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Sewing with Threads Podcast

Choosing and Using Schmetz Needles, with Rhonda Pierce | Episode 75

Video: Threads magazine

Selecting the right sewing machine needle can make a big difference in how your sewing project turns out. Rhonda Pierce, a spokesperson for Schmetz needles, explains how to determine the right needle, what are some needle options, and even when you should change a machine needle. The avid quilter and sewing enthusiast shares her knowledge about what she calls “the most important 2-inch piece of steel in the home sewing machine” in this episode of Sewing With Threads.


Needle Selection Resource

Schmetz, a part of Euro-notions, Inc., provides extensive online resources. Rhonda suggests checking out the needle supplier’s Helpful Tools page for the Schmetz ABC Pocket Guide, exhaustive listing of fabric types and recommended needles, and needle color code chart.

Schmetz ABC Pocket Guide


Needle Knowledge

In this podcast, Rhonda explains what the colored bands on the needles signify and why there are two numbers on every needle packet. She also describes the best needles to use when sewing vinyl, faux and genuine leather, fun or faux fur, fleece, and even quilting cotton and batik fabric.

Listen in for the differences between needle types and an explanation of Microtex, or sharp, needles and super nonstick needles. If you were wondering what the difference is between stretch and ballpoint needles, you’ll want to catch Rhonda’s discussion about them, too.

Change Your Needle

Rhonda also details four sure signs that it’s time to change your sewing machine needle.

“Changing out the needle can solve a lot of problems,” she says, noting that “it is the least expensive part to your machine.”

What needles would this needle expert choose if she was limited to just five?

Schmetz Piecing and Quilting Needles

It’s a combination pack of quilting and piecing needles that includes Microtex and universal needles for her quilting and fashion sewing, shown above.

The Microtex 80/12 is Rhonda’s favorite needle, particularly for quilting. However, “the universal is the workhorse of all needle types,” she says. “I don’t care what kind of sewing one does. You always need a universal, especially an 80/12 and 90/14 in your stash.”

More Schmetz Needles Information

Find out more about Schmetz and sewing machine needles at SchmetzNeedles.com; on social media at #Schmetzneedles.

Links to Schmetz needles online and on social media




This episode’s sponsor

Project Guides promotional art

Go to ThreadsMagazine.com and explore our helpful Project Guides. Each guide is a curated collection of articles and videos on a specific sewing topic, so it’s easy to find the information you need.

There’s the “Learn to Sew” project guide for beginners. And there are even more guides for every level of sewer focusing on fitting, sewing tops and pants, working with knit fabrics, and making the perfect pair of jeans.

Each project guide includes dozens of posts that lead you through a logical learning sequence. Let Threads magazine be your guide to a comprehensive sewing education.


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  1. cgincolorado | | #1

    I was blown away by this podcast! It was so informative and helpful. As it happens, I had been having problems trying to free motion quilt with skipping stitches, even with a new needle. I was trying out quilting, embroidery and microtex needles in various sizes with Aurifil thread. Nothing worked. After listening to this podcast I switched to a topstitch 90 needle, problem solved! Luckily, I have a pretty good stash of needles, so had plenty to try. Thank you so much!

  2. RWoven | | #2

    The part about changing out my needle is the most inspiring to me.

  3. user-7471216 | | #3

    Excellent podcast! I learned so much and the information is totally useful. Many things I didn't know and had wondered about. I took notes and will be more careful about changing my needles etc. The time went by quickly. Thank you so much!

  4. delica | | #4

    Thanks for the great explanation of the various needles.

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