Needle Facts: How to Read the Needle Package

Baffled by the needle package?  What do all those numbers mean?  Let’s review the essential information printed on that tiny pack of SCHMETZ needles . . .  information that will make your needle purchase and sewing so much easier.


 Let’s start from the bottom of the package and work our way up:

Size:  Needle size is always found at the bottom of the package.  The metric size (first number i.e. 70) is married up to the Singer or International size (second number i.e. 10).  Yes, there are two sizing systems – metric and Singer or International.  This package has assorted sizes – 70/10, 80/12, 90/14.

Needle System:  130/705 is the needle system used by nearly all home sewing machines.  130/705 refers to a needle with a flat shank.  The “H” refers to a German word, Hohlkehle, that translates to scarf.  130/705 H is a flat shank needle with a scarf (indentation).  All brands of home sewing machines use system 130/705 H – Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, Juki, Pfaff, White and more. 

Needle System:  15×1 H is a cross-reference to needle system 130/705 H.  The two needle systems – 130/705 H and 15×1 – are the equivalent, same needle anatomy – a flat shank with a scarf. . . .  Same needle, different manufacturer.

Needle Type:  There are 16 needle types for your home sewing machine.  The above needle pack contains Universal needles.

SCHMETZ:  The preferred needle brand used by sewists around the world. 





  1. Sônia Domingues says:

    I have a older and original pfaff 130-115 . What needles should I buy for this machine? Thank you.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      The Pfaff 130-115 sewing machine uses household sewing machine needles, system 130/705 H (also known as 15×1 H). You can use any of the SCHMETZ household needles (i.e., Universal, Jeans, Twin, etc.).

  2. Please explain what needle size (70, 80,90) is used for what type and weight of fabric.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      The following is from the May 2017 newsletter:

      SCHMETZ Needle Sizes: 60/8, 65/9, 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18, 120/19 – Look familiar? These are the needle sizes used by most home sewing machines. The finest needle is 60/8. The heaviest needle is size 120/19. The most common needle sizes are 80/12 & 90/14. A rule of thumb is to use size 80/12 with a 40wt thread. If the thread is finer, use a smaller needle size. A heavier thread requires a larger needle. Experimentation is sometimes needed to find the perfect size to accommodate the thread, fabric and technique.

  3. Louise Steen says:

    I have SCHMETZ needles
    Canu: 38:00FB1
    NM: 65. Size: 9/025
    UY128 GBS
    1280 SUK
    149×3 SUK
    TVx3 SUK. 100 in a pack. What machine can they be used in.

  4. Brown Bruce says:

    I have a Pfaff 138-6/21 BS machine with a variety of needles bought with the machine, some of which break regularly. I plan to sew V69 and V138 poly with size 16-22 needles; which needle system is employed by this old machine and what would be the package designation when I go to purchase them?

  5. Racine Woodward says:

    I would like to know what the letters mean that are behind the needle size.

    • Joyce Tolliver-Wilson says:

      Racine Woodward Is this what you mean by the letters behind the size? E is for Embroidery, M = Microtex, MET= Metallica, N= Topstitch, Q= quilting, S= Stretch, SUK=Fine Ball Point, SES=medium Ball Point.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      I’m not sure what you mean. Are you asking about the letter in the upper right hand corner of a needle card? If so, this signifies the price category.

  6. Elizabeth Martin says:

    I too have a still working Montgomery Wards machine from 1977. I won’t get rid of it cause it was my first Christmas present from my husband after we got married and frankly it out sews everything else I own. It is a UHT J 1969 model and it uses a 1 17/32 inch length needle. Needle sizing seems to have changed and so the numbering in the manual doesn’t match what I see today and my needle stash is out. What should I be looking for as to needles to fit this machine?
    Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      You can use SCHMETZ Household Sewing Machine Needles (needle system 130/705 H, also known 15×1 H).

  7. Ivy M Davis says:

    How do you distinguish between a needle that is Elx705 80/12 suk cr and an Elx705 80/12. Same color code on each.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      ELX705SUKCF has a chrome finish and a medium ball point. ELX705 is nickel-plated and has a regular point. Easiest way to distinguish the two is to hold them next to each other. ELX705SUKCF is a much brighter silver-color than the ELX705. Here is an image to show the difference:

      ELX705 Needle vs. ELX705SUKCF Needle

  8. Rosemary M says:

    I found some Schmetz Universal 130/705H, 15x1H sewing machine needles with no color codes. Are they for woven or knit fabric. Thank you

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      If you’re sure they are Universal Needles, then they can be used on both woven and knits.
      • Feature: Slightly rounded point.
      • Fabric Use: Numerous — wovens and knits. A great general purpose needle.

  9. I have a Pfaff 776 Overlocker, upon checking your needle chart PDF 1, I purchased 287WH/1738 (DB x 1). When replacing the needles I noticed that these are round shank and the needles I took out are flat. I re-checked the needle chart and found PDF 2, which states 130/705H as the needle. Which one is right or can I use both? Thank you.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      The manual for the Pfaff 776 Overlocker specifies to use 130/705 H needles. These are household sewing machine needles with a flat shank. Round shank needles will not work in your machine.

  10. Alison Low says:

    My Toyota 6600 specifies HA x 1 SP (705 /130). I’ve never heard of such needle system, but I am certainly familiar with 130/705. Are these actually the same needle system?

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      The HAx1SP needle is similar to 130/705 H-S (Stretch Needle). HAx1SP is chrome-plated. Just like the regular Stretch Needle, the eye is longer and wider which makes the needle suitable for thicker sewing or embroidery thread. Both HA1XSP and 130/705 H-S are mainly for stretch and other elastic materials and both have a medium ball point.

  11. Steve Alexander says:

    I am trying to get up and running with a Pfaff 134-6 and i cant seem to find needles to use for light weight garment leather, 100/6 with a tringular tip sounds like it will be sturdy enough, but the 135X17 needles i have are too long?
    Please advise me as soon as possible. Which Schmetz needle should i use?

  12. Charm Healy says:

    Is there an easy way to read the needle size on the needle with something other than a magnifying glass? My needles do not have colors.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      Unfortunately, no. Needles manufactured prior to 2014 do not have any other way of distinguishing size other than using a magnifying glass.

  13. Hi I have a Clemens muller la reine hand crank and believe it can use a singer 12 needle (slim shank)or 339? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  14. Irene McCabe says:

    I purchased a Janome Skyline S7 and am having a problem finding Janome needles in my area – Will your needles work in my machine. Thank you!!

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      You should be able to use most, if not all, SCHMETZ Household Sewing Machine Needles (system 130/705 H).

  15. chris evans says:

    hi , i have a Pfaff 138 zig zag and wanted to know what size needles will fit as i just bought the machine and it had no needle in it . cheers chris

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      Need to know the machine class. The SCHMETZ Needle catalog shows six entries for the PFAFF 138 depending upon machine class:

      138 – ALL CLASSES EXCEPT —— Uses Needle System 265KK, 438KK, DPx438KK
      138 – 6-21-915-01 —————— Uses Needle System 130B, DBx130B
      138 – FROM 1948 – 1952 ——— Uses Needle System 134R, 135×5, SY1955, DPx5
      138 – 275-01 ————————- Uses Needle System 134EK, DP-P5
      138 – 277-01 ————————- Uses Needle System 134R, 135×5, SY1955, DPx5
      138 – 915-01 ————————- Uses Needle System 130B, DBx130B

  16. Jane Wilford says:

    Hello, I have a Pfaff 93, can you advise me which needles I should buy for general use please. The instructions say system 130R, is this the same as 130/705? Also would you have any idea where I can get replacement bobbins for this machine?

    Many thanks.

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      According to one of the SCHMETZ technicians, 130R is the same as 130/705 H – Universal needle.

  17. Cecil Charles says:

    Will 135-5 needles work on a Pfaff 461 compound feed machine?

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      Yes. Unless your machine has been modified, your machine was manufactured to use needle system 134R . . . the same as 135×5.

      CANU: 20:05 1
      SY 1955

  18. D. Blanchfield says:

    I have a Pfaff 332-260-5016 bought in 1958 in Germany I need various needles for different materials. What would be your suggestion?

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      Your machine originally used (and may still use) needle system 130 B. You’re limited in points as the 130 B is only available in a handful of sizes. Most of these older Pfaff’s have been modified to use the more common 16×231 needle. 16×231 is available in a variety of points (i.e., light ball point, medium ball point, heavy ball point, triangular tip, etc.)

  19. Hello, I have a Pfaff 1230 OL overlocker – which Shmetz needles should I use with this please ? It says it uses INSPIRA 2022, but I haven’t found them and wondered which ones I can use in place of these
    Thanks !

  20. April O'Brien says:

    I have a pfaff 1222E, I bought a package of schmetz needles 130/705 H SUK, but they don’t seem to fit. They keep falling out of the machine, even tightened as far as I can after insertingredients the needle all the way. They’re too skinny. What needles should I buy that are compatible with my machine?

    • SCHMETZneedles says:

      I apologize for the problems you have experienced. Please check your email for a response and instructions for returning the needles to us and getting replacements.

  21. russell brooks says:

    I have a pfaff 145-61-216b what is the correct needle for this machine

  22. george grieve says:

    i have an old montgomery ward sewing machine that still run well need needles for it. The plate on the machine reads 1 and 17/ 32s total length are there still needles for this machine? thank you

    • Without a model number, we cannot offer specifics, but most likely it is a household machine and should be able to use SCHMETZ 130/705H needles. As an additional tidbit, Montgomery Ward machines appear to have been made by Singer. A few references specify that other than the cams, MW machines can be repaired using Singer parts. Cams appear to be machine specific. Thanks for your inquiry.

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