Organizing Sewing Needles

sewing needles 011The other day I found myself sewing on knit fabric with a jean/denim needle. I was struggling with the skirt until I realized I had the wrong needle in my machine. I sew on all types of fabrics and switch from one fabric to another on a daily basis. One day I might be working with a stretchy knit fabric and the next I may be hemming some jeans, therefore I switch my needles often. The problem I run into is that I never remember which type of needle is in the machine when I go to use it the next time. I have noticed that some needles are now marked with color…but some are still not.
sewing needles 004 So the other day when I shopping at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores I decided to get my needles organized. I was in need of some new  needles anyways, so it was perfect timing. I bought a package of each type of needle that I use on a regular basis and I also bought some stretch needles and microtex needles…just because. Once I got home I took some colored sharpie markers and marked the needles that weren’t already marked. Now each needle has its own color.sewing needles 005 Then I cut off part of the card stock packaging that labeled each needle as well as gave a description of is uses on the backside. Then I just colored a corner of the card stock the same color that I colored each needle. sewing needles 008Then to store all of the needles I purchased one of these cute little metal tin sewing machines. They are used to hold gift cards but I thought it would be perfect for holding all of my needles.
sewing needles 009 Now I just combined my love for organizing and sewing. And now I will always know which type of  needle is in my machine. No more sewing a knit skirt with a jeans needle!sewing needles 010 How do you keep your needles organized? Any other tips for keeping your sewing goodies organized?

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  1. Great and adorable idea! I’ve always wondered how good sewers kept track of what needle was left in the machine last. I’ve daydreamed on all kinds of needle-organizing schemes, even thought about dipping the ends in nailpolish!!! The sharpie idea is a good one, and loving that cute little tin.
    Thanks for another great idea, Christina!

  2. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says:

    Well, aren’t you a clever cookie 😉 Definitely easier than trying to see the small numbers on the top of the needles!

  3. Christine Sherman says:

    Great idea, I love the little tin, gotta get one! I usually leave the case I took the needle out of by my machine until I’m done so I remember to change it!

  4. Great idea! I never remember what needle is in the machine, I’ll be copying your idea! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love your idea for organizing your needles. When I put a new needle in my machine, I put the case it came out of on the top of my machine. That way I can tell at a glance what needle is in my machine without looking at the color on the needle. So far it has worked wonderfully!

  6. Colour coding is a very useful hint on getting organized. I try to put the needle back in its case after finishing sewing, so I always remember which needle it is and don’t have to try and work it out. However, I sometimes forget to remove it, and then the colour coding would work great. Especially good for different size needles in the one pack too. Thanks so much

  7. Sarah Chapman says:

    Hey Christina, This is a great idea. But I am really writing to mention that I recieved an email from you that I think is spam. It says you went to the phillipines and are stuck there and you need my help. Just wanted to mention it so you can watch for things from others. Thanks!!

  8. Sonya M says:

    I was just thinking of doing the same thing because I found myselft struggling with some jersey material the other day as well!
    ALSO, just like Sarah Chapman above, I received a spam e-mail from your account as well! It appears you’ve been hacked and they are trying to trick your e-mail contacts into sending money. FYI! Hope you get your e-mail settled fairly easily!

  9. Kelly O. says:

    yep…. got that spam email too…thought you should know…

  10. Just saw this post. I sent you an email to make sure you were ok – just hacked! What a pain. Glad you are not stuck in the Philippines!

  11. Good idea…I’ve been writing the size and type of needle right on me machine with a dry erase pen or a crayons washable marker. A thumb or scrap of fabric takes it off easily.

  12. This looks like a good idea. I keep my sewing machine needles in a plastic medicine dispensing box. The kind with a separate box for each day of the week. The needles fit in fine and I write the needle size on paper I tape to the lid of each section. I have seven sections this way & that is enough so far. I leave the lid open on the section that the current needle came from. That way I know which needle I’m using.

  13. Geraldine says:

    That is a great idea, love little ideas like this, thanks.

  14. Rather than buying a tin, I use a sucrets (throat lozenges) or altoids tin (these come in 2 sizes). For loose needles, I put a velvet lining in thr tin. All you need is a scrap of any fabric and a little glue. I also use the tins for anything else like hooks and eyes,pins and buttons.

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  17. GREAT idea! So Clever Christina… how do you keep track of how long you have been sewing with any particular needle? What do you do with the needles that have been used but still worth using?

    • Kimberly,
      I save old, empty needle packs and write on them used with a sharpie. I put my used needles in those containers instead of back in with the new ones. I have read of people using a tomato pin cushion and putting the different sizes on each section with a sharpie then sticking them in there.
      Hope that helps!
      Brenda <

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  20. Stitchwiz says:

    I have a piece of clear tape that you can write on stuck on the top of my machines. I write down which needle is in the machine.
    If I’m doing lots of mending needing different needles, I use two strips of green painters tape on top of the machine, the 2nd one overlapping the first by half. I write down which type of needle it is and slide it between the two strips of tape. It is held secure until I need it again & I know which is which. I usually have similar types of mending together so I usually have only 2 or 3 needles on the go at a time. Then I can thread with one colour of thread and just change the needle as necessary.
    If I use a needle for a complete garment construction, I throw it out when I’m done – needles are cheap compared to the frustration of skipped/missed stitches in next project.
    If it is only used for a small project, I put used needle into a pin cushion divided by size. I never put them back into case – they may have a small nick etc which could damage delicate fabric. It is possible to nick the tip just putting it into and removing the needle from the machine.
    About every 6-12 months (depending on how busy I’ve been) I throw out all the needles in the divided pin cushion so that I know that I won’t have any old needles left.

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  22. I mark the type of needle on the back of the plastic the needles are in. Then I put all needles of one type in small plastic zipper bags. I keep all those bags in a small basket near my sewing machine. When I change needles for different fabric, I have made it my habit to put the size 14 ball point needle back in the machine when I finish the project. Since that’s the needle I use the most, that’s the one that I’ll most likely need the next time I sew. If not, I change it, putting the size 14 ballpoint in with the others of the same size. I always know what needle is in the machine. Saves getting out the magnifying glass to try to read the size stamped on the needle. However, I do like the idea of color coding the needles. Once I get everything unpacked from a recent move, I think I’ll do that as well as continue with my method of storing needles.

  23. I put a sticky note on my sewing ledge to remind me of the needle I’m using. I don’t like to put used needles back in with the new ones so I marked my round red pin cushion with a 9, 11, 14, 16, etc and put the used need in the proper area. I color the ballpoints to distinguish them.

  24. Anonymous says:

    what a very cleaver idea. I had always wondered how I would label my needles and now I can use this method. Please keep those wonderful ideas coming our way and Have a good day.


  25. I love that idea, for years I have been saving my altoid cans knowing that one day they would come in use for something like this. Thanks so much for the coloring tip.

  26. I have a “my pad for needles ” that came from fabric store and I keep my machine needles that I use sewing in this and I have a 16 compartment plastic craft box that I keep new packs of needles in(was to be used for floss organizer)..Less clutter and each one is for different types of needles.I used sharpie marker and wrote on the bottom of each section what size needle is stored in that section

  27. I also put a sticky note on the unused spool on my machine, put the number needle and kind, on the paper and also put the used in the pin cushion and marked like you did. (Anonymous person)

  28. Anonymous says:

    I use a business card holder next to my sewing machine. I write the size and type of needle on the backs of business cards I no longer use, either from others or my own. I make sure that I change this card AFTER I take the needle out of the package and right BEFORE I put it in my machine, otherwise I might have a senior moment and forget to change the card. I also have a note system for my serger.


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