Which needle should you be using?

Date Posted:1 October 2019 

Which needle should you be using? main image

The most important thing when sewing is using the correct needle and stitch with the fabric you are working with.  This can be a little confusing when you are starting out.  Let’s start by explaining to you what needle to use.  Below is a list of your basic machine needles and a guide line of what fabric to sew with them.

Needle Type Sizes Type of fabric

UNIVERSAL NEEDLES
(TNCUNI)

Slightly rounded tip but still sharp for general sewing of most woven fabrics

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70/10 Fine Cottons, Batiste & Poplins.
80/12 Medium Weight Woven Dress & Craft Fabrics.
90/14 Medium To Heavy Weight Woven Fabrics or when Paper Piecing.
100/16 Heavy Weight woven fabrics.

BALLPOINT OR JERSEY NEEDLES
(TNCJER)

Has a slightly more rounded tip than a Universal. It is not as likely to snag knits and stretch fabric.

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80/12 Medium to Heavy Weight Knit or Stretch Fabric.
90/14 Heavy Weight Knit or Stretch Fabric.

STRETCH NEEDLE
(TNCSTRETCH)

Also has a rounded tip. It’s specially shaped shank creates good stitch formation on elastic or highly elasticized fabrics such as spandex. Try this needle if getting skipped stitches on stretch fabric.

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75/11 Light to Medium Weight Knit or Stretch Fabric such as Interlock or lycra.
90/14 Heavy weight Stretch Fabric – Stretch Fleece Fabric.

QUILTING NEEDLE
(TNCQUILT)

Has a slim tapered point and slightly stronger shaft for stitching through multiple fabric layers and across intersecting seams. The quilting needle will also give you a better tensioning of your thread when quilting.

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75/11 Use for intricate designs and piecing.
90/14 Stitching your quilt sandwich.

MICROTEX NEEDLE
(TNCMICRO)

Is thinner and sharper than the universal point. It makes a perfect straight stitch. Use it on very fine fabrics and chintz.

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70/10 Fine woven fabrics such as satins & silks.
80/12 Medium weight specialty fabrics with a high thread count – microfiber or silk.

JEANS or DENIM NEEDLE
(TNCJNS)

Has a very sharp tip, slender eye and a strong shaft. This is good for sewing on tough, heavyweight fabrics such as denim and canvas.

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90/14 Medium weight woven fabric such as corduroy or denim.
100/16 Heavy weight woven fabric – Denim, Canvas or Upholstery Fabric.

EMBROIDERY NEEDLE
(TNCEMB)

Has a larger eye, a slightly rounded point and a deep scarf (groove above the eye) to protect decorative thread from shredding or breaking.

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75/11 Stitching embroidery designs on light to medium weight fabric.
90/14 Stitching embroidery designs on medium to heavy weight fabric.

TOPSTITCHING

Has an extra-large eye and deeper groove for use with heavier topstitching or decorative threads.

80/12 Medium Weight Woven Fabric.
90/14 Medium to Heavy Weight Fabric.

METALLIC NEEDLE

Has a larger Teflon coated eye which reduces friction but still accommodates heavier threads and reduces splitting and shredding on delicate metallic threads.

80/12 Use a Metallic Needle for sewing with monofilament or invisible thread as well as fine metallic threads.

TWIN NEEDLES

Are generally used for topstitching on garments.

Two needles are put on a single crossbar to create perfectly parallel, multiple rows of stitching in one pass using a single bobbin thread.

UNIVERSAL
1.6mm
2.0mm
2.5mm
3.0mm
4.0mm
6.0mm
The finer Universal Twin Needles are used for both decorative stitching and creating Pintucks in heirloom sewing.
STRETCH
2.5mm
4.0mm
Stretch twin needles are used mainly for Topstitching Hems on stretch and knit fabrics.

WING NEEDLE

Are designed for decorative stitching on tightly woven fabrics.

Wide wing blades or fins on each side of the shank create openings in tightly woven fabric such as linen and batiste fabric to resemble entredeux trim.

16/100 Light to Medium weight Woven Fabrics.
18/110