Before making your first stitch, you need to make sure that you have a good understanding of your needles. It is easy to assume that because of their simplicity, all needles work in the same way. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Selecting the right needle for your project is the first step to creating a beautiful finished product.
You may have come across curved needles before. If you have tried using them in your work, they probably felt quite strange between your fingers. So, what are these curved needles used for?
This article will focus on curved needles, what they are, and how to use them.
What are curved needles?
As the name suggests, curved needles have a curved shape. They come with both round and triangular points. The length of a curved needle is measured by its outer circumference, which usually varies from 5cm to 25cm.
Curved needles can also be either light or heavyweight. Your choice of either of these will depend on how thin or thick your material is. Curved needles are really easy to push through fabric and return it without having to reverse it.
Uses of curved needles
Curved needles are usually used in unique situations when straight needles won’t get the job done. The main reason for using them is because they provide an easier way to navigate through seams, which can sometimes be rather problematic to do with straight needles.
Curved needles will work really well in a variety of situations, such as cushions and pillows, repairing car seats, or even repairing lampshades. They are sometimes also referred to as upholstery needles because of their role in making pillows and other upholstery furniture.
Here are a few more uses of curved needles:
1. Slip stitching
When you want to do a quick slip stitch with the intention of bringing two sides of a fold together, using a curved needle will give you a more finished look. Keep in mind that some fabrics like chenille and textured microfiber suede are better at concealing slip stitches than others.
A slip stitch is usually done by sliding the needle and thread through the folded edge of your fabric while, at the same time, picking up a few threads of the fabric on the opposite side of the fold.
For a more polished look, you need to keep stitching in this style, while making a stitch every 1/8 to ¼” evenly.
2. Repairing busted seams
When you have busted seams, curved needles can fix them wonderfully. For this to work, you’re going to need to have one curved needle, upholstery thread, and nose pliers for needles. Follow these steps:
- Anchor the area where the seam remains intact then secure the existing thread.
- As you work underneath the fabric, insert the needle into the first seam hole then come up through the fabric.
- Now jump across the seam and insert the needle into the next hole. Then, bring the needle up into the next hole.
- Repeat this process until you have gone through all the seam hole. Remember to keep the stitches loose until the seam is done and ready for tightening.
- Finally, secure all loose ends.
3. Medical uses
Some medical procedures like biopsies also require the use of curved needles. In medical school, medical students are also taught a few basic sewing skills, including how to use different types of needles.
Using curved needles in upholstery is pretty simple. The easiest way to do it is by hand. Here is a quick rundown of how to do it:
The first step is to identify the exact size of the needle you would want, depending on the thickness of the material. Choose the ideal color of thread, too, and you are good to go.
This example describes how to upholster a pillow:
- Once you have your preferred needle, tie a knot at the end of the twine and thread needle.
- Begin by going inside the pillow so that you can overlap the stitch made by the sewing machine. Then, take about a ½ bite through the fabric, or less if the fabric is of lighter weight. Avoid going through the cord as much as possible, and pull tight.
- Next, use your needle to identify any inconsistencies and adjust on the fly. Hold the thread straight up and down to know where your needle should enter the upper plate. Not until you have lapped the spot previously sewed by a machine can you stop doing this. For example, if the top plate appears to have more fabric than the bottom, then you need to insert the needle a little to the left on the top plate. With this, some of the slack will have been taken care of.
- Finally, wrap the twine around the needle once or twice then insert it into the welt or pillow fabric. Tightly, hold the thread close to where the needle is to go in, producing a knot that will stay inside the fabric. This will keep your project from coming loose. When you tug the knot into the correct place with success, you should hear a slight popping sound.
5. Mending rugs
You need a strong curved needle to mend rugs. You will be pushing the needle through thick material with your fingertips, and the curve of the needle will allow you a curve on which you can push, instead of a pointed eye. This does not mean than you are sewing in a circular manner, but this rounded edge gives you enough surface edge upon you can press so that you don’t hurt or pierce your fingers.
For this process, a spool with button thread will come in handy, especially if your needle has an eye that’s large enough. A spool of denim thread will also work. Even though it is not as strong as the button thread, it will do the job effectively.
If your rug is too big, you can bring all your equipment to the floor and work while cross-legged. However, if it is small and less awkward, placing it on your lap would save you some strain on your shoulders and neck. Here is how to do it:
- Thread the needle then at the end, create a heavy knot.
- Working systematically from one end of the tear to the other, bring up the needle from the underside of the rug, then down on the other side of the split. This should be about 1/8” from the tear.
- For your next stitch, space it about 1/4 inch from the last one.
- Repeat this process until the split has been closed.
Curved needles will also help you fix your torn couches. Here’s how to do it:
- Study the tear and find out if there are frayed edges etc.
- Use seam sealant to prevent the ripped fabric from fraying even more.
- Fold the edged of the tear and using your fingers, firmly press the folds down.
- Use a nylon thread and a curved needle to close the seam like in the previous procedure.
How to make your own curved needles
Sometimes, finding curved needles can be rather difficult, especially if you do not have access to supply stores. Here is how you can make your own curved needles so that you won’t have to go through the trouble of finding and buying them:
- You only need a candle and two needle-nose pliers. Gather these.
- Hold the needle with pliers on both ends, then bend it very slightly so that the needle heats up. This will take just a few seconds.
- For the best results, work with an angle that is slightly larger than 90 degrees. Since the needle will be hit, you will need a heat-resistant surface for it to cool down after you have achieved the perfect angle.
- Soot will form on the needle, so do not forget to clean it off with water and soap before use.
Caring for your needles
All sewing needles, in general, do not require special care. Just remember to keep them dry to prevent corrosion. If they become dull, you can always sharpen them using a small pincushion that is filled with sand. Needles will last for several years if taken care of properly.
As you can see, curved needles can make a lot of difference in your sewing. To get them, you can either opt to make your own from scratch, buy them online, or buy them from your local sewing supplies store.