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Which Sewing Machine Needles Do I Choose?

If you love dabbling with different types of fabric and threads when you sew, you must consider which specialist needles you'll need to use to ensure you produce the best outcome. Using the correct needles for your project will prevent all sorts of disasters, so we want to help you make the right decision.

Needle Types:

Ballpoint Needles

Ballpoint Needles

Instead of piercing fabrics, Ballpoint Needles have a slightly more rounded point than Universal Needles so will pass between the fabric threads. They are perfect for materials that snag easily, such as spandex and knitwear.

Denim Needles

Denim Needles

Denim Needles have a thick, strong shank with an extremely sharp point to resist breaking. They can be used to stitch many layers of fabric at once or tightly-woven fabric like denim and canvas.

Embroidery Needles

Embroidery Needles

The large needle eye and specially designed scarf help protect the thread when stitching dense designs at a fast pace. Perfect for use with most fabrics, you should use Embroidery Needles with rayon and speciality threads to ensure they don't shred when stitching.

Hemstitch Needles

Hemstitch Needles

The needle shaft has a 'wing' on both sides in order to produce a pretty, decorative hole. Perfect for tightly-woven fabric like batiste and linen, Hemstitch Needles should be used for hemstitching and heirloom stitching.

Metallic Needles

Metallic Needles

With a much larger needle eye than Embroidery Needles, Metallic Needles allow you to stitch with heavier, metallic thread. Their large groove and special scarf guard delicate threads to stop them from shredding when stitching.

Microtex/Sharps Needles

Microtex/Sharps Needles

Microtex/Sharps Needles have a very sharp point with a narrower shaft, so are especially ideal for straight stitching and topstitching. Microfibres, silk and lightweight suede are some examples of smooth, finely woven fabrics that work well with these needles.

Overlock Needles

Overlock Needles

Sharp needles that come in a variety of sizes, Overlock Needles are only for use in Overlocker Machines and will sew through multiple types of fabric.

Quilting Needles

Quilting Needles

Designed specifically for quilting, Quilting Needles have a sharp, tapered point and can stitch through multiple layers of fabric at once.

Stretch Needles

Stretch Needles

Stretch Needles have a deep scarf to allow the bobbin hook to get closer to the needle eye. This prevents skipped stitches on elasticated, lightweight knits such as spandex and synthetic suede.

Topstitch Needles

Topstitch Needles

With an extra-sharp point, an extra-large needle eye and a large groove, Topstitch Needles are perfect for heavy top-stitching thread or stitching with two strands of regular thread at once. They can be used on a variety of fabrics for straight stitching with heavy thread.

Twin Needles

Twin Needles

These special construction needles have two needle shafts on a crossbar, protruding from one shank. In basic terms, you'll be stitching two parallel rows at once with two needles instead of a single row with just one. Twin Needles are available in many forms – for example, you could buy Universal Twin Needles or Embroidery Twin Needles. Choose closely spaced needles for lightweight fabrics and further apart needles for heavyweight fabrics.

Universal Needles

Universal Needles

These popular general-purpose needles are a good all-round type and size, with a slightly rounded point. Universal Needles are especially effective for use with woven and knitted fabrics in a range of weights, depending on the needle size.

Needle Sizes:

It's important that you choose the correct needle size for your fabric weight. Generally, needle sizes will show as two numbers – the first number is the European size and the second number is the American size. The European size refers to the diameter of the needle on fractions of a millimetre. However for Twin Needles, the first number will appear as the distance between the needles in millimetres, while second number is the European needle size. Here's a handy chart to help you choose your needle size:

Size Fabric Weight
60/8 Very lightweight fabrics
65/9 Lightweight fabrics
70/10 Lightweight fabrics
75/11 Lightweight fabrics
80/12 Medium weight fabrics
90/14 Medium weight fabrics
100/16 Heavyweight fabrics
110/18 Very heavyweight fabrics
120/20 Very heavyweight fabrics

Wendy Gardiner joined us in the studio to provide you with some exclusive top tips on choosing and using sewing machine needles.

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