What The Colors On Sewing Machine Needles Mean

The colors on sewing machine needles serve as an indicator of their size and the type of fabric they are best suited for.

The color codes used for needles are designed to make it easier for sewers to identify which needle to use for a particular fabric.

The color red on a sewing machine needle means that the needle is best suited for heavy-duty fabrics like denim, canvas, and leather.

Needles with this color are typically larger and have a stronger shaft to handle the thicker fabric.

An orange-colored needle is designed for synthetic and knit fabrics like rayon, jersey, and spandex.

These needles have a slightly rounded tip that helps prevent snagging and runs.

Yellow-colored needles are universal needles that can be used for a wide range of fabrics, from lightweight cotton to heavier fabrics like wool and linen.

Green-colored needles are suitable for quilting, as they have a tapered point that allows them to easily penetrate multiple layers of fabric.

Finally, blue-colored needles are designed for embroidery and other decorative stitching.

These needles have a larger eye to accommodate thicker embroidery thread.

Double needle sewing machine compatibility

A double needle will work with your sewing machine if your machine can perform both straight stitches and zigzag stitches.

If your machine can only do one of those two types of stitches a double needle will not work, it’s incompatible.

Why sewing machine needles break

Over time, sewing machine needles suffer stress damage or bend slightly, especially when sewing thick fabric.

Too much bend can cause the needle to strike the feed dogs, throat plate, or bobbin case of the sewing machine. Excessive needle breaking can be avoided by slowing down while sewing or by using a sharper needle.

What 70 10 sewing needles are for

70 10 sewing needles have a slightly rounded point and are best for projects with woven fabric and knits.

70 10 needles are excellent all-purpose needles that work with any household sewing machine brand.

Brocade, fleece, thin leather and velvet also work well with 70 10 needles.

What the colors on sewing machine needles mean

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.

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.

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.

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.

When to replace sewing machine needles

We recommend replacing old needles at the start of every project, or after every eight hours of sewing.

Change your needles when they become bent, dull or develop a burr because damaged needles result in broken or shredded threads.

How to tell the difference between sewing needles

Larger needles have a smaller number, while smaller needles have a higher number.

An 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.