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Forum > Sewing Machines > How do you know when to change the needle? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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How do you know when to change the needle?
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Date: 10/28/13 11:36 AM

Since buying my (heavenly) Janome this summer, I have made:

lined jacket (cotton)
4 shirts (one linen, two cotton, one denim)
2 waistcoats (one denim, one silk)
and
turned up two pairs of denim jeans

all with the original needle.

It doesn't seem to mind a bit. It takes every thickness I throw at it, including to my astonishment, 4 layers of denim on the last shirt. I'm now well into the prep for the next garment, which is a lot of sewing already done (I'm being deliberately mysterious about that as I'm so keen to show it off when finished)

So, when is one supposed to change the needle? If I changed it for every new project, I'd be on needle no. 8 by now.
PattiAnnJ
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Date: 10/28/13 11:44 AM

When the stitching is no longer uniform.

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OLD CHINESE PROVERB: I HEAR & I FORGET; I SEE & I REMEMBER; I DO & I UNDERSTAND.

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Date: 10/28/13 11:49 AM

Well, you could always change the needle and see if the stitching is any better. I think by now it is well time to change the needle to a new one.

What needle are you using and what size?

I change for each new project and sometimes during the project. It does help. Needles get dull quickly with all the force they endure. Especially in denim. That is a very thick fabric and you said you used 4 layers of it. That needle must be very dull by now.

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Date: 10/28/13 11:59 AM

If the needle hits the presser foot or needle plate...change the needle.
There is a "thunk" sound a dull needle makes when it punches through fabric...and you may also notice a little resistance as the needle enters the fabric...it doesn't pierce as smoothly.

If needles are ordered economically online...then there is no worry about the cost of changing needles often. Links below to two that are good vendors...but you probably would have a local online vendor that would be best for your needs.

Organ Needles at Red Rock Threads

Organ Needles at Discount Embroidery Supply
-- Edited on 10/28/13 12:14 PM --
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Date: 10/28/13 12:07 PM

I change whenever I change the weight or fabric drastically. So if I go from vinyl to denim, I change feom a leather needle to a heavy universal. If I then switch to light cotton, a light universal. If I switch then to spandex, a ballpoint. I change needles a lot bc I use so many different fabrics. However, I throw away a needle after ehh, mayb 15-20hrs on the machine.

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2015 In: 36 yards
2015 Sewn: 25.5 yards
2014 In: 99.75 yards
2014 Sewn: 80.5 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

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Date: 10/28/13 1:45 PM

Usually you can hear the needle pop as it penetrates the fabric. Another sign is damage to the fabric. I would think that you are ready for a needle change.

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Date: 10/28/13 1:50 PM

Eeks! You got alot of use from that needle. I am surprised that it worked ok especially switching between fabrics. I have heard it recommended after 8 hours of sewing. I switch between projects and materials often so I am switching often. If I take a needle out, I don't reuse it; it goes in the trash. Needles are fairly inexpensive (I just bought some from Sharps Sewing on Ebay). It is not worth the aggravation if my needle is bad.
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Date: 10/28/13 2:52 PM

Quote: cruzer2013
Usually you can hear the needle pop as it penetrates the fabric.



I hear a dull thump.

Here are pictures what a worn needle looks like.
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Date: 10/28/13 3:27 PM

After at least every couple projects, and more if you change fabrics or a project is very large. What's the use of spending all the money for a machine and then going cheap on the needle?

Actually lots of people have no idea you do have to put a new one in. Some get rid of a machine when it finally goes bad on them and they have never changed a needle or cleaned out the bobbin area. I certainly did not know to change the needle frequently back in the dawn of time when I learned to sew...probably my mother mentioned it and I just didn't listen - that would have been pretty common for me.

PS - I KNEW that DC3050 was one tough machine!
-- Edited on 10/28/13 3:28 PM --

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Date: 10/28/13 3:30 PM

Awesome pictures!

I changed the needle today, mostly because I'm sewing lining material next. That lining material which sheds threads everywhere. Before switching to a new needle, I compared the points on the old and the new, but I couldn't see any difference. Those pictures however, tell a different story.

(also, I did hear a dull thump before)

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