Sewing Needles: A Craftsperson needs the right tools

Milliner Sewing Needles are amazing

Until several weeks ago, for hand sewing, all needles were created equal.  If sewing with thicker thread,  I’d likely choose one with a little larger eye but in general, one needle was as good as another and for more years that you’d want to know, it worked for me.  That was until I had the wonderful opportunity to attend one of Kenneth King’s classes several weeks ago.

The weekend of May 19th was PR (PatternReview) Weekend in Philly. It was a blast.  I always thought I could keep up with power shoppers but the nearly 60 people on this weekend get-away were in a different league than me.  They could really shop for fabric.  It was exhausting.
Since this was my first PR Weekend and I’m new at blogging, I didn’t even think to take my camera.  Many of my new sewing friends did a great job of documenting the weekend and posted the photos on their blogs.  Take a look and you, too can enjoy PR Weekend in Philly, albeit vicariously.

Sewing by the Seat of my Pants

The Slapdash Sewist

Knit-knac

Another Creation

Couturesmith

Mia’s Sewing Room

SewTawdry

La Cubanita Cose

Sheila Sews

Sew a Beginner

Milliner Needles


Now I need to share some information about this amazing sewing basic – a Milliner’s needle; alternatively called a straw needle.   While observing Kenneth King hand sew while he was teaching an embellishment class, I noticed that he used very long, thin needles and they didn’t look like beading needles.  I always enjoy sewing with a long needle but previously I was only aware of darners or other similar needles which are very difficult to use with fine fabric or when sewing many layers.  Intrigued, I asked him what type of needle he was using, and now you know the answer.  The beauty of these needles is that they glide through the fabric as the diameter of the needle is the same from top to bottom.  The ones I bought were manufactured by R. Hemming and sons.  The package says “large eye” but at my age the eyes in all needles are small, so I’m not a good judge. Nevertheless, the challenge of threading is well worth the time it takes to thread the needle.  Now I almost want to throw out the hundreds of other needles and only use these.  (My DH would probably like it if there were fewer needles in the house as it could decrease the chance of him stepping on one.)  I’ve hemmed with this new delight, done other hand sewing.  It’s so much easier to have a long needle.  I used a #11 to hand-pick the zipper in Megan’s wedding dress and the needle easily pulled through the 8 or more layers of fabric.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock – am I the only one of us who didn’t know about these needles?

So where do you find Milliners?  I went right to Ebay where there were several sellers who carried them.  They arrived several days later.

Postscript on PR Weekend in Philly

My husband, Kevin, is very supportive of my sewing habits, aside from an occasional needle in his heel followed by some choice words.  When he picked me up a few hours before  the end of the PR Weekend, he may have been a little surprised by the mound of fabric but kindly didn’t ask how much I added to our monthly credit card bill.  (To clarify, my sewing peers didn’t wear me out – we had a graduation dinner for our nephew).

Today Kevin got a traffic ticket in the mail from that afternoon – the wonderful revenue producing stoplight cameras.  He must have been rushing home so I could start sewing on all of that fabric.  Now we know that I should have stayed until the end of the day and spent more $$ as in the end it would have been less expensive.




2 thoughts on “Sewing Needles: A Craftsperson needs the right tools

  1. Hello FabriCate and Mira-Milliner needles come in several sizes. And all English-made needles (the best!) come into the US through one distributor, Colonial Needle out of White Plains NY. Although I’m in favor of supporting hometown shops,, if this option’s not available, then you can always get these needles online through the Colonial Needle site http://www.colonialneedle.com. Hope this is helpful and happy sewing!

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