Different Sizes Of Sewing Machine Needles
by: Kelsi Watts
- Size 9: This is a medium-sized needle that is commonly used for general sewing on medium-weight fabrics.
- Size 11: This is a slightly larger needle that is commonly used for sewing on lightweight fabrics, such as chiffon or organza.
- Size 14: This is a larger needle that is commonly used for sewing on heavy fabrics, such as denim or leather.
- Size 16: This is a very large needle that is commonly used for sewing on very heavy fabrics, such as upholstery or canvas.
- Size 18: This is an extra-large needle that is used for sewing on very thick or heavily-embroidered fabrics.
There are also specialized needles available for specific purposes, such as quilting or embroidery. It is important to consult the manufacturer's instructions for your sewing machine to determine the correct size of needle to use.
What the numbers on sewing machine needles mean
The numbers assigned to sewing machine needles represent the fabric thickness they are able to sew. Larger numbers are capable of sewing thicker fabric. Conversely, smaller numbers are for sewing lighter weight fabrics. Care must be taken to match needle size with project material for best results.
How to tell the difference between sewing needles
Larger needles have a smaller number while smaller needles have a higher number. Example, a size 18 needle is thicker and longer than a size 24, which is shorter. To discover which you like best try a variety of brands, types, and sizes until you find one you are most comfortable using.
Sewing machine needles to use (and when)
The larger the needle number, the larger the blade of that needle. Both needle sizing numbers are typically marked on the package, such as 60/8 and 70/10. Home sewing machine needles are classified as 130/705 H system, which means they should be used in home sewing machines rather than industrial machines.
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.
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.
Needle size for sewing vinyl
Vinyl is a heavier weight fabric requiring a larger size needle to handle thickness without breaking. Before starting your next vinyl project, prep your sewing machine with a leather or denim needle size 90/14. For perfectly symmetrical stitches in vinyl use a denim twin needle.
Embroidery needles vs sewing needles
Embroidery needles have larger eyes than regular sewing needles to accommodate embroidery thread. The sharp tips on embroidery needles penetrate tightly woven fabric and felt better. Embroidery needles, sometimes called crewel needles, are used for crewel embroidery
Difference between stretch and ballpoint needles
Stretch needles have a specially shaped 'scarf' or groove on the back side which ballpoint needles don't have. Stretch needles are designed to push through stretchy fabrics, like those used for most swimwear. Ballpoint needles tend to miss more stitches than stretch needles in stretchy fabrics.
About universal sewing machine needles
Style 2020 needles are universal and used for all woven fabrics. 2020 needles will penetrate the fabric threads of woven fabrics. Style 2045 ball point needles are used for sewing on knits, the rounded tip allows the needle to pass between the fabric threads by separating them.