Choosing The Best Needle For Free Motion Quilting

by Kelsi Watts: When choosing the best needle for free motion quilting, there are a few key factors to consider. The first and most important factor is the size of the needle.

For free motion quilting, it is best to use a needle that is sized 80/12 or 90/14. These sizes are generally considered to be the best for free motion quilting, as they are thin and sharp enough to glide smoothly through the fabric, but not so thin that they are prone to bending or breaking.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a needle for free motion quilting is the type of needle. There are two main types of needles commonly used for free motion quilting: quilting needles and embroidery needles.

Quilting needles have a slightly rounded point that is designed to glide smoothly through multiple layers of fabric without damaging the fabric or the sewing machine. Embroidery needles, on the other hand, have a slightly more acute point that is designed for piercing through thicker fabrics and stabilizers.

In general, the best needle for free motion quilting will depend on the specific fabric and quilting project you are working on. It is always a good idea to test the needle on a scrap piece of fabric before starting your quilting project, to ensure that it is the right size and type for the job.

Explore the Top Rated Sewing Machine Needles for ideas and suggestions.

The best universal sewing needle size

The slightly rounded points of the best universal needles are sharp enough to pierce woven cotton fabrics but not so sharp as to damage knits. They come in sizes ranging from 60/8 to 120/19, however, a good starting point is the 80/12 size. To save money look for assorted needle packs that include two or three different needle sizes.

How to know what sewing machine needle to use

As a general rule: smaller needles are best used on lighter weight fabric and larger needles work best on heavier weight fabric. The thread used for your sewing project will determine the size and type of needle you choose. In general, product labels will tell you which fabric type they were designed for.

Choosing the best needle for free motion quilting

What a 90 14 needle is used for

90/14 needles are suitable for medium weight fabrics, slightly heavier weight cotton, polyester, linen and lightweight upholstery fabric. Lighter weight fabrics such as silk require a smaller sized needle. The lighter the fabric, the smaller the needle required.

About size 11 sewing machine needles

Size 11 needles work well on light-medium weight knit fabrics and are the recommended needle size for light to medium weight embroidery. Size 11 works especially well when quilting with polyester thread. A size 11 needle should be part of a good basic sewing kit.

Most sewing machine needles are universal

The three most common types of needles are sharp, ballpoint, and universal. Sharp needles work with all woven fabric. A sharp point is especially helpful when sewing straight lines and tasks such as top stitching. The majority of needles are universal needles.

How to tell your sewing needle is dull

A dull sewing needle will make a popping sound each time the needle penetrates the fabric. A dull needle will not feel sharp to the touch. Using a magnifying glass you can confirm a needle is dull by comparing it to a sharp needle. You can sharpen a dull needle with the same sharpeners used on knives.

Best sewing needle type for piecing

General piecing and machine quilting are best done with an 80 12 needle and for tiny threads use a size 60/8 sewing needle. While you could use a universal needle you might see better results using a skip-free needle with a deeper groove above the eye and a flatter shank.

The best sewing needle for satin

A standard needle should be fine to use on satin cloth. I personally prefer a slightly smaller needle and find the results to be better. Avoid large, heavy-duty needles because they pierce large holes in satin and avoid very fine pointed needles because they are more likely to develop barbs.

Needle type that works best on batting

A quilting needle works best on batting because it has a thin shaft. Machine quilting with a quilting needle is ideal for pushing through top, batting and binding materials. The slightly rounded tip and tapered shaft of a quilting needle easily pierces several layers of woven fabric, without damaging them.

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