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Can Sewing Machine Needles Be Sharpened? Find Out Here!

When you ask other sewers about sharpening sewing machine needles, the first question they ask is “Why?”

Sharp needles make sense for people who sew a lot, or who sew using thick fabrics. However, if you only make a few projects a year, it’s easier to simply buy new needles than to sharpen them.

If you love to sew, you know that nothing interrupts your sewing groove quite like a dull sewing machine needle.  

When your sewing needles start to become dull, you need to sharpen them before you can sew anything.  If you don’t sharpen your sewing needles before you sew, the needle will shred the fabric and cause your stitches to look more like string.  

Sharp is the word when it comes to sewing needles.  Sharpen your sewing machine needle so you don’t keep hitting a brick wall.  

Sharpen it by using a needle file and you will prolong the life of your sewing machine needle, and your project will be on its way to completion sooner.  Let’s start with the facts.  

New sewing machine needles are made of hardened steel and are perfect right out of the package.  Sharpening a sewing machine needle will only make it dull quickly.  There is a way to sharpen a sewing machine needle, but unless you have a history of needle files, this is not the time to learn to sharpen.

In sewing, there are many different types of needles to choose from: sharps, ball point, topstitching, universal, milliners, leather, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

The most basic of all needles is the universal point that comes with most machines.  It’s very versatile needle that can be used for many different types of fabrics.  

It can be used for many different types of stitches: straight, zigzag, decorative, buttonholes, and much more.  A disadvantage to this needle is that it dulls quickly.  If you are a person who likes to switch fabrics often, then this needle will need to be replaced often.

Three easy ways to sharpen a sewing needle

Let’s face it: Sharpening needles is a dreaded task that most sewists put off for as long as possible. But a new, sharp needle is an essential tool for sewing, and you don’t want to ruin your fabric or thread by poking it with a dull one.

Fortunately, sharpening needles doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s a good idea to learn how to sharpen both straight and curved needles, and there are three main methods you can use.

1. Using an emery board

If you have ever tried to sew with a dull needle you know just how annoying it is. You need to use more pressure to push the fabric through the machine, which can cause stitches to be uneven.

When you are in a hurry, even the smallest imperfections can drive you crazy! Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem: using an emery board to sharpen sewing machine needles.

An emery board is one of those tools that most people use but never really know the name of (much like the all-purpose multi-tool). It’s a small rectangular block of coarse grit sandpaper, typically made of plastic.

They come in all different sizes, but the most common are 3″ x 1.5″ and 1.5″ x .75″ While we most often associate them with getting a smooth, polished finish on our nails, they are also great for cleaning up rough or jagged edges on anything you’ve made, from a blanket to a quilt.

2. Using an emery strawberry

An emery strawberry (sometimes called a nail file) is a small abrasive block shaped like a strawberry.

They are used to sand the edges of fingernails and toenails to make them smooth, and have many other uses in crafts, such as sharpening sewing needles.

If you are a sewer who uses sewing needles then you may want to try using an emery strawberry to sharpen your needles.

An emery strawberry is simply a piece of emery that is shaped like a strawberry. It is a volcanic rock that has been used for centuries to sharpen sewing needles and scissors.  The process is simple but it does take time and patience.

3. Using a bar of soap

Sewing Machine Needles are one of the most important parts of any sewing machine. They are the part that is responsible for sewing the fabric together. However, sewing machine needles can become dull over time.

This makes it harder for the machine to sew the fabric and can damage it. A dull needle can cause uneven seams and poor stitch quality.

Dull needles can also damage the machine, such as the needle breaking or the machine’s needle plate.

There are many methods to sharpen the points on your hand sewing needles.

This method is using a bar of soap.

Simply rub the needle on the soap until the point is sharp.

If you are new to sewing or unsure of how to sharpen the needles, check out this previous article that shows the other methods of sharpening.  

There are a few tips to remember when using soap to sharpen needles.

Do not use a bar of soap that has been used by anyone else or one that has been used to wash a pets body.  This soap will have a residue on it and could be harmful to your hands. 

In Conclusion

Yes, it’s important to sharpen your sewing machine needles. Over time, you may find that your sewing machine doesn’t work as well as it used to. This could be because your machine needle has become dull.

Dull needles don’t pierce the fabric as cleanly as sharp ones, and as a result, sewing is difficult and fabric may pucker. When you sew, the needle should pierce the fabric and create a small hole. A dull needle leaves a large hole and the fabric is not cleanly pierced. You can easily sharpen your sewing machine needle at home in just a few minutes.

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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