Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram 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

Threads Project Guides

Learn to Sew

Guide Home
Chapter
Insider

Sign in or become an insider to access this story

Sign In

Sewing Machine Needles: An Overview

Article Image
Six types of standard needles

Learn to recognize the many types of standard, decorative, and special-purpose machine needles. This overview helps you understand the different features of basic and specialty needles. Discover what each is best for, and how to troubleshoot problems.

Standard needles

The configuration of these needles is based on the particular fabric to be sewn.

Universal needle

Uses: Safest needle choice for most fabrics.

Configuration: Has slightly rounded point and elongated scarf to enable almost foolproof meeting of needle and bobbin hook.

Troubleshooting: When fabric is not medium-weight woven, consider needle specifically suited to fabric. For example, size 18 universal needle works on heavy denim, but size 18 jeans needle works better.

Ballpoint and stretch needles

Uses: Ballpoint needle for heavier, looser sweater knits; stretch needle for highly elastic fabrics, like Spandex, or Lycra.

Configuration: Both have rounded points that penetrate between fabric threads rather than pierce them. (Stretch-needle point is slightly less rounded than ballpoint.)

Troubleshooting: Test-stitch knits with ballpoint, stretch, and universal needles to see which doesn’t cut yarn and yields best results. If ballpoint skips stitches, try stretch needle.

Microtex and sharp needles

Uses: Sewing microfiber, silk, synthetic leather; precisely stitching edges; and heirloom sewing.

Configuration: Has an acute point.

Troubleshooting: Essentially trouble-free, but fabric may require a Teflon, roller, or even/dual-feed presser foot.

Leather needle

Uses: Excellent for sewing natural leather.

Configuration: Has slight cutting point (almost like an arrowhead).

Troubleshooting: On synthetic leather, unless it’s very heavy synthetic, cuts rather than pierces stitch hole and can tear leather. Most synthetic leathers require Microtex or sharp needle.

Denim (jeans) needle

Uses: For heavyweight denim, duck, canvas, upholstery fabrics, artificial leather, and vinyl.

Configuration: Has deeper scarf, acute point, and modified shaft to sew without pushing fabric down into needle-plate hole. Goes through fabric and meets bobbin hook…

Start your 14-day FREE trial to access this story.

Start your FREE trial today and get instant access to this article plus access to all Threads Insider content.

Start Your Free Trial

Sign up for the Threads eletter

Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

Sign Up
×
Previous: How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle Next: Essential Sewing Tools: Hand-Sewing Needles
Discuss

Discuss

  1. User avater
    LebecEgirl | | #1

    This is great information! I am going to share this with my children's sewing class!

Log in or become a member to post a comment.

Learn to Sew

Learn to Sew

Discover the tools and techniques for successful results.

View Project Guide

View All Project Guides »

Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the Learn to Sew Project Guide.

Start Free Trial

Getting Started
Construction Basics
Garment Details
Fitting Fundamentals
Easy Projects