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Decent sewing needles and thread

Discussion in 'Resources' started by Barn Owl, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Barn Owl

    Barn Owl Old Age Punk

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    Where will I find decent sewing gear?

    A lot of needles bought in the supermarket seem very weak and bend or break at the eye easily.

    Are there any with a decent size eye too.

    Thanks,

    Tom.

    It's for a wee set to keep in the sac for clothing mainly,not leather or heavy duty jobs.
     
    #1 Barn Owl, Jun 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  2. mountainm

    mountainm Full Member

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    I'd be guessing you need a proper haberdashery.
     
  3. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    I buy Victorian and Edwardian needles because their quality is superb. Modern ones are mostly carp :sigh:

    Tengu and I have been talking about putting together small hussifs for the goody bags at the Moot. I have *some* needles I'm willing to donate, but.....I can buy modern ones with big, clean (no swarf, jagged edges or carp points) but I have to buy in bulk.

    However, John James do make modern needles that are good, and they will sell in individual packs.
    Basically, a 'sharp' needle is an everyday sewing needle but it has a small round eye. Very strong that eye and it doesn't break easily, but it's not easily threaded, especially when your hands are frozen, the light's not good and the thread's thick.
    Crewel needles are intended mostly for embroidery and they have long oval eyes which accomodate thicker threads.
    What you want is a sharp pointed crewel needle somewhere between size 1 to 4.
    http://www.jjneedles.com/products/Regular-Embroidery-Needle-%252d-Sizes-1-to-4.html
    The higher the number of the needle the finer the thickness.

    John James will also sell darners, but you need sharp pointed fine darners
    http://www.jjneedles.com/categories...-%2d-Darning-and-Mending-Hand-Sewing-Needles/
    They also have a Household repair pack which is awfully useful for repairing kit. It even has a leather point needle in the set.
    http://www.jjneedles.com/products/Household-Repair-Needle-Set.html

    Don't buy Pony stuff, it's carp, made in China with exhausted machinery....take a squint at the eyes of the needles with a magnifying glass and the difference is astonishing. Most are ragged and will catch, snag and tear thread.
    Even over a hundred and fifty years old the Victorian ones are beautifully smooth and finely made of good steel.

    cheers,
    M
     
    #3 Toddy, Jun 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  4. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    I find with needles its a compromise between a thin one that will break under my clumsy hands or a thicker one that takes effort to push.

    Where do you get victorian ones?
     
  5. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    These days I generally buy on ebay. If you do so, check with the seller first that the needles are not rusty. They were originally wrapped in black rust free paper and it was surprisingly effective.
    They really understood good workmanship and decent tools back then.

    British needlemakers seem to have thrived in Redditch, but by the 60's it was all pretty much grinding to a halt.
    Still much better needles than the vast majority of the imports. Some of the Spanish ones are very good too though.

    If the steel is good, it won't break even if it's hair fine. Apart from quite specific tasks, blunt needles are more trouble than they're worth. Again, many modern needles have ragged tips :sigh: I hate carp tools.

    Very few people actually sew by hand for any length of time nowadays, so most folks don't know the difference and just take the trouble they find as being because it's normal with hand sewing, not that the needles are rubbish.
    I've sewn since I was three years old, I've lost count of the number of thimbles I've worn out. Good needles are worth the expense, but the rubbish modern ones are sold as though they were good quality, and they certainly aren't.
    cheers,
    M
     
  6. Barn Owl

    Barn Owl Old Age Punk

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    Thanks all.

    Repair kit ordered Mary, the very thing.
     
  7. monkey spanner

    monkey spanner Forager

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    I'm replying to this thread About thread.
    You can use the inside of 550 cord, a bit of a waste of good cord.
    Or you can use dental floss from your wash kit.
    Get a length and try to pull it apart, it's strong stuff, and it get's all those bit's out of your teeth.
     
  8. redandshane

    redandshane Native

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    Its funny but I have been checking out various haberdashery stalls in markets on my travels looking for the ultimate needles-I too require a reasonable sized eye
    I should have asked on here
    Thanks for this very useful info
     
  9. sandbender

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    Toddy recommended these needles in another thread that my googlefu isn't finding.

    ebay link

    Not all needles are equal and these are really good.

    The seller has only 11 sets left.

    :)
     
  10. TarHeelBrit

    TarHeelBrit Full Member

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    I remember that thread as it came at a very opportune moment and save me asking the question.
    Screenshot from 2016-09-01 22:06:02.jpg
    I bough a pack of the needles and they are the mutts nuts. My go to needles for canvas, denim and leather, although I don't do much with leather they're mainly used for repairs and sewing D rings and canvas belt loops on.

    I'd grab a pack while they're available guaranteed to last a life time.
     
  11. Leshy

    Leshy Full Member

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    Thanks for the heads up, I've ordered a pack! Good find
    Cheers
     
  12. Mesquite

    Mesquite Anyone for sailing?

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    Ressurecting this thread (no pun intended :) ) as I'm on the search for some decent needles but annoying all the links here are out of date or no longer working.

    I seem to remember Toddy linking to an ebay seller who had packs of old new stock Redditch made needles that had a variety of sizes in the packs. I bought a pack at the time and was impressed with the quality but much to my annoyance the pack now seems to have gone on walkabout so I need to find it by buying a replacement set :)
     
  13. Wayland

    Wayland Hárbarðr

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    Debs and I get all our needles from John James ( www.jjneedles.com ) ( For some reason my iPad is not letting me paste a link? )
     
    chas brookes likes this.
  14. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    I had a 'discussion' with John James (well, their customer/sales service lady) a couple of years ago. The long and short of it was that their buyer and quality control were going out to China to have words with their manufacturer. I had written a scathing letter and attached a batch of damaged, fouled, broken, and bent like wet spaghetti, needles taken from three new packs. There was something missing in the manufacturing process, the needles either bent too easily or were too brittle and snapped....and they were becoming known for snapping among quilters world wide.
    They very kindly sent me an assortment of replacements, and I really hope the lady who went to China read them the riot act because JJ didn't need such carp purporting to be their quality needles.

    On the whole, I'm with Gary on this one, and they're the best of the modern needles that we can find.

    That said, a quick trawl through eBay brought up some others that I would recommend.

    These are big, strong, sound needles. If you want to hand sew something tough, or something thick and need to be sure the needle won't bend, buckle, splice or shatter, these will do. Muckle needles though.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/25-STRON...173125846902?_trksid=p2349526.m4383.l4275.c20

    Same seller has other needles, look at the eyes on the Italian ones (shudder) :cautious: I wouldn't really, I wouldn't.

    These are very good, but for most folks will be far too short.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MILWARDS...814654?hash=item4b5f06973e:g:0-IAAOSwLGlceZv8

    Nice, very nice....if it's what it says on the label. No photos of the needles :sigh:
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SAIL-MAK...116212?hash=item1f02fcec74:g:XhcAAOSw5PBdcjN7

    If you can find a genuine one of these, with all the original packets still sound, it's worth buying. They packed in genuine tinfoil and it seems to have been an excellent preserver.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-Army...154405?hash=item4445487c25:g:HL4AAOSwklZddn6a

    Sorry, Mesquite, no mixed packs of Redditch ones coming up that I'd buy. I'll keep my eyes open though.

    M
     
  15. Mesquite

    Mesquite Anyone for sailing?

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  16. Wayland

    Wayland Hárbarðr

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    Toddy likes this.
  17. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I bought sail-maker's needles in a chandler's.
    I bought heavy duty needles, carpet needles, in a carpet store.
    I bought some bigger button needles in a rare shop selling cloth goods.
    I have a Speedy Stitcher for impaling my fingers with waxed linen thread.
    Best? Probably the button needles. Little bit thicker, longer and bigger eye.
    I have no leather working needles, jobbing those things to someone needing the money.
     
  18. Herman30

    Herman30 Nomad

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    Look for upholstery needles. + Inner strand from paracord as sewing thread.
     
  19. Mesquite

    Mesquite Anyone for sailing?

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    Not exactly what I need for fine sewing...
     
  20. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    What kind of fine sewing ? because I have hauled out the needles that I used to pack into the medieval hussifs that I sold....the needles were much better than medieval ones, but they were hidden in the wool strips I threaded them through. Sort of the kit really looked the part but inside the inside it was very good modern steel :)
    They don't owe me a ha'penny, Mesquite, I made my money back many times over on those hussifs.
    I've still got a stash of the needles though.
    They were Italian ones, not coarse eyed like those ones on that site on eBay, but they're not very big. They're meant for hand sewing clothing,
    If they're of any use I'll pack some up and post.
    Sam asked about needles not so long ago, and I never gave these ones a thought because on the whole bushcrafters seem to want long and strong with big eyes.
    These are strong but they're Sharps, mostly, with smaller eyes. They do thread easily and smoothly though.

    M
     

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