What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Quilting

Last Updated on 9 months by Susan Mayrich

If you’re curious what size sewing machine needle for quilting, it can range from 75/11 to 90/14. We’ll also talk about how to choose a needle for quilting. And as a bonus, you’ll learn how to use size 90/14 and 70/10 needles. 

what size sewing machine needle for quilting

Speaking of needle sizes, please browse our blog for more guides like this. For example, we discussed what size needle for sewing fleece and other tips for sewing and setting up a sewing machine. Remember that regardless of your project, it’s crucial to use the correct needle to avoid issues. 


What Size Sewing Machine Needle Should I Use For Quilting?



The ideal needle size for quilting with a sewing machine is 90/14. It is the most commonly used quilting needle, although quilting needles themselves are available in 75/11 and 80/12 sizes as well. Choosing among them will depend on the quilt you’re doing, but you can expect that using the actual quilting needle will make quilting easier. 



A quilting needle has a slightly rounded point, but its shaft is durable enough to handle the multiple layers. A size 90/14 needle is the most common for quilting because it can accommodate most threads. However, you can also quilt with a sewing machine using a size 80/12 universal point needle with Teflon-coated eye without worrying about skipped stitches, needle breaking, or holes on the quilt. 


What Size Needle Do I Use For Free Motion Quilting?

The needle size often used for free motion quilting depends on the weight of the thread. For example, a size 75 needle will be best for a 40 weight thread. However, free motion quilting is typically done with 45 or 50 weight threads, which means a good needle to use to be safe is a universal size 80 needle. 

The rounded point of a universal needle can stitch between the fibers when free motion quilting, so your material won’t get damaged. Just remember to increase your needle size as your thread gets heavier. It can be confusing, so think that a smaller number thread means it’s heavier, while a larger number needle means it is also larger. 

We encourage you to read how to free motion quilt on a Brother sewing machine as it shares tips for this project that you can apply regardless of the sewing machine brand. 


Can I Use A Regular Sewing Machine Needle To Quilt?


Universal sewing needle 

You can use a regular or universal sewing needle on a sewing machine for quilting. However, expect to have limitations, especially with the thickness of the quilt’s layers. The most common sizes of the universal sewing needle used for quilting are 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14. 


Quilting needle

The best needle to use when quilting on the sewing machine is the quilting needle. This type is specially designed with a tapered shaft and a slightly rounded point to go through the top, batting, and binding smoothly without damaging the materials. The quilting needle is often used in sizes 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14. 


What is the best needle for hand quilting?

Hand quilting requires a different needle type called betweens. These are short needles with small eyes, making them perfect for piercing the multi-layered quilt. Betweens are available in sizes 1 to 12, and beginners can start with the large ones like size 9 betweens to get used to hand quilting. 


What Is A 90 14 Needle Used For?

A size 90/14 needle is ideal for sewing medium to slightly heavy materials. They include some upholstery fabrics, cotton, linen, and polyester. But if you’re working with lightweight fabrics like chiffon, you need a smaller-sized needle. 


What Is A 80 12 Needle Used For?

An 80/12 universal sewing machine needle is ideal for most sewing projects and if you don’t know what size to use. In general, 80/12 is also a good starting size for other needle types like topstitching or even ballpoint. But of course, use the ideal needle for quilting as some can break or even damage the quilt layers. 


How do you read a sewing needle size?

Reading a sewing needle size is straightforward where the American system use sizes 8 to 19. The higher the number, the thicker or heavier the needle will be. You will find two digits on your sewing needles as the manufacturers also include the European sizes from 60 to 120, but the point still applies of the higher number means a thicker needle. 


What Is The Best Stitch Length For Machine Quilting?

The ideal stitch length for machine quilting is between 2.5 to 3.0. Multiple references recommend this length, especially for straight stitching a quilt. Of course, you can constantly adjust the stitch length according to your quilt’s thickness. 

Consider learning how to sew a quilt with a sewing machine to familiarize yourself with the best settings for quilting. You might even benefit from using a specific type of machine. 



Was this article helpful? To recap what size sewing machine needle for quilting, it can either be size 90/14 or 80/12. You can use a quilting needle or a universal sewing needle, depending on your quilt’s layers. 

In general, it should be easy to quilt in the sewing machine with the proper tools and settings. Please browse our blog for more tips. You can also leave us a comment if you have more questions regarding sewing. 

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