Needles and thread are two of the basic sewing and craftwork tools with which you can make cool stuff (or even non-cool stuff…).
Sewing requires a few basic tools such as thread, needles, threader, thimble, pins, pin cushion, scissors, a seam ripper, thread snips, a tape measure, a clear ruler. If you have some of these items already, you are ahead of the game! If you don’t have any of them, they are fairly easy to get.
You are only as good as your tools
I grew up in a family that made things, repaired things, created things. Something I always heard was “You are only as good as your tools”. It means exactly that. Get the best tools you can afford, and they will last a very long time (in many cases a lifetime and more – more on that soon). When I was in school I would ask my instructors which types/brands/styles of tools they preferred, and why. When I interned and apprenticed, I paid attention to the tools my mentors were using, again, types/brands/styles. I learned through exposure and practice, and testing.
Here are my thoughts on the best tools:
The Best Thread:
I prefer cotton thread. Not polyester or polyester wrapped cotton or cotton wrapped polyester. Just. Plain. Cotton. Why?
Cotton thread breathes and has a certain elasticity that conforms with the fabrics I use. That being said, I only use natural fiber fabrics that breathe and move with the body. Also, I buy my thread from sources that supply spools of 400, 600, 1000, 2000 yards. I don’t buy from the big craft stores as they only sell spools in small amounts like 200 – 300 yards. And they charge as much or more for that small amount, so why not get more for your money!
Online Sources for the Best Thread:
The Best Needles:
Sewing needles for hand sewing come in a variety of sizes and lengths. There are needles specific for hand sewing, embroidery, beading, millinery, leather, knits, etc. A needle for just about any function you can think of. In addition, hand sewing needles are designated for hemming, darning, attaching buttons and snaps, and, well, you get the idea.
Buy a package of various sizes – these usually come in packs with sizes ranging from #3 to #10. A package of assorted needles will typically run $2-$4, depending on the manufacturer and the quantity of needles in the package (10 – 25).
Some needles are better quality than others. They are sharper and their eyes are more easily threaded. By the way, most needle packs come with a needle threader (see Threader, below, for more info).
Online Sources for the Best Needles:
NOTE: I will cover machine sewing needles in a different post that discusses sewing machines.
The Best Threader:
This is a tool that has its advocates and critics. If you have a difficult time threading a needle, this tool can be very helpful. But you may have just as difficult a time getting the threader through the eye of the needle.
What I am saying is that threading a needle takes a bit of skill, whether using a threader or not. You have to focus. You have to make sure your thread is not ‘fuzzy’ at the end you are pushing through the eye/threader. Personally, I learned to thread a needle without a threader. And I learned at an early age. And I can be a bit competitive, so I would challenge myself to thread on the first try. Long story short, I am really good at threading any needle. No threader needed for me! That being said, try both with and without the threader and see which works best for you. By the way, if you are buying a package of needles, most likely it will include a threader, so don’t buy a separate one.
Online Sources for the Best Threaders:
Take a look at our other blog posts on best tools: