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  1. #1
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    Needle and Thread Sizes

    I'm a newbie to thread injecting and I'd like some advice on needle and thread selection. What size needles are recommended for:
    rip-stop nylon
    sil-nylon
    noseeum
    grosgrain
    Poly webbing

    I understand thread size should match the needle, but what is that size ratio? Is thread material important, or is polyester used for everything?
    "That he is mad, 'tis true, 'tis Pithy, and Pithy 'tis, 'tis true..."

  2. #2
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Unless you have an industrial machine, which is doubtful, regular easily available 100% polyester thread in "all purpose" weight is fine. The needle size is a personal preference in most cases. I think it is a mistake to get overly concerned with those details when you are just getting started. You can find charts giving those ratios somewhere on line, but to be honest they are far too anal for me to get into. If the needle breaks or bends it is too light. If it punches the fabric down into the throat plate it is too heavy. Other than that... find one you like and go with it. I like a larger needle because it is easier for me to see the eye and get it threaded. Others like a smaller needle because they like a smaller puncture diameter in the fabric. Ultimately it is up to you.

    What is more important is thread quality and needle quality and type. The universal point is adequate for the materials you listed. DO NOT use "ball point" needles as they are intended for knit and stretch fabrics. My own preference is "sharps" but they are getting harder to find as the "universal" takes over the market.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  3. #3
    WV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Unless you have an industrial machine, which is doubtful, regular easily available 100% polyester thread in "all purpose" weight is fine. The needle size is a personal preference in most cases. I think it is a mistake to get overly concerned with those details when you are just getting started. You can find charts giving those ratios somewhere on line, but to be honest they are far too anal for me to get into. If the needle breaks or bends it is too light. If it punches the fabric down into the throat plate it is too heavy. Other than that... find one you like and go with it. I like a larger needle because it is easier for me to see the eye and get it threaded. Others like a smaller needle because they like a smaller puncture diameter in the fabric. Ultimately it is up to you.

    What is more important is thread quality and needle quality and type. The universal point is adequate for the materials you listed. DO NOT use "ball point" needles as they are intended for knit and stretch fabrics. My own preference is "sharps" but they are getting harder to find as the "universal" takes over the market.
    What a great summary! It answered some questions for me, too. Thanks, Rev.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Rev. That's really exactly what I needed to know. So, the universal needles are ok? They're a heck of a lot cheaper than the Bernina brand recommended for the machine I'm using. Which, btw, is a Bernina Aurora 440. Way too much machine for my projects, but it's free for me to use.
    "That he is mad, 'tis true, 'tis Pithy, and Pithy 'tis, 'tis true..."

  5. #5
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    I use a #9 needle on the sil and about a 2.5-3mm stitch. 9 is smallish for some of the guttermans type thread. Guttermans is normally about 46 weight. I've found the thread on the white (off white) spools seems to run a little thinner than the yellow larger spools. Possibly as low as a 30wt thread. I will use this smaller thread when stitching the RL of tarp. The yellow larger spools indicate a ticket size 70, which is equivalant to a V46 thread. The reality is you can over think this.

    Most thread charts show
    30 weight thread - 9 or 10 needle
    46 weight about a 12 or 14

    for 1.1 ripstop, I use a 9 or 12, what ever I have in the machine.
    bugnet, whatever I have in the machine. It will pucker no matter what. because of the holes in the net.
    for grosgrain, I use a 12 minimum.

    For the quickest setup, use an 11 or 12 needle, whatever you can find. Buy some Guttermans or Mettler metrozene 100% poly thread and go to town. Don't use serger thread.

    Also, if your needles are round shank (no flat side), you have to use the needle system specified for your machine. My industrial Bernina uses a 134R needle system which is equivalent to a DB5 and DB6.


    Also, take advantage of the needle stop postition selector on the machine to make the machine stop with the needle down, especially in the sil.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cosmicmiami's Avatar
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    Hey pith, listen to these guys. They know the doo-doo on all this stuff. Personally, I have used a #9 needle on Joann nylon with good results. That's not to say a #12 wouldn't work, it's just what the little ol' Cuban lady at Joann recommended.

    I have made some other non-gear related things and went with the #12 for heavier fabrics.

    Learn yourself a little about thread tension. Had a long time seamstress look at one of my projects and she mentioned how well my stitch was balanced. Of course I puffed up like I knew what I was doing!! Which I did, thanks to the Rev.

    Good luck. As a newbie gear maker I love to see others get the bug. I bought a thread injector because I needed to hem a couple pair of pants for work and was tired of paying others to do it. Hey, I can do that! Got a couple pant hems, ditty bags and a DIY hammock under my belt now as well as a couple hems in some curtains, blind hem, under my belt now.
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