Hand Sewing Needles

Hand Sewing Needles

Hand needles come in lots of sizes and types. Choosing the best needles for the job will make sewing easier. A few basic ones will be useful in your sewing box.

Sharps: This is the workhorse of hand needles. Use it for most of your hand sewing. As in all hand needles, the higher the size number, the finer and smaller the needle. You can usually buy a card with a selection of sizes—sizes 7 to 9 will serve most sewing needles. Finer sized, such as 10 to 12, might be useful for tiny details and really fine thread.

Betweens (‘tweens) or Quilting: These are shorter versions of sharps. They are useful in quilting because they give more control for going through layers in hand quilting, but are also useful in sewing for fine detail work. Some people prefer using ‘tweens instead of sharps for general sewing. It’s just a matter of preference.

Hand Sewing Needles


Hand needles come in different types and sizes. Add as many are useful to your store of needles and pins.


Milliners: These are longer, usually finer needles than sharps. As suggested by the name, they were used by milliners for hat making. People also use them for smocking and sewing through multiple layers of fabric. I use them for basting... Yes, basting! Basting is a truly valuable skill for sewing doll clothes—or anywhere else you need fine control. Some things, like zippers, gathering, sleeves and so on, can’t be sewn accurately without basting. Neither can slippery or difficult fabrics be sewn without careful basting! A medium-sized milliner’s needle with help with accurate basting.

These are the basic set of needles you need. In addition, you’ll need some sort of thimble and a block of beeswax.


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