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Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Cards

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One of top rules of sewing success: Start each new project with a new needle! When a needle is piercing your fabric at 600 to 1,000 stitches per minute, small things like a dulled point or an eye that's beginning to wear can make a big difference in the quality of your stitches, which means a big difference in the quality of your finished project. Our latest sewing Cheat Card summarizes some of the important basics behind selecting the right needle for the job. 

If you look at the needle display at your local sewing dealer, you might see a dozen or more different types. They all look pretty much the same unless you pull out a magnifying glass. But, different needles do have different tips, eyes, shanks, groves, and shafts; and what you select can make all the difference in how well your machine sews through your fabric.

Our Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Card is the size of a standard business card: 2” wide x 3½” high. That’s small enough to tuck into your wallet or tack up on the bulletin board in your sewing room. This mini size makes them super convenient, but of course, we couldn’t possibly fit every option and bit of information onto them. For more details, check out our online article on Choosing Machine Needles. Among other details, it has a great illustration of the parts of a standard needle. 

The Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Card is available in six different backgrounds. All six designs print out on one 8½” x 11” sheet of paper from which you can cut out the cards. You may want to print on a heavier card stock (80 to 100lb cover is a good option) or print on regular paper then glue that lighter weight sheet to a stiff backing material prior to cutting. There are crop marks on each card to help you get a perfect slice. 

This is the third installment in our Cheat Card series. You may also want to print out the Yardage Conversion Cheat Cards and the Measuring Tape Cheat Cards. These two sets of cards are set-up on the same variety of pretty backgrounds. Pick your favorite design and build a set, or cut them all out to share with your sewing friends. 

Is there a cheat or hack you’d like to have as a handy card? Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to our list. 

The Sewing Machine Needles Cheat Card is available here as a .PDF file. Click the image below to download. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free program. We’ve minimized the file size, but still, please be patient with the download process.



Comments (30)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Kat - you are so welcome -- make sure you click through to download all the different cards available.

Emily Dogwood said:
Emily Dogwood's picture

Thread weights would be a good one for this series; I find their sizing/designations difficult to keep straight.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Emily - Thanks for the suggestion! Not all thread companies consistently lable by weight, but this would be a great partner card with our pals at Aurifil. 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Are there other needle cheat cards? Your article seems to claim this is another in a series and yet when I search your site, I can find no others.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

This is the only Cheat Card on needles, but there are other Cheat Cards. As mentioned above, this is the third in our series of Sewing Cheat Cards. You can find the links above for the other two. One is a Yardage Conversion Chart and the second is Measuring Tape Cheat Card. In addition, there is a link above for our full tutorial on Choosing Machine Needles. 

Vanisha Griggs said:
Vanisha Griggs's picture

Thank you so much for these cheat sheets.  They are helpful and also darling graphics. I am sharing these with my friends.  Also thanks for great tutorials and patterns. I have made several of your items and they all are spot on.


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Vanisha - Thank you for such a lovely compliment. We're happy to know you've found lots to inpsire you. 

rimhoff said:
rimhoff's picture

For those having trouble printing cards.  I too had this problem.  I used these instructions from Adobe.

Save the cards as a pdf.

Click on the print icon

In the print box, click on the Advanced icon

Select Print as Image, click OK

You are now back to the main print box, click OK

Printed like a charm for me.  I hope it will for you too

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Cyndi - Excellent! Adobe needs a little bit o' help now and then 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@rimhoff - thanks for your feedback - we have been suggesting this Adobe option to "print as image" - so it's good to hear that you have had success.

JJ said:
JJ's picture

I have NEVER been able to print any of this series.  There are many others who can not get the cards to print.  Is there any solution or are we just out of luck?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@JJ - So sorry you're having trouble. It might seem like there are a lot of folks with issues, but in reality, there have been hundreds - thousands (the older cards have of course been downloaded more often) of successful downloads. The only things we can control from our end are the size and quality of the file (the size is quite small and the quality has been triple-checked to be completely error free) and that the file downloads from our server. Once it hits the computer on your end, we can't control the printing. We've certainly tested the printing on small, large, old and new printers with success, but we can't replicate the myriad of options. You might want to review the troubleshooting from Adobe regarding updates, drivers, etc. Here's is one link: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/troubleshoot-pdf-printing-acrobat-rea...

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Rolanda - We've had a few people who have run into some printing issues, but hundreds more who are printing without issue. So sorry you are having trouble. Do make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader, and the latest version of your printer driver. Adobe does always recommend a re-start of the computer with any update. You can also try the Print as Image option in your printer browser window. This option is often under the Advanced tab. You can also save the downloaded PDF to your computer and print from there. Because of all the variables in computer systems, printers, connections, etc., all we can insure is that the download is delivering properly from our server.

marsha stevens said:
marsha stevens's picture

I am having trouble printing the cheat sheet for needles.  I have tried several different ways and nothing will print.  Can you send it directly to my email   marshabstevens@gmail.com

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Marsha - Everything is delivering correctly from our end. Make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. On some systems, there is also an option in your print window (might be under either the general or advanced tab) that must be clicked: "print as image". You can also try saving the file first to your computer and then opening to print. It is a larger file - thanks to all those lovely colors - so the spooling to your printer might take a few minutes. On some systems, it might even take a couple minutes for the full print print preview to pop up. We have tested the printing many times on a variety of systems. Please try again when you can - it might just mean waiting a bit longer. 

Christy H said:
Christy H's picture

I could not get it to print either. I followed all the directives above and never could get it to print. It downloads fine......just will not print.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Christy - So sorry you're having trouble. We have tested it on as many different systems as possible, but there are so many variables when it comes to computers, printers, internet connection speeds, etc., etc., -- since we cannot replicate the problem, and it is working without a hitch for so many downloads, it's nearly impossible to troubleshoot long distance what might be the problem on your end. As a option, you can save and open the PDF in another program or save to a memory stick and print from that (we tested that option by saving and printing at a local Kinkos to insure that would work). 

Melanie Dumas said:
Melanie Dumas's picture

Different threads and how to use them with the proper needle and different zipper applications​ would be great.

Ravyn said:
Ravyn's picture

How about common sizing like twin bed quilts,  hot pads, or table runner is length of table plus 10 inches or minus 10 inches (or whatever it is). I don't know, which is why I'm suggesting it.  Lol

Also,  stabilizer cheat card for common uses of types of stabilizers (embroidery or sewing). 

Or,  binding yardage for various size projects (again,  lap quilt,  twin,  queen,  hot pad,  etc...)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Ravyn - Thanks for the suggestions! Would just need to figure out the best way to shrink down the info to fit 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

what about the process for sewing french seams and/or bindings, pipings, etc.?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Those techniques would be hard to fit on a little cheat card - but, check the Project Index, we do have some great step-by-step tutorials online for all of those topics.

DebS said:
DebS's picture

I love these little cheat cards. Laminated, they fit neatly in my wallet.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

All used needles, pins etc. should be treated as "hazmat" and disposed at an e-waste drive. I don't know if the disposal issue has been elaborated in your cards. Thought I would pass it along. Thx for the great tips. I am looking for my leather needle to repair some shoes today.