How to Sharpen Sewing Needles (6 Effective Ways)

If you’re a sewer, you know that not all sewing needles are created equal. You need to use the right needle for the job. If you do, your sewing will go more smoothly, and you’ll have fewer problems.

Needles that have been used repeatedly will become dull. When this happens, the needle can’t cut through the fabric as easily as when it was new. This causes the sewing machine needles to get damaged as well as the fabric.

how to sharpen sewing needles

How to sharpen sewing needles? There are many ways to sharpen needles, but the most common way is to use a small emery board. You can find an emery board on most nail clippers. Simply place the emery board on a flat surface then drag your needle back and forth on the board. This method works well on the sewing machine and hand sewing needle.

Looking for ways to sharpen your sewing needles, here’s what you need to know:


Can Sewing Needles Be Sharpened?

Yes, sewing needles can be sharpened on a piece of leather, emery board, a bar of soap, a bar of beeswax, or any sewing needle sharpener. Each method produces different results, and it’s worth trying them all to find out which one works the best for you. 

A needle should be sharpened if it is dull and you can not find a replacement. But if the needle is broken, in this case, you need to replace it with a new one.

How to Sharpen a Sewing Needle at Home
Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

How to Sharpen a Sewing Needle at Home

Start with a candle: Run the eye of the needle back and forth across the top of the candle flame, heating the tip of the needle until it turns red. Allow to cool and then stroke a rock or brick against the side of the needle three times on each side, being careful not to dull the point by touching it on your work surface or anything else. Test your sharpened needle by running it through paper or fabric.

Use a bar of soap: This is an old-fashioned tip that works well for hand sewers and machine sewers alike. Just rub the tip of the needle over a bar of soap to sharpen it up.

Use an emery board: You can also use the rougher side of an emery board, which is particularly good for working with dull needles that need more than just a little touchup.

Use steel wool as a pincushion: A bit of fine steel wool tucked into your pincushion will do the same thing as an emery board, but in this case, you can draw the needle down through the steel wool rather than across it.

Coconut Oil: Pour some coconut oil into a small bowl or container. Dip the blunt end of the needle into the oil and rub the oil along the sides of the needle. This method works best with steel needles.

Sandpaper: Cut a piece of sandpaper and place it on a flat surface with the rough side up. Lay your dulled needle on top of the sandpaper and rub it back and forth until it sharpens to your liking.

Signs Your Sewing Machine Needle Needs sharpening

Here are some signs that you need to sharpen sewing machine needle:

Your thread is breaking: The main reason for broken threads is dull needles. If you notice that your needle breaks your thread while you are sewing, you should replace it with a sharp one.

Your stitches are not even: A dull needle can lead to uneven stitches and can also cause a lot of damage to the fabric.

Unwanted holes in the fabric: Holes in the fabric can also be caused by a blunt needle. A blunt needle will misplace the holes, which makes them appear in unwanted places on the fabric.

The fabric pucks: Puckering of the fabric is often caused by a blunt needle. To get rid of puckering, you should sharpen sewing machine needles or replace it with a new one if it needs to be replaced.

Do Sewing Needles Get Dull?

It’s true. Sewing needles do get dull. So do knitting needles, crochet hooks, and other tools that you use for yarn crafts.

Sewing needles can get dull when used for an extended period or multiple times or for a long period or multiple times.

How Long Does a Sewing Needle Last?

Sewing needles have a lifespan of between one minute and one month, depending on how often you use them. If you sew each day, your needles might wear out in one day or a week. If you sew once a week, you might get a month or more out of your needles.

How do you keep your hand needles sharp?

What happens if you use a dull needle?

It is important to note that using a dull needle will make the task more difficult and time-consuming. You will be very frustrated when the thread keeps breaking or when your seam doesn’t look right. 

Using dull needles also tends to cause skipped stitches and frayed threads. You’re more likely to damage your fabric as well.

Does steel wool sharpen pins?

Steel wool is commonly used to sharpen sewing needles and pins. This is because the fibers of fine steel wool are extremely thin, allowing them to easily sharpen small objects. In fact, steel wool is so effective at sharpening needles that it will even sharpen them while they’re still attached to a sewing machine.

How often should a sewing machine needle be changed?

Sewing needles are inexpensive and changing them regularly is the easiest way to keep your machine running smoothly.

It’s a good idea to change your needle as soon as you notice it’s no longer smooth and shiny. If it’s bent, dull, or has a flat side, it will cause problems.

You should also change the needle each time you’re starting a new sewing project.

Final Words

If you sew, you need to know how to sharpen sewing needles. Throwing away a dull needle after only a few uses is expensive, but it also wastes your valuable time. With the right tool and method, you can sharpen your sewing needles at home. 

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