A sewing needle, used for hand-sewing, is a long slender tool with a pointed tip at one end and a hole (or eye) to hold the sewing thread. The earliest needles were made of bone or wood; modern needles are manufactured from high carbon steel wire and are nickel- or 18K gold-plated for corrosion resistance. High quality embroidery needles are plated with two-thirds platinum and one-third titanium alloy. Traditionally, needles have been kept in needle books or needlecases which have become objects of adornment.  Sewing needles may also be kept in an étui, a small box that held needles and other items such as scissors, pencils and tweezers. 
Hand sewing needles come in a variety of types/classes designed according to their intended use and in a variety of sizes within each type. 
Needle size is denoted by one or more numbers on the manufacturer's packet. The general convention for sizing of needles, like that of wire gauges, is that within any given class of needle the length and thickness of a needle increases as the size number decreases.  For example, a size 9 needle will be thicker and longer than a size 12 needle. However, the needle sizes are not standardized and so a size 10 of one class may be (and in some cases actually is) either thinner or finer than a size 12 of another type. Where a packet contains a needle count followed by two size numbers such as "20 Sharps 5/10" the second set of numbers correspond to the range of sizes of needle within the packet, in this case typically ten sharps needles of size 5 and ten of size 10 (for a total of 20 needles). As another example, a packet labeled "16 Milliners 3/9" would contain 16 milliners needles ranging in sizes from 3 to 9.
The first form of sewing was probably tying together animal skins using shards of bone as needles,  with animal sinew or plant material as thread.  The early limitation was the ability to produce a small enough hole in a needle matrix, such as a bone sliver, not to damage the material. Traces of this survive in the use of awls to make eyelet holes in fabric by separating rather than cutting the threads. A point that might be from a bone needle dates to 61,000 years ago and was discovered in Sibudu Cave, South Africa.  A needle made from bird bone and attributed to archaic humans, the Denisovans, estimated to be around 50,000 years-old, and was found in Denisova Cave.  A bone needle, dated to the Aurignacian age (47,000 to 41,000 years ago), was discovered in Potok Cave (Slovene : Potočka zijalka) in the Eastern Karavanke, Slovenia.  Bone and ivory needles found in the Xiaogushan prehistoric site in Liaoning province date between 30,000 and 23,000 years old.  Ivory needles were also found dated to 30,000 years ago at the Kostenki site in Russia.  8,600-year-old Neolithic needle bones were discovered at Ekşi Höyük, western Anatolia, in present-day Denizli Province.  Flinders Petrie found copper sewing needles at Naqada, Egypt, ranging from 4400 BC to 3000 BC.  Iron sewing needles were found at the Oppidum of Manching,  dating to the third century BC.
A form of needle lace named nålebinding seems to generally predate knitting and crochet by thousands of years, partly because it can use far shorter rough-graded threads than knitting does.
Native Americans were known to use sewing needles from natural sources. One such source, the agave plant, provided both the needle and the "thread." The agave leaf would be soaked for an extended period of time, leaving a pulp, long, stringy fibres and a sharp tip connecting the ends of the fibres. The "needle" is essentially what was the tip end of the leaf. Once the fibres dried, the fibres and "needle" could then be used to sew items together.
Sewing needles are an application of wire-making technology, which started to appear in the second millennium B.C. Some fine examples of Bronze Age gold torques are made of very consistent gold wire, which is more malleable than bronze. However, copper and bronze needles do not need to be as long: the eye can be made by turning the wire back on itself and redrawing it through the die.
The next major break-through in needle-making was the arrival of high-quality steel-making technology from China in the tenth century, principally in Spain in the form of the Catalan furnace, which soon extended to produce reasonably high quality steel in significant volumes. This technology later extended to Germany and France, although not significantly in England. England began creating needles in 1639 at Redditch,  creating the drawn-wire technique still in common use today.  About 1655, needle manufacturers were sufficiently independent to establish a Guild of Needlemakers in London, although Redditch remained the principal place of manufacture.  In Japan, Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles, dates back to the 1600s.
Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric or other materials using a needle to apply thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. In modern days, embroidery is usually seen on caps, hats, coats, overlays, blankets, dress shirts, denim, dresses, stockings, scarfs, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available in a wide variety of thread or yarn colour. It is often used to personalize gifts or clothing items.
Quilting is the term given to the process of joining a minimum of three layers of fabric together either through stitching manually using a needle and thread, or mechanically with a sewing machine or specialised longarm quilting system. An array of stitches is passed through all layers of the fabric to create a three dimensional padded surface. The three layers are typically referred to as the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and the backing.
Needlework is decorative sewing and textile arts handicrafts. Anything that uses a needle for construction can be called needlework. Needlework may include related textile crafts such as crochet, worked with a hook, or tatting, worked with a shuttle.
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, used in sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ropemaking, and the production of textiles. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. Modern manufactured sewing threads may be finished with wax or other lubricants to withstand the stresses involved in sewing. Embroidery threads are yarns specifically designed for needlework. Yarn can be made of a number of natural or synthetic materials, and comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses. Although yarn may be dyed different colours, most yarns are solid coloured with a uniform hue.
A sewing machine is a machine used to sew fabric and materials together with thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies. Since the invention of the first sewing machine, generally considered to have been the work of Englishman Thomas Saint in 1790, the sewing machine has greatly improved the efficiency and productivity of the clothing industry.
Textile arts are arts and crafts that use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects.
Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces or patches of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments. The technique is accomplished either by hand stitching or machine. Appliqué is commonly practised with textiles, but the term may be applied to similar techniques used on different materials. In the context of ceramics, for example, an appliqué is a separate piece of clay added to the primary work, generally for the purpose of decoration.
Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a sewing needle and thread. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts, arising in the Paleolithic era. Before the invention of spinning yarn or weaving fabric, archaeologists believe Stone Age people across Europe and Asia sewed fur and leather clothing using bone, antler or ivory sewing-needles and "thread" made of various animal body parts including sinew, catgut, and veins.
Machine embroidery is an embroidery process whereby a sewing machine or embroidery machine is used to create patterns on textiles. It is used commercially in product branding, corporate advertising, and uniform adornment. It is also used in the fashion industry to decorate garments and apparel. Machine embroidery is used by hobbyists and crafters to decorate gifts, clothing, and home decor. Examples include designs on quilts, pillows, and wall hangings.
In everyday language, a stitch in the context of embroidery or hand-sewing is defined as the movement of the embroidery needle from the back of the fibre to the front side and back to the back side. The thread stroke on the front side produced by this is also called stitch. In the context of embroidery, an embroidery stitch means one or more stitches that are always executed in the same way, forming a figure. Embroidery stitches are also called stitches for short.
Textile Manufacturing or Textile Engineering is a major industry. It is largely based on the conversion of fibre into yarn, then yarn into fabric. These are then dyed or printed, fabricated into cloth which is then converted into useful goods such as clothing, household items, upholstery and various industrial products.
Embroidery in India includes dozens of embroidery styles that vary by region and clothing styles. Designs in Indian embroidery are formed on the basis of the texture and the design of the fabric and the stitch. The dot and the alternate dot, the circle, the square, the triangle, and permutations and combinations of these constitute the design.
The manufacture of textiles is one of the oldest of human technologies. To make textiles, the first requirement is a source of fiber from which a yarn can be made, primarily by spinning. The yarn is processed by knitting or weaving, which turns yarn into cloth. The machine used for weaving is the loom. For decoration, the process of colouring yarn or the finished material is dyeing. For more information of the various steps, see textile manufacturing.
The straight or running stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing and embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric at a regular distance. All other stitches are created by varying the straight stitch in length, spacing, and direction.
A needle threader is a device for helping to put thread through the eye of a needle. Many kinds exist, though a common type combines a short length of fine wire bent into a diamond shape, with one corner held by a piece of tinplate or plastic. The user passes the wire loop through the needle eye, passes the string through the wire loop, and finally pulls both the loop back through the needle by the handle, which pulls the thread through. The typical needle threader of this type has the image of a woman, possibly Ariadne, in profile stamped into the plate handle.
Textile manufacturing is one of the oldest human activities. The oldest known textiles date back to about 5000 B.C. In order to make textiles, the first requirement is a source of fibre from which a yarn can be made, primarily by spinning. The yarn is processed by knitting or weaving to create cloth. The machine used for weaving is the loom. Cloth is finished by what are described as wet process to become fabric. The fabric may be dyed, printed or decorated by embroidering with coloured yarns.
Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with needle and thread. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts, arising in the Paleolithic Era. Although usually associated with clothing and household linens, sewing is used in a variety of crafts and industries, including shoemaking, upholstery, sailmaking, bookbinding and the manufacturing of some kinds of sporting goods. Sewing is the fundamental process underlying a variety of textile arts and crafts, including embroidery, tapestry, quilting, appliqué and patchwork.
Thread is a type of yarn but similarly used for sewing. It can be made of many different materials including cotton, wool, linen, nylon, and silk.
String is a long flexible structure made from fibers twisted together into a single strand, or from multiple such strands which are in turn twisted together. String is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects. It is also used as a material to make things, such as textiles, and in arts and crafts. String is a simple tool, and its use by humans is known to have been developed tens of thousands of years ago. In Mesoamerica, for example, string was invented some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, and was made by twisting plant fibers together. String may also be a component in other tools, and in devices as diverse as weapons, musical instruments, and toys.
A punch needle is a manual tool used for embroidery or rug making that creates a field of tightly-packed loops of thread or yarn on a woven fabric substrate. The tool generally consists of a hollow needle with an angled opening attached to a wooden or plastic handle. The needle's eye is drilled just above its tip, rather than at its base as with most sewing needles. Yarn is threaded through the hollow needle via an opening at the top of its handle, and out through the eye.