Sewing Machine Needle Sizes Secrets

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The Advanced Guide to Sewing Machine Needle Sizes

Could you imagine a sewing machine that didn’t have a needle attached to it? For one thing, you couldn’t do it since a needle is an essential component of a sewing machine.  Sewing machine needle sizes, on the other hand, might be confusing for some people since using the incorrect needle can harm your sewing machine, the needle, and the cloth.

A overview of which needles are worth having in your sewing kit can be found in this blog post.

Sewing Machine Needle Parts

sewing needle sizes

The needle eye of the sewing machine is located at the needle’s tip, and the needle is solid at the top. For hand stitching, the eye of the needle may be found on its uppermost portion. Do not mistake them for one another.

Needle components are essential to understanding how different sewing machine needle types vary.

Needles for the home sewing machine have a circular front side and a flat backside. The needle must not be inserted incorrectly when preparing your machine. The shank is the needle’s uppermost, thicker portion.

The needle’s round shaft has a groove through which the thread passes before entering the needle’s eye, which is the needle’s open hole. The shaft of the needle is placed below the needle’s top. At some time, the needle will come to a point.

The hook of the sewing machine is able to pick up the needle thread and form the stitch because of a little groove known as a scarf that rests above the needle’s eye.

When the eye, shank, scarf, groove, or tip of a needle are altered, the needle’s functionality changes. We’ll see this in a minute.

The fundamentals of choosing a sewing needle

Sewing machine needle size and type are often determined by the fabric’s and thread’s properties. Take a look at this now.

For a more in-depth look at selecting the proper sewing machine setup needle, see the following article.

When it comes to sewing machine needle sizes, what exactly do the numbers mean?

machine needle sizes

Needles are available in a number of different sizes, having both an American and European size classification. The width of the shaft is indicated by the sizes.

The relationship between the European numbering system and the actual diameter of the needle is simple to recall. In comparison, the diameter of a 100 needle is one millimeter, the diameter of a 90 needle is one millimeter, and the diameter of a 110 needle is one hundredth of a millimeter.

Table of numbering system

EuropeanAmericanWriting style

The needle size guideline for sewing machines is as follows: the lower the needle number, the more sensitive the needle and the finer the thread it is capable of handling. The greater the needle number, the thicker the needle and the thicker the thread that can be handled by the needle.

When selecting sewing machine needle sizes, keep the weight of the cloth in mind.

To choose the appropriate sewing machine needle size, consider the weight of the cloth you wish to stitch and the size of the needle you have available.

The thickness and structure of the threads used to create the fabric, as well as the volume of these threads, have an impact on the weight of the fabric. It takes a bigger needle to penetrate a thicker or heavier-weight piece of clothing. Using a heavy needle may ruin a lighter and more delicate fabric, thus a finer needle should be used instead. For example, denim is a kind of fabric. Denim materials are classified into two categories: thin, lightweight denim and substantial denim. When working with heavier materials, a bigger needle is necessary.

Instead of being a hard and fast rule, consider of this as a general recommendation to aid you in your learning process.

Table: Needle sizes for sewing machines are determined on the kind of thread weight used.

Fabric weightFabric typesThe diameter of a needle

Lightweightcrepe, tulle, chiffon, organza, voile, net, lace, gauze, tricot, silk65/9 – 75/11Medium-weightquilting cotton, satin, jersey, seersucker, poplin, rayon, broadcloth, knit, linen, thin denim, elastic, gingham, velvet75/11 – 90/14Heavy-weightheavier denim, upholstery, corduroy, vinyl, tweed, canvas, gabardine, oilcloth, velour, wool, leather100/16Extra heavy-weightLeather, upholstery, extra heavier denim110/18

A bigger needle allows for the use of a heavier thread. When working with a little amount of thread and a big needle, the needle’s tip will produce enormous holes in the fabric, which the fine thread will fill with a finer thread. It has the potential to provide the illusion of a tension issue while also being unsightly in appearance. It is possible to miss stitches or break threads when using a heavy thread and tiny needle. There may also seem to be a tension problem when the thread has difficulty going through a needle’s eye when using a heavy thread and small needle.

Sewing machine needles are available in many varieties

Stitching machine needles for general-purpose sewing are split into three kinds. The woven or knit fabric determines which sewing machine needle size is most appropriate for your project when it comes to selecting sewing machine needles.

Needles with a universal point

Universal point needles feature a slightly rounded tip and may be utilized for a range of tasks and applications. They fit the stereotype of the “jack of all crafts, master of none.” As a consequence, they’ll be able to deal with almost any woven or knit material.

Ballpoint needles

If you use ballpoint needles, also known as jersey needles, you may have fabric breaking or missing stitches because their rounded points glide between knit fabric loops rather than entering them. When you know your fabric is a knit, use a decent ballpoint needle since these needles were specifically designed for sewing on knits.

Needles with a razor-sharp tip

Point needles, also known as Microtex needles, are needles with a sharp tip that are particularly well suited for piercing thick woven materials. Because of the pointed tip, they are able to pierce the fabric cleanly and with the least amount of resistance. This needle is ideally suited for tightly woven natural materials such as silk, as well as for heavyweight woven fabrics in general. Such stitches are especially useful for topstitching, which often requires sewing through many layers of fabric and interfacing.

Specialty needles

While the three general-purpose sewing needles described above may be used for a variety of purposes, specialty sewing needles are significantly superior at performing particular tasks. However, although the appropriate needle from the all-purpose needles will work for the majority of sewing activities, it is important to be aware of the many alternatives available for overcoming stitching challenges.

Needles for Leather

Whenever sewing with leather, make use of a leather needle with a wedge shape that is shaped like an arrowhead. The needle pierces the leather without tearing it, generating skipped stitches, or otherwise causing damage to it in any manner. If the leather grasps the needle and refuses to release go when the stitch is formed, it will skip the stitch altogether. It is not recommended to use leather needles on knitted or woven materials.

Needles for denim/jeans

These needles feature a long, sharp point that works well on denim and canvas, as well as other tightly woven heavyweight fabrics like denim and canvas.

Quilting needles

Quilting needles have a distinctive curvature to their sharp tip, which makes them especially well suited for machine quilting, notably piercing, and other piercing techniques. Their tapering design enables them to easily penetrate numerous layers of material as well as areas where there are crossing seams in the fabric.

Needles for topstitching

In order to accommodate the thick, decorative threads necessary for several layers of topstitching, topstitch needles are designed with a large eye, a sharp point, and an extended groove.

A pair of twin needles

In this design, twin needles on a single shaft are used to create two lines of parallel stitches. My twin needle is often used to create a false cover stitch while sewing hems on garments, which is something I do a lot of. Pintucks, decorative topstitching, and historical sewing are all accomplished with the help of these tools.

Needles used to stretch

Stretch needles are a “specific” type of a ballpoint needle that, when used to stitch stretch materials, will not cause any damage to the fabric itself.

Needles for hemstitching

Hemstitch needles feature a large blade on each side, which is sometimes referred to as a wing. With each pass of the sewing machine needle through the material, a lovely groove is created on each side of the needle.

Needles for machine embroidery

Needle points on machine embroidery needles are medium-sharp, with a big eye and groove at the tip. When embroidering, these features help to keep delicate threads from tangling and causing excessive friction.

Metallic needles

Due to the wider eye of metallic needles, metallic and other specialist threads may pass through with less friction, resulting in a reduction in thread breakage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How do I choose a sewing machine needle?

A. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the needle size, the lighter the cloth, and vice versa is true when sewing with both heavy and light fabrics. The kind of needle you choose for your sewing project is often determined by the type of thread you want to use.

Do you know how to use a 90 14 needle for anything?

A. For medium weight textiles, such as slightly heavier weight cotton, polyester and linen as well as lightweight upholstery fabric, 90/14 is ideal. Silk (chiffon, organza, crepe-de-chine) and other light-weight textiles demand a smaller needle. As the weight of the cloth decreases, the smaller the needle size becomes necessary.

What is the 80 12 needle used for?

A. 80/12 Ball Point with Polyester or All-Purpose Threads (Knits/Jerseys) Sewing on knits, such as t-shirt and jersey fabric, calls for the use of ball point needles. As it pierces the cloth, the ball tip will not harm or break the fibers.

Do you know how to use a 70 09 needle?

A. Sizes 70/09, 60/08, and 80/11 needles are for sheer, light materials, whereas 60/08 and 80/11 needles are for lightweight wovens like silk. SINGER, Brother, Kenmore, and other high-quality sewing machines may utilize these needles.

What is the purpose of a size 11 sewing machine needle?

A. 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16 Embroidery Spring Free-motion and embroidery on light fabrics are made easier with this needle’s spring-encased design. The spring’s job is to prevent the cloth from stretching when embroidering by keeping pressure on it.

What is the purpose of 100 16 needles?

A. Thick leather, hefty canvas, and dense upholstery materials all need large needle sizes of 100/16 and 120/18. Heavyweight threads, like as upholstery and topstitching threads, are appropriate for their usage with these needles.

What is the thinnest needle size available?

A. The nano 4 mm, 32 gauge needle is the tiniest and thinnest available, measuring almost the same thickness as two strands of hair.

What’s the difference between 22G and 25G needles?

A. What we know thus far. The sensitivity of the 25G needle was 93%, while the sensitivity of the 22G needle was 91%, with no statistically significant difference between the two needles.

sewing needle guide


Make sure to keep in mind that there are various needles to choose from that will function in a wide range of settings, regardless of how complicated the process may look. For one task, a sewing machine needle might be a boon, but for another, it can be a problem. For example, a leather needle won’t work with knits, and a ballpoint needle won’t work with densely woven materials. It’s certainly worth the time and effort to find the correct needle for your sewing job.

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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