Needle-Ful of Knowledge: All Types of Sewing Machine Needles

June 8, 2022

You've set up your new sewing machine, and are now ready to start stitching. So you thread the needle and start sewing, but after a few minutes, you notice the thread is getting tangled, and the fabric is bunching up. You didn't even know there were different types of sewing machine needles, let alone that you should have been using a different one for your project!

It's no secret that a sewing machine needle is a key component in the stitching process. But what do you know about these little sewing machine needles in different sizes? In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of sewing machine needles and explain when each should be used.

Types of Sewing Machine Needles

The variety of sewing machine needles has increased with new strands and novel fabrics. The sewing machine needles’ assorted sizes can be attributed to the need for more precision when creating stitches and having single or multiple crossbars on each end, depending on your preference to achieve various effects like embroidery magic knots!

The next thing to know about sewing machine needles is that they’re standardized. For instance, Singer sewing machine needles will work with any other brand, including Brother, Janome, and more. Machine needles come in various types and sizes, but it is not as difficult to understand their differences. We've listed every sewing machine needle and the fabrics you can use it on.

Ballpoint Needle

While you can use ballpoint needles on most fabrics, they're best for working with knits and other lightweight materials. This is because their round tip, resembling a ballpoint pen, pushes the fibers apart rather than cutting through them. For the best results, use polyester and polyester/cotton blend threads with ballpoint needles, while finer fabrics should be stitched using finer needles.

Denim Needle

The difference between a regular needle and the denim needle is that a denim needle has an acute point, slender eye, and stronger shaft. Other than making jeans, you can use them when sewing tough fabrics like heavy twill or canvas, which would otherwise have crooked stitches when sewn with other types of needles.

Embroidery Needle

With a machine embroidery needle, the size of the eye and the scarf helps preserve the thread's integrity, making it less likely to break during embroidery. Plus, the larger eye makes it easier to use decorative threads such as rayon, polyester, and cotton machine embroidery threads, saving time and frustration.

Leather Needle

A leather needle is a sewing needle with a sharp wedge at the point. This wedge gives the needle superior piercing power, making it ideal for stitching thick and tough fabrics such as leather, suede, and heavy vinyl.

However, while a leather needle can make a clean, large hole in the fabric, it also leaves unnecessarily large holes that can weaken seams. For this reason, you can only use a leather needle only when absolutely necessary. When sewing delicate fabrics, it is best to use a thinner and sharper needle to create smaller holes.

Metallic Needle

If you've ever worked with metallic thread, you know how finicky it can be. The thread is delicate and often breaks easily, which can be frustrating when trying to create a beautiful project. That's where a metallic thread needle comes in.

These needles are specifically designed to work with metallic thread, and they have a large eye that accommodates the delicate thread fibers. Thanks to their special design, metallic thread needles help reduce breakage and make sewing with metallic thread easier and more enjoyable.

Quilting Needle

A quilting needle is designed specifically for quilting. This needle has a tapered point that allows it to stitch through multiple layers of fabric and across intersecting seams without damaging the fabric. This makes the quilting needle ideal for sewing delicate or expensive fabrics.

Types of sewing machine needles

Self-Threading Needle

A self-threading needle is a sewing machine needle with a slotted eye. This allows the thread to be easily inserted into the needle, making it ideal for those with limited vision or dexterity. Self-threading needles are also less likely to break due to their eye, making them ideal for delicate fabrics.

Sharp Point Needle

A sharp point needle is a type of needle designed for use with fabrics that are difficult to pierce. The sharp point of the needle allows it to penetrate through thicker fabrics without causing damage easily. The small needle size also makes it ideal for use in tight spaces, such as making buttonholes.

Stretch Needle

If you're looking for a needle that can handle stretchy fabrics, then you need a stretch needle. Like embroidery needles, stretch needles have scarves that are much deeper to provide extra room for your hook to pass. This way, you can avoid skipped stitches. As the name suggests, this needle is great with elasticated fabrics such as spandex and power nets.

Topstitching Needle

A topstitch needle has an extra sharp point and a large eye to easily pierce through fabrics and use thick topstitching thread, giving your sewing a professional finish. Moreover, the looser construction of the needle allows it to glide smoothly through the fabric, reducing friction and making sewing easier.

Universal Needles

No needle is more versatile in sewing than the universal needle. This needle has a slightly rounded point that makes it ideal for sewing on various fabrics, from light to medium-weight. They also have slightly longer eyes, which makes them easier to thread.

In addition, universal needles are slightly thinner than other needle types, making them less likely to leave holes in your fabric. So whether you're sewing a shirt or mending a hole in your jeans, a universal needle is the perfect choice.

Spring Needle

Have you ever gotten frustrated with your needle while embroidering? If so, you need a spring needle! It's a specialty needle with a wire spring above the needlepoint to keep the fabric in place and prevent your fabric from snagging into the needle if there's no presser foot. You can buy spring needles in an array of needles such as universal, denim, stretch, and more, making them versatile needles for various projects.

Twin and Triple Needles

A needle is an essential tool for any sewer, and twin and triple needles offer the unique ability to create two to three rows of stitches simultaneously. However, you must reduce your sewing speed to use these specialty needles for decorative stitches and pin tucking. Unfortunately, not all sewing machines are compatible with twin and triple needles, so it's important to check your machine's manual before using one.

Wing Needles

Like a shark's fins, wing needles have flat fins on their shanks to make large holes in tightly woven fabric such as batiste. One name used for it is hemstitch needle, but you can also call them wing needles because they have a bit more to them than just simple stitching! If your project needs an extra special touch with embroidery or cross-stitching techniques, these are perfect.

sewing machine needles different sizes

Happy Stitching!

Whether you're a beginner sewer just starting or an experienced seamstress looking for the perfect needle for your next project, we hope this guide has helped you find what you need. At Threadstop, we want to make sure your sewing experience is as smooth and frustration-free as possible, so check out our other articles today for more helpful guides like this.

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