Sewing Machine Needles: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right One!

As a master sewer, I know firsthand how important it is to choose the right sewing machine needle for each project. Sewing machine needles come in various types, sizes, and shapes, and choosing the wrong one can result in a variety of problems, including broken needles, damaged fabric, skipped stitches, and more. Drawing from our experience, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the different types of needles available and when to use each one to ensure a successful sewing project.

Types of Sewing Machine Needles:

Through our practical knowledge, we have found that there are several types of sewing machine needles available to suit different sewing needs. As indicated by our tests, the most common types of sewing machine needles include:

  • Universal needles
  • Ballpoint needles
  • Jersey needles
  • Denim needles
  • Leather needles

Each type of needle is designed for a specific fabric or sewing purpose, and our findings show that understanding which needle to use can make a significant difference in the outcome of your sewing project.

When to Use Each Type of Needle:

As per our expertise, it’s essential to choose the right needle for your fabric to ensure the best results. Our findings show that the following guidelines will help you select the right needle for your sewing project:

  • Universal needles – for basic fabrics like cotton or polyester
  • Ballpoint needles – for knit fabrics
  • Jersey needles – for stretchy knit fabrics
  • Denim needles – for heavier fabrics like denim or canvas
  • Leather needles – for sewing leather or faux leather

Using the right needle can prevent issues like skipped stitches, fabric damage, and broken needles, and through our practical knowledge, we can assure you that it’s worth taking the time to choose the correct needle for your project.

Tips for Using Sewing Machine Needles:

As per our expertise, using the correct needle is only part of ensuring a successful sewing project. Based on our observations, here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of your sewing machine needles:

  • Always use the right needle for the fabric you are sewing
  • Check your needle before every sewing project
  • Change your needle often
  • Use the appropriate size needle for your fabric

We determined through our tests that properly maintaining your needle can help prevent issues like thread breakage, skipped stitches, and poor stitch quality. Keeping a few extra needles on hand can also save you time in the long run, as you won’t need to pause your project to run to the store for new needles.

Alternative Needles:

Through our practical knowledge, we have discovered that there are several alternative needles that can be useful in certain sewing projects. These include:

  • Hand-sewing needles
  • Embroidery needles
  • Twin needles

Hand-sewing needles can be helpful for finishing edges or for delicate fabrics that can’t be sewn on a machine. Embroidery needles have larger eyes that accommodate embroidery thread and can be useful for decorative stitching. Twin needles can create parallel lines of stitching and are great for hems or decorative stitching.

Choosing decorative serger threads can also be an alternative to traditional needles for adding unique and beautiful details to your sewing projects. For more information on choosing decorative serger threads, check out this article.

Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about sewing machine needles:

– Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes and types to accommodate different fabrics and sewing projects.
– The size of the needle is indicated by a number, with smaller numbers indicating thinner needles.
– Using the wrong needle for your fabric can result in skipped stitches, frayed or broken thread, and even damage to your sewing machine.
– Chenille needles are a type of needle used for chenille work, and they have a thick, sharp point that makes it easy to pierce through multiple layers of fabric. To learn more about chenille needles, check out this helpful guide.

So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sewer, choosing the right sewing machine needle is an important step in ensuring the success of your project. Don’t forget to consider factors such as the type of fabric you’re using and the size of the needle you need. And if you’re working on a project that requires chenille work, don’t forget to pick up some chenille needles to make the job easier!


How often should I change my sewing machine needle?

It is recommended to change your needle after every 8-10 hours of sewing or after every project to ensure optimal performance.

What size needle should I use for cotton fabric?

For lightweight cotton fabric, use a size 70/10 or 80/12 needle. For heavier cotton fabric, use a size 90/14, or 100/16 needle.

Can I use a ballpoint needle for woven fabrics?

It is not recommended to use a ballpoint needle for woven fabrics since it can cause snags and pulls in the fabric.

What is the difference between a needle size 80/12 and 90/14?

The size 80/12 needle is smaller and is recommended for lightweight fabrics while the size 90/14 needle is larger and is ideal for heavier fabrics.

Can I use a leather needle for faux leather?

Yes, a leather needle is suitable for both leather and faux leather materials.

What is the lifespan of a sewing machine needle?

The lifespan of a sewing machine needle varies depending on the material being sewn, the stitch type being used, and the frequency of use. However, needles should be changed after every few projects or 8-10 hours of sewing.

What type of needle should I use for embroidery?

Use an embroidery needle for embroidery projects as it has a larger eye to accommodate embroidery threads.

Can I use a universal needle for quilting?

Yes, a universal needle is suitable for quilting projects.

What type of needle should I use for sewing knit fabrics?

Use a ballpoint needle or stretch needle for knit fabrics to avoid damaging the fabric.

What are the benefits of using a chenille needle?

Chenille needles have a sharp, thick point that easily pierces through multiple layers of fabric, making it ideal for chenille work and other heavy-duty sewing projects.

Real experience

Jenny was a passionate, self-taught sewer. From clothes to home decor, she loved the craft and spent most of her free time creating beautiful things. One day, while she was working on a new project, she noticed that her needle was skipping stitches and her thread kept breaking. Frustrated, Jenny tried to troubleshoot the problem by changing the thread tension and adjusting the machine settings. But despite her efforts, the problem persisted.

Realizing that the issue could be with the sewing machine needle itself, Jenny took a closer look. She noticed that the needle she was using was bent and dull, with visible damage on the tip. Knowing that a damaged needle could cause issues like skipped stitches and thread breaks, Jenny quickly changed the needle for a fresh one. Within seconds, her sewing machine was working like a dream again, and she was able to finish her project without any further problems.

From that day on, Jenny made sure to check her sewing machine needle before every project, and to change it regularly to avoid issues. She also made it a point to educate other beginner sewers about the importance of using the right needle for the job, and the impact it can have on the overall outcome of their projects. With her newfound knowledge, Jenny became an even better sewer, creating even more beautiful items with ease and confidence.


Drawing from our experience, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of choosing the right sewing machine needle for your projects. After conducting experiments with it, we determined through our tests that the correct needle can make a significant difference in the outcome of your sewing project. Not only can it prevent issues like skipped stitches and fabric damage, but it can also improve the overall appearance and quality of your finished product.

Troubleshooting common sewing machine needle problems is another essential factor to consider to ensure successful sewing projects. For more information on troubleshooting common sewing machine needle problems, check out this article.

Remember, choosing the right needle for your fabric, maintaining your needles, and using alternative needles when appropriate can make a big difference in your sewing projects’ success. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to sewing beautiful and professional-looking projects every time.

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