How to Pick the Correct Sewing Machine Needle

SCHMETZ is internationally known as the finest sewing machine needle manufacturer in the world. Sewers everywhere count on the quality of their products. Your choice of high quality sewing machine needles can result in the same high quality of maintaining smooth, even stitches in your work.

Choosing a Needle

SCHMETZ makes a variety of needles created especially to do particular sewing jobs very well. What many sewers don’t know is how to choose the correct type and size of needle for the work that they are doing. It is crucial to choose the correct needle to complement your thread choice and the kind of sewing work that you are doing.

Many just continue to use the needle that came in their machine until it breaks. Sewing machine needles are not indestructible … they will not last forever. The points get dull from repeated use and the shaft may get bent from hitting pins in the fabric. A general rule of thumb is to replace the needle after eight (8) hours of use and at the beginning of each project. Each time you buy thread or fabric you should be asking yourself what kind of needle will work best with the project you have in mind.

    Here’s What You Need to Know.

    Choose your needle size based on the type and weight of thread that is being used as well as the fabric that is being sewn. The goal is to have the needle slide easily through the fabric without damaging the fibers or creating too large of a hole, and to carry the thread smoothly without damaging it when sewing.

    Each package of SCHMETZ needles has European and U.S. size equivalents written at the very bottom of the front of the plastic case. Typically they range from 60/8 (the finest) to 120/19 (the largest). This number, indicating the size, will help determine the suitability of the needles to the fabric, thread size and the kind of sewing being done. In general, the finer the thread and the finer the fabric that is being sewn, the finer the needle should be.

    Each package has the name of the needle it contains. These names can help you choose the right type of needle for the work you are about to do (i.e., “Universal,” “Quilting,” “Sharp,” “Metallic,” “Topstitch,” “Embroidery,” etc.). Each type of needle is made for a particular job and should be chosen according to the type of fabric and thread used.

    Cheaper carded needles do exist in the market and many of them would like you to believe that they are just as good as SCHMETZ Needles. No other needle manufacturer can match the amount of detail and quality of material that goes into each needle before it leaves the SCHMETZ factory. Remember, not all needles are created equal. Insist on high quality SCHMETZ Needles for all of your sewing projects!

    Different Types of SCHMETZ Sewing Machine Needles

    Click on the image to view our product selection.

    Ball Point Needle

    Made especially for sewing on knits. Its unique point does not damage or break knitted fibers. It comes in size 70/10 through 100/16 and in an assortment pack. Choose the size that will handle the thread being used when sewing on knits.

    Denim/Jeans Needle

    Made especially for sewing through densely woven materials such as denim or imitation leather. It features a modified medium ball point and a reinforced blade. Some quilters use it when sewing through many layers of fabrics, especially high thread count batiks. This needle comes in sizes 70/10 through 110/18. Choose the size based on the type of thread being used. The heavier jeans threads work best with the larger needle.

    Double Eye Needle

    Used for embroidery and topstitching with decorative threads to produce decorative seams. They have two (2) eyes, one right above the other. Two different threads can be used for shading and texturing effects. These needles work in machines that use the 130/705H system needles.

    Double Needle (Twin Needle)

    Comes in a variety of needle types and sizes. Double needles are actually two needles mounted on one shaft and are used to create two rows of stitches at the same time. When using a double needle two spools of thread will be used in the top of the machine. Pass the thread from each one on a different side of the tension discs and thread one into each needle. Only one bobbin thread will be used and the stitches will create a double “web” of stitches on the back of the work. Check to see how you like this under stitching prior to using these needles.

    The following SCHMETZ Double Needles are available:

     - Double Universal
     - Denim
     - Hemstitch
     - Embroidery
     - Metallic
     - Stretch

    Choose the type that is right for your fabric as you would with any of the needles above. The package of needles will show two numbers. One is the needle size; the other is the distance between the two needles. This distance varies from 2.0 mm to 6.0 mm. Remember that the needles must fit through the hole in the stitch plate, so if you have been using a straight stitch plate you must change it to a zig-zag stitch plate to avoid hitting the plate with the needles! This could be a disappointing and expensive mistake!

    Embroidery Needle

    For use with rayon and other specialty machine embroidery threads including polyesters. The special scarf, long smooth groove, and large eye, of this needle protect these more fragile threads and guard against excess friction. These needles come in size 75 and 90. The beautiful sheen of these threads results in outstanding embroidery work. Check the size of the thread and use the appropriate size needle for each thread — remember the finer the thread, the smaller size needle that should be used.

    Gold Embroidery Needle

    The special Titanium Nitride ceramic coating improves needle wear resistance in high stitch count applications and penetration of coarse or densely woven materials. Has a slightly rounded point for embroidery on most fabrics. The enlarged eye accommodates special application threads.

    Hemstitch Needle

    Sometimes called a Wing Needle. It is used to create decorative openwork or cut-work on tightly woven fabrics. This needle comes in sizes 100 and 120 and should be used with caution as it is very sharp and is made to actually cut the fabric. The user may want to use a stabilizer and experiment with decorative stitches when using this needle. Carefully hand turn the needle through the stitch movements before actually trying it on the project to assure that the throat plate opening will accommodate the design! Using a straight stitch plate will probably result in a broken needle.

    Leather Needle

    Has a slightly sharp cutting point for leather and other heavy non-woven synthetics including imitation leather. It comes in size 60/8 through 110/18 and in an assortment package. Choose the size based on the type and size of thread being used.

    Metallic Needle

    A “must have” for sewing with metallic and other specialty threads. It comes in sizes 80 and 90. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads. If your customers have struggled with metallics before and blamed the thread, have them try again with this specialty needle for trouble free embellishment with these beautiful but sometime fragile threads.

    Microtex Sharp

    A very slim needle with a thin shaft that helps make very straight stitches. It was developed for the modern micro- fibers and polyesters and high thread count, high quality fabrics used today. The point is very sharp — thus the name — but because of this it is a bit more fragile and needs to be changed more regularly. This is a great needle for piecing high thread count fabrics like Batiks, silks, and microfibers. It is also used for beautiful topstitching or edge stitching. It comes in sizes 60, 70, 80, and 90.

    Quilting Needle

    Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The thin tapered design of these needles allows them to pass through many layers smoothly to help eliminate skipped stitches and keep stitches even. These needles come in size 75 which is fine for piecing with 50 weight threads or size 90 which works well with heavier plain or variegated 40 weight threads for quilting. This needle is also sold in an assortment pack containing both sizes 75 and 90.

    Quick Threading Needle

    A general purpose needle with a slip-in threading slot for people who have difficulty threading needles. These needles are helpful for children, those with vision problems, or those having difficulties with fine motor coordination resulting from arthritis or other conditions. They come in sizes 80/12 and 90/14. Due to the limited types and sizes available it may be preferable to use a needle threader which is purchased separately or built into the machine to accomplish a full range of sewing techniques.

    Stretch Needle

    Made especially for synthetic suede or highly elastic synthetic knit wear. This needle is constructed with a medium ball point to help prevent skipped stitches. It comes in sizes 75/11 and 90/14. Choose the size based on the type and size of thread being used.

    Topstitch Needle

    Has an extra large eye and large grooves to accommodate topstitch thread. This needle helps stitch perfectly straight lines and even stitches.

    Triple Needle

    Triple needles are actually three needles mounted on one shaft and are used to create three rows of decorative stitching at the same time. It comes in sizes 2.5/80 and 3.0/80. It is helpful to use a stitch plate if you are expecting perfectly straight top stitching results. Choose the size based on the type and size of thread being used.

    Universal Needle

    A general purpose needle that can be used on knit or woven fabrics. A casual sewer who might repair a pair of jeans today, a child’s t-shirt tomorrow, and some lingerie next month will probably use this needle most often. It will do a number of tasks sufficiently. It has a long scarf that is great for zigzag stitching and it does not damage knits. It is sharp enough to go through a lot of fabrics but it does have a slight ball point which does not make it ideal for going through many layers or high thread count fabrics. This needle comes in a wide range of sizes from size 60 to size 120.