How To Sharpen A Sewing Needle: A Complete Guide

how to sharpen a sewing needleWe all have faced the issue of a blunt needle. When all supplies of sewing a project are ready like the sewing machine, fabric, needle, thread, etc. and you have already started to sew and suddenly realize that despite checking all settings of the sewing machine, the stitches are not proper.

The problem is with the needle’s right size, or the needle is not sharp enough to stitch through the fabric. The correct size of the needle can be changed instantly. But it is annoying when it is blunt. The tip of the needle is smooth or rough is difficult to see through eyes directly.

Using the same needle forcefully can damage the fabric. Let’s discuss some easy techniques of how to sharpen a sewing needle.

How To Sharpen A Sewing Needle

Nail files: Nail filer is readily available at home. Every ordinary filer has an emery board attached to it. The finest one is better for sharpening a needle. The tip o the needle will be smooth when rubbing over it. Ensure that the total surface of the needle is soft enough.

Polishing: Old needles might have a scratch, which makes them blunt. Some might also be a result of corrosion. Polishing the needle is one of the most natural methods of making the needle-sharp.

Toothpaste: Use toothpaste or any vehicle surface brightening paste on a piece of cloth. Now, rub it over the blunt needle in the backward direction several times. Please turn it on all the sides of the needle by applying some force with fingers. The grit present on the paste will gradually become black. It will give a hint that the tip is now as smooth as a mirror. Although it requires some time, it is worthy.

Wash: After polishing or filing, the task is not over. Remember to wash the needle thoroughly with detergent and water. To assure that the needle is as sharp as a new one, this cleaning process is a must. Wipe it later with a clean towel or cotton cloth.

Soap: For smoothening the tip of a needle, you may also rub it over a bar of dry soap. Check that the soap is fresh and does not have any water on it. Roll the entire needle on the surface of the soap and start sewing again. No damage will occur on the fabric while sewing and is also easily washable.

sandpaperSandpaper: If the emery board is not available, one can also use sandpaper to sharpen a sewing needle. Around 800 grit of sandpaper will give the desired result when you scratch the needle with it. It will remove any unwanted finish or rust on the tip. For thicker needle, use sandpaper with higher grit crystals.

Steel wool: After completion of a stitching project, store your needles by piercing it in steel wool. The metallic fibers in the steel wool keep the tip of the needles sharp.

Oiling: Dipping the needles in cooking oil makes it smooth. Also, use a foil paper to wipe off the excess oil on the needle surface. Many tailors also use coconut oil as a home remedy for sharpening needles.

Sewing is an excellent hobby for a lot of people, whereas many people earn their bread and butter with this profession. The most prominent designer in the fashion industry considers sewing as their primary platform. The backbone of sewing depends on the in-depth knowledge of thread and needles. One must study the varieties of threads, color coordination, and needle sizes to excel in this industry. Awareness about the techniques of different stitches depends upon the usage of the needles for each procedure.

To achieve the desired output of sewing, the stitches should be clean and robust. An essential requirement is procuring smooth and sharp needles. Maintaining these needles is also necessary. Even if one can afford to buy new needles now and then, maintaining and understanding how to sharpen a sewing needle is also an art.

Needles In Sewing Machines

machine needleSome tailors consider discarding a needle after every extended use. They prefer using new needles for their machine when it has been under prolonged use of three or four hours. But this is not always possible for people with low income.

The sharpening of used needles as far as possible is the best way for people who value money more irrespective of how much they earn. The needles of the sewing machines are metallic. Smoothening these needles is not an issue. The ways mentioned above are readily available in every household. Thus, procuring these supplies like an emery board, oil, sandpaper, soap, etc. is not an issue.

Reasons For Sharpening Needles

Using blunt needles is difficult while sewing. Smooth and pointed needles need regular sharpening for the following reasons:

Clean Stitches: Sharp needles will make stitching smooth and commotion free.

Quality: Blunt needles will affect the quality of sewing. After spending a lot of energy and time, if the resulting product is not as per imagination due to the stitches, it is not appreciable. Stitches with perfect needles enhance the overall look of the material.

No Gaps: Pointed needles do not hamper the flow of sewing. Blunt needles give rise to skipped stitches. Skipped stitches will make the entire stitching lose and tear off easily, even with a very light force.

Deciding When To Sharpen The Needle

Although new needles have a long life, with continuous and substantial use, they gradually become blunt and dull.

If the sewing machine has undergone extensive stitching on rough fabrics, the needle’s tip will become blunt faster.

Place the needle between the forefinger and the thumb, pointing the tip downwards, i.e., perpendicularly. Then, with a finger of the other hand, run it over the surface to check its smoothness. Prolong usage and corrosion make the needle’s pointy and smooth surface quite rough, making it unusable.

How To Sharpen A Sewing Needle: Final Thoughts

Follow the mentioned procedures to keep your needles sharp and smooth and enjoy the perks of sewing and fruitful results.

nancy jenkins from get sew

Nancy Jenkins

Nancy is a retired seamstress who loves everything about crafting and sewing. When she is not at her sewing machine, you'll find her coming up with new patterns and designs for her sewing projects. Nancy likes the outdoors, meeting with friends, and cooking.