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Sewing machine needle for flannel quilt fabric

by Sherrie

My favorite needle for the job!

My favorite needle for the job!

Sherrie asks...

What is the best needle for quilting flannel?

Julie replies...

My needle of choice, whether it be for piecing, invisible machine applique or quilting, is a Schmetz Microtex Sharp needle with the size determined by the weight of the thread I'm using.

This needle has a very fine, very sharp point and makes a nice straight stitch. Because of it's very fine point, it's easily damaged by sewing over pins. I keep an ample supply on hand and replace needles at least for every new project.

You can quickly tell if you've got a Microtex Sharp needle installed in your machine. Schmetz has color-coded this type of needle with a purple bar.

The only time I use a different needle is when using metallic thread for quilting and then I use a Schmetz Metallic needle.

NOTE: If you are using Singer needles you'll want either a Regular point (Style 2020) or a Chromium Regular Point (Style 2000).

For flannel I suggest a 75/11 or 80/12 size needle with a quality 50 weight cotton thread like Aurifil, Masterpiece or a 60 wt like Presencia.

I would also strongly advise that you pre-wash your flannels before using them to 'equalize' them, especially if you're using home spuns in your quilt, too.

Pre-washing will shrink the flannel fabrics. Given that flannels are not uniform in the tightness of their weaves, it is quite possible that the different flannels will shrink at much different rates.

Do check the fabric bolts for washing instructions. I am personally amazed these days at the number of bolts where the washing instructions for 100% cotton fabrics say "...wash cold..."??!!!

Seems counterintuitive for cotton, don't you think!

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