Types of Sewing Machine Needles – Sewing machine needles come in different types and sizes, each with a specific purpose or function.
Types of Sewing Machine Needles
The type of needle you use for your sewing project can affect the quality of your stitching and the overall outcome of your project. In this article, we will discuss the different types of sewing machine needles and their uses.
- Universal Needle: The universal needle is the most common type of needle used in sewing machines. It is suitable for sewing a wide range of fabrics, including woven and knit fabrics. Universal needles have a slightly rounded point and can be used with most thread types.
- Ballpoint Needle: Ballpoint needles are designed for use with knit fabrics, as they have a slightly rounded tip that glides through the fibers of the fabric without damaging them. They are also suitable for sewing on woven fabrics with a looser weave.
- Stretch Needle: Stretch needles are similar to ballpoint needles, but they have a more pronounced tip that can penetrate stretchy fabrics more easily. They are designed for use with fabrics such as lycra, spandex, and other stretchy materials.
- Denim Needle: Denim needles have a sharp and strong point that can penetrate through thick layers of fabric, making them ideal for sewing denim, canvas, and other heavy fabrics.
- Leather Needle: Leather needles have a chisel-shaped tip that cuts through leather and other tough materials. They have a larger eye and a deeper groove that allows them to accommodate thicker threads.
- Quilting Needle: Quilting needles are designed for use with multiple layers of fabric, such as those used in quilting. They have a tapered point that can easily penetrate through several layers of fabric without causing damage.
- Embroidery Needle: Embroidery needles have a larger eye and a deeper groove to accommodate embroidery threads. They also have a slightly rounded tip that can penetrate through fabrics without causing damage.
- Twin Needle: Twin needles are used for creating parallel rows of stitches that are evenly spaced. They have two needles mounted on a single shaft, which can be used for decorative stitching, hemming, and other techniques.
What are the numbers on sewing machine needles?
Sewing machine needles are labeled with numbers that indicate the size and type of needle. The most common numbering system is the metric system, which uses a number to represent the diameter of the needle in millimeters. For example, a needle labeled “80/12” has a diameter of 0.80 mm, or 12/100 of an inch.
Other needle sizing systems are also in use, including the American sizing system and the European sizing system. In the American system, the needle size is represented by a number, and the higher the number, the larger the needle. In the European system, the needle size is also represented by a number, but the lower the number, the larger the needle.
In addition to size, sewing machine needles are also labeled with a type or purpose. Common types include universal, denim, embroidery, and leather needles. Each type of needle is designed to work best with a specific type of fabric or thread.
US Sewing Machine Needle Sizes
Sewing machine needles in the United States are typically classified by their size, which is denoted by a number. The higher the number, the larger the needle size. Here is a list of common sewing machine needle sizes used in the US:
- Size 8 (60/8): This needle is commonly used for lightweight fabrics such as silk and chiffon.
- Size 9 (65/9): Suitable for lightweight fabrics like silk, satin, and lightweight cotton.
- Size 10 (70/10): Used for lightweight to medium-weight fabrics, including cotton, rayon, and linen.
- Size 11 (75/11): Appropriate for medium-weight fabrics like cotton, linen, and polyester blends.
- Size 12 (80/12): A versatile needle size suitable for medium-weight fabrics, including woven and knit fabrics.
- Size 14 (90/14): Used for medium to heavy-weight fabrics, such as denim, twill, and canvas.
- Size 16 (100/16): Designed for heavy-weight fabrics, like upholstery fabric, thick denim, or leather.
- Size 18 (110/18): Suitable for very heavy-weight fabrics, including leather, vinyl, and heavyweight canvas.
(Indicate European, still see list below)
Please note that these sizes are commonly available in most sewing machine needle brands and models. However, there may be additional sizes or variations depending on the manufacturer and the type of sewing project you are working on. Always refer to your sewing machine’s user manual or consult the needle manufacturer for specific recommendations.
European Sewing Machine Needle Sizes
European needle sizes are designated by a different numbering system compared to the US sizes. Instead of a single number, European needle sizes are represented by two numbers: one for the European metric sizing system (denoted by the number) and the other for the American sizing system (denoted by the fraction). Here are some commonly used European needle sizes along with their corresponding American sizes:
- Size 60/8: Equivalent to a US size 8.
- Size 65/9: Equivalent to a US size 9.
- Size 70/10: Equivalent to a US size 10.
- Size 75/11: Equivalent to a US size 11.
- Size 80/12: Equivalent to a US size 12.
- Size 90/14: Equivalent to a US size 14.
- Size 100/16: Equivalent to a US size 16.
- Size 110/18: Equivalent to a US size 18.
Sometimes you will see it as 18/110. Where those numbers are swapped from the list above.
It’s important to note that the European needle sizes may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. Additionally, European needle sizes can also be designated by a single number without the American sizing equivalent. In such cases, the European number corresponds to the metric sizing system (e.g., size 80 corresponds to 80/12 in the American system).
In conclusion, the type of sewing machine needle you choose will depend on the fabric you are working with and the type of stitch you want to create. It is important to choose the right needle for your project to ensure a high-quality outcome. By understanding the different types of sewing machine needles and their uses, you can make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate needle for your sewing project.
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