Choosing the Perfect Sewing Machine Needle

The sewing machine needle is a crucial yet often overlooked element in the world of sewing. Choosing the right needle type and size can make a significant difference in achieving seamless stitching and impeccable designs. With a vast array of options available, selecting the perfect needle for your project can be daunting, especially for newcomers.

From deciphering cryptic markings on needle packets to understanding the nuances of needle selection, this guide aims to demystify the world of sewing machine needles. Whether you’re a novice embarking on your first sewing adventure or a seasoned pro seeking to refine your craft, this comprehensive exploration will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the realm of needles with confidence, ensuring flawless finishes and exceptional results with every stitch.

Universal Needles

Universal needles are the most common sewing machine needles around the world and that is why they are named so. It doesn’t matter if you are buying a cheap sewing machine or one with highly-advanced features, this needle will definitely come with your machine. For most of your sewing and stitching projects, you will need this needle for sure.

Since these needles are very fine, these are mostly used with lightweight fabrics like cotton, silk, polyester, etc. If this needle doesn’t come with your sewing machine then you should definitely buy one as it is really helpful in basic sewing and stitching work.

Ball Point Needles

Just like the ballpoint pens, these needles also have a rounded point which instead of piercing the fabric, moves it apart. If you are looking for sewing machine needles for knits, then you can’t find anything better than this needle for your work. Though you must remember that this thread needs to be combined with this needle as thick threads may not go well through the fabrics and it may get torn.

We will recommend you to use this sewing machine needle with polyester and other fabrics made with a blend of polyester to keep them safe.

Stretch Needles

If you come across skipped stitches by other sewing machine needles, then a Stretch Needle can help you in fixing them. This needle might not come with every sewing machine as it is rarely used by anyone. If you are a basic home user, then you might not need this needle ever.

Though if you are a professional sewer then you should definitely consider buying this sewing machine needle. Generally, this needle is available in 11/75 and 90/14 size but sometimes you might find some other sizes too but we will consider you to buy Stretch Needles of only these two sizes.

Sharp Needles

Sharp needles are also known as Microtex and these needles are used with natural fabrics like cotton, wool, linen, and many more. If you are looking for sewing machine needles for quilting work, then you might need these needles for sure. This needle is very strong since it is made to penetrate through different layers of fabrics while quilting. This needle has also got a short and round threading eye while keeps the thread in place. As the name says, the point of this needle is very sharp so you might have to pay attention else it damages the fabric easily.

Quilting Needles

While sharp needles can also be used for quilting but they can be used for other works too. There are needles that are made specifically only for quilting work and they are known as Quilting Needles. These needles are much stronger and bigger in length as compared to other sewing machines because these are made to go through several layers of fabrics. These needles are available in different lengths so you must buy them according to your needs and then the number of fabrics you are working with. Generally, you will need a number 7 or 8 quilting needle for basic quilting work.

Jeans/Denim/Leather Needles

These are the most modern sewing machine needles as they are made especially for specific fabrics. None of these needles comes out of the box with sewing machines but if you are getting a needle pack with your machine, then it might include some of them. These needles are bought mostly by the professional and expert sewers as they work more often with these fabrics. If you are enthusiastic about sewing and stitching, then you can consider buying these needles to practice your work on these fabrics. All of these needles come in different sizes, so buy accordingly.

Top-Stitch Needles

Top Stitch needles are used only for stitching the edges of the fabrics. Well, since edges can be thick sometimes the point of these needles is very sharp. This needle can easily go through several layers of fabrics so you don’t have to worry about anything while using this needle with any fabric you want to work with. Also, another good thing about Top Stitch needle is that it has a big threading eye so if you want then you can also use a thick thread with this needle but make sure it is compatible with your sewing machine else it can damage both the needle and your fabric.

Twin Needles & Triple Needles

Twin and Triple sewing machine needles are used only for decorative stitch. These needles help you in stitching two or three parallel evenly spaced rows easily. These needles are obviously thicker in size so your machine might have space big enough to fit these needles into it. Also, there must be a zig-zag stitching function available in your sewing machine else these needles will not work properly. The best thing about these needles is that you can pair multiple threads with them to get a better and clean stitch design without much effort.


What Are Parts of A Sewing Machine Needle Called?


Just like humans, the eye is the most important part of the sewing needle too. The hole in the needle is known as the eye which carries the thread from the machine to the fabric. The size of the eye of the sewing needle depends on the type of needle you are using. Remember that the eye of the sewing needle must be compatible with the thread you are using. If you will use a thin thread with a big needle or vice-versa, then the stitches might break or you might face issues with the needle.


The shaft is the area of the sewing needle that contains the groove, eye, and the point. Well, this area might not sound like a useful part but it is definitely useful when you consider the other parts that it holds. Remember that you must not press or hold this area tightly as a small bend on this part of the needle might make your entire needle useless.


The upper part of the Shaft is known as Shank as this part goes into the sewing machine so the machine can hold it. Each needle type has a different Shank design so you must refer to the manual that came with your machine to know how to insert the needle properly in your sewing machine. In-home sewing machines, the needles will have a flat and round side to the needle can be positioned properly, while industrial sewing machines have a completely round Shank.


As the name says, Point is the tip of a sewing needle that pierces the fabric so that the thread and entire needle can go through the fabric easily. You must buy a needle that comes with a good point as it will make it easier for you to sew through fabrics. Also, buy needles according to the sewing machine you are buying and the fabric you are working with. There are three types of needle points available out there which are as follows:

  • Sharp
  • Ballpoint
  • Universal


The Scarf is basically a cut on the outside surface of the needle. This cut allows the bobbin case to hook the thread and form stitches. The size of the Scarf depends on the size of the needle you are using. Also, make sure the Scarf of the needle is placed correctly else the stitches will be made in the wrong manner and the thread may get broken. Almost all scarf on the needles is coated well so that threads can easily go through it and make stitches easily.


A Groove is basically a curved surface on the front side of the needle that helps the thread to go through to the eye. There are some needles that might not come with a Groove but almost all sewing machine needles come with a Groove as it is a very essential part of the needle. If you are using a sewing machine that requires you to thread the needle manually then you can use your fingertips to feel where the Groove is placed on the needle so you can lay your thread into it.

Different Sizes Of Sewing Machine Needles

The size of the needle is determined by its diameter. When a needle is numbered as 90, then it means the diameter of that particular needle is 0.9mm. Just like that, you will be able to differentiate between different needle sizes since all of them come for different types of stitches. Also, remember that the smaller the number, the thinner the needle will be. While buying a sewing machine or a needle accessory pack, you can check the needle size and type you are getting. Below we have mentioned which needle size is perfect for which fabric type.

Size 8/ No.60

This is the thinnest sewing needle available as of now. Sewing machines for home and basic usage comes with this needle out of the box and you can use this needle with thin fabrics like silk, cotton, and synthetic. Remember that you might need an automatic needle threader feature to thread this needle in your machine.

Size 10/ No.70

Next is the No.70 sewing machine needle which is around 0.1mm thicker than the one we have mentioned above. This too needle must be used only with thin and light-weight fabrics because it is not very strong. Though, you can use this sewing machine needle with a variety of fabrics like net, chiffon, sheer nylon, etc.

Size 11/ No.75

No.75 sewing machine needle is for light-weight to medium thick fabrics. A lot of sewing machines come with this needle out of the box, but sometimes you might have to buy it separately. If you are looking for a needle for voile, organza, chiffon types of materials, then you can consider using this needle.

  • Also Read About: Different Types of Sewing Machines

Size 12/ No.80

Sewing machine needle no.80 is the medium-sized needle that is being used in most of the households out there. You can use this needle to sew different types of fabrics since it works with lightweight as well as medium-thick fabrics. Though, for quilting, this needle is not as good as it works with taffeta, silk, tricots, etc. fabrics.

Size 14/ No.90

Needle no.90 is the starting of needles that can sew through thick fabrics. These needles generally come with high-grade mechanical sewing machines and you might need them to stitch thick fabrics like poplin, velvets, chintz, and many more. If you are looking for a sewing machine needle for quilting, even then you can consider using this.

Size 16/ No.100

No.100 sewing machine needle is not just another needle for thick fabrics but it can do a lot more. If you are looking for needles for heavy suiting, denim, cord, etc. type of fabrics, then you can consider getting this needle. If you have a heavy-weight sewing machine then you can consider buying a thick sewing machine needle pack.

Size 18/ No.110

No.110 needles are also thick but they are not the thickest needle available as of now. If you are looking for sewing machine needles for leather, denim, and other thick fabrics, then you can use this needle. Remember that sewing machines that are made for households and basic stitching work might not be able to work with this needle.

Size 20/ No.120

Sewing machine needle no.120 is the thickest needle that is available right now. This particular needle is used only by professionals and that too for specific work. Industrial sewing machines and sergers are capable of handling this needle and that too when you are working on canvas and thick denim fabrics.

Final Words

Sewing machine needles are the most delicate, yet the most useful part of the sewing machines. Since there are different types of sewing machines needles available out there, you must know about them before starting your work on the sewing machine. We will recommend you to get multiple needles so you can work with different fabrics at the same time.

So, this is all about needles for sewing machines and Quilted Sewing hope now you know everything about them. Before buying any sewing machine, make sure to read about its needles too. If you are facing any issues in pairing your sewing machines needles, or you have any questions regarding them, then you can ask us about them via the comments below.


Hannah Nelson

Hi, there! I am Hannah Nelson, your host on this website. I started this blog to teach my lovely readers how to master the art of sewing effortlessly and how to turn this hobby into an income generating business.

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