The Main Types of Sewing Machines

There are two main types of sewing machines: the mechanical sewing machine and the computerised sewing machine.

The mechanical sewing machine is the most basic type of sewing machine. It has a limited number of built-in stitches. Stitch settings need to be adjusted manually when altering the type of stitch.

The computerised sewing machine is more advanced than the mechanical sewing machine, and it is operated by a computer with a variety of stitches and features. Stitch settings are set automatically but can be altered depending on preferences.

Which Type of Sewing Machine is Best For You? 

There are a variety of sewing machines on the market, each with its own set of features and functions. Some sewing machines are designed for specific types of sewing, such as quilting or embroidery, while others are more versatile with a combination of functions. Consider what kind of sewing you plan to do before purchasing a sewing machine.

If you’re just starting out, you may want to consider a simpler sewing machine. A basic sewing machine will have all the essential features needed to sew simple projects. As you become more confident in your sewing skills, you can upgrade to a more advanced computerised sewing machine.

Are you looking to purchase a sewing machine in the Bokarina area? Visit Kimz Sewing & Patchwork Centre for all your sewing machine needs! We have a team of experienced staff on hand to offer advice and support, so you can be sure you’re choosing the right sewing machine for you. Contact us at (07) 5493 4977 or at

Optical Illusion Mini Quilt Tutorial

Size 23 ½” x 25 ½”

Optical Illusion quilts have so much visual appeal and using light and dark shades of a colour can really give impact. Use this tutorial to create your very own optical illusion mini quilt.



Using a 1/4″ seam allowance on your sewing machine, sew dark fabric strips together lengthwise in the following order: purple + blue + pink.  Press well.

Now sew light fabric strips together lengthwise in the following order: purple + blue + pink.  Press well.

Take your dark fabric strip set and place lengthways on your cutting mat with the dark purple strip at the very top. Place your rulers 60 degree marked angle line on the lengthwise edge of the strip set and cut 10 strips at 3″ wide.  Set aside for now.

Now place your light fabric strip set lengthways on your cutting mat with the light purple strip at the top. Place your rulers 30 degree marked line on the lengthwise edge of the strip set and again cut 10 strips at 3” wide.

Join two dark strip sets together to create a purple, blue, pink, purple, blue, pink sequence.  Keep joining two dark strips together until you have 5 strip sets.  Repeat this step for the light strip sets.

Lay out your sewn strip sets alternating between dark and light like the image above.  Sew together these strips to create your quilt top.

Place your quilt top over the Parlan and mark the perimeter of the quilt onto the Parlan using the fabric marker.  Remove the quilt top and then cut a ¼” inside the marked line as this will reduce the bulk in your seams.

Iron the trimmed Parlan to the wrong side of your quilt top. There should be an overhang of the quilt top of 1/4″ around the outer edge. 

Place your backing fabric over your quilt top, right sides together, and sew a ¼” seam around the outside leaving a 4″ gap on one long edge.  Trim your backing fabric to reduce bulk.

Turn your mini quilt right side out through the opening and ensure all points are pushed out using That Purple Thang tool.

Hand sew the opening closed and enjoy your Optical Illusion mini quilt.

Which Needle Do I Use?

One of the most common questions that customers ask us here in store is….. Which needle do I use? With so many needles on the market, it can be hard for people to understand which needle is the right one for their project. For the best possible answer we ask 3 further questions to determine which needle is the right one for your project.

Are you using a Domestic Sewing Machine?

Luckily 99% of domestic sewing machines take the same type of needle, as there are over 7,000 different kinds used across the world. The domestic sewing machine needles are most commonly known as system130/705H which is generally displayed on the front of the needle packaging like the packets below. These 130/705H needles have a flat shank and a scarf (indentation on the back of the needle).

Needle Packet Examples

If you need needles for an overlocker, coverstitch, semi industrial or industrial machine, there is a good chance that the needle system the machine needs is different than that of a domestic needle system. Overlockers and Coverstitch machines will most often have a sticker located on the front of the machine that indicates the needle system the machine uses.

Always check your manual for the correct needle system required for your machine for the best experience possible.

What Type of Fabric are you Sewing?

One of the most important questions is what type of fabric you are sewing. If the incorrect needle is used for the fabric, you may find you have skipped stitches, fabric puckers, ticking or popping sounds or perhaps some other issues. Each type of needle has its very own feature which aids its interaction with the fabric.

Some of the more commonly sewn fabrics are listed below with the suggested needle type:

  • Stretch fabrics such as elastic materials and highly elastic knitwear require Stretch needles which have a medium ball point. Most commonly, skipped stitches are a result when using an incorrect needle with stretch fabrics.
  • Knit fabrics need Jersey or also called Ball Point (SUK) needles. The ball point is designed to separate and slide between the knitted fibers rather than cutting into them keeping the integrity of the fabric.
  • Denim and tightly woven fabrics require Denim/Jeans needles. These needles feature a modified medium ball point with reinforced blade for tougher fabrics.
  • Polyester fabrics, micro fibers, batiks and silks need a needle with a very slim acute point like the Microtex also known as Sharp needles.
  • Leather and artificial leathers need needles that have a cutting point, the Leather needle is especially designed for this purpose.
  • Universal needles are one of the most commonly requested needle. They are an all-purpose type needle with a slight ball point, so can be used with some knits, but is still sharp enough to tackle many different fabrics and fabric layers. Ideal for someone who just needs needles for odd jobs on different types of fabrics.

For a more comprehensive guide, I would highly recommend the Schmetz Needle App. You can search for the fabric you are using and it will instantly show you the right needle to use. I love this feature and there are lots of other tips and information in there that is definitely worth having a look at.

What Thread are you Using?

The type and weight of the thread you are using determines the size of the needle. The diameter of the thread you want to use should be a maximum of 40% of the needles thickness. Thicker threads like Wonderfil Spagetti 12 weight thread, need a larger sized needle so it fits through the eye and fills the hole made in the fabric by the needle. The overall goal is for the needle to easily slide through your fabric without damaging any of the fabrics fibers or creating too large a hole, and to carry the thread smoothly without damaging it when sewing.

Wonderfil Spagetti Thread (12 weight) vs Rasant (40 weight)

The below table provides information on fabric type, thread type/weight and needle size. This table is located in all Janome sewing machine instruction manuals.

Needle Table from Janome Instruction Manual

The combination of system type, fabric to be sewn and thread selection leads us to the best possible answer of which needle should you use…. so your sewing experience is the most rewarding it can be.

Happy Sewing!