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When To Replace Sewing Machine Needles

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 becomes bent, dull or develop a burr because damaged needles result in broken or shredded threads.


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

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.

What the colors on sewing machine needles mean

Most new household sewing needles have two bands of color. The top color band indicates needle type and the lower color band indicates needle size. Special use needles, like those used for hemstitching, double eye, and quick threading, only have one color band to identify needle size.

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.

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.

Between needles, when to use them

Between needles are what quilters use to ‘sandwhich’ 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 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.

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.

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.

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