Sewing Machine Needles

5:45 PM

Believe it or not, there is not only one needle for your sewing machine. Sewing machine needles come in many shapes and sizes. The ones you need depends on what you are sewing.

Two things to consider when choosing your needle:
  1. The weight and delicacy of the fabric- coordinates with needle size
    • The lighter weight and more delicate the fabric is, the smaller the needle will need to be- this is shown by a lower number on the needle package. The most common size is12/80.
  2. The type of fabric- coordinates with type of needle
    • There are needles specifically made for denim, stretch knits, taffeta, and leather. For most projects, you will probably be fine with a universal needle. You may just need to adjust the size for the weight of the fabric.

Here are some general suggestions for needles to buy for certain fabrics:
  • taffeta- sharp 10/70
  • fleece- stretch 14/90 or *ballpoint 14/90
  • china silk- sharp 8/60
  • denim- denim 14/90 or 16/100
  • quilting fabric- universal 12/80
  • broadcloth- universal 12/80
  • nylon spandex- stretch 12/80
  • lining- sharp 10/70 or universal 10/70
  • upholstery fabric- universal 14/90
  • vinyl or leather- leather 14/90 (size depends on thickness of leather)

If you are having a problem it may be your needle. Here is some troubleshooting:
  • stitches skipping- usually happens when sewing on a knit- switch to a stretch needle.
  • large holes where needle pierced- needle is too big- choose a smaller needle.
  • needle catches on the fabric a little bit when piercing- switch to a sharp needle. If still having problem after switch, choose a smaller size. 
  • Needle breaks easily or a lot especially when sewing through multiple layers of fabric- needle is too small. note: sometimes this is a threading problem, so rethread the machine if you are certain the size is right.
You can often buy multipacks of needles so you don't have to spend money on 5 sharp needles just to put in a lining.

You can also buy double needles- these just make 2 parallel rows of stitching. Most often they are used for topstitching but sometimes I use them on knits.
note: double needles only work on front loading bobbin machines

To learn more, click here.

*Although ballpoint needles can be used for stretch fabrics. I prefer stretch needles.

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