Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I love Topstitch needles from Superior Threads.....

After receiving (and reading) the monthly newsletter from Superior Threads, I decided to post Bob's tutorial on Topstitch needles.  If you haven't used Superior's titanium-coated needles I encourage you to try them.  These needles last soooooo much longer than any other brand.  I use MonoPoly thread almost exclusively in my bobbin, so a longer lasting needle is a welcome thing.  The following information is printed with permission:

We learn a lot from associating with professional quilters, piecers, teachers, embroiderers, craft and clothing construction specialists, and thread artists.  From our conversations, it seems like the majority of the professionals and teachers use the same needle style for nearly all their work.  It is not the universal, quilting, embroidery, sharp (microtex), jeans, or metallic needle.  It is the Topstitch needle.  The Topstitch needle is like a hybrid needle, taking the best features from many other needle styles and combining them into one.  Here is why the Topstitch needle is called the magic needle:
1.  Double size eye.  The eye of the Topstitch needle is nearly twice as long as other needle eyes.  This allows the thread to pass through the eye without being stressed.  Think of trying to lace up a shoelace through a too small eyelet compared to lacing the shoelace through a larger eyelet.  Which way works better?
2.  The groove which runs up the shaft of 
all needles is wider and deeper in the Topstitch style than in other needle types. This allows the thread to lie in the groove and the thread is protected, avoiding excess friction which causes fraying.

You really do not need ten different needle styles.  The Topstitch needle is the ideal needle for most sewing projects.  What size is best?  The common sense way of determining the appropriate needle size is to select it based on the thread diameter.
Very fine threads such as #100 silk, Bottom Line, MonoPoly . . . . . . . Topstitch #70/10 (NEW product).
Fine threads such as #50 MasterPiece or #50 So Fine . . . . . . . . . . . .   Topstitch #80/12.
Medium weight threads such as #40 King Tut and Rainbows . . . . . . .  Topstitch #90/14.
Heavier threads such as Poly Quilter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Topstitch #100/16.
This information is printed in our  Thread Selection Guide for Home Machines.
A look into Mother Superior's sewing supplies would reveal only Topstitch needles in all four sizes. 
Most needle manufacturers make the Topstitch style.  Our Superior Topstitch needles are 
made exclusively for Superior Threads by the largest industrial needle company in the world , Organ Needle Company, and these are the only titanium-coated Topstitch style needles in the world.  They last five to eight times longer than regular needles.  All this for just 20 cents more per needle.

Another helpful link is the thread index for the home machine.

used with permission from Bob Purcell.


  1. Leslie - I hope this doesn't seem too odd a way to introduce myself, I am Director of Alumni Relations at RISD and I'll be on a little road trip Nov. 9 - 11 in Texas with a co-worker, Talya Westbrook. We'd love to stop by on Wednesday, Nov. 10 around noon if possible, to say hello, and check in on how Luren is doing. BTW, I hope she sends us some images from the wedding that she created the banner for so we can include it in the classnotes section of the alumni magazine! I'm enjoying looking at your work, it's helping me to shape an idea for a quilt for my son using old clothes and t-shirts of his ( don't think by my saying this I am an experienced quilter, I am a novice!). Hope it works out that we are able to meet! Chris Hartley,

  2. Hi Chris!
    I would love to meet you and Talya. I will be unavailable on Wednesday until after 1:30, as I am part of a paper and encaustic wax group beta-testing a book. Is it possible to meet a bit later, possibly for coffee or a late lunch?
    Also, Luren is not in the area: she lives in Philly! She stopped through on her way to the wedding.


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