Sewing Machine Needles - A Primer

Sewing machine needles are sized with smaller numbers being smaller/thinner needles - a 70/10 is smaller/thinner than an 80/12 size.

Quilting: 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14 have a tapered point that pierces through multiple seams easily. Good for piecing.

Jeans: 70/10 is the most commonly used needle for piecing and machine quilting. Don't let the name of this particular needle throw you.

Universal: 60/8 is suitable for woven fabrics as it has a ballpoint point that pushes through an opening in the weave. Not the best of choices for piecing or machine quilting.

Micro-tex: 60/8 is the needle to use for monofilament/invisible thread

Embroidery: 75/11 to 90/14 is good for metallic, rayon or other fine threads

Top-Stitching: 70/10 to 110/18 are good to use with heavy threads

A needle has four parts:

  • The Shank is the top part of the needle that fits in to the machine; it is rounded on the front and flat on the back
  • The Groove or Scarf is the area between the shank and the eye of the needle that guides the thread
  • The Eye is the hole through which the thread is inserted
  • The Point is what pierces the fabric and can be very sharp or ballpoint

Use high quality needles and change them often for the best results.