Picking the correct needle for your sewing project can be tricky! Especially with so many different types of needles available. We thought we would put together a little post explaining the best uses for each needle and which fabrics you should use it with.
The size of the needle will be marked as 80/12, 90/14 etc. the larger the number the thicker the needle. The standard size for most garment-weight fabrics is an 80, if you find it is making to large a hole in your fabric step down to an 70, if it is struggling to pierce through go up to a 90.
For a super fine fabrics, such as chiffon, voile etc. you will want to be using a 60 or 70, this will cause the holes to be smaller and less damage to the fabric.
For really heavy fabrics, such as denim, drill, pvc etc. you will want to be using a 90 or 100, these will pierce through the heavier fabric easier, especially when multiple layers are involved. If you use too fine a needle it will be more likely to be under pressure and break.
Type of needle
Apart from size the other thing to consider is the type of needle. Needles have different points for different types of fabrics.
Universal needles are just that, universal! This is the go to needle for most types of fabric. As a general rule I will use universal needles for just about everything except specialty fabrics or when there seems to be a stitching issue.
Universal needles come in a range of sizes so they can be used on a variety of fabrics. Universal needles are best suited for woven fabrics.
The stretch needle is designed for elasticated knits. Think fabrics with lycra, elastane or spandex.
If you find your machine is skipping stitches while sewing a 2-way stretch knit, you may need to swap your needle for a stretch point.
Stretch needles come in less variety of sizes. 75 or 90, this is because it is a slightly more specialized needle and it will be less likely to need an in between size. For our polyester jerseys and bamboo jersey I would usually use a size 75.
Jersey needles are also know as ballpoint needles. These are also used for knit fabrics but suit a broader range than the stretch needle.
Jersey needles are designed to poke between the knitted fibres rather than make a hole. If a hole is made in a knitted fabric it is more likely to unravel than a woven fabric.
Microtex or sharp needles are best used for fine fabrics. These are ideal for chiffons, silks, satins, organza etc.
If you find your needle is creating pulls of puckers it is worth trying a mircotex needle. Microtex needles are often used on finer fabrics so we carry a smaller range of sizes, 60, 70, 80 & an assorted pack.
Leather needles are another pretty self explanatory one. These needles have a special knife shaped blade which cuts into the fabric as it sews.
We stock leather needles in an assorted pack and a size 90 pack as this covers most garment weight leather.
Leather needles are obviously great for leather but they can also be used for pvc and other non-woven synthetics. We do suggest doing a test before stitching faux leather or pvc with leather needles. While they usually have a successful results, some pvc backing do not like to be cut with the knife point and work better with a universal needle.
The metallic needle is another more specialty needle. This needle is designed with a larger polished eye to make it easier for metallic threads to slide through with out shredding.
The metallic needle is not something needed in most sewers tool box, but if you love to do decorative top stitching, particularly adding sparkle it is a great addition.
Due to the limited use of this needle we only stock the size 80.
Embroidery needles are for those lucky enough to have an embroidery machine or decorative stitches on their machine.
If you want to use a rayon, polyester or cotton embroidery thread this is the needle for the job, with a slightly enlarged eye.
Again due to the limited use we only stock the assorted pack which covers size 75 and 90.
If you are sewing with a machine embroidery thread on your regular machine for decorative effect you may want to consider using this needle so the thread can glide easily.
The machine quilting needle is perfect for sewing through layers of fabric and batting.
The special point helps it prevent damaging sewn layers of fabric. When finishing off a quilted project such as a quilt, tote, travel bag etc, this is the needle for you.
Jeans or Denim needles are perfect for those heavy weight projects. These needles have a reinforced blade making them prefect for stitching through layers of thick woven fabrics.
We stock jeans needles in size 90 and an assorted pack 90-110.
Top stitch needles are extra sharp and have an enlarged eye and groove to accommodate top stitching threads. These needles allow you to create a neat decorative top stitch with thicker threads.
Top stitch needles are great for most fabrics you want to use the thicker thread on, including cottons, denims, drills and more.
If you want to use a thicker top stitch thread on a lighter fabric we suggest doing a test as the needle make make too large of a puncture on light fabrics.
Round shank needles are used for industrial machines as well as some vintage machines. To see if these are the right needles for you check the system requirements match the code System 287 WH/1738.
There are some home-sewing machines and overlockers which may suit these needle types.
We stock all universal round shank needles in assorted sizes and a range of individual size packs. Perfect for all our designer customers with industrial machines.
Twin needles are great for creating the faux cover stitch finish on the hems of garments. These needles are available in a universal point or stretch point.
You will notice two numbers on the twin needle, the second is the size, the first is the distance apart, usually 2.5mm, 3.0mm or 4.0mm. This is important to note if your machine plate has a smaller hole. Most domestic machines will have a hole large enough for the 4.0, but it is worth checking!
Twin needles are great for stretch projects as they create a zig-zag at the back but two rows of stitching on top, making a stretch hem with a more professional finish.
We hope this run-down helps you pick the perfect needle for your next project. Or if you are still unsure ask us next time you are in store or give us a call before you order on 0497 350 016.