Skip to main content

Resource Library: Choosing the Right Needle.

Being confused by which needle you need to use is a very common problem among new and some old sewers.
So don't get discouraged!
With so many different numbers and fabrics to choose from it can make you quite uncertain of the correct needle for your specific project.
But don't worry! We're going to break it down for you and help you learn the basics about sewing machine needles.


 Let's start with the anatomy of a sewing machine needle.



Needle Anatomy from Threads:
http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3751/machine-needle-know-how


Shank: Top portion of the needle, usually having a flat back, that is inserted into the sewing machine with the flat slide facing the back. Needle is tightened into place with a screw on the machine. 


Shaft: The body of the needle determining the needle size based on the width of the shaft.


Front Groove: Slit above the eye that allows the thread to be flat against the needle.


Point: Tip of the needle that penetrates the fabric and forms the stitch with the bobbin thread. Shape of point varies between needles. Important to pay attention to when choosing a needle for your fabric.


Scarf: Indentation on the back of the needle that helps eliminate skipped stitches. A longer scarf is preferred.


Eye: The hole at the tip of the needle that allows thread to pass through. Eye size changes with the needle.



Needles range from size 8-18. These numbers are corresponded with the European needle sizes 60-120 on the packages. So for a pack that says 70/10, the 70 is the European needle size and the 10 is the American size.

The smaller the number, the smaller the size.
That size is relavent to the weight of your fabric. For sheer materials such as chiffon, you would want to select the smallest needle size. For a heavy weight outdoor canvas, you would want to use the largest needle.  

Below is a basic needle size chart I found on the blog Presser Foot.


Easy enough right?
But wait! Before you begin sewing we must discuss the point of the needle!

Here is a great picture of needle points from Sew-What's-New




Univeral: Slightly rounded point that you can use on knits or wovens, hence why they are called universal. So if you are completely baffled by which needle point to use, begin with this one.


Jersey/Ball Point: This medium tip is slightly rounded to pass between the threads rather than pierce them which can create runs in your light weight knit fabric. A ball point needle will not damage the spandex in knits. Using these needles on heavier knits helps creates even stitches.


Stretch: This needle features a deep scarf so the bobbin hook can get closer to the needle and prevent skipped stitches when sewing on fine lighweight knits such as silk jersey or highly elastic knits. Use this needle when you are experienced skipped stitches with the ball-point needle.


Jeans/Denim: This needle has a thick shaft and a very sharp point. Ideal for sewing denim, canvas, or tightly woven fabrics. 


Microtex/Sharp: This needle has a narrow shaft and a sharp point to piece the threads of woven fabrics. Use for stitching finely woven fabrics such as silk, lightweight suede and microfiber fabrics. The sharp point also helps enable perfectly straight stitching which makes them great for topstitching!


Leather: This tip is wedge-shaped with allows it to penetrate leather, suede, and vinyl without tearing them.


Self-threading: The eye has a slot on the one side so you can easily slide the thread when you are having trouble threading a regular needle. This needle works best on wovens, but tends to snag knits.


All the above information can be found on this great chart I highly recommend you print out and refer to when you need some quick help!




You are welcome to comment with questions!
Happy Sewing!

Comments

  1. Thank god I found this post of yours. I was using wrong needle from a very long time in my sewing works.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! All comments are reviewed before posting to help us eliminate spam. Your comment will be posted within 24 hours.

Popular Posts You Might Like

Made By A Fabricista: ITY Dress

Hi sewing friends - Andrea here from Happy.Things.Here over on Insta with this week’s post – I’m sharing about a favorite fabric and pattern today!  So… the last two months have almost gotten the best of me. We made a somewhat unplanned decision to move homes and life has been just insanely busy and hard to find time to sew. But sewing  is such a joy and a stress reliever for me, so I fit in this fun and easy sew amidst the chaos and it made me sew very happy! Sneak peek – how could this print NOT make someone happy? First, let’s talk fabric. ITY , or Interlock Twist Yarn, is one of my all-time favorite fabrics for sewing clothing. Fabric Mart did an Instagram post with a video on this fabric and I highly recommend you check it out if this fabric is new to you. Three things I love about ITY – 1) it’s easy to care for and rarely wrinkles, 2) it’s easy to wear, great for drapey pieces, and works all year long, and 3) Fabric Mart gets great deadstock prints and colors from fashion design

Made By A Fabricista: Summer Separates in White Eyelet

To me, eyelet fabric suggests warm weather and sunshine.  I can envision myself sipping lemonade, while swaying on a porch swing with a gentle summer breeze on my face, all while wearing a lovely eyelet dress.  Hello Sewing Friends! It’s Sharon with Sharon Sews here sharing my latest Fabricista make with you.  This time I sewed some separates using a summer staple, eyelet fabric.   A quick search online revealed eyelet being used in more than just dresses this season, ranging from romantic dresses to flirty tops to wide-leg pants and matching camp shirts.  I even saw a man’s white eyelet top on a high-end shirt designer’s website.  There are so many options for using eyelet fabric, but I liked the look of eyelet pants with a matching top. Both fabrics were designer fabrics – I LOVE that section on the website! A white 100% cotton geometric floral embroidered eyelet lawn, and a baby pink/white 100% cotton embroidered pinwheel floral voile.  Both are so, so lovely!  I also took advantage

Made By A Fabricista: Breezy Summer Style with Rayon Challis from Fabric Mart.

Hey there my sewing friends!  Summer is here and I am all for it.  It has been exceptionally hot here in Southwest Florida. We have had temps in the high 90’s.  I want to keep cool and comfortable and still look pulled together this summer.  That’s why I chose rayon challis for this month’s summer make.   Rayon Challis is lightweight, flowy, soft and extremely comfortable to wear. It’s an excellent choice for summer outfits.  It has a beautiful drape making it an excellent choice for maxis, tops, dresses, and shorts. The fabric is lightweight and depending upon your sewing project you may need to use a lining with this fabric. Also use a lightweight interfacing when working with rayon challis.  If you are a beginner at sewing, you may find the fabric a bit fiddly to work with, but the end result is so worth it.  Fabric Mart has beautiful challis fabric to choose from. I chose this fun tropical print on an off-white background. This summer season vests are in.  I love the ease of wearin