Sewing Machine Needles

sewing machine needles guideOne thing I get asked about on a daily basis at work is about sewing machine needles, what size or type to use for different fabrics.  So I thought I’d share with you a little of what I have learnt.

Using the correct needle for the fabric will save lots of problems and make your sewing a lot easier too.  There is a wide range of needle sizes:

  • 60|8 for Light weight fabrics such as silk, cotton lawn & sheer.
  • 70|10 for light weight fabrics such as cotton lawn, net, muslin & nylon sheer.
  • 75|11 for light weight fabrics such as cotton shirting & quilting cotton.
  • 80|12 for medium weight fabrics such as quilting cotton, poplin & gingham.
  • 90|14 for medium weight fabrics such as linen, linen union, cotton sateen and curtain linings.
  • 100|16 for heavy weight fabrics such as denim, upholstery fabrics, leather, pvc &vinyls.
  • 110|18 for heavy weight fabrics such as selvage denim, heavy canvas and leather.

I have made a needle size chart in PDF format if that helps.  Amongst the range of sizes are various specialty needles:

denim needlesDenim needles are thicker and strong with a very sharp point.  Great for denim & heavier weight fabrics.



leather sewing machine needlesLeather needles are strong with a sharp shaped point that pierces leather and will leave a hole.  Great for suede, faux leather, vinyl and non-woven synthetics.


machine embroidery needlesMachine embroidery needles have a larger smooth eye and are suitable for rayon, acrylic and specialty threads as it helps stop the threads fraying.

janome-quilting-needlesQuilting needles have a sharp, tapered point and designed to sew through multiple layers.



stretch sewing machine needlesStretch needles are designed to prevent skipped stitches on fine, lightweight knits.  Great for lycra, silk jersey and multi way stretch fabrics.  worth trying if a ball point needle is skipping stitches.



jersey sewing machine needleJersey needles have a ball point needle, that will not damage knit fabrics.



topstitch sewing machine needleTopstitch needles have an extra-large eye for thicker top stitch thread and sharp tip for accurate stitching.



microtex sewing machine needlesMicrotex needles have a sharp fine point for micro weave fabrics, great for top stitching and good for sewing silk.



twin sewing machine needlesTwin needles come in various widths and weights.  Give perfect even double stitching.



universal sewing machine needlesUniversal needles are designed for woven, some knit fabrics and they come in various sizes.



I use most brands of needles, some are better than others and I know some machines prefer certain brands.  A friend has a Bernina and only uses Schmetz, but my machine is much more forgiving.  Do you have a favorite brand of needle?


2 thoughts on “Sewing Machine Needles”

  1. Fabulous guide to needles, thank you. I’m a bit clueless and sure I’m often using the wrong needles or I get it right more by luck than judgement.


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