This guide to sewing machine needles will help make sure you pick the right needle for the right job!
You will see a series of numbers on a packet of sewing machine needles, although confusing at first, with a little explanation the numbers will make sense and will help you choose the right needle for your sewing project.
130/705H – this is the designation for household needles – all have a flattened shank for perfect positioning of the needle in the needle bar. For woven fabrics a standard sharp point needle is the right choice.
Europe uses a numbering system for needle sizes (thickness):
- 60/8 for very fine fabrics
- 70/9 for fine fabrics
- 80/11 for medium weight fabrics
- 90/14 for medium to heavy weight fabrics
- 100/16 for heavy weight fabrics
You will also find needles for specific uses:
Leather size 100/16. This needle has a wedge at the point, which gives it the ability to pierce heavy fabrics e.g. leather or suede. If you are sewing synthetic leather you may not need a leather needle as the fabric will not be as heavy.
Jeans/Denim (usually a size 90 – 100). This needle has a thick shaft and a strong point to sew through layers of heavy fabric without breaking.
Jersey/Ball Point (various sizes). These needles have a rounded tip that slips between the yarns rather than piercing them and so will not damage knit fabrics. Use this needle when working with jersey fabric and other fabrics that may run if snagged.
Top Stitch (various sizes). This needle has a larger eye to allow for the use of heavier top stitch thread.
Microtextile (usually lower numbers for finer needles). These needles are also known as ‘sharps’ needles. They are thinner that normal needles with a sharper point and are for use on fabrics with a higher thread count or for fine threads.
Twin Needles. These needles have a different numbering system, e.g. 2,5/75 .
- The 1st number is the space between the needles (2,5) = 2.5mm
- The 2nd number is the needle thickness (as before) 75 = fine to medium weight fabrics
A twin needle has two needles on a cross bar connected to a single shaft and will give you an evenly spaced finishing stitch. Remember to ensure that your sewing machine can hold two reels of thread.
Remember! Always check that your needle is not blunted from a previous project. Change your machine needle after every eight hours of sewing or after each project.