Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads


lvstosew | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hello I would like some information on machine needles, I have changed my needles a few times and didnt put them back in the right slot i thought storing used needles would be better then back in place my questions is i dont know how to put them in the right slot due to there is no number on the needles that i can see to put back any suggestion or trick would be great thanks


  1. Palady | | #1

    Hhmm - your mentioning >>...

    Hhmm - your mentioning >>... there is no number... <<  has me wondering.  In all my sewing years every machine needle I've used is marked.  Now in the near end of my 7th decade, I admit to needing a magnifier to see the designation.   I'd think your's have got to have identifying info on the thickest part of the needle shaft.

    Now, as to how to keep the sizes if the needles are out of the purchase container.  There are "keepers" on the market.  Though you can use an empty original container.  Use 3M Magic Tape to mark the size on the outside.  (I suggest covering the written on tape with another piece to prevent smudges.) 

    Another option is to purchase the small "tomato" pin cushions readily avaialble in Notions of any fabric store.   


    Jot down the needle sizes in each section of this type pin cushion. 

    If you have more than one machine, use one of the pens on the following URL to mark the pin cushion as to which machine uses which needle.  The pens are sold individually at craft stores  A.C. Moore.  Michael's & that ilk. 


    I suggest using the Micron pens because i tried the ultra fine tip Sharpies & had smearing. 

    NOW - the discipline here is to place the used needle IMMEDIATELY as it comes out from the needle bar!!!!

    Other members may have come up with their own methods & perhaps will offer you other ideas.


    1. stillsuesew | | #3

      I usually purchse Schmetz needles in those little plastic flat containers.   When I choose a needle, I keep the little container laying next to my machine so all I have to do is look at the container to know which needle I have in my machine.  If i decide to remove it and keep it, I put it back in the container backwards.  Then I choose a different needle and keep that container out.  I can tell at a glance when there are used needles in the container and I can choose whether or not to use it.

      1. Sancin | | #6


        I found it difficult to see needle sizes with magnifying glass as the printing is rounded and usually found the ink or chalk wore off by the time I got the needle to somewhere I could see it.  Then I saw the following tip somewhere: 

        The top part of the Schmetz needle cases are actually magnifiers that seem to be designed to read on the curve.  It actually is!  Now I keep a new or used Schmetz needle case in my needle drawer.  I use the case for all types of needles, tho the only other type I usually use is Organ which will be magnified in the Schmetz case. 

        As for what needle is in the machine, several years ago I purchased a 'gismo' that stuck onto the front of my machine with a slider guide that would indicate what type and size of needle was in the machine.  Unfortunately one of the sliders disappeared and then the machine was given away.  I have seen the 'gismo' on several notion web sites, but less and less. I now keep a block of the smallest post it notes available in my needle drawer and when I put a new needle in I simply stick a note onto the machine but they do tend to fall off if on for awhile. I sometimes use removable scotch tape. 

        I have several magnetic clips that I use on my frig to hang things.  I can't use it on my computerized machine but wish I could find such a hanger that is sticky back and could attach it to my machine.  I may try and take the magnet off my frig hanger and replace it with double faced tape so I could keep it on my machine to hang a post it note to know what needle is in the machine. 

        I wonder if anyone has dared to use a washable felt pen marker to write on their machine - should work well IF one could find a marker when you need it and IF if would wash off completely?!

        Storing used needles

        When I have only used a needle for a short period of time, I store it in a little cloth book I made (in about 15 minutes). I found that I used more needle types than I was able to label and place in the 'tomato' pin cushions.  My needle book is simply 3"x3" 'leaves" of unbleached cotton which I buy by the bolt.  With a permanent marker I divide the pages into quarters and write every type of needle I ever use on the squares and then hold them all together with book clip. Not exactly designer art, but does the trick!

        1. sewluving | | #7


          I use 'painter's tape' which is a green tape that reminds me of masking tape.  I jot the type of needle on it and stick it on my machine.  It peels off easily and is not sticky like scotch tape.

          Heather in Calgary

          1. Sancin | | #8

            Painters tape

            Thanks for the hint, Heather.  It certainly sounds more 'stickable' than 'post its'.  I have lots of that tape so will have to put a roll in my sewing supplies! Now all I have to do is - get at it all ;-(

        2. Ceeayche | | #10

          I use Post It Flags

          They make them for marking chapters in books.  Instead of sticking them on the machine, I stick the stickee on inside of the lid of the box that houses the unused machine needles.  I use different colors (red is for the singer, blue is for the pfaff, green is for the elna, etc.).  I write the size on the flad and stick it to the lid and close it.  so when I remove the needle and open the box to put it away, I know which needle package to replace it.

          The flags are great temporary markers for a bunch of things in the sewing room.. they stick to pattern tissue without damaging it.  they stick to even fine fabrics without leaving residual glue.

          I DID try the washable felt marker on my machine to mark a guide for topstiching bands on the bottom of a series of curtain patterns.  I don't recommend it going directly on the machine.  The water soluable ones aren't crisp and clear, and more permanent ones are well more permanent.  I did use the dry erase spritz on a clean white cloth to remove all the markings.  Now when I need to do that, I use the colored painter's tape mentioned somewhere else in this thread.  This painter's tape is good for other stuff in the sewing room too.  I write on it and leave notes on unfinished projects to remind me where I am, what count this is.... for taking pleats, trim, etc. for stitching.

    2. lvstosew | | #4

      thanks everyone for the help and tips, as far as needles being marked there is some markings on them but i cant see blind as a bat lol so i used a magnfie glass and still cant read it , its so tiny not sure what else to do to read the markings thanks again for the help

      1. Palady | | #5

        >> ... magnifier ... still

        >> ... magnifier ... still can't ... <<    Perhaps your magnifier needs to be stronger.   I now have to use a jeweler's loupe for my machine needles.  There are different types.  Depending on your location, you might check optical stores.


        The one I use looks like this.  Caveat is it takes a bit of getting adjsuted to keeping it in place.  It is pricey as now listed.  I've had mine for many years, but am unable to remember what I paid for it. 


        Another thing you might try is to do a rubbing.   This next URL addresses Ball canning jars, but the techique would be basically the same.  Just know you'd be working on a much smaller surface.


        But, overall, you've been offered other choices.  Post again & let us know what you decided.


      2. krichmond | | #12

        needle sizes


        I have used brightly coloured nail polish and  'assigned'  a separate colour to special needles (and their original case) so I can tell where they belong.  I just dab the top of the new needles, stick them in a pin cushion until dry, dab the same colour on the case, and return them to the case.  This might work for different sizes if you have enough different colours of polish (or model car paint?).  The nail polish seems to last a long time.  I have reached the age where my eyes are starting to betray me and I need to remove my glasses in order to sew, so I may have to resort to colour-coding ALL my needles.

        Hope this helps,


  2. Teaf5 | | #2


    I need strong sunlight and a magnifying glass to see the numbers of my needles!  I usually collect a sizable pile and then take them all out to a patio table to identify them and then stick them through a 3x5 card marked with the different sizes. 

    That said, though, I don't re-use needles as much as I used to, as they often cause more problems and end up costing me more than buying new ones for each major project. If I switch projects, I tape the appropriate needle to the top piece of the project so that it will be handy when I pick up that project again.

    Nowadays, I use my 40%-off coupons to replenish my needle supply so that I have far fewer sewing headaches.  At the cost of about 75 cents each, a new needle can save me hours of frustration!

  3. jane4878 | | #9

    I bought a Pako 50 needle organizer.  Fabric.com and Joann's have them among others.  You can write the needle type beside a foam square and stick your used needles in there.  It's quite pricey, so I think I hunted around and bought mine on sale.  I'm getting the eyesite issues too.  I think this is the first time I've commented on the new format.  Far more to do with the fact that I can no longer use the internet at work, even on my own time, more than anything else. 


  4. alotofstitches | | #11


    My method is similar to others--I too use the Schmetz brand and most of the time sew with 70/10.  If I remove the 70/10, then I "pin" it to a little sliver of lite wt. cotten that I keep beside my machine.  If I use a different size, when I leave the machine I set the presser foot down onto the plastic case that it came from (it has size, etc on it)  When I return a needle that is still good to the case, it goes back in a slot that has a "sharpie" mark on the slot--that mark indicates it is used but still good.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All