The sewing pattern, a spool of thread, and some fabrics are some of the essential items to keep at hand when starting a new project. But at the heart of it all is a good old sewing machine needle, which has a blunt top with a pointed tip, and a hole for inserting thread. It can be tightened after being placed into a machine screw and allows for quick and easy movements.

Using the appropriate needle can make all the difference between broken threads, skipped stitches, and a beautiful, professional-looking seam. Sew machine needles come in a variety of uses and thicknesses, and various types are needed for different types of fabric.

Read more: A Guide to Sewing Machine Needles


How to Choose the Best Needles for Your Sewing Machine

sewing needle

To put it plainly, picking suitable sewing machine needles for your needs is necessary to get the correct tension and prevent puckering and skipped stitches. However, with so many options available picking the right one can be overwhelming. That’s why is important to keep the following factors in mind.

Needle Types

Finding the ideal needle type is crucial for a successful project. And, since not all machine needles on the market are created equal, the following are the most common ones:

Universal Needle

The most popular and widely used sewing machine needles are for non-specialty textiles. If you exclusively sew on common woven materials, you generally simply need to keep a supply of universal needles in different sizes in your sewing area. These are the greatest all-purpose sew machine needles, and they typically come in a combo pack with a few sizes.

Stretch/Ball Point Needle

Stretch/ball point needles are perhaps the second most used needles as you must use these specialized tools for any stretchy or knit clothing you sew. Unlike darning needles which are the essential tools for crocheting, medium ballpoint stretch and ballpoint needles are specifically made to avoid skipped stitches in knit fabrics. Even though the majority of knits, a ballpoint needle can be used; for very elastic materials and high-stretch knitwear, such as swimwear, use stretch needles, which have a narrower point.

Denim Needle

Denim needles, on the other hand, are specialized needles required before beginning any form of denim sewing operation. It’s made to cut through particularly thick fabrics, like denim, with a lower danger of skipped stitches and needle breakage.

Usually, there are several different sizes of denim needles in the pack. So, you should use the larger needle size if you’re using thicker denim for a jacket. For denim clothing, like jeans, you should generally use thinner denim (perhaps with a little stretch) and lower needle size. You may also need to use a stretch/ballpoint needle for the seams and hems of your denim if it has a lot of stretch.

Leather Needle

Using a leather needle is crucial when sewing with leather, faux/artificial leather, or thick non-woven synthetics. It has a point and edges that are sharp enough to cut the cloth when the needle is inserted.

This also means that the needle creates holes in the fabric for the thread, so move slowly and be cautious as you stitch because the tiny holes will still be visible if you need to take out a seam. To prevent skipped stitches from your metal foot from sticking to the cloth, you might also need to use a Teflon foot.

Embroidery Needle

You should switch to an embroidery needle if you are embroidering on fabric. These specialised machine needles have a particular scarf form that prevents friction and are made to operate with speciality embroidery threads, enabling friction-free embroidery and beautiful stitching.

Metallic Needle

You should use a metallic thread-compatible needle if you want to add some flair to your project and utilize metallic thread. To prevent the thread from tearing and breaking, it features a long eye, a fine shaft, and a sharp point. Additionally, the metallic type is compatible with monofilament.

Needle Size

sewing needles

In terms of size, there are two important factors to take into account, the needle thickness and its purpose. The thickness affects the needle’s size. Thinner needles are used for ticker textiles and delicate fabrics such as silk and chiffon.

On the other hand, the needle’s intended use may include purposes such as sewing denim, topstitching, or stretch textiles. For instance, to penetrate leather, specific needles are required, whereas different-shaped tips are frequently needed for different textiles and purposes to optimally penetrate the cloth strands.

The majority of needle packaging will have two numbers divided. The lower number, which corresponds to the American size system, falls between 8 and 20, whereas the higher number, which corresponds to the European size system, falls between 60 and 120.

The fabric thickness that you can stitch with the needles is indicated by the numbers on the packaging of the machine needles. The thicker the fabric you can sew, the greater the numbers. Smaller numbers, on the other hand, are used to sew finer materials.

How to Insert a Sewing Machine Needle

sewing process

You should always change to a new needle when starting a new project. Because needles for sewing machines are not designed to be used repeatedly, doing so can result in skipped stitches and uneven stitching.

There are various ways to insert needles into a sewing machine. In some cases, needles must be entered with the eye facing forward whereas in other cases, the needle must be put with the eye facing sideways. When the eye (the hole) of your needle is facing forward, insert your thread from the front toward the back; if it is looking sideways, always insert from the left toward the right. However, check the manufacturer’s instructions as different sewing machines require different needle insertions.