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Welcome >> Facts, Tips & Care >> Life Of A Needle >>
How Long Does a Sewing Machine Needle Last?
Schmetz Sewing Machine Needle

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from my clients at The Sewing Machine Doctor is also one that is most asked of Horst Gruchow, Technical Service Manager from Schmetz Needles.

This question Horst has been asked, during the years of travelling & giving needle seminars to the apparel industry is one of the hardest to answer:

How long does a sewing machine needle last?

Interestingly enough, people from the shoe and leather industry where they really put wear & tear on the needle never asked him this question!

Generally Horst’s answer is: Between one minute & one month.

It can happen that you change a sewing machine needle because it was broken, start the machine & then within the next moment the needle breaks again.

Download this enlightening PDF & discover the reasons for this answer to the question >>

How long does a needle last?

Horst Gruchow, Technical Service Manager, Schmetz NeedlesFind out what really happens to your sewing machine needles, the definition & parameters influencing the life of your needles and how you can make the most of your needles with tips & hints from the expert.
Horst Gruchow, Technical Service Manager from Schmetz Needles
“Your sewing machine is only as good as the needle used.”

The Story of the Domestic Sewing Machine Needle
supplied by SCHMETZ Servicehouse

Description of a SCHMETZ sewing machine needleIn the last years, a rapid change took place on the material and accessories market. The fabrics noticeably changed in material, composition, structure and therefore also the requirements for their handling changed.

All industries connected with the textile processing reacted on that & adapted their products to the new requirements. Only with the right combination of all components a perfect sewing result can be achieved.

To provide assistance for the correct needle choice, the company SCHMETZ published the PDF "Needles for Household Sewing Machines" and the PDF "Schmetz ABC of Sewing Machine Embroidery Needles" as consumer information for interested users. (Click the links to access these highly informative PDF’s)

The development of the needle through history

The needle was one of humankind’s first tools. Over the centuries it developed from a simple craft item to the precision tool for sewing machines. The most ancient sewing needles (28,000 BC) had a split end which gripped the thread to be sewn (often raffia, gut or sinew). Needles from later than 17,500 BC amazingly enough, already had the two characteristic features of the hand sewing needle today, the eye at one end & the tapered point at the other end.

The needle in modern times

The invention of the sewing machine gave rise to the development of the sewing machine needle. From 1755, the most different needle forms were developed, which partly are still in use until today. Around 1800, B. Krems (from Mayen, Germany) used, for the first time, a needle which had the eye moved close to the point. This eye-point needle paved the way for the mechanisation of sewing worldwide. Through permanent further improvement of the simple hand sewing needle, the precision tool sewing machine needle was developed. In the year 1953, the metric size designation was determined, for which the abbreviation NM was introduced. This “number metric” indicates the diameter of the needle blade in hundredths of a millimetre measured above the scarf or the short groove, but not at any reinforced part of the blade. A sewing machine needle with a blade diameter of 0.80 mm therefore corresponds to NM 80.

Description & manufacture of the sewing machine needle

A sewing machine needle consists of these elements:
There are round shanks & flat shanks
Blade with groove: The groove guides the needle thread to the eye. The diameter of the used thread should have maximum 40% of the needle’s thickness
Scarf: It supports the hook to pick up the sewing thread loop
Point & eye: The point shape is relevant for the application of the sewing machine needle.

A SCHMETZ sewing machine needle passes through up to 35 stages of production. After each production stage there is a semi or fully automated check. The single processes are permanently optimised by the use of innovative technologies.

Needle systems for household sewing machines

The most used needle system for household machines is 130/705 H (H=Hohlkehle in German, means with scarf). All needles of system 130/705 H have a flattened shank for perfect positioning of the needle in the needle bar & in relation to the point of the hook. The special needles differ in size, point shape & eye. The groove is adapted to the needle size & guarantees the friction-free guidance of the thread through the material. The scarf supports the hook to pick up the needle thread loop correctly.

The selection of the correct needle size & point shape has a big influence on the sewing result.

The choice of the optimum needle depends on the material to be sewn, its thickness & the intended sewing process (sewing, topstitching, embroidering, etc.).

Product Information © SCHMETZ