Sewing Machine Needle Dictionary

BLUKOLD needle

Special needle with a roughened, phosphorated surface coated with a non-stick coating. This needle surface prevents or greatly reduces adhesion of residues of melted synthetic materials, for longer duration than, for example, chromium plated needles. The needle remains cleaner longer . . . skipped stitches and thread breakage are minimized. (Note: This needle is no longer manufactured.)

Double needle 

Special needle used in household zig-zag sewing machines, consisting of two needle blades which are connected to one shank by means of a plastic bridge. Used for pattern controlled decorative seams with two needle threads as well as for the sewing of tucks by means of an inserted cord.

Flatlock sewing machine

Machine for sewing covered seams, used for neat sewing of raw edges or single lapping of pieces of material, simultaneously covering top and bottom of raw edges.


Mesh density per unit of length in hosiery and kitted fabrics. For linking machines it indicates the number of points per unit of length (usually per inch). This must match the mesh density of the knitted goods if the material is to be linked with the meshes matching exactly. A small gauge indicates the use of thicker needles, and a larger gauge, the use of thinner needles.

Hook needle

Needle similar to a crochet needle, used in Cornely, saddle stitch, and linking machines.


Hump-like section of the needle between the eye and scarf. On chain stitch needles in conjunction with another land between scarf and second long groove, necessary for the formation of a loop of the needle thread. This ensures that in machine without needle bar rise, the loop of the needle thread can still be securely caught by the looper.

Long groove

Its purpose is to guide the needle thread to the eye. The cross section is 40% of that of the needle blade. The diameter of the sewing thread to be used (not the label number) should therefore be a maximum of 40% of the needle size (NM). chain stitching needles have a second long groove on the opposite side of the needle. This serves to guide the part of the sewing thread emerging from the material vertically to the eye during needle penetration, to guarantee correct stitch formation. On chain stitch needles used in machines with loopers working parallel to the sewing direction, both long grooves are spirally wound.

      Needle bar rise

      The distance which the needle in a sewing machine has to pass from the lower dead-point during the upwards lift. necessary to form a loop which can be securely caught by the point of the hook.

      Needle bight

      Lateral deviation between two successive stitches perpendicular to the seam direction.

      Needle distance (NE)

      Distance between the center axis lines (or points) of the needles when working simultaneously with several needles (also applies to double and triple needles). In needles for twin-needle machines, the needle distance is often indicated by code letters behind the system designations, i.e., 134 FLG-A. The code letters used are A, B, C, and D.

      A: needle distance 0.85mm, only possible with NM 60-80

       B: needle distance 1.05 mm, only possible with NM 70-90

       C: needle distance 1.25 mm, only possible with NM 80-100

       D: needle distance 1.45 mm, only possible with NM 100-110

      Overlock machine

      Overcasting sewing machine for trimming locking edges of material.

      Safety stitch machine

      Machine for sewing together parts of material and simultaneously trimming and locking of material edges. In most cases two stitch types work independently from each other, i.e., stitch types 401 plus 503, but one stitch type only is also possible, i.e., stitch type 507 or type 512 (so-called imitation safety stitch).


      Recess of the needle blade above the eye, on the opposite side of the sewing machine needle to the long groove. It differs in shape and length and enables the hook to be placed closer to the center line (axis) of the needle.

      Schiffli needle

       Needle used in automatic Schiffli embroidery machines (large automatic embroidery machines). These work with two needle frames each equipped with up to 1800 needles.

      Seam direction

      Direction in which the stitch types are successively arranged.

      Sewing direction

      Direction of the seam progression from stitch to stitch.

      Stitch density

      Number of stitches performed in relation to the unit of length (i.e., 5 stitches/cm).

      Stitch distance

      Shortest distance between two consecutive needle penetrations in sewing direction.

      Stitch formation

      The part of the sewing operation which, in general terms, concerns the piercing of the material by the needle, the simultaneous passing of the thread through the material, and the interlocking of the thread either by the material, with itself, or with another thread. According to the stitch type, the stitch can also be formed by several needles and several sewing threads.

      Stitch length

      Distance between two successive stitches in the seam direction.

      Triple Needle

      Special needle used in household zig-zag sewing machines, consisting of three needle blades connected to one shank by means of a plastic bridge. Used for pattern-controlled decorative seams with three needle threads.


      twisting of certain needle parts during manufacture. Needles with twisted blade = needles with spiral long groove. Needles with twisted point groove = needles with twisted groove below the eye, i.e., CL (left twisted point groove).

      Wing needle

      Special needle for household sewing machine with wings to obtain the hemstitch effect. Also known as Hemstitch needle.