What Is A Stretch Needle For Sewing Machine

Last Updated on 6 months by Susan Mayrich

The answer to what is a stretch needle for sewing machine is at the name itself; it is a particular type of needle for sewing stretch materials. Stretch material can be challenging to work with, so it’s crucial to set your sewing machine with the proper attachments. 

what is a stretch needle for sewing machine

But other than preparing the needle, please read how to sew stretchy fabric with a sewing machine. It would help you to know some tips and tricks in sewing stretch fabric to ensure perfect stitches each time.  

After all, it’s not enough to put on a stretch needle. You also need to know what settings to use and maneuver the stretch material through the machine. 


What Is A Stretch Needle Used For In A Sewing Machine?

The stretch needle is a needle for sewing stretch materials like certain knits, Spandex, Lycra, and other fabrics for elastic garments. You can quickly identify a stretch needle from a regular sewing machine needle because its shank is flat and its eye is short. 

The stretch needle is also not confused with a jersey needle because it has a medium or less rounded ballpoint tip. And to make it even more effective for stitching elastic materials, the needle is coated for going through fibers smoothly, helping prevent the machine from skipping stitches.  

Finally, remember that you’ll also use specific threads like textured nylon or polyester thread when sewing stretchy materials. They will ensure seam elasticity on the project, but you will only get solid and perfect seam stitching if the needle efficiently goes in and out of the fabric. 


Should you get a stretch needle?

You need a stretch needle, especially if you’re unsure that your regular sewing needle can sew through the stretchy fabrics you’re working with. It’s safe to say that the stretch needle should be among your stored needles in case you’ll sew elastic fabrics or even some knits that have more stretch to them. 

It’s possible to sew stretchy fabrics with a regular needle, but you risk developing skipped stitches. The stitches themselves might also break, or you’ll notice that your sewing machine tangles the thread. 

Thread bunching can be frustrating, and you won’t get perfect stitches when they form. Read more about why does my sewing machine keeps bunching the thread to know what to do. 


What is a stretch twin needle?

From the name itself, the stretch twin needle is a variation of the twin needle for sewing stretchy fabrics. It helps finish hems and seams, and they come in various sizes according to the distance between the two needles. 

We wrote a tutorial on how to use a double needle on a sewing machine so you can learn how to set up this particular needle type. It will benefit you when you need fast parallel stitch lines on your stretch fabrics. 


What Is The Difference Between A Stretch Needle And Regular Needle?


Stretch needle

  • Has a rounded point for going through fabric threads without piercing the stretchy material
  • Designed for sewing lightweight knits, Spandex, Lycra, or silk jersey 


Regular needle

  • Has a slightly rounded point ideal for woven materials
  • Universal needle for most fabrics 


What Is The Difference Between Stretch And Jersey Sewing Machine Needles?


Stretch needle

  • Less rounded tip than a jersey needle
  • The eye is higher than a jersey needle to allow more stretch in the seam since the loop formed between the upper and lower thread will be bigger
  • Next alternative if sewing with a jersey needle left skipped stitches


Jersey needle

  • Also a ballpoint needle as the stretch needle but more rounded 
  • Ideal for sewing jersey and medium weight stretch materials
  • Best choice for knits before a stretch needle


What Size Is A Stretch Needle?

The stretch needle is available in sizes 11/75 and 90/14. Remember to select the correct size for the fabric you’re sewing to avoid struggling or getting unsightly stitches. 

The American sizing system for needles starts from 8 to 19, while the European system numbered 60 to 120. In either system, just remember that the lower numbers mean the finer needle, and the higher number means a larger needle. 

From there, you can assume that heavier fabrics require a larger needle than light fabrics that can be sewn with smaller needles. You can apply this when selecting the stretch needle size for your project


Can You Use Straight Stitch On Stretch Fabric?

You can sew a stretch fabric with a straight stitch as long as you hold the material taut without pulling when working the sewing machine. However, the best stitches for sewing stretchy fabrics are stretch stitches that follow the material’s stretch, especially when the project is finished. 


What stitch do you use to sew stretchy fabric? 

  • Straight stretch stitch or three parallel rows of regular straight stitches
  • Twin needle stitch done with a twin needle that leaves two parallel rows of stitches on the front and zigzag pattern at the back of the fabric
  • Narrow zigzag stitch that uses equal stitch width and length
  • Overedge stitch for finishing seams on stretch fabrics



And that’s it! We just learned what is a stretch needle for sewing machine, which is a type of ballpoint needle especially made for sewing stretchy fabrics. 

It should be your next choice when you notice skipped stitches after sewing with a jersey needle. However, please remember our tips on sewing with stretch fabric, such as what stitches to use. 

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