As a quilter, 90% of my free motion to date has been on cotton fabric, I delve into silks on occasion. I like top stitch needles for most of my sewing. Top stitch needles have a longer eye and deeper groove which protects the thread from rubbing and wear as it passes through the fabric and into the bobbin mechanism. I also spend just a little more on the titanium needles. I’ve been told by some of my friends that I’m crazy for doing so. I don’t think I am at all. Here’s why.
Being called titanium needles is really a misnomer. They actually are titanium-coated needles. The titanium doesn’t make the needle stronger in terms of not breaking, But it does make it wear longer against rubbing. And thread is abrasive, so is fabric. A regular needle lasts maybe 8 hours of sewing and needs to be swapped out. Thread will wear in the eye of the needle and fabric will wear the tip of the needle.
I’ve found a titanium coated needle stays sharper and lasts 2-3 times longer. It’s true that the titanium needles are more expensive if you compare needle to needle. But you can’t. Due to the life of the needle a titanium needle will last 3x the life of the regular needle. And they do not cost 3x the price. So I believe titanium needles are actually cheaper in terms of how many needles I need to use to quilt the same number of miles of thread.
And for metallic threads.. which I like to use a lot when free motion quilting… titanium is the way to go. Metallic and Top Stitch needles are identical. Same eye size, same groove, same tip shape.. So I use my better wearing titanium top stitch needle for metallic thread. Often shredding of metallic thread is caused by incorrect needle size or by a worn eye on the needle. A titanium needle lets me sew longer. I use a 90/14 for most metallic threads I own.
Do I use regular needles? Yes, I do. I can’t alway find titanium needles and I am going to sew anyway.