12 days of Sewing Tips: Look Sharp!

No, today’s tip isn’t about having the best #memade wardrobe. Similar to yesterday’s tip, it’s a gentle reminder to do one of those periodic tasks that we all probably don’t do as often as we should: Change your rotary blades and needles!

Rotary cutters are awesome, and I can’t imagine quilting without one (or 4!). We all know that when we start getting incomplete cuts, it’s time for a fresh blade. But do we change it right away? No. We put it off, and live with the frustrating blade and the bad cuts, way longer than we need to. If this sounds like you, and you know you need a new blade, just go change it. (I’ll wait here while you do it.) You’ll wonder why you waited so long!

How often you change your sewing machine needle depends on how often you sew, obviously, but here are a few things to consider:

  • If you’ve pieced a couple of quilts on your current needle, it’s probably time for a fresh one.
  • Batiks are harder on needles than other quilting cottons, so if you work with batiks, you may want to change needles more often.
  • If you’ve recently sewn over a pin, jammed your needle into your presser foot, a zipper, or your machine’s needle plate, the needle is probably bent or dulled. Is there a hint of a clicking sound while you’re sewing after such an incident? Time to change your needle.

Now, I don’t own stock in a sewing machine needle company, I’m extremely frugal, and I hate waste, so trust me that I’m not telling you to throw out a “perfectly good” needle lightly! In fact, before I started quilting, I don’t think I even knew it was possible or necessary to change a needle! Only after I started sewing daily, at least 2 hours a day, did I realize that the clicking sound, bad tension, and gouged needle plate on my mother’s sewing machine (which I had casually used for over 30 years) was caused by a needle that might have been as old as me! I’m now 100% converted to changing my needle after every quilt. Saving a few pennies on needles is just not worth the hassle of having to pull out bad stitches, getting thread clumps, and troubleshooting tension problems.

If you can’t remember the last time you changed your needle, it’s time!

I’m sharing 12 days of mini-tutorials and sewing tips to help make your sewing merrier! Read all the posts here.

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