Sewing machine needles: All about

So you have or are planning to purchase a sewing machine.

There are a variety of sewing machine needles, but how do you know which type of needle to use for various fabrics?

Sewing machine foot and needle

This depends on what type of sewing machine you are using, the type of fabric you will be stitching with and how often you will be changing to a different fabric type.

Let’s first understand the basics.

Needle parts & purpose

Sewing machine needle parts 1a










Sewing machine needle parts 1b








Industrial v. Domestic sewing machine needles

Prime difference is the shape of the shank.  Shank is flat at the back for domestic sewing machine, and fully round for industrial sewing machine.

If you slice the needle in half and look at it from the top, this is what they look like (Left: industrial, Right: domestic)

Sewing machine needle shank shape





Types of needles

– slightly rounded point
– used for general, every day sewing of most woven or knit fabrics
– needle is tapered so that it slips through the fabric weave of the knit easily whilst still retaining enough sharpness to pierce the cloth
– type that usually comes with your sewing machine
– come in different sizes with the 14/90 and 11/75 being most popular

– sharp point
– used for woven fabrics because they cause a minimum amount of puckering and produce an even stitch without damaging the fabric
– not recommended for use with knits as they can cause skipped stitches
– used for edge stitching on woven fabrics, sewing on finely woven fabrics or heirloom stitching on very fine fabrics, also a good choice for synthetic suede
– come in varying sizes finest size 9 to the heaviest size 18.

– rounded point, not sharp
– used for knit and stretch fabrics
– the larger the size of the needle, the more rounded the needle point, so that it pushes between the fabric yarns rather than piercing them
– come in varying sizes from 9 to 16


Needle sizes per fabric type

Sewing Needles Type_Size Needle Type Fabric
9/70 or 11/80 Regular Point Sheer to lightweight: Batiste, Chiffon, Georgette, Organza, Voile and all microfiber or microdenier fabrics.
11 by 80 Regular Point Lightweight: Challis, Chambray, Charmeuse, Crepe de Chine, Guaze, Handkerchief Linen, Silk, Taffeta, Tissue Faille.
14 by 90 Regular Point Medium-weight: Broadcloth, Brocade, Chino, Chintz, Corduroy, Flannel, Linen, Poplin, Satin, Synthetic Suedes, Taffeta, Terry, Velvet
16/100 or 18/110 Regular Point Medium to Heavy-weight: Coating, Damask, Drapery Fabric, Fake Fur, Gabardine, Ticking, Woolens
16/100 Denim/Canvas Denim and Canvas
10/70 or 12/80 Ball Point Sheer to Lightweight Knits: Jersey, Single Knit, Spandex, Tricot
14/90 Ball Point Medium to Heavy-weight Knits: Double Knit, Sweatshirt, Sweater Knit


Needle brands

Groz-Beckert – made mainly in Germany /also in America, Europe and Far East
Juki – made in Japan
Klasse – made mainly in India /in past Germany
Organ – made in Japan
Schmetz – made in Germany
Singer – made in China
Triumph – made in Taiwan
and others . .


Specialty needles

Overlock, Quilting, Self-threading, Spring, Stretch, Topstitch, Twin, Triple, Wing/Hemstitch
click Sewing machine needle charts for details


How to read a needle package

How to read a needle package








Needle lifespan

Average 6-8 hours of sewing.
Due to economical price, feel free to change the needle often.
Though, as long as the needle isn’t snagging your fabric, skipping stitches, bent or damaged in any other way, you shouldn’t have a problem with it.


Brief history

– most ancient sewing needles date back to 28,000 BC
– did not have an eye but a split end which gripped the thread to be sewn
– needles after 17,500 BC had the two features characteristic of the hand sewing needle today… the eye at one end and the tapering point at the other end. They were made from bones and antlers
– during Bronze Age approx 7,000 BC, needles were made from metal, first from copper, later from iron or bronze.
– unfortunately, the articles made with these needles were only partially preserved and there are barely any traces of the needles themselves. This is largely explained by the effect of oxidation, which destroys metallic needles after a short time


2 responses to “Sewing machine needles: All about

  1. Pingback: Thread & Needles – Free Motion Mastery in a Month

    • Thank you for adding on to my info, and posting your link here.
      I am sure everyone can appreciate the additional information.

      Dubai In Design (DID)

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