Patterns and Equipment: Machine Equipment: Needles

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Sewing machine Needle components

It is as important to select the proper sewing machine equipment, as it is to choose the correct interfacing or marking tools to use on your fabric.


Needles should be selected according to the weight and type of the fabric used as well as the thread selected. Many decorative threads require the use of special needles to reduce the amount of thread breakage during sewing. Needle sizes range from very fine (7/60) for delicate fabrics to larger sizes (19/120) for heavy weight fabrics. Refer to the needle chart in this chapter for the specific needle size recommended for your weight of fabric.

Many types of needles are available based on the type of sewing you will be doing. Select the correct needle by the point, the shape and size of the eye and the overall size suitable for your fabric. A universal point (130/705H), appropriate for most all woven and knit fabrics, has a modified ball point to slip through the fabric easily. A sharp or Microtex (130/705 H-M) needle is recommended for wovens or microfibers. A ballpoint (130/705 H SUK) needle has a medium rounded point that will not damage knit fabrics whereas a stretch (130/705 H-S) needle is suitable for elastic, spandex and other knitwear. The denim or jeans needle has an acute point and strong shaft for sewing through tightly woven, dense fabrics. A leather needle has a wedge-shaped point designed to cut through leather and vinyl. Topstitching (130N) needles have a larger eye to accommodate heavier topstitching threads. Machine embroidery (130/705 H-E) needles are used for rayon and specialty embroidery threads. Metafil or Metallic (130 Met) are specially designed with a large polished eye and large groove for use with metallic threads to prevent shredding, snagging or breakage. Quilting (130/705 H-Q) needles have a special taper to the point to allow stitching through different densities of fabric without skipping stitches.


Double and triple needles, mounted on a crossbar from a single shaft, can be used for decorative as well as functional stitching. Single and double wing needles are also another type of decorative-use needle as they produce “holes” in the fabric similar to traditional hemstitching. (continued at bottom of page...)

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It is recommended that you change your needle every time you begin a new sewing project. Many stitching problems are the result of dull or blunt needles, needles not inserted correctly, or the wrong size needle being used for the fabric and thread.
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This page was last modified on: Sunday, 2008-08-24 17:33 PST