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Is Your Thread Breaking?

Have you ever had your thread break, or fray right at the needle, and you couldn't figure out what the problem was? 

I’ve had this happen to a few people in recent classes, and I thought this might be a helpful thing to cover. Of course, It could be a poor-quality thread, but It also could be the size and shape of your needle… so, let’s talk about needles!

I used to use universal needles to do all my piecing. They work fine and are a good basic no-fuss needle when switching between fabric types or going from piecing projects to binding or appliqué. But, what if your threads start breaking?

I recently switched to a topstitch needle for all my piecing, and it is really a game-changer! Take a look at these two needles side by side. The topstitch needle on the right has a much longer eye to easily carry the thread through the fabric. 

The extra wiggle room and tapered groove, up the shaft of the needle, allow the thread a bit of protection when going through multiple layers. The universal needle has a much smaller eye, exposing the thread to more stress as it makes each stitch. Here you can see, I pushed the thread against the topstitch needle so you can see how it snugs right into the groove when stitching.

If I had to pick just one size of topstitch needle, I would choose the 80/12 because it will work for most things. If you have a heavier weight thread, you might want to go up to a 90/14 size, but an 80/12 will work for many heavier weight threads. Just keep in mind that if your thread starts to fray or break, it might be that the needle isn’t punching a big enough hole to carry the thread through. It could also be that the shape of the eye of your needle is leaving the thread exposed to stress and thus prone to fray. So try a topstitch needle, you’ll love them!

Happy Sunday everyone,


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Great info with pictures! Thanks!


Definitely what info I needed. And makes perfect sense!


You will never know how helpful this was!! Thanks.

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