sewing machine needle

All about Sewing Machine Needle and Thread Size Chart

There is no doubt that sewing machine needles are a key feature in terms of sewing or making clothes in general. Needles are considered to be the most important feature because without a needle a sewing machine would be of no use. No matter how expensive your sewing machine is or whichever high-end manufacturer it belongs to, it is the needle that has to be perfect and needs to be used accordingly.

Often time’s people confuse a sewing needle with a sewing machine needle. A sewing needle is very different than those of the sewing machine. A sewing machine needle is only applicable for sewing machines. The thread hole of the sewing machine needle is at the tip whilst the threaded hole of a hand sewing needle is at the top.

There’s a lot of misconceptions and things that one needs to know before getting their hands upon into sewing machine needles. So if you happen to be one of those who are considering buying new needles or are just curious about sewing machine needles overall then stay tuned till the end of this article. Read more How to clean a sewing machine

What is a Sewing Machine Needle?

There’s a variety of needle in the world that is used for different purposes. However, in this article, we are specifically talking about sewing machine needles. These needles are a specialized type of needle that is attached to a sewing machine for sewing. These needles are known to be comparatively a lot better than a hand sewing needle. Sewing machine needles feed into the fabric very well than those of hand sewing ones.

Needles create tiny holes in the fabric so that the thread can pass through the fabric creating a stitch. The reason being for the holes to be tiny is so that the fabric is not damaged in any shape or form while sewing it. The needles help in carrying the thread through the fabric to form a loop. This helps in securing pieces of fabric together. Hence, many sewers prefer using a sewing machine rather than hand sewing not only because it saves time but also the needles in the sewing machine works very preciously with each stitch and provides a professional-looking finishing touch.

Most sewing machine needles are made of different levels of hard-edged stainless steel which are known to be coated with either nickel or chromium. Apart from that, there is a different sort of metal that is often used as well to make these needles. The name of that metal compound is known as Titanium nitride. This material helps in reducing the abrasion often seen in metals and allows the needle to be longer lasting than of any other sort. The titanium needles are golden in color and the metal is known to be of ceramic-like material. However, titanium needles aren’t any different from other needles in terms of breakage or bending. If you do not use it in the right way you may end up bending or breaking your needle.

The nickel-coated needles are the most cost-effective. If you are looking forward to getting your hands on a cheaper option then you can opt for these needles. However, there is a bit of doubt in the durability of these nickel-coated ones. On the other hand, chromium coating will provide a better abrasion resistance whilst lasting for a bit longer than those of nickel coated. Titanium coated sewing machine needles are considered to be the most expensive alongside providing the supreme resistance compared to those of chrome and nickel.

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Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle :

There are several parts of a needle. To understand how a needle works and how it passes through the fabric you need to understand the anatomy of a needle. The different parts of the needle are mentioned in the list below:

Butt: This is the top portion of the needle as you can see in the picture. This is the feature in the needle that inserts into the sewing machine’s needle bar.

Shank: The design of the shank in a needle is varied in its category. This part just comes right after the butt and it is the main portion that stays inside the machine thus, the design is varied accordingly to the sewing machine. The shank can either be seen as cylindrical or could have a flat side whichever is varied on the design of the needle bar of your sewing machine.

Blade or Shaft: The blade is the feature in the needle that surpasses a lot of friction. For some high-speed sewing machine needles, the blade of the needle is sometimes specifically designed in such a way that it extends to the upper portion of the blade while providing it a cross-section that is thicker than normal needles. This structure will help in emphasize the strength of the needle so it produces a finer hole into the fabric.

Scarf: The scarf of the needle is placed just above the eye. This is the feature that allows your thread to create a stitch into the fabric by grabbing it from the bobbin hook under the needle bar plate. A needle with a longer scarf will feed more thread loops into the fabric while reducing skipped stitches. A shorter scarf needle can only be used in a sewing machine that is smaller in size. However, the size of the scarf is often varied on the type of needle you’re willing to use.

Eye: The eye is the hole of the needle. This is the feature where you pass a thread through it which will, later on, help in forming a stitch into the fabric. There are several types of shapes and sizes in terms of the eye and it can mostly vary on the type of needle you’re using.

Tip: The tip of the needle is the sharp pointy edge that passes through the fabric. The tip of the needle is varied on its type. Let’s say, for example, the tip of the ballpoint or jersey needles are softer and curved than those of a microtex needle. Microtex needles have sharper edges.

Shoulder: The shoulder comes right in between the shank and the blade. This feature also plays a huge role in inserting the needle as it also stays inside the needle bar when sewing. The shank of the needles for home sewing machines are often known to be flat on one and curved on the other side. This provides proper positioning. However, needles of industrial and commercial sewing machines can be grooved or may contain rounder shanks than those home sewing machines.

Groove: The groove is the opening of the shaft which allows the thread to stitch more precisely as it passes through the fabric while giving it a better feed. This is the tiny slit right above the eye which helps in reducing friction while stitching while providing a smoother and finer stitch.

All about sewing machine needle

Types of Needles

When speaking of sewing needles, we often think there are two types of needles. One is hand sewing needles and another one sewing machine needles. But did you know that sewing machine needles have different types?

Yes, there are many Types of Sewing Machine Needles that out there in the market. Each needle serves its own purpose and is specifically designed for certain types of fabrics. In this article, we will be discussing a few of the basic types of sewing machine needles that are commonly used.

  • Universal Needles: As you can tell by its name, this needle is called Universal Needle and can be used universally. Meaning, you can use this needle for any type of fabric that you prefer. But for some special sort of fabrics, you won’t have the finest quality stitches. Such as silk, velvet, etc.
  • Jersey Needles: Jersey needles are more commonly known as Ballpoint needles. These needles are used for heavy fabrics which are thicker. The tip of ballpoint needles is made super curved so it won’t poke a hole into the fabric and damage the heavy material fabric.
  • Microtex Needles: These needles are made super pointy and sharp at the tip. These are used for fabrics that are tightly woven. Such as Silk, Satin, Chiffon, etc. Using these needles will create the tiniest hole in your fabric which will not damage your cloth. 


Using the right needle for the right fabric is crucial. When thinking of sewing machine needles, it is always important that you understand the terms and the types of needles that are out there. This will help you in reducing the chances of buying the wrong needles.

A professional sewer will always choose the needle that works best for the type of fabric they are willing to work with. Most commonly, beginner level sewers are not aware of how important it is to use the correct needle. So next time when you get your hands on some fresh needles make sure you follow these advises.

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