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Let’s talk about Sewing Machine Needles – Infographic

Sewing Machine Needle Infographic

When I got my very first sewing machine, I didn’t even know needles were removable, let alone that there were so many options available. I thought you used the same needle for every project – forever.

Understanding all the different needles available is hard, even for an experienced sewist. And if you’re just starting out? Impossible.

The needle you use is like a painter’s brush and your thread is the paint. Having the right tool matters! It takes a deal of critical thinking to determine which needle type and size to use for an individual project. But, as a busy woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So we did it for you.

We hunted through libraries, magazines, websites, books, and experimented ourselves for months to learn (and relearn) everything about needles. We discovered that it’s one thing to have the correct needle for the fabric type and weight, but what about the task? I’m not going to use an Universal Needle to topstitch decorative thread on cotton fabric. Normally, a 90/14 Universal Needle would work wonderfully, but not for decorative topstitching. I would use a Topstitch Needle because the tip is specially designed for that task.

What about heirloom stitches? They’re decorative stitches, right? Yes, so go ahead and grab a Winged Needle. Clear as mud, right? Prevent sewing stress and consult our Needle Chart before you start stitching.

From the shaft, to the fine point, to the metal it’s made of, sewing needles come in various sizes and types. They may look similar, but these days they’re engineered for optimal performance. Some actually slice the fabric to create a stitch, while others spread the fibers to lock in the stitch.

That’s all well in good, but you’re here because you love to sew, not because you want to moonlight as a sewing machine needle specialist, (as fascinating as that sounds). Use our needle selection chart and sew the best project ever knowing you have the proper needle for the job.

P.S.  Similar needle types are often interchangeable. For instance, you can definitely use a Topstitch Needle to sew metallic thread.  Or, perhaps in your experience, a certain needle type works better over another, and that is great! Always use what works best for you. This chart is what has worked for us and what is recommended by other pros in the sewing business. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a message below. We love to hear from you!

Sewing Machine Needles Infographic

Order the 11″ x 17″ Poster

This chart looks even better on a real wall. Keep your needle reference close by while you sew – Order a copy today! Only $6.99 and it ships free.

19 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Sewing Machine Needles – Infographic”

  1. Hello! But what are the different sizes for? Why would I pick an 80 over a 100? I did find that the 100s broke quicker when I hit a thick spot in a canvas project. But why else would I pick a specific length?

    1. Hello Frank! I am not sure why 100s would break quicker than the 80s on a thicker project because the lighter the fabric, the smaller the needle size, and the heavier the fabric, the larger the needle size. Also, many times the thread you will be using for your sewing project will also determine the type of needle you choose. For example, when using a fine, delicate thread, be sure to use a smaller needle size. If you need assistance deciding on a size or type of needle please feel free to give our customer service team a call at 888-824-1192!

  2. Much appreciated and Thank you for the needle chart. Has now provided clarity with changing needles and why! Also has probably now stopped some of the problems I encounter when sewing. Now I know what needles I will need more of .

  3. Hi Sarah,
    I am an intermediate seamstress, but my kink has always been needles. This is SOOOO helpful!! Thank you for being a go-to for folks like me.

  4. Hi Sarah, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I am in Nigeria and would like to get as many accessories as I can for industrial sewing machines. Do you stock them? And can you send to Nigeria?

    1. Hi, Winifred! We do mail to Nigeria and we do sell industrial parts. Industrial parts are very specific though, so I suggest sending a list of what you need to [email protected] so we can guarantee those parts are still being manufactured.

  5. I have to tell you thanks so much for your wonderful tutorials. I have already learned so much. I am in between beginner and intermediate and getting better as I go along. I have referred my friends to your site. Love it!

  6. Thanks so much for the needle info. I needed it! I have another needle issue that I’m hoping you can help me with. I am making a design to topstitch onto heavier fabric for a tote bag. The design is made with overlapping pieces of ribbon which I attached to a fabric template by using iron-on adhesive. When I tried to topstitch the edges, my needle got sticky with residue from the adhesive. Apparently, it even got into the eye of the needle and I can hardly thread it. I’ve tried cleaning it, but it’s still not working well. Is there a way to clean the needle?

    1. Hi Ellen! Yup, this is a common problem with those of using adhesives. You can use either an alcohol swab or nail polish remover to clean off the residue. Works like a charm!

  7. Hi! Finally cut the belt for Emdeko- it is 14″ long, – rubber & cord, tightly compacted.
    Love the machine- hate being w’out it!
    Have not found the belt anywhere, & the rubber ones just slip, or won’t go on at all! HELP appreciated!

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