps to prevent the embroidery thread, which is usually much more fragile than sewing thread, from breaking or fraying.
The second major area of distinction is the scarf of the needle. The scarf refers to the indentation or groove on the backside of a needle. The scarf of embroidery needles is specially designed to put less strain on the floss than regular sewing needles.
Thanks to these two differences, embroidery needles are better suited for embroidery work than regular sewing needles. Let’s now look at the different types of embroidery needles available and their uses.
Different Types of Embroidery Needles
When it comes to embroidery needles, there’s a lot of options and they all come with their unique strengths and are ideal for different kinds of projects.
Some of the different types of embroidery needles you can find include sharps, crewel needles, tapestry needles, beading needles, quilting needles, darning needles, ballpoint needles, chenille needles, and milliners or straw needles, among others.
Sharps are all-purpose hand sewing needles that are used for dressmaking, and sometimes for embroidery. They have a round eye and a sharp tip and come in sizes 3-12.
Crewel needles, also called embroidery needles, are medium-sized needles with a sharp point and long, narrow eyes. These are the most commonly used embroidery needles. Their long eyes allow for multiple strands of floss to be threaded at the same time.
Crewel needles can be used for most kinds of surface embroidery and are probably what you’ll want to keep on hand for most projects.
Tapestry needles are often used for needlepoint embroidery or cross stitch on Aida fabric. These needles feature a large, elongated, oval eye for easy threading. Unlike crewel needles, however, they have a blunt point, which is designed to glide through the fabric without splitting the threads. Sizes range from 18 to 28.
Beading needles are used for stringing beads onto an embroidery project. They are usually very thin and have a tiny eye to enable them to go through small beads. They’re also quite long so that many beads can be threaded onto them.
Chenille needles have large eyes like tapestry needles but have sharp points as well. Their large eyes enable them to accommodate thick fibers and ribbons while their sharp points make them ideal for working with coarse fabrics.
Straw needles, or milliners, are mostly used for making long bullion knots or Brazillian embroidery stitches. These needles have the same thickness from the eye to the shaft until tapering at a sharp point. Their small round eyes are ideal for stitches where the needle needs to pass through many wraps of floss.
Darning needles have large eyes and very sharp points. The tip of these needles is slightly curved to enable them to pick up stitches easier. They’re ideal for darning and doll making.
Quilting needles, also called betweens, are short, sharp-tipped needles, with round eyes. They’re used for quilting. Ballpoint needles have blunt, round tips which enable them to glide through needle lace work without piercing the threads making up the lace stitches.
As you can see, there’s a lot of variety here with specialized needles for almost all kinds of embroidery. Thus, if you’re looking to start work on an embroidery project, you might want to look up the best kinds of embroidery needles for that kind of project.
Let’s now consider a couple of factors you should take into consideration when choosing an embroidery needle for your project.
What to Consider When Choosing a Hand Embroidery Needle
In addition to the type of embroidery needle you need for a project, there are other factors you’ll need to consider before making a purchase decision. Some of these include the size of the needle, its point, and the material it’s made of.
When it comes to needle sizes, the higher the number, the thinner the needle actually is. For example, a size 24 tapestry needle is actually thicker than a size 26 tapestry needle.
Now, when choosing a needle for embroidery, you’ll want to consider the size and type of thread you’re using and the fabric you’re working with.
The needle you choose should be large enough to enable the thread to pass through the fabric without much abrasion. At the same time, they should be small enough to ensure that they leave the smallest possible hole in the fabric.
Smaller needles should be used for lighter fabrics. Larger ones are better for heavier, thicker fabrics.
As for the eye of the needle, you should choose a needle with an eye that is roughly 40% larger than the diameter of the thread. Embroidery needles usually have large eyes that are easy to thread.
The tip or point of the needle is another important aspect to consider.
For evenweave fabrics, blunt needles such as tapestry needles are ideal as they prevent you from splitting the fabric threads. For tightly woven fabrics, however, needles with a sharp point work better. Such needles are also ideal for working with fabrics that use stabilizers.
There are also needles that have a slender or extra slim ballpoint tip. These needles can be used to handle different types of fabrics as they combine the advantages of the sharp point needles with those of the blunt ballpoint needles. However, they may give the clearest stitch in some woven fabrics.
Another important factor to consider is the material a needle is made from. Embroidery needles are most commonly made from chromium. These needles work well for most sewing and embroidery purposes.
Titanium-coated needles are higher quality needles that are also used for embroidery. They tend to last longer than their chromium counterparts and are less likely to stick or catch on to fabric. These needles are stronger and more durable than regular needles and are used for high-quality projects.
Of course, whether you get a titanium-coated needle or not, you’ll certainly want to make sure that the needles you get are of decent quality.
Getting cheap needles will result in a bad experience as these needles are much more likely to bend or break. Ouch! You should look for a product that offers a lot of value for your money with durable needles that will last for a long time.
Once you get your embroidery needles, it’s important that you look after them properly to ensure that they stay in good condition. You can store your needles in their original packet or vials. Storing them properly will help prevent them from getting corroded or damaged.
The 7 Best Embroidery Needles
As you have seen, a lot goes into choosing the right needle for an embroidery project. Likely, the information we’ve considered has enlightened you on what to look for when shopping for embroidery needles.
Still, the plethora of options available today can be overwhelming. And you certainly won’t enjoy having to sift through the hundreds of options just to find a product that’ll suit your needs. So we’ve done the research for you and here are our top picks for the 7 best embroidery needles you can buy today. Read on for more!
1. Dritz 7 Embroidery Hand Needles
The Dritz Embroidery Hand Needles package contains 16 high-quality embroidery needles. These needles are crewel or embroidery needles and have a longer eye than sharps. They have a sharp point tip and come in different sizes.
These size 7 embroidery needles are ideal for embroidery and crewelwork as well as general-purpose sewing. They can also be used for smocking, heirloom, and cutwork. They are available in sizes 7, 8, 1-5, 3-9, and 5-10, in case you prefer a variety.
These needles are really sturdy and should last you a long time (even if you lose a few). They come in at an affordable price and offer a lot of bang for your buck. If you’re looking for crewel needles for an embroidery project, the Dritz 56 embroidery hand needles are a great option to consider.
2. Colonial Needle “Pebble” Embroidery Needles
The Colonial Needle John James Pebble set of embroidery needles is another excellent product to consider. This pack of 16 needles comes in a cute “pebble” case for easy and elegant storage. You can’t beat style.
Different styles of needles are offered in unique, elegant, colored Pebble cases for easy identification. Thus, they’re easy to keep and easy to find as well. It’s got to be hard to lose needles this cute.
In addition to the nice case, the needles are of very high quality and are great for embroidery and other kinds of needlework.
The pack contains needles ranging from size 5 to size 10. If you’re looking for excellent embroidery needles that come in a nice case for easy storage, this Colonial Needle set is hard to beat.
3. DMC 5-10 Embroidery Hand Needles
Our next pick is the DMC pack of embroidery hand needles. Like the Dritz needles above and the Colonial Needles, these DMC needles are a set of 16 high-quality embroidery needles, which have sharp points and can be used for most embroidery projects.
These needles are made from premium nickel-plated steel. They feature a long eye, which allows you to thread multiple strands of floss easily.
The package contains needles ranging from sizes 5-10, which is especially nice if this is the start of your embroidery needle supply.
The DMC 1765 embroidery hand needles also come in at an affordable price. The needles are sturdy and well made. However, you may find the eyes to be on the small side. Overall, they are an ideal set of needles for working on most embroidery projects.
4. Dritz Crewel Hand Needles
If you’re new to embroidery, the Dritz Crewel Hand Needles product is definitely worth considering. This product contains 12 top quality embroidery hand needles in a handy size.
All the needles are size 2 crewel needles. Thus, they’re quite large and are excellent for those learning to embroider. The needles have large eyes which you should have no issues threading successfully on your first try.
These Dritz crewel hand needles are durable and come in at a decent price. If you specifically need size 2 crewel needles for an embroidery project or are just getting started with embroidery, this product will suit your needs nicely, we’re sure.
5. Colonial Needle Crewel/Embroidery Hand Needles
Next up, we have another excellent set of needles – the Colonial Needle embroidery hand needles. This pack contains 16 needles which are all size 7 needles – a common size you won’t be sorry to have extra of (since they’re so easy to lose).
These needles are easy to thread, sharp, smooth, and durable. They’re ideal for embroidery and smocking, making them a great set to keep on hand for a variety of projects to come. It’s good to have something to rely on.
This set of John James needles are a nice choice for working on most embroidery projects. The product comes in at an affordable price and offers a lot of value. No issues here!
6. CLOVER (Size 3-9) Gold Eye Embroidery Needles
The Clover 235 pack of embroidery needles is a really affordable option to consider if you’re looking to save some money on your purchase. The product features a pack of 16 sharp embroidery needles, which have big eyes and are easy to thread.
The pack contains needles ranging from size 3 to size 9. There are three neeldes each of sizes 8 and 9, while of the other sizes are 2 needles each. If you’re looking for a starter kit for your new embroidery habit, a range of sizes is a great investment.
These Clover Gold Eye embroidery needles are made in the United States, so if you’re passionate about US manufacturing, there’s another plus for you. They are great for use with cotton or ribbon embroidery thread. We doubt you’ll regret keeping these bad boys in your sewing box.
7. Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles
The Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles are a set of well made, easy to use needles. Unlike most of the other options reviewed above, the Sewline Tulip pack features 8 embroidery needles, all of which are size 8 needles.
Sometimes you need a slightly smaller needle, and that’s where this lovely little set come in handy. These needles are ideal for silk and ribbon embroidery. They’re sharp, smooth, and have large eyes that are easy to thread.
The Sewline Tulip embroidery needles are made in Japan. They’re relatively affordable and are worth considering if you need a pack of easy-to-use size 8 embroidery needles for a project.
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