Compare needles

Needles are more than just a piece of wire with a point and an eye.

The material your needle is made from matters.  While the vast majority of hand sewing needles are made from nickel plated steel, there are other options. Here are the pro and cons.

Nickel plated steel needles

Steel wire is cut to length and the eye is stamped into it. Because steel will rust, they plate the needle with another smooth shiny metal, most often Nickel. This works fine unless you have an allergy to nickel. Sometimes they plate it with titanium or gold.

SENCH needles have the eyes plated with gold to help identify which end has the point and which end has the eye. Gold plating on the eye also makes the hole more slippery to aid in inserting the thread.

No matter what, the plating will wear off and the exposed steel will rust. This will leave marks on your material. And makes the needle more likely to snap and break. If you tend to lose your needles and buy them every time you have a project to do, this is not important to you. If you are someone who just want to fix a hem or sew on a button, it is also probably not a problem

NOTE: In the olden days people would use the little strawberry thing hanging on the side of the tomato pincushion to knock the rust off and to sharpen the point.  You cannot sharpen plated needles but you can sharpen stainless steel needles. Learn more about  sharpening needles and the Tomato Pin cushion. 

Surgical Grade Stainless Steel

Stainless steel needles are hypoallergenic and will never rust. Because the stainless steel is the only metal, they can be sharpened without exposing them to potential rusting. They also tend to be stronger and not as brittle so they do not snap and break like nickel plated steel needles.

Spiral Eye Needles are made from Surgical Grade Stainless Steel.

Compare Self-threading Needles

What are the differences in easy to thread needles?

They go by all sorts of names. Self threading, easy threading, side threading, Calyx eye, French spring eye, double eye, Spiral Eye, SENCH, and the One Second Needle. What is the difference?

  • On the left: This is easy thread needle that has been around since 1850. In the medical industry it is called the French Eye. In the craft industry it is called the self threading or Calyx eye needle. You thread it by pulling a loop of thread down from the top and into the first hole. The second hole is created by the bridge they use to keep the needle eye stay closed as you sew with it. Unfortunately, your thread may shred as you thread your needle. It often times comes unthreaded as you sew. And the top points tend to hurt your finger if you push the needle when you stitch. They are made from nickel plated steel.
  • Next: is the side threading needle. SENCH brand side threading needles have a gold plated eye to help you know which end has the point and which has the eye. They are made from traditional needle manufacturing processes using nickel plated steel. They are easy to thread and stay threaded as you sew.
  • The Spiral Eye Needle is a side threading needle as well. The slot goes into a channel that goes past a "stop bump" that locks your thread inside the eye. It also is there to strengthen the eye. Putting an opening on the side of the eye, puts a lot of pressure on the opposite side of the eye. The stop bump ads metal to that weakened side to keep it from breaking.
  • On the right is the One Second Needle. In 2010 Pam licensed the rights to her patent to Telebrands, the as seen on TV company, who sold a side threading needle called the One Second Needle.  It was very large, made of unknown metal and the geometry was not kept so they tended to catch on your material. They was sold in all the stores and came with a small red box full of little notions. It has been discontinued.

More details

Pam's Original Spiral Eye Needle

The original side threading needle.

100% surgical stainless steel

Made in USA

Precision manufacturing

Made in very small batches 

in a wide variety of types of needles.

Coming soon

PONY brand needles will soon be available on this website. (Traditional eye and side threading needles both.)

Pictured are PONY Spiral Eye Needle on top and Pam's Original Spiral Eye Needle below.

PONY needles are made in India

on dedicated equipment.

PONY is a leader in the world side needle industry.

SENCH side threading needle

SENCH needles 

(Spiral Eye Needles made in CHina)

Mass produced on dedicated equipment. 

Limited sizes and types.

Does not have the "stop bump" inside fo the eye to save manufacturing costs. 

Made from nickel plated iron.

Has a gold plated eye.

Traditional eye needle

Traditional eyes do not have an opening into the eye on the top or side. The eye gets smaller or larger with the gauge of the wire the needle is made from. The higher the number of wire the smaller the needle and the eye.

Embroidery needle eye

Needles used for embroidery have elongated eyes to make it easier to thread embroidery floss or other larger threads inside. The difference in the point is what changes the name of the needle. Tapestry means it has an embroidery eye and a blunt point. Chenille means it has the embroidery eye with a sharp point.


The top needle has a sharp point.

The bottom needle has a Blunt (or Tapestry) point.

Sharp points are use to pierce into the material and it may or may not pierce through a singe thread in the cloth. 

Tapestry needle points are made to NOT pierce the threads of the material. For instance in cross stitch, the material, called Aida, has very defined squares you want to get the point through.