My Needle Eye Has a Slit in It!

By | 06/23/2021

Quick Threading NeedleQuick Threading Needle – System 705 HDK

No, your needle is not broken. The slit in the eye is there by design. The Quick Threading Needle is designed for sewing enthusiasts with diminished eyesight (or who just have trouble threading the needle).

The close-up image on the card illustrates the concept behind the Quick Threading Needle. The Quick Threading Needle is the same as the Universal Needle except for the small threading slot in the eye. This threading slot supports quick and easy threading of the needle. The needle is threaded by drawing the needle thread over the surface of the right side of the needle until it slides into the eye by itself. It is not necessary to change the thread tension. Like the Universal Needle, it can be used for many fabrics.

Please do not use the Quick Threading Needle for sensitive fabrics (i.e., silk, microfibre, etc.) as the slot might create pulled threads. It should also not be used for quilting as fibers of the batting might be pulled out.

The thickness of the sewing thread being used should be adapted to the needle size. If the sewing thread is too fine (thin), it might slip out of the needle eye. If the sewing thread is too heavy (thick), it might break frequently.

Available in sizes 80/12 and 90/14.

Click HERE for information.


Meg McDonald — Bona Fide Fabric Junkie

By | 06/16/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #2, February 2014. Written by Rita Farro.)


Meg McDonaldMeg McDonald believes the way she became a sewist is fairly typical.  Her grandmother introduced Meg to sewing at a young age, and then an excellent home ec teacher in eighth grade really got her hooked on it, and she sewed like crazy in her teens and in college. (With a full-time marketing job and small children, she opted to take a sewing break in her thirties.) But that’s the end of typical.  What makes Meg McDonald different is that she combined her love of sewing and her interest in blogging to create her dream job. Meg handles the marketing, product and brand management, and social media for Mood Fabrics in New York City.  Anybody who loves fashion sewing -— or Project Runway — would be green with envy.

Fashion sewing was always her passion, so Meg was already a long-time regular customer of Mood Fabrics before she started working there two years ago. She was also the author of two blogs — Lindsay T Sews, a successful fashion sewing blog, and the Shop the Garment District blog.

Mood Sewing Network LogoOne of the very first things Meg did after joining Mood was to create the Mood Sewing Network, a collective of fashion sewing bloggers.  When asked how she selects bloggers to become part of the Mood Sewing Network, she explained:  “Our bloggers have already proven they can post regularly, they also take good photos, and they have to be up for challenges. Willingness to try different fabrics is important. And we strive to have a very diverse group. Our bloggers come from all over the country, with beginning to advanced sewing skills.”

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Pat Bravo – An Argentine Treasure

By | 06/09/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #1, January 2014. Written by Rita Farro.)


Visit Pat Bravo’s Facebook page at:

When Pat Bravo was growing up in Argentina, sewing was a normal part of her day. Schools in Argentina encourage creative art classes and she always chose stitching or sewing. At 13, she begged her mother to let her enter the two-year pattern-making/tailoring school.

As a newlywed, Pat moved to New York City with her husband to expand their clothing company, Davoucci, which manufactured leather garments. For one whole year, she did not have a sewing machine. She was depressed. Then her husband gave her a Kenmore electronic sewing machine and she began sewing her son’s clothes, her own clothes, curtains, pillows. Being able to sew again gave her happiness and peace of mind.

When she discovered quilting — she started to hand paint fat quarter pieces of fabric to achieve the variation and shading of color for her landscape art quilts. Her friends in the local quilting guild wanted to purchase her fabrics.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Rali Burleson

By | 06/02/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #88, April 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)


Rali Burleson, Bias-Cut Wool Coat Dress  (Burda 7587) Barbara Trainor Photography

Rali Burleson,
Bias-Cut Wool Coat Dress
(Burda 7587)
Barbara Trainor Photography

Make It With Wool LogoNote from Rita Farro: When I started working on this issue, the focus was the Make It With Wool Contest. In its heyday, it attracted 19,000 contestants, and the top prize was an all-expense-paid round trip to visit the three fashion capitals of Europe. I contacted Rali Burleson, Director, Arizona Make It With Wool because she has done extensive research on the contest history.

As a matter of fact, the PowerPoint she created, “Decades Of Wool Style,” does such a wonderful job of explaining the history of the Make It With Wool Contest, I soon realized all I had to do for this issue was give this link:

Hey, that was easy! You’ve gotta love it when somebody does all the work for you, right? Rali also sent me pictures of this year’s National Make It With Wool winners.

Writing about the Make It With Wool Contest was writing about history. I felt like I was writing about the good old days and how great things used to be.

Then, I realized I was missing the most inspiring, current part of this story, which was the woman behind the PowerPoint, Rali Burleson. Although, getting her to talk about herself was like pulling teeth.

Click Here to read the full story.

What Do Those Numbers Mean?

By | 05/26/2021

Home Sewing Machine Needles - What Do Those Numbers Mean?

How to Read the Needle Package

Home sewing machines require a needle with a flat shank and a scarf – that little indentation above the eye on the back side of the needle. Needles with a flat shank and a scarf are identified as needle system 130/705 H. There are over 7,000 needle systems throughout the world. Thankfully, 99% of home sewing machines use 130/705H.



Sarah Gunn – Life Force Behind Goodbye Valentino

By | 05/19/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #3, March 2014. Written by Rita Farro.)


Sarah Gunn at Edisto Island wearing Style Arc "Elle" slim leg pants and holding SCHMETZ needle packs.

Sarah Gunn at Edisto Island wearing Style Arc “Elle” slim leg pants and holding SCHMETZ needle packs.

Before she became the life-force behind the popular sewing blog, Goodbye Valentino, Sarah Gunn was a busy wife and mother with a successful career as the Executive Director of the Spartanburg Music Foundation.  One of the things she was really good at was shopping.  She was a big fan of Diane Van Furstenberg, Milly, Nanette Lepore, Lilly P., Kate Spade — anything at Nieman Marcus or Nordstrom’s. Her two twenty-something daughters, Katie and Mimi, shared her love of high-end ready-to-wear and shopping was a joyful mother-daughter bonding activity.

At some point, Sarah felt like she was spending a lot of money on clothes, but had a closet full of nothing to wear . . . too many special occasion dresses and a lot of black and white. By August 2011, after a series of graduations, weddings, and other special events, she’d been on a six-month spending spree.

Her “ah-ha” moment came at a home “skirt party” she attended with her daughter Mimi. After trying on several styles, and looking at the fabric samples, they ordered three custom skirts. The bill was nearly $700. When the skirts arrived, Sarah looked at the simple skirts — and she KNEW she could have made them herself.

She felt such tremendous buyer’s remorse — that’s when it happened.  She snapped.

On that day — August 31, 2011,  Sarah vowed to go on a Ready-To-Wear FAST. Her intention was to not buy a thing for one year. She would sew her own clothes for one whole year. And, to hold herself accountable, she would blog about it. She named her blog, “Goodbye Valentino”. Initially, she didn’t tell anybody what she was doing.  She wasn’t sure she could do it, and she didn’t want additional pressure from her family.

Sarah dusted off her seldom-used sewing machine, reorganized her abandoned playroom, and started SEWING. Using an Amy Butler pattern and a Laura Ashley dress (circa 1987) from her closet, she made a really cute skirt.

Sarah had no way of knowing that she was starting a revolution . . . .

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Stitches in Words

By | 05/12/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #87, March 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)


The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer ChiaveriniIf you love to sew, you will never be bored. For many of us, sewing kept us sane during this past year of fear and isolation. It gave us a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Kudos to us for using our considerable skills to bridge the PPE gap. With our machines, all warmed up, and strict orders to STAY HOME, many of us just kept on sewing. We brought out our UFOs, we made new curtains for the kitchen, or we tackled that big quilt project we have been planning. The lesson we have learned is that sewing is more than just a wonderful hobby, it actually can be a super-power.

If you need to take a break from your machine, you might consider picking up a good book, with sewing as a central theme. There are many wonderful choices! Of course, if we are going to write about books with sewing as a central theme, we must start with the master class that is Jennifer Chiaverini, the creator of the beloved Elm Creek Quilt series.

Jennifer Chiaverini brings history alive through her characters and their love of quilts. Every one of her books is meant to be a stand-alone novel, rich with history, and character development. You do not need to read her books in order. But, if you have not yet visited Waterford, Pennsylvania, you might want to read The Quilter’s Apprentice first. It will introduce you to Sylvia, Sarah, and the Elm Creek Quilters. Ms. Chiaverini is a gifted storyteller with a special gift for transporting you to a time in history you did not even know you were curious about. Every book is a page-turner.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Needle Facts: Needle Anatomy

By | 05/05/2021

The SCHMETZ needle is one of the most important parts of your home sewing machine.  Your machine simply cannot operate without a needle, right?  Insert it wrong and your machine will not work.  Use an incorrect needle and your stitches will be less than desirable.  Use a dull or bent needle and you risk damaging your machine, fabric, and thread.  In other words, the SCHMETZ needle is an essential workhorse.

Needle Anatomy

When was the last time you looked at . . . I mean really looked closely at your sewing machine needle?  Let’s look at its parts:

From top to bottom:

Butt:  The very top of your needle has a  beveled edge for easier insertion into your machine.

Shank:  Home sewing needles have a flat shank for perfect positioning in the needle bar in relation to the hook.

Shoulder:  The transitioning area between the shank and the blade.  Look for color coding here.

Blade:  The length of the needle.  Needle size is determined by measuring the bade width.

Groove:  Along the needle blade the groove cradles and guides thread to the eye of the needle.

Scarf:  The indentation above the eye allows the bobbin hook to smoothly grab the thread under the throat plate to create a stitch.

Eye:  The hole through which thread passes.

Point and Tip:  The first area to penetrate the fabric in stitch creation.  The point and tip length, shape, and size vary according to needle types.

There’s a lot of engineering that goes into the creation of this little 2″ piece of steel!




Marti Michell

By | 04/28/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #81, September 2020. Written by Rita Farro.)

Marti Michell

It is generally accepted that the quilt industry as we know it began in 1976, with America’s Bicentennial celebration. But, it wasn’t a simple matter to recreate the patchwork quilts of our pioneer grandmothers. If you think about the early ’70s, fabric stores were full of polyester knits and there were absolutely no books on the subject. No fabric, no patterns, no rotary cutters, no templates.

But, lucky for us, as the automobile industry had Henry Ford, we had Marti Michell. Thanks to her innovative thinking, boundless energy, and creative spirit, the quilt industry was basically reborn in the 20th century.

Recognizing her immense contributions, the Quilter’s Hall of Fame inducted Marti Michell in 2020. The ceremony has been postponed until July 2021. (Marti will forever be the Pandemic Inductee.)

Marti didn’t set out to become a quilt industry icon. It’s more like it just kept happening . . . .

Click HERE to read the full story at

Rhonda Pierce

By | 04/21/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #86, February 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)


Rhonda Pierce, SCHMETZ North America SpokespersonMany of you may know Rhonda from any one of a hundred different consumer shows where she was representing SCHMETZ needles in a booth or teaching classes. Maybe you encountered her contagious smile and warm personality at a sewing machine convention or the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington, where she served as the official Facebook hostess. Or perhaps you were lucky enough to be invited to one of Rhonda’s small dinner parties during International Quilt Market. She has a reputation for picking the best restaurants and being the most gracious hostess.

If you have ever worked with Rhonda, you know she is the most organized person in the sewing industry. No matter what task she is given, she approaches it with logic, enthusiasm, and meticulous planning . . . a winning combination. She also has the ability and DESIRE to think outside of the box. Rhonda is always eager to try new things or implement a different approach.

The world of sewing is very lucky to have Rhonda Pierce on our team. So, this is a special issue ALL ABOUT OUR VERY OWN RHONDA.


Please CLICK HERE to read the full story.