Every Brother Sewing Machine Needle You’ll Need

Last Updated on 4 months by Susan Mayrich

Anyone who owns Brother sewing machines must know the Brother sewing machine needle sizes and types. Different fabrics, items, and projects must use the proper supplies to ensure a smooth and stress-free sewing experience. 

brother sewing machine needle

We’ll discuss every Brother sewing machine needle below to save you the hassle of browsing multiple manuals and information pages. And as a bonus, you’ll know if you can use another brand of sewing machine needle on your Brother sewing machine and the telltale signs that you need to buy new sewing machine needles.


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Complete Guide On Brother Sewing Machine Needle Types, Styles, And Sizes

Types Of Brother Sewing Machine Needles

It’s crucial to be familiar with every type of Brother sewing machine needle to avoid issues with your stitches, accidentally damaging the project fabric, breaking the needle itself, or ending up with a frustrating experience with your Brother sewing machine. According to Brother Sewing Machines Europe, the most used needle is the 80/12 universal needle, and it’s the standard type that comes with your sewing machine. 

The universal needle is perfect for sewing standard-weight woven fabrics, but if you expect to be working on things that will need another fabric, you need to include these sewing machine needles when shopping for craft supplies:


  • Ballpoint Brother sewing machine needle 

You will need ballpoint sewing machine needles if you’ll be sewing knitted fabrics. This blunt needle is also perfect for fleece clothing. 


  • Topstitch Brother sewing machine needle 

Compared to the blunt ballpoint needle, the topstitch sewing machine needle is characterized by a very sharp point. The sharp point allows it to penetrate various fabrics, and its large eye is designed for the thick topstitching thread. 


  • Embroidery Brother sewing machine needle 

If most of the things you’ll do are embroidery, then you’ll need embroidery sewing machine needles. They are designed with a long eye so the embroidery thread can pass through quickly during embroidery stitching.  


  • Quilting Brother sewing machine needle

Quilting projects will need quilting sewing machine needles. Because they are sharp and short, so they can efficiently stitch through multiple fabric layers when quilting. 


  • Sharps Brother sewing machine needle

Thick and multiple layers of fabrics or wadding will need sharp and strong sewing machine accessories. And from the name itself, you’ll need sharps to avoid breaking your needles when sewing quilts or tightly woven fabrics like microfiber or silk. 


  • Jeans Brother sewing machine needle

Use a denim or jeans needle if you’re stitching your denim clothing or jeans. Its sharp point and durable shaft can penetrate denim and heavy fabrics like linen, canvas, and tweed. 


  • Stretch Brother sewing machine needle

Sewing a stretchy material can be tricky, but you can work in harmony with your Brother sewing machine with the right accessories. You’ll need a stretch needle designed to sew slippery Lycra and jersey fabrics without skipping stitches.


  • Leather Brother sewing machine needle

If your hobby with your Brother sewing machine involves leather products and supplies, ensure you have a handful of leather sewing machine needles at home. They look like a chisel for efficiently sewing through leather and suede, but they’re not recommended for synthetic leather and suede. 


  • Microtex Brother sewing machine needle

Fabrics like silk can be hard to sew because it’s very fine. Therefore, you’ll need something with a fine point, like Microtex sewing machine needles that are also useful for coated material. 


  • Metafill Brother sewing machine needle

Besides using the right needle for the fabric, the Brother sewing machine needle should also be compatible with the thread type. And for metallic threads, you’ll need the Metafill needle that you can also use for general sewing with knitted and woven things. 


  • Twin and triple Brother sewing machine needle

If your Brother sewing machine is a twin or triple needle type, you will need compatible twin and triple sewing machine needles. These needles will only work on Brother sewing machines with an option for sewing with a double or triple needle; often, they’re used for hemming and decorative stitches. 


What Type Of Needle Do I Need For My Brother Sewing Machine?

Your Brother sewing machine will likely need the 80/12 universal needle for sewing standard-weight woven fabrics. However, it’s also worth noting that Brother sewing machines will use different needle types, depending on the model. 

Your model might use a regular, twin, or triple sewing machine needle. And as with needles from Brother, they would be available as ballpoint and universal styles. 


Is there a way to know if I’m using the correct Brother sewing machine needle?

Using the wrong needle for the project will lead to a bent needle, and according to Brother USA, you can easily determine if the needle is bent or straight. Take the time to do this test, as a bent needle can break, which can be dangerous. 

  1. Put the flat side of the Brother sewing machine needle over a flat surface
  2. Check if the distance between the surface and the needle is even

If the space between the Brother sewing machine needle and the surface where you put it is uneven, it’s a bent needle. You will need to replace the needle before sewing, and it’s recommended never to reuse bent sewing machine needles.


Brother Sewing Machine Needle Sizes And Reference Chart

Brother sewing machine needles come in different sizes, and knowing what specific needle size to use will depend on the thread and fabric of your sewing project. But generally, it’s easy to remember what sizes to use as heavy fabrics like denim need thick needles, while light fabrics like silk can be sewn with fine needles. 

Know that Brother sewing machine needle sizes range from 9 to 18, and the larger the number, the thicker the needle will be. For ease of reference, you can refer to this chart from Brother International Corporation before doing any needlework or fashion project to avoid issues with stitch quality or broken sewing machine accessories. 

brother sewing machine needle


What Size Needle Do I Need For My Brother Sewing Machine?

The size of the needle you’ll need for your Brother sewing machine will depend on the application, fabric, and thread, as seen in the chart above. Lightweight fabrics use fine needles, while heavyweight fabrics use thick needles.

Your pattern might also recommend a needle type and size, but you can always practice with a scrap fabric with the needle. Still, it’s essential to know how to read needle sizes as there are different numbers on every sewing machine needle pack and each needle. 


American vs European sewing machine needle sizes

Sewing machine needles have two numbers where between 8 and 18 indicates the American number, while the European number is between 60 and 110. Regardless, expect that the higher numbers mean the needle is thicker.


Common mistakes because of wrong needle sizes in Brother sewing machines and how to fix them

  • Skipped stitches when sewing stretch fabrics; use a ballpoint needle size 90/14
  • Skipped stitches when sewing decorative stitches; use a ballpoint needle size 90/14
  • Issues with embroidery design; use needle size 75/11
  • Issues with embroidering things made from heavyweight fabrics like denim; use needle size 90/14
  • Broken sewing machine needles when doing embroidery products; you’re using ball point needles
  • Issues with the stitches when sewing with transparent nylon thread; use size 90/14 to 100/16 needle on any fabric

If changing the needle on your Brother sewing machine didn’t fix the problem, it might be from incorrect threading. For your information, here’s how to thread a needle in a Brother sewing machine


Can I Use Singer Needles On A Brother Machine?

Singer sewing machine needles can be used on a Brother sewing machine, but make sure the Singer needles are universal needles. Remember that there are different kinds of sewing machine needles, and only the Singer universal needles, from the name itself, are compatible with Brother sewing machines. 

According to Singer, their universal needles are compatible with all brands of overlock and serger sewing machines. They include familiar products like Brother, Janome, Kenmore, Bernina, and Juki sewing machines. 

But like with using any needle on your Brother sewing machine, please check if you’re using the correct size for the fabrics you’ll sew. For example, the Singer universal sewing machine needles in sizes 100/16 are for products made from synthetic, natural, and woven fabrics.


Can I Use Schmetz Needles With Brother Machine?

According to Schmetz Needles, all their sewing machine needles are compatible with Brother household sewing machines. The most common accessories used for Brother sewing machines are the universal, embroidery, quilting, and Microtex Schmetz sewing machine needles. 

It’s also worth noting that they are needles from system 130/705 H. You can distinguish them because of their flat shank, but Schmetz still recommends that you check your manual for the recommended needle system. 


Can You Use Any Needles In A Brother Sewing Machine?

You can’t use any needle in a Brother sewing machine because it should be the appropriate type and size for the fabric and thread you’re working with. But to give you an idea, Brother sewing machines use needle sizes ranging from 9 to 18 in metric sizes, and 95% of Brother sewing machines will use a standard needle system. 

As for the sizes, the most commonly used needle is size 11 in metric size, and the most common needle length is 1.6 inches or 40mm. Depending on your Brother sewing machine model, it may use regular, twin, or triple needles. 

As for other needle brands, universal needles from Singer are compatible with Brother sewing machines. Schmetz universal, embroidery, quilting, and Microtex needles from system 130/705 H are also compatible with Brother sewing machines. 


How Do You Change The Brother Sewing Machine Needle?

After identifying the specific type and size of needle you need for your Brother sewing machine, it’s essential to know how to change the needle. You should also replace any bent needle as it may break, which can be dangerous. 

To further understand the instructions below, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the parts of a sewing machine needle. 

sewing machine needle parts

  1. Turn off the Brother sewing machine to avoid accidents if it starts sewing
  2. Check if you’ll be putting the correct needle and if it’s a needle for home use
  3. Make sure the replacement needle is also not bent
  4. Turn the handwheel counterclockwise so the mark on the wheel points up, and the current needle will be raised to the highest position
  5. Lower the presser foot lever and put a fabric underneath it to keep the needle from accidentally falling into the needle plate hole when you remove it; this is a potentially expensive repair, so don’t forget this step
  6. Turn the needle clamp screw counterclockwise with a disc-shaped screwdriver carefully to remove the needle while simultaneously holding it with your left hand
  7. Insert the new needle with its flat side towards the back of the sewing machine
  8. Stop until you hit the needle stopper, then tighten the needle clamp with the screwdriver
  9. Check if you have secured the needle clamp tightly as the sewing machine may get damaged or the needle will break if it’s loose

This is a quick summary, so you can refer to how to change a needle on a Brother sewing machine if you want to know more. 


How Do I Know When To Change My Brother Sewing Machine Needle?

The general rule for sewing machine needles is changing your needle every 6 to 8 hours of sewing. And with Brother sewing machine needles, their average lifespan is 8 to 10 hours of continuous use. 

With these expectations, replacing your Brother sewing machine needle after 8 hours of sewing is best. However, it’s not a strict rule because every sewing project differs. 

You will change your needle less often if you’re only sewing small things compared to when you’re doing embroidery products and quilts. Some also recommend changing the sewing machine needle for every new project to avoid developing a burr on the needle or, worst, it can get dull or bent. 


Why it’s important to know when change your Brother sewing machine needle 

  • Blunt needles won’t penetrate through the fabric smoothly, which can damage the material
  • The sewing machine itself won’t also perform its best if you’re using a dull needle
  • Expect the sewing machine to struggle, make noises, or jump when sewing with a blunt needle
  • The stitch length and tension won’t work
  • Expect issues like puckering of the fabric, uneven thread, or skipping stitches
  • The needle can hit the needle plate or hook

With simple needle maintenance, you’ll avoid frustrating issues and damage to the sewing machine.  However, please put a piece of paper under the presser foot beforehand.

This way, you won’t risk having the needle drop into the sewing machine when you loosen the needle screw. Finally, it’s always best to check the manual of the specific Brother sewing machine you have to know the proper needle replacement method. 

For example, here’s how to change the needle on a Brother JX2517 sewing machine for more details. 


What Are Some Common Problems With Brother Sewing Machine Needles?

Here are some common issues you can easily avoid when using Brother sewing machine needles and how to solve them:

  • Needle is installed incorrectly; make sure the needle’s flat side is facing the back of the sewing machine
  • Needle is bent or blunt; please replace the dull or damaged needle immediately 
  • Needle clamp is loose; remember to tighten the needle clamp after replacing the needle 
  • The needle does not work with the thread; check if you’re using the correct needle and thread combination

How Can I Prevent My Brother Sewing Machine Needle From Breaking?

A broken sewing machine needle can damage Brother home sewing machines or injure the person sewing. However, it shouldn’t scare you because it’s easily preventable:


Brother sewing machine needle maintenance

  • Use the correct needle for the fabric and thread
  • Replace the needle after every 6 hours of use
  • Always check if you installed the sewing machine needle correctly
  • Make sure the needle is not turned the wrong way in the needle clamp
  • Make sure to tighten the clamp screw whenever you replaced the sewing machine needle
  • Always replace bent or blunt sewing machine needles
  • Use a new needle for every project

Sewing machine setups that can affect the Brother sewing machine needle

  • Make sure you’ve threaded the upper path properly
  • Insert the spool cap correctly
  • Check if the thread does not catch in the path
  • There should be no scratches in the embroidery foot hole
  • Check the embroidery foot screw to see if it’s tightened securely
  • There should be no scratches on the bobbin case
  • Install the bobbin correctly
  • Wind the bobbin thread correctly 
  • Always use the correct presser foot, and its screw is tightened securely
  • Install the presser foot correctly 
  • There should be no scratches in the presser foot hole

Sewing habits that can affect the Brother sewing machine needle

  • Always use the correct stitch length
  • Attach the proper stabilizer to the fabric 
  • Never hold the fabric back when sewing, as this can bend or break the needle


And that’s it! You should be able to identify what Brother sewing machine needle you need based on the fabric and thread of your sewing project. 

Most Brother sewing machines use a standard needle system; the most common type is the 80/12 universal needle. You can use it for sewing standard-weight woven fabrics, but other materials will need different types and sizes of needles. 

Brother sewing machine needle sizes range from 9 to 18, and the larger the number, the thicker the needle. However, the most common needle length is 1.6 inches or 40mm. 

Finally, your Brother sewing machine mode may use regular, twin, or triple needles, so please read the item’s manual thoroughly. 

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