How To Select Best Needle For Sewing

One of the most common mistakes we see new aspiring sewing lovers make is using the wrong type of sewing machine needle. This begs the question, how to select the best needle for the sewing machine? It can cause the needle to break, make it hard to work with the fabric, and make the stitches look bad. With our sewing machine needle guide, you’ll never have to deal with these problems again.

We’ve talked about the different kinds of needles and the fabrics and threads that work best with them. You should still read this even if you are a good stitcher and know a lot about needles. You might find a needle that will change your life.

How often should I change the needle?

We usually say that you should change your needle after each project. You can refer to a sewing needle size chart to know which needle to use for your project. You won’t have to spend much money on needles, and you can be sure that they will always work as expected.

If your machine is stuck, we also suggest looking at the needle. Jamming can cause the needle to bend, leading to things you didn’t expect, like bad stitches. If your machine makes a strange thumping sound when the needle goes through the fabric, you need to change the needle.

How to Put a New Needle in?

  • Before learning how to select the best needle for the sewing machine, you need to know how to put a needle in.
  • You should first put a piece of paper under the foot to fit a new needle in.
  • Then, when you loosen the needle screw, the old needle won’t fall into the machine by accident.
  • We don’t want to pay a lot of money to fix things.
  • Once you remove the old needle, the new one will only fit correctly because of how the shank is made. The side of the flat shank should face the machine’s back.

Before you tighten the needle screw, make sure you push the new needle up as far as it will go. If you don’t, your stitches might not look good. The needle might hit the bobbin case, or your needle threader might break (if your machine has one).

How sewing machine needles are made

The shank is the part of the needle that is wider at the top. The shaft or blade is the needle’s main “stem.” Looking closely, you can see a groove going from the nose to the eye. When the thread goes through the fabric, it sits in this groove and stays safe from wear. The part at the back that is “scooped out” is called the “scarf,” and it lets the bobbin hook get close enough to the thread loop to pick it up.

Needle Sizes

Before you learn how to select the best needle for a sewing machine, you must know about the different needle sizes. You also have to use the right size needle for the weight of the fabric. There are many different sizes of needles, from 60/8 to 130/21. 80/12 or 90/14 is in the middle. The first, bigger number is the metric size, showing how wide the needle shaft is. So, an “80” is 0.8mm. The old imperial measurement is the second smaller number, which is 12. It’s easy to remember that the needle gets bigger as the number increases.

Fine voiles, organza, and cotton lawns should be cut in sizes 60–75. An 80 or 90 in the middle range is good for craft cotton, polycotton, and cotton sateen, all medium-weight fabrics. A 100-130 is for heavy wools, denim, cotton duck, and fabrics for sofas and chairs. A lot of general haberdashery shops only carry between 75 and 100.

You can also find a sewing needle size chart online for further reference.

Types of Sewing Machine Needles

First, you should know that sewing machine needles are all the same. They work with many different brands, like Janome, Brother, Husqvarna, Elna, Pfaff, etc. You can be sure that any sewing machine needle you buy from us will work with any domestic sewing machine that is at least a few years old.

At first, it can be hard to keep track of all the different types and sizes of machine needles. But it’s not hard to figure out the differences between them. We’ve listed the most common needles and the techniques and fabrics used. This will make it easier for you to know how to select the best needle for a sewing machine.


Universal needles are the most common type of needle, as the name suggests. They can be used with woven, synthetic, and knit fabrics. However, check out the other needle types listed below for specific types of knit fabrics. Most of the time, finer needles are used for thin fabrics. Fabrics that are medium to heavy weight use larger sizes. With a universal needle, you should use polyester, cotton, or silk thread.


The tip of a ball point needle is more rounded than that of a universal needle, so it pushes the fibers of the fabric apart instead of cutting them. Because of this, ball point needles are great for working with rib knits, interlock, cotton knits, fleece, double knit, and most knit fabrics in general, because they keep the fabric from running or laddering when stitching. Ball point needles work best with polyester and polyester/cotton blend threads; finer threads should be used with finer needles.


A stretch needle has a “scarf” that gives the hook more room to pass close by and keeps stitches from being skipped. This makes it perfect for fabrics like Lycra, power net, two-way stretch knits, silk jersey, spandex, and highly elasticized synthetic fabrics or even elastic itself. Polyester threads or polyester threads wrapped in cotton should be used. Stretch fabrics are known to be harder to work with, and picking the right needle is important if you want a good result.


If you make a quilt with several layers of cotton and wadding or with tightly woven fabrics like silk or microfiber, you should use a sharp needle. These needles are made to work with more than one layer of fabric. They have a stronger shaft that keeps them from getting bent or broken and a sharp point that lets them go through the fabric and make smooth buttonholes. A short, round eye for threading also makes sewing stronger. You can find the exact dimensions on a sewing needle size chart.


Quilting needles are also made with a reinforced shaft, so they can be used with several layers of fabric and wadding. However, they are much shorter than sharps needles, so quilters can stitch quickly and evenly. Beginners will probably find it easier to use a smaller needle, like a size 7 or 8, while more experienced quilters usually choose a larger one.


There’s no prize for figuring out what kind of fabric these needles are made for. Yes, denim is the most obvious choice, but these needles also work well with heavy twill, canvas, and linens often used for work clothes. While stretch and ball point needles are made not to cut the fabric, jeans needles have a very sharp point and a stronger shank to keep the needle from bending or breaking and to push through the heavy fabric. When working with these needles and fabrics, you should use threads like synthetic or blends, 100 percent polyester, heavier top stitching threads, and cotton-wrapped polyester.


Leather needles are often called “chisel point” needles because the end of the needle looks and works like a chisel. Yes, you guessed it, these needles should be used with real leather, suede, and projects that are hard to sew. They shouldn’t be used with PU imitation leather, ultra suede, or synthetic suede, though, because these fabrics are very different from real leather and suede.


If you like pretty metallic or rayon threads and are a bit of a magpie regarding thread, a metafil needle is perfect for sewing or embroidering on woven or knitted fabrics. It can be used for general sewing and is much easier to thread. Metallic needles have an extra-large eye, so fancy threads can move through more easily and won’t tear or split as you sew. If you find it hard to thread your needle, a metallic needle with a larger eye would be a good choice.


Embroidery needles have a larger hole so that rayon, polyester, or cotton machine embroidery threads can move through them easily and freely. When machine embroidering, the fast-moving embroidery stitch can cause the fabric to move up and down quickly, which can cause stitches to be missed. Embroidery needles have a pontoon scarf with a big bump on it. This makes it less likely to happen by making the fabric move less.


Top stitch needles have a very sharp point that makes it easy to pierce all kinds of fabric, and the large eye makes it possible to use thick topstitching thread. You can find them on an online sewing needle size chart.


You must go slower using these needles for pin tucking and decorative stitches. Not all machines can use them, so you should always check your manual before using it.


When used with your machine’s special stitch settings, wing needles make holes in the fabric that look like drawn thread work. With these needles, you should only use fabrics made from natural fibers like cotton.

Overlocker/Serger needles

Some think that “EL” stands for “extra long” and that using it will damage the machine. It doesn’t work and won’t work. Schmetz made these needles just for the Elna Lock overlocker. They are the same size as needles 130/705, etc.

Chrome finish is what “CF” stands for in the name. They have a groove on the front and back that helps make chain stitches, and the blade has been reinforced to make it stronger. And these needles can be used in regular sewing machines and overlockers and cover stitch machines to improve the quality of the stitches.

Singer needles:

Some people believe Singer sewing machines and overlockers must use Singer needles because they are 1mm long. This is not true, because all sewing machine needles have the same length. But if you look closely, the packaging for Singer universal needles (coded 2020) and ballpoint needles (coded 2045) also shows the system 130/705H. ELx705 is also written on the package of Singer overlocker needles (coded 2022). Excuse me for being cynical, but I think it’s a way to get you to pay three times as much for the same thing. And if you don’t believe me, put two rulers together and measure the needles.


We hope this article helped you learn how to select the best needle for a sewing machine. This is very vital information if you want your stitching to look perfect. You can also refer to a sewing needle size chart online for more information.


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