How To Tell The Difference Between Sewing Needles
by Kelsi Watts: The main difference between different types of sewing needles is the size, shape, and type of the needle. Sewing needles are available in a range of sizes, from very thin to very thick, and the size of the needle will determine how easily it can pierce the fabric.
Different types of needles also have different shapes, such as rounded or pointed tips, and these shapes are designed for specific types of sewing.
Different types of sewing needles are designed for specific types of sewing, such as quilting, embroidery, or topstitching. For example, a quilting needle has a sharper point and a larger eye than a standard sewing needle, and is designed for piercing through multiple layers of fabric.
An embroidery needle has a larger eye to accommodate embroidery floss, and a topstitch needle has a longer shaft and a larger eye to allow for thicker thread.
Different sizes of sewing machine needles
The numbers on sewing machine needle packages represent the thickness of the fabric you are able to sew with those specific needles. The larger the number, the thicker the fabric you can sew. Conversely, smaller needles are for sewing finer fabrics.
Between needles, when to use them
Between needles are what quilters use to 'sandwich' padding and patterns together. The shaft of a between needle is shorter than average so that it does not bend as easily while quilting.
Between needles come in different sizes, however, the best size for your quilting application is the one which barely allows the thread you are using to fit through the eye of the needle.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.