When you’re creating your garments, sometimes the last thing that’s on your mind is your needle. Unless it breaks in the middle of your project of course! But maybe it might be breaking just a little.. too often. Especially when you’re using your most cherished fabrics, like faux suede or nylon jersey, and you can’t figure out why your sewing machine ate a chunk of it. And that’s totally okay! You may just need a refresher on just what type of needle to use in different scenarios. For example, a needle for denim is completely different needle than what’s used for lace. Different projects call for different sewing machine needles, and Mood is here to help you navigate your sewing kit!
So even if you’re a beginner who doesn’t know where to start, or if you’re an advanced sewist who wants to break up your seam ripper for good, let’s all take a look at the ten most popular sewing machine needles and their uses!
Universal Sewing Machine Needles
Universal Needles are the most common of all sewing machine needles, and are typically used with most woven fabrics. They are perfect enough to go through delicate fabric, and usually heavy enough to pass through your common cottons and linens. Take a look, they most likely what’s inserted in your sewing machine right now! Also, note that it’s an excellent idea to always have an extra pack of universal sewing machine needles on hand. They can be substituted for most projects, and are smart to use for a quick fix!
Top-Stitching Sewing Machine Needles
Top-stitching Needles are extra sharp and used for thicker fabrics, much like the quilting needle. They’re able to pass through thick fabrics, even batting! These types of sewing machine needles have a large eye like the embroidery needle (but bigger), and a long and slender point that’s perfect to pass through multiple layers. You may use this particular needle for decorative stitching on denim!
Quilting Sewing Machine Needles
Quilting Needles are used for, you guessed it, quilting! They are shaped to be tapered, to pass through multiple layers of fabric when quilting. Perfect for when you want to make a blanket with heavy, fluffy batting.
Ball Point Sewing Machine Needles
Ball Point Needles look like your regular needle, but with a rounded tip at the end where a point would be. This is to ensure that when going through their intended fabric (synthetic, stretchy jersey) they don’t rip when going back and forth through the plates in your sewing machine. Thus, making the needle slip right through any yarns of a stable knit!
Regular Point Sewing Machine Needles (Sharps)
Regular Point Needles (Sharp) are typically used for basic sewing machine stitches. The different sizes they have correspond to the heavier stitch they can sew through. The smaller the number (size 9/70) the lighter the fabric they can go through, like silk! And the higher the number (16/100) the heavier the fabric they can go through, like denim and tweed for example.
Wedge Point Sewing Machine Needles
Wedge Point Needles are excellent for projects that call for leather or vinyl! These kind of fabrics can easily be damaged with a needle that isn’t suited for this type of job at hand. Not to mention you would probably break a needle in the process! Leather can be pretty tough, and it’s an expensive luxurious fabric you wouldn’t want to damage, so it’s best to use this needle for these fabrics!
Embroidery Sewing Machine Needles
Embroidery Needles are perfect for (surprise!) embroidery. They have a wide eye that is well suited for polyester threads to pass through a quilt project, without ruining fabric quality. It can be an excellent way to de-stress, and find a way to decorate most of the items in your closet if you have the time!
Denim Sewing Machine Needles
Denim needles are specialized for heavy and dense fabrics like denim and canvas. With a strong shaft and a modified point, they easily penetrate through thick layers without causing damage. These sewing machine needles prevent skipped stitches and broken threads, making them essential for crafting durable jeans, jackets, and heavy projects.
Twin Sewing Machine Needles
Twin needles come with two needles attached to a single shank. They create parallel rows of stitching, perfect for decorative hems, pintucks, and topstitching. Available in various widths, they add a professional touch to projects, making them a must-have for achieving polished and embellished finishes.
Metallic Sewing Machine Needles
Metallic Needles (also referred to as metafil needles) are specifically designed for metallic and specialty threads. They feature a larger eye to accommodate thicker threads and prevent shredding or breaking. Ideal for adding a touch of glamour to embroidery, quilting, and decorative stitching, these sewing machine needles ensure smooth sewing with metallic threads, enhancing your projects with a shimmering effect.
Quick Reference Chart
|Sewing Machine Needle Type||Needle Size||Fabric Type||Thread Type|
|Universal Machine Needles||65/9||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread|
|70/10||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread|
|75/11||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread|
|80/12||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread|
|90/14||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread|
|100/16||Most Wovens and Knits||All-Purpose Thread, Upholstery Thread|
|110/18||Leather, Denim, Woven, and Knitwear||All-Purpose Thread, Upholstery Thread|
|Topstitch Machine Needles||80/12||Light-to-Medium Weight Fabrics||Topstitch Thread|
|90/14||Medium-to-Heavy Weight Fabrics||Topstitch Thread|
|100/16||Heavy Weight Fabrics||Topstitch Thread|
|Quilting Machine Needles||75/11||Piecing, and Machine Quilting||Natural Cotton Thread|
|90/14||Piecing, and Machine Quilting||Natural Cotton Thread|
|Ball Point Machine Needles||70/10||Knits, Some Stretch Fabrics||All-Purpose Thread|
|80/12||Knits, Some Stretch Fabrics||All-Purpose Thread|
|90/14||Knits, Some Stretch Fabrics||All-Purpose Thread|
|100/16||Knits, Some Stretch Fabrics||All-Purpose Thread|
|Regular Point (Sharp) Machine Needles||70/10||Voile, Microfibers||All-Purpose Thread|
|80/12||Microfibers, Polyester, Silk, Foiled, Artificial Leather, Coated Materials||All-Purpose Thread|
|90/14||Microfibers, Polyester, Silk, Foiled, Artificial Leather, Coated Materials||All-Purpose Thread|
|Embroidery Machine Needles||75/11||Rayon, Polyester, or Other Specialty Embroidery Threads||Machine Embroidery Thread|
|90/14||Rayon, Polyester, or Other Specialty Embroidery Threads||Machine Embroidery Thread|
|Denim Machine Needles||90/14||Extra Thick Woven Fabrics, Denim, or Quilts||Jeans Thread, Upholstery Thread|
|100/16||Extra Thick Woven Fabrics, Denim, or Quilts||Jeans Thread, Upholstery Thread|
|Twin Machine Needles||1.6/70||Wovens, Knits|
|2.75/75||Elastic Materials, Highly Elastic Knitwear|
|4.0/75||Elastic Materials, Highly Elastic Knitwear|
|Metallic (Metafil) Machine Needles||80/12||Metallic Threads||Metallic Thread|
|90/14||Metallic Threads||Metallic Thread|
|Wedge Point (Leather) Machine Needle||90/14||Leather, Artificial Leather, Heavy Non-woven Synthetic||All-Purpose Thread, Upholstery Thread|
|100/16||Leather, Artificial Leather, Heavy Non-woven Synthetic||All-Purpose Thread, Upholstery Thread|
Surprise! The last needle is a compass needle. Hopefully this guide has pointed you in the right direction! Say goodbye to breaking needles, and say hello to smooth sailing with your sewing compass and needles. Do you know what needle you’ll use for your next project? Let me know in the comment section below!