Hand sewing needles come in a variety of shapes, lengths and sizes, each suitable for different fabrics, threads or purposes. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on three common types: sharps, milliners/straw, and betweens. You can buy a package containing a variety of needle types and sizes. As the size of the needle goes up, the length and thickness of the needle decreases – So a size 1 is longer and thicker than a size 8.
How do you choose a needle for your project? As a general rule, the finer your fabric, the finer needle you should use. You want to avoid making a larger hole than is needed for your thread to pass through.
- Sharps are great for just about any hand sewing project. Their medium lengths and round eyes work with most fabrics.
- Milliners or Straw needles are longer than sharps and also have a round eye. These needles are used for millinery work (hat making), but because of their length, they work well for basting.
- Betweens are short and skinny needles that are good for fine, short stitches. They are most often used in quilting.