Sewing Machine Needles: A Complete Guide (Types, Colors, Sizes) Update 05/2022

This lengthy guide will begin with a simple question: What are sewing machine needles used for? Following that, we’ll go over all of the different sorts of sewing needles and how to distinguish between them in order to master the art of sewing. We’ll also offer you a quick rundown of each needle aspect, such as the huge eye on the sewing machine needle. You’ll also learn how to read sewing machine needle color codes and how sewing machine needle numbers function.
After that, we’ll continue to walk you through the world of sewing machine needles by teaching you the size sewing needles to use. Additionally, two useful charts will help you choose your needle based on the material you’ll be working with and the type of thread you’ll be using.
Rather than plunging you immediately into the action, this book will begin with the most fundamental details.

Sewing Machine Needles and Their Uses

Serger Needles VS Sewing Machine Needles

A needle is always the most important component of any sewing operation, whether done by hand or with the help of a machine. We cannot, however, use the same needles for hand stitching and machine sewing. The aim of the machine needle is to produce a hole in the fabric so that the sewing thread can flow through. It also permits the thread to form a loop, completing the stitch.

The following components make up a sewing machine needle:

  • 1. Butt – at the very end of the needle. It’s used to connect the sewing machine to the needle.
  • 2. Shank — the needle’s foundation and widest section. It is attached to the needle bar and is placed under the butt. Flat and cylindrical shanks are the two types of shanks.
  • 3. The shank is followed by the shoulder. The friction between the needle and the fabric is reduced.
  • 4. The narrowest component of the needle is the blade. Of course, this is where the needle and the fabric have the most friction.
  • 5. Long groove — minimizes friction between the needle, fabric, and sewing thread.
  • 6. Short groove — the area between the needle’s tip and the eye. It uses the sewing thread to construct the loop.
  • 7. The eye of the needle is the orifice at the top of the needle. Its main function is to keep the thread together.
  • 8. The curving slot above the eye that seals the gap between the looper and the needle is known as the scarf.
  • 9. Point – The needle’s sharp tip and the first point of contact with the fabric.

Universal, sharp, and ballpoint needle points are the three most popular types. But keep in mind that various fabrics demand different needle points. When sewing straight lines, we utilize the sharp point. Ballpoint needles are used while knitting fabric because the point needs to glide between the loops without harming the fibers or the fabric.

Obviously, universal needles can be used on both types of fabric. This is due to the fact that a universal needle’s point is both sharp and rounded, giving it the qualities of both sharp and ballpoint needles.

Sewing Machine Needles Types and Names

Sewing machine needles types and names

There are many different types of needles available, however the following are the most common:

  • 1. Round point needle: This is the most common variety because it is utilized in practically every type of sewing project.
  • 2. Ballpoint needle – utilized for elastic textiles since the needle passes through the fiber rather than over it, keeping the fabric’s flexibility.
  • 3. DI leather needle — a needle designed specifically for dry, heavy, and hardened leather. As a result, the diamond shape of the blade allows the needle to cut rather than rip the fiber.
  • 4. SD1 needle – a smaller version of the DI needle with a smaller cutting tip. This tiny tip not only cuts but also moves the fabric sideways.
  • 5. Serv7 needle — a scarf-shaped needle with a sharpened blade for cutting hard-to-cut materials.
  • 6. Twin needle – a twin needle is made up of two needles that are connected together on a single carrier. As a result, it’s perfect for sewing double decorative stitches. Don’t be fooled by the 4.0/80 rating. The first number indicates the distance between the two needles in millimeters, while the second indicates the needle size.
  • 7. Tri-needle — this needle is used to sew triple ornamental stitches, as the name implies. They’re branded 2.5/80, which is the same ratio as the one on the twin needle label.
  • 8. Embroidery needle – this sort of needle is used with particularly sensitive twine, and it has a larger than usual eye to avoid harming the twine.
  • 9. Metallic needle – This needle type has a stretched eye form, which is required to prevent the twine from curling.

Are Sewing Machine Needles Color Coded?

Are sewing machine needles color coded
Some manufacturers use colors to signify needle size, with the upper color representing the needle type and the bottom color representing the needle size. Of course, this allows experienced users to determine which needle to use just by looking at it. As a result, a needle manufacturer named Schmetz implemented color coding.
A quick guide to this company’s size and type categorization can be found right here. After all, you’re not a seasoned seamstress just yet.

Types:

  • 1. Needle Type: Universal Needle
    Color Band: No color band
  • 2. Needle Type: Microtex Sharps
    Color Band: Purple
  • 3. Needle Type: Ballpoint
    Color Band: Orange
  • 4. Needle Type: Stretch
    Color Band: Yellow
  • 5. Needle Type: Jeans
    Color Band: Blue
  • 6. Needle Type: Topstitching
    Color Band: Light green
  • 7. Needle Type: Quilting
    Color Band: Green
  • 8. Needle Type: Embroidery
    Color Band: Red
  • 9. Needle Type: Metallic
    Color Band: Pink
  • 10. Needle Type: Leather
    Color Band: Brown

Sizes:

  • 1. Orange, size 80/12
  • 2. Blue in size 90/14
  • 3. Purple, size 100/16
  • 4. Yellow, size 110/18
  • 5. Brown, size 120/19
  • 6. Black, size 125/20
  • 7. Red in size 130/21

What Size Sewing Machine Needles Should You Use?

What size sewing machine needles should you use
To have a high–quality sewing session, you must use an appropriate needle. However, you must examine the type of material you intend to utilize before making your decision. Any mismatch between the needle and the fabric can cause the stitches to come undone. Furthermore, it may cause irreversible harm to the cloth.
The general guideline is that the thinner the material, the thinner the needle should be. Similarly, the thicker the needle you need to choose, the tougher and heavier the cloth is.
We’ve prepared a handy little table to assist you in better understanding.

How are Sewing Machine Needles Numbered?

When we say “needle size,” we mean the diameter of the needle’s bottom at its widest point. The European and American measurement systems differ in some ways. The size of a needle under the European system is expressed as a percentage of a millimeter: a number 80 needle, for example, would have a diameter of 0.8 millimeters. Most needles nowadays, on the other hand, are labeled with two numbers, one for European measurement and the other for American measurement.
It will break if you don’t use the suitable needle. The majority of your sewing issues are also a dead giveaway of a bad needle. However, there are also other issues that can arise from using the improper needles:
  • The sewing machine will not switch on.
  • Foot control isn’t working.
  • The threader is out of control.
  • Skipping stitches.
  • Fabric becomes tangled in the sewing machine.

After eight hours of use, change the needle because if you don’t, the needle will become dull.

Sewing Machine Needles Size Chart

When picking the right needle size, consider the sort of cloth you’ll be working with. This diagram can assist you.

  • Batiste – universal 60/8, 70/10
  • Any material with sparkles– microtex 70/10-90/14 or stretch 75/11, 90/14
  • Cotton knitwear – jersey 70/10-90/14 or stretch 75/11, 90/14
  • Bouclé – jersey 70/10-90/14
  • Brocade – universal or microtex 60/8-90/14
  • Felt – universal 80/12-100/16
  • Flannel – universal 80/12-110/18
  • Terrycloth – universal 80/12-90/14
  • Gauze – jersey 70/10, 80/12
  • Jeans – 70/10-110/18
  • Jersey with no elastin – jersey 70/10, 80/12
  • Jersey with elastane – stretch 65/9, 75/11
  • Lamé – microtex 60/8-90/14
  • Linen – universal 80/12, 90/14
  • Spandex – stretch 65/9, 75/11
  • Microfiber – microtex 60/8-80/12
  • Nylon – universal or microtex 60/8-90/14
  • Plastic foil – microtex 60/8-110/18
  • Knitwear without elastane – jersey 70/10-90/14
  • Knitwear with elastane– stretch 65/9-90/14
  • Plush – stretch 75/11, 90/14
  • Polyester – universal or microtex 60/8-100/16
  • Popelin –universal or microtex 60/8-80/12
  • Popelin –universal or microtex 60/8-80/12
  • Tricot – jersey 70/10-90/14
  • Satin – universal or microtex 60/8-80/12
  • Satin – universal or microtex 60/8-80/12
  • Silk – microtex 60/8-90/14
  • Chiffon – universal or microtex 60/8, 70/10
  • Taffeta – microtex or universal 60/8, 70/10
  • Awning fabric – jeans 90/14-110/18
  • Artificial fur– universal 70/10-100/16 or jersey 70/10-90/14
  • Artificial leather – microtex 70/10-100/16
  • Wool –universal 70/10-100/16
  • Velvet– universal 80/12-100/167
  • Georgette – universal or microtex 60/8-80/12

Sewing Machine Needles and Threads

thread and needle sizes
Because sewability has a big impact on sewing quality, different sewing techniques place varying demands on threads in the sewing process. Each sewing thread must meet the requirements for making the intended seam as well as providing the necessary aesthetic in it in order to be effective.
When evaluating your sewing thread, keep the following recommendations in mind:
  • To avoid knots, the needle thread must be able to pass through the eye of the needle.
  • Make sure the thread’s strength surpasses the fabric’s strength to avoid injuring it and preserving it.
  • Because the stitches must be equal, a thread with excellent flexibility throughout its length is required.
  • Control the amount of friction between the needle and the thread, as well as the thread and the fabric, because too much friction will cause the thread to brake, and too little friction will prevent the stitches from locking and causing seam run-back.
  • Abrasion resistance is essential for effective sewing results.
  • The sewing thread must be flexible enough to maintain its shape while also keeping its qualities in the seam after the sewing operation is completed.

Extra Tips

Keep in mind that a good sewing thread must be resistant to the heat generated by the needle. The temperature of the needle is mostly determined by the fabric, the sewing machine’s speed, the needle type, and the thread size.
Keep an eye on the hairiness of the sewing thread, since it can impact the appearance of the seam. It is also the final twist insertion direction that allows the stitch to form. This is necessary for the machine to function properly.
The sewing thread must be able to maintain the color of the finished product over time. It must also maintain the fabric’s equilibrium while tying as few knots as feasible.

Sewing Machine Needle and Chart Size

Following the material selection, selecting the proper thread and needle size is critical. The formula for the graph we’re about to show is as follows: Thread/Thread size/Needle sizes and is here to explain everything you need to know about the relationship between thread size and needle size.

Nylon Thread

  • Size 15 / Tex 16 / Govt. 00 – Use needle sizes 70 / 10 to 80 / 12
  • Size 33 / Tex 35 / Govt. AA – Use needle sizes 80 / 12 to 90 / 14
  • ​Size 46 / Tex 45 / Govt. B – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16
  • ​Size 69 / Tex 70 / Govt. E – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • ​Size 92 / Tex 90 / Govt. F – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 125 / 20
  • ​Size 138 / Tex 135 / Govt. FF – Use needle sizes 120 / 19 to 140 / 22
  • ​Size 207 / Tex 210 / Govt. 3-Cord – Use needle sizes 140 / 22 to 180 / 24
  • Size 277 / Tex 270 / Govt. 4-Cord – Use needle sizes 180 / 24 to 230 / 26
  • Size 346 / Tex 350 / Govt. 5-Cord – Use needle sizes 230 / 26 to 280 / 28
  • ​Size 415 / Tex 410 / Govt. 6-Cord – Use needle sizes 280 / 28 to 330 / 30
  • Size 554 / Tex 600 / Govt. 8-Cord – Use needle sizes 330 / 30 to 360 / 32

Polyester Thread

  • Bullet Point 1Size 15 / Tex 16 / Govt. 00 – Use needle sizes 70 / 10 to 80 / 12
  • Size 33 / Tex 35 / Govt. AA – Use needle sizes 80 / 12 to 90 / 14
  • ​Size 46 / Tex 45 / Govt. B – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16
  • ​Size 69 / Tex 70 / Govt. E – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • ​Size 92 / Tex 90 / Govt. F – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 125 / 20
  • ​Size 138 / Tex 135 / Govt. FF – Use needle sizes 120 / 19 to 140 / 22
  • Size 207 / Tex 210 / Govt. 3-Cord – Use needle sizes 140 / 22 to 180 / 24
  • ​Size 277 / Tex 270 / Govt. 4-Cord – Use needle sizes 180 / 24 to 230 / 26
  • ​Size 346 / Tex 350 / Govt. 5-Cord – Use needle sizes 230 / 26 to 280 / 28
  • ​Size 415 / Tex 410 / Govt. 6-Cord – Use needle sizes 280 / 28 to 330 / 3
  • Size 554 / Tex 600 / Govt. 8-Cord – Use needle sizes 330 / 30 to 360 / 32

Kevlar Thread

  • Size 23 / Tex 21 / Govt. A – Use needle sizes 70 / 10 to 80 / 12
  • Size 46 / Tex 45 / Govt. B – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16
  • ​Size 69 / Tex 70 / Govt. E – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • ​Size 92 / Tex 90 / Govt. F – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 125 / 20
  • ​Size 138 / Tex 135 / Govt. FF – Use needle sizes 120 / 19 to 140 / 22
  • Size 207 / Tex 210 / Govt. 3-Cord – Use needle sizes 140 / 22 to 180 / 24
  • ​Size 346 / Tex 350 / Govt. 5-Cord – Use needle sizes 230 / 26 to 280 / 28
  • Size 415 / Tex 410 / Govt. 6-Cord – Use needle sizes 280 / 28 to 330 / 30

Monofilament Thread

  • Size .003 / Tex 5 – Use needle size 50 / 6 to 55 / 7
  • Size .004 / Tex 8 – Use needle sizes 55 / 7 to 65 / 9
  • ​Size .005 / Tex 13 – Use needle sizes 65 / 9 to 70 / 10
  • ​Size .006 / Tex 18 – Use needle sizes 10 / 10 to 75 / 11
  • ​Size .007 / Tex 27 – Use needle sizes 75 / 11 to 80 / 12
  • ​Size .008 / Tex 35 – Use needle sizes 80 / 12 to 90 / 14
  • ​Size .009 / Tex 45 – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100 / 16
  • ​Size .010 / Tex 50 – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • Size .011 / Tex 60 – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 120 / 19
  • Size .012 / Tex 80 – Use needle sizes 120 / 19 to 125 / 20

Embroidery Thread

  • 30-Weight – Use needle size 90 / 14 to 100 / 16
  • 40-Weight – Use needle sizes 75 / 11 to 80 / 12
  • ​Fire Retardant Embroidery Thread
  • ​40-Weight – Use needle sizes 75 / 11 to 80 / 12
  • ​Fire Retardant Sewing Thread (spun Nomex and Kevlar)
  • ​Tex 27 and 30 – Use needle sizes 70 / 10 to 80 / 12
  • Tex 35 and 40 – Use needle sizes 80 / 12 to 90 / 14
  • ​Tex 45 and 50 – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16
  • Tex 60 and 70 – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • Tex 90 and 105 – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 125 / 20

Bag Closing Thread

  • 4-Ply – Use needle size 140 / 22 to 230 / 26
  • 5-Ply – Use needle sizes 180 / 24 to 260 / 26

Polypropylene Thread

  • Size 46 / Tex 45 / Govt. B – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16
  • Size 69 / Tex 70 / Govt. E – Use needle sizes 100 / 16 to 110 / 18
  • ​Size 92 / Tex 90 / Govt. F – Use needle sizes 110 / 18 to 125 / 20
  • Size 138 / Tex 135 / Govt. FF – Use needle sizes 120 / 19 to 140 / 22

Waxed Thread

  • Size 207 / Tex 210 / Govt. 3-Cord – Use needle sizes 140 / 22 to 180 / 24
  • Size 277 / Tex 270 / Govt. 4-Cord – Use needle sizes 180 / 24 to 230 / 26
  • ​Size 415 / Tex 410 / Govt. 6-Cord – Use needle sizes 280 / 28 to 330 / 30
  • ​Size 554 / Tex 600 / Govt. 8-Cord – Use needle sizes 330 / 30 to 360 / 32
  • ​Waxed Polyester-Linen – Use needle sizes 140 / 22 to 180 / 24
  • Embalmers Thread 2-Ply – Use needle sizes 180 / 24 to 230 / 26
  • Embalmers Thread 3-Ply – Use needle sizes 90 / 14 to 100/ 16

Other Threads

  • 35 Weight Robison-Anton Spun Polyester – Use needle sizes 80 / 12 to 90 / 14
  • 60 Weight Bobbin Thread – Use needle sizes 55 / 7 to 65 / 9

Sewing Machine Needles Brands

Schmetz Serger Needles
Few needle manufacturers stand out as much as Schmetz. German discipline and hard labor are largely responsible for this manufacturer’s perfection. It was formed in 1851 and has since grown to become the world’s largest sewing machine needle maker.
I.M. Singer & Co was founded by Isaac Merritt Singer in La Vergne, Tennessee. Soon, the word “Singer” became nearly synonymous with the sewing machine, indicating its high quality and durability. The vibrating shuffle sewing machine, created by Singer, was a breakthrough improvement over previous designs, such as the transverse shuttle designs. The Singer company was one of the first to employ monthly payment programs, which is an interesting fact.
Janome was created in Japan in 1921, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
The company not only makes needles, but also sewing machines.
The word “Janome” in Japanese means “snake’s eye,” which is not surprising given that the round bobbin method replaced the lengthy shuttle system in the 1920s.
Klasse is another German-based manufacturer on this list. It is the youngest company on our list, having been created in 1980. Klasse has been a firm focused on innovation since its inception, and by the time it turned five, Klasse was at the forefront of the innovation wave. Furthermore, the company has focused on developing new needle kinds to complement modern fabric types. The company dedicates all of its inventory to domestic sewing machines.
Groz-Beckert, a family-owned company that has been in the same family since its founding in 1852, is breaking the mold of publicly held and traded companies. This company makes industrial sewing needles, which is the polar opposite of its Klasse. Groz-Beckert demonstrated a new type of sewing machine built entirely of acrylic glass as a result of its unique character.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this guide, no matter how long and difficult it was. It is critical to understand that sewing is a complex activity that is simple to learn but difficult to master. Nonetheless, this article has covered the fundamentals, such as the many types of sewing machine needles and their color coding. You can get expert rank if you want to improve yourself and devote time and effort to furthering your knowledge. As a result, we developed this tutorial.

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