How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle

Choosing the right sewing machine needle can be a tricky process. There are so many different types of needles, making it hard to decide which one is best for you. You don’t want to end up with needles that are too thick or too thin, but instead, need to find the right balance between thickness and flexibility.

You should start with finding out which type of fabric you want to sew. Some fabrics are more likely to fray than others or require stronger needles for any seams that will go through multiple layers like denim or laminated materials (think leather).

A lot of people also look at the gauge of their thread; thicker threads require thicker needles.

Sewing machines come pre-fitted with basic needle types, but the variety is extensive enough that you should find one to fit your needs.

If you do not know which type of needle to use or want another opinion on what needle might be best for your project, look to see what type of fabric (and thread) you are using and review the different types of needles available.

Be careful about keeping thin needles in your machine if you will be working with thicker fabrics.

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How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle

The main factors to consider are the thickness of the needle, the sharpness of the tip, and whether or not it is ball-point or universal. You should also know that for general sewing machines there are five different types of needles:

Universal point needles have a medium ballpoint tip, making them suited to work with most fabrics.

Universal-Cloth/Multi-Purpose needles have a sharp, large rounded tip. These are good for regular or heavy-weight fabrics that don’t fray easily.

Jeans needles are thick and strong, able to puncture the thicker types of denim fabric. Jeans needles have a sharp point that is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm.

Leather needles are thick, strong, and designed for sewing through multiple layers of leather or denim, or other materials that require lots of strength or durability. Leather needles typically have a larger eye to accommodate heavy threads like topstitching thread (used when sewing through multiple layers).

Topstitch needles have a sharp point with a large groove in the center. These are best when sewing over thick seams or materials where you want to avoid piercing holes in your fabric, such as when topstitching. Although these needles will work well for most fabrics, they should not be used on thin knit fabrics, as the needle is not very fine and can cause skipped stitches.

Hand sewing needles are best suited for hand sewing, although some types of needles can be used in a combination of both hand and machine stitching. These include applique & chenille needles, ballpoint quilting needles, embroidery/crewel needles, denim needles, upholstery needles, and quilting needles.

All of these different sewing machine needles have a uniquely shaped tip that will work best for specific fabrics, threads, and jobs.

For example, the hemstitch needle has a large groove in the center to accommodate heavy topstitching thread; this is good for sewing over seams as it helps keep the thread from piercing the fabric and creating a hole.

Topstitching needles have an oblong tip, with one flat side and one rounded side. They also have a medium ballpoint, making them good for most fabrics that don’t fray or need to be sewn quickly without breaking the needle.

Embroidery needles are thin, with a sharp point. They are particularly helpful for embroidery or lock stitches as they have a small eye and make the smallest hole in the fabric, reducing skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening.

Denim needles are thick and strong to puncture multiple layers of denim-type fabrics. They also have a larger eye to accommodate topstitching thread.

Quilting needles are thick and strong, with a sharp point that is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm. They have a medium ballpoint tip, making them great for quilting as they can easily pass through multiple layers without damaging fabrics or causing skipped stitches. These needles also come in a bent version for those wanting to sit relaxed while stitching.

Embroidery/Crewel needles are long, with a sharp point. They have a small eye and make the smallest hole in the fabric, reducing skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening. These needles also come in a bent version at an angle for those who prefer to sit relaxed while stitching.

Quilting & Upholstery needles are strong and thick, with a sharp point that is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm. They have a medium ballpoint tip, making them good for most fabrics that don’t fray or need to be seen quickly without breaking the needle. These needles also come in a bent version for those wanting to sit relaxed while stitching.

Chenille needles are thick with large eyes, designed for sewing through multiple layers of chenille-type fabrics. They have a sharp point that is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm.

Applique & Chenille needles are thick, strong, and curved with large eyes and a sharp point. They are good for sewing over thick seams as it helps keep the thread from piercing the fabric and creating a hole. Applique needles have two flat sides with one rounded side, while chenille needles have an oblong tip with one flat side and one rounded side.

Quilting & Slipper Point needles are thick, strong, and curved with a sharp point that is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm. They have a medium ballpoint tip, making them good for most fabrics that don’t fray or need to be sewn quickly without breaking the needle. These needles also come in a bent version for those wanting to sit relaxed while stitching.

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How do I know what sewing machine needle to use?

If you’re stitching a home dec project, you’ll want to pick a needle that’s suitable for the type of material. Denim needles are best for sewing through thick layers of denim or canvas, while topstitching needles are best for medium-thickness materials.

If you’re sewing thicker materials like vinyl or leather, try using an embroidery needle. They have a sharp point and the smallest eye so they don’t get caught on any raised seams when piercing through both sides at once.

For slipper point needles, they have one flat side and one rounded side which is offset from the center of the needle by 1mm – this combined with their med ballpoint tip means they’re good for most fabrics that need to be sewn quickly without breaking the needle.

If you’re trying to stitch through multiple layers of fabric, use a denim needle which is strong and thick with a sharp point that’s offset from the center of the needle by 1mm – this also means they have less chance of piercing the fabric when passing over raised seams in thicker fabrics.

For topstitching in medium thickness fabric, use a topstitching needle that is thick, strong, and curved in shape with a sharp point that’s offset from the center of the needle by 1mm.

For straight stitching in medium thickness fabric, use a quilting & upholstery needle which is thick and strong with a sharp point and medium ballpoint tip for good results in most fabrics that don’t fray or need to be sewn quickly without breaking the needle.

Finally, for quilting in thin to medium fabric use a quilting needle that is thick with an elongated eye which reduces skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening. These needles also come in a bent version at an angle for those who prefer to sit relaxed while stitching.

For hand basting, try using a chenille needle as they have a medium ballpoint tip, making them good for most fabrics that don’t fray or need to be sewn quickly without breaking the needle. They also come in a bent version at an angle for those who prefer to sit relaxed while stitching.

If you’re basting with thick materials like leather or chenille, use an embroidery needle that has a sharp point made to pierce through multiple layers of thick fabric, along with a small eye to reduce skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening.

For backstitching in medium thickness fabric, use a topstitching needle that is thick, strong, and curved in shape with a sharp point that’s offset from the center of the needle by 1mm.

For hand quilting in thicker fabrics like leather or chenille, try using an embroidery/crewel needle which has a sharp point made to pierce through multiple layers of thick fabric, along with a small eye to reduce skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening.

For machine quilting in thicker fabrics like leather or chenille, try using an embroidery/crewel needle which has a sharp point made to pierce through multiple layers of thick fabric, along with a small eye to reduce skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening.

For heavy duty-upholstery and bag making, use a seatbelt needle that is extremely strong with a sharp point and flat tip, making it good for heavy materials like vinyl and chenille.

For leather and vinyl backstitching, try using an embroidery/crewel needle which has a sharp point made to pierce through multiple layers of thick fabric, along with a small eye to reduce skipped stitches from thicker threads catching on the opening.

Do sewing machine needles fit all machines?

No, sewing machine needles could be either universal or specialized. Universal sewing machine needles typically fit multiple machines and could require adjusting to the proper needle clamp inside the throat plate of your machine – this would ensure adequate clearance behind the needle so you can see what’s being sewn, but on some machines, you may have to adjust the needle screw first. Specialized sewers are designed for specific types of fabric or projects.

What size needle do you use for cotton?

Universal needles in general work well in most fabrics, but when sewing with heavy fabric or textiles, it’s best to use specialized needles developed for your machine. So when the type of needle is unknown, choose a universal needle with an 80/12 point (.80 mm wide point).

If you are sewing with basic cotton fabric and looking for an economy, try using universal needles which allow you to interchange them on your machine–they come in many varieties to meet all needs.

Keep in mind that they can widen or narrow thread holes if not threaded correctly so the lower the size number (e.g., 80/12), the wider these holes will become while higher numbers provide more of a higher stitch density which can mean less thread breakage.

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