Needle: History, Numbering, Uses and Functions

Sewing Machine Needle

The word needle is a very common one in the garments industry. Different accessories are joined by the needle. The needle is used for sewing operations. Two or multiple fabric parts are joined by stitching which is done with the help of a needle. Sewing thread is passing through the hole of a needle. I think that one of you has used a needle to sew something. So, you must have a curiosity to know the history of needles. Now I will describe the history of needles.


History of Needle

History of the needle with its using age:

  • Needle used for hand sewing since about 18000 B.C and made from Bone, Wood and Horn.
  • Iron needles were introduced during the 15th century for hand sewing.
  • In 1800, BALTHASAR KREMS of Germany was the first to use a needle with the eye near the point for sewing machine and he had developed it.
  • The large scale production of sewing machine’s started about 1840.
  • Today the steel needle is common used in sewing operation.
  • Needles are made in straight or curved form.

Needle Size or Needle Numbering

The thickness of the needle is expressed by a number that is called Needle Number or Needle Size (NN/NS). It is the most widely used system in metric system (Nm). Needle lengths for each type of machine are standardized. The needle number is calculated by multiplying the blade diameter (mm) with 100. If we consider that, the blade diameter is 0.7 then

Needle Number = 0.7 x 100 = 70

The range of needle numbers is Nm 70 to Nm 200.

Functions of Needle

The needle has different functions. They are as follow:

  • To form a passage in the material through which the needle thread can wholly or partially pass.
  • To form a loop which can be picked up by the looper or hook mechanisms.

Needle Selection

The selection of needle depends on the following factors:

  • The characteristics of the materials. Materials could be woven or knit. For woven fabric V-Point needle is use and for knit fabric Ball-Point needle is use.
  • The size of the sewing thread.
  • The stitch type.
  • The seam type.

The needle is used for forming a loop and holds the fabric parts together. The use of needles depends on the thickness of the materials. For use of faulty needles, different fabric faults can appear on the fabric.

So, the selection of needles should be correct. The needle number should be fixed for sewing specific fabrics.

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