Choosing the right needle to sew bras and briefs

You've probably never thought about it but choosing the right needle for sewing the lingerie your about to make is very important. Covered already in a previous post about why your stitches skip - choosing the right needle can equate to beautifully seen lingerie made with ease to, well, not so beautifully sewn lingerie.  

Let's start with the needle widths: different needles are different widths to use on different weights and types of your fabric.  There are two needle sizing systems: the European and the American. The European range from 60 to 120 and the American range from 8 to 20. You will usually see both sizes on the packet. Basically the larger the number the larger the blade  of the needle will be and the heavier the fabric you can sew.

choosing right needle for lingerie sewing

 

As well as all the speciality needles out there the three main types of needles that I use for the majority of my sewing are:

  • Universal needles: These have a slightly rounded tip, and I use this for general purpose sewing for wovens as well as some sturdy knits.
  • Jersey needles: These have a medium ballpoint tip, and I would use these  for knit fabrics. The needle slips between the knit fibres and does not break or damage the fabric while sewing.
  • Stretch needles: These often confused with Jersey needles, they also have a medium ballpoint tip, but these have a special eye (the hole in which you thread the needle)  and scarf (the indentation on the back of the needle - which allows the bobbin hook to grab the thread when it goes under the plate of the machine to create a stitch). These needles are designed for extremely stretchy fabrics and elastic, so applying elastic to lycra etc. It would be this needle that I would use the most.

A look at needle sizes

- 8/60, 9/65, 10/70 use on very fine fabrics such as fine silk, chiffon and fine lace.

- 11/75, 12/80 use on light weight fabrics such as cotton voile, silk and lycra.

- 14/90 use on medium weight fabrics such as cotton, velvet and jersey,

- 16/100 use on heavy fabrics such as denim and leather

You wouldn't really use the next two needles in lingerie but for information

-18/110 use on very heavy fabrics such as upholstery

-20/120 use on fabrics heavier than upholstery

Also remember to change your needle often, the average needle lasts roughly 6-8 hours of sewing use.