PRODUCT REVIEW : SEWING MACHINE NEEDLES

blog needle 1

Yes, I know it says JANOME but these same needles are also for our ELNA SEWING MACHINES so the same information is applicable:  

I recently did a blog post about our new PURPLE tip needles.  (on 10th April – scroll to last month in the Archives on right hand side of this blog home page). Since then, further information about our Janome needles has come to light so I decided that a PRODUCT REVIEW of our needles would be a good thing so that we understand when to use what needle.

purple tips

  1. BLUE TIP NEEDLES – these needles are VERY popular. They were manufactured specifically for general sewing on most fabrics as well as for machine embroidery. The BLUE TIP NEEDLE  is a size 11 needle and has a slight ball point tip which is very good for sewing knits and synthetic fabrics like many of the polyester fashion fabrics as it avoids “flagging”. Flagging occurs when the needle does not pierce the fabric adequately and then drags the fabric downwards towards the bobbin area. All sorts of hassles can result such as puckered, damaged  fabric and thread snags & breaks. When using some knit fabrics and especially synthetics, a slight ball point tip goes between  the fibres of the fabric and thus flagging is avoided.  The SPECIAL  FEATURE of the BLUE TIP NEEDLE  is the oversize eye which accommodates embroidery thread well by reducing tension and stress on the top thread (ever had breaking/shredding embroidery thread?)  It also makes threading the eye of the needle easier.   IF you have certain conditions where you are finding it difficult to sew well with a blue tip needle: skipped stitches perhaps? Then we would highly recommend that you try our new PURPLE TIP NEEDLES.
  2. JANOME PURPLE TIP NEEDLES  – these are relatively new needles in the JANOME range of needles. These are ball point  needles so are especially good for sewing knits & synthetic fabrics . Like the blue tip needle, they prevent flagging due to the special design. However, the needle is a larger needle than the blue tip needle – the purple tip is a size 14. Not only does it have a ball point, but it also has a cobra head. All this talk of cobra’s is making me look under my bed!! I thought I had left those days behind……I have literally killed a number of snakes….yes, ME myself & I!! Seriously one of them was a cobra, but that is another story of when I lived in Africa where snakes in & around your home can be very common.  Back to cobra head: think of what a cobra’s head looks like when it has risen up (nasty, scary image I know) but can you picture those spines or protrusions either side? Well our cobra head needle is just like that – sort of like tiny wing needle spines or protrusions just above the eye on either side of the needle.  What this does is force the fibers of the fabric apart  and allows the stitch to form properly & more easily – voila! less or no skipped stitches.  This purple tip needle is also recommended for high density embroidery designs as it has less resistance to the fabric & thread build-up >>>> meaning you will get better quality embroidery and less thread breakage…..which is a good thing, right?   Think of thick, dense fabrics like denim and multiple layers of fabric like quilts – purple tips work well for these conditions too.  SO, if you are ever having hassles with skipped stitches on knits or other applications, are trying to embroider something very dense, or are sewing a thick, dense fabric : why not give our  PURPLE TIP NEEDLE  a whirl? We are confident you will see much improved results.  Order from your local ELNA dealer today!   See my case in point below.
  3. JANOME RED TIP NEEDLES – our RED TIP NEEDLE  is NOT a ball point needle. It has a sharp point, is larger with a size 14 and is an excellent choice for textiles such as cotton, hemp and most normal fabrics. I tend to use red tip needles for most of my sewing and it is a strong, durable needle and works for most applications where a universal needle is indicated.  It is NOT a universal needle though as it does have the oversized eye (like the blue tip needle) which prevents thread breakage and is great when working with tricky threads like metallic & monofilament/invisible threads.  So, it has advantages over the universal needle which is why I tend to sew with the red tip needle a LOT.

blog needle 2

Here is a case in point – just happened to me TODAY. Follow my thought process: I digitized   a design using JANOME DIGITIZER MBX’s  Photoclick tool. I was trying to stitch out a jpeg image of my grandchild for an upcoming class on PHOTO CLICK.  I hooped up tearaway stabilizer & 1 layer of 100% cotton. I threaded up with a good strong polyester embroidery thread in the needle and Janome bobbin thread.  OK- so what needle would you think would be the best to use? You guessed right: a JANOME RED TIP NEEDLE.  Well both you & I will have to just think again!! I was literally tearing my hair out as the thread just kept shredding and getting all caught up with the bobbin thread. Mess after mess.

  • I tried using the spool stand thinking making the thread delivery was not good.
  • I tried changing to a top stitch needle – no change.
  • I tried adjusting tension, embroidery presser foot height; speed of the machine, you name it. I was almost out of options and getting a fat headache too!
  • Finally (stupid it took me so long to think of this seeing as I had just been writing this blog post?!)  I decided, what the heck…..let’s try a PURPLE TIP NEEDLE.  Same design, same thread, same fabric, same everything just a different needle.  Now understand where I am coming from. I am not embroidering on a thick fabric like a denim, just regular cotton. I am not getting skipped stitches – rather breaks, shredding & jam ups. But the digitizing IS pretty dense in that there are over 62,500 stitches and most are pretty tiny & tightly packed together – This was the way it digitized the pic automatically in Photoclick. SO, guess what???? The rest of the design is PERFECT: NO tension issues, no more thread breaks….nothing but great quality embroidery. Obviously the density of the digitizing NEEDED that purple tip needle with its fancy cobra head to squeeze between the other stitches to form the stitches properly so that the shredding and bunch-ups stopped IMMEDIATELY!   OK, so I am now definitely sold on the purple tip needle!!!!!

Do hope you find this information useful? Send us questions if you need to clarify or know more.

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About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in ELNA IN CANADA, ELNA SEWING MACHINE, EMBROIDERY PROJECTS WITH ELNA, SEWING NOTIONS and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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