Sewing Machine Needle Sizes : Choosing the best for your fabric

Updated on by Sarina

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At what point do you think about sewing machine needles and about changing them from what you got from the showroom ? Is it when you start to have

  • Skipped stitches
  • Uneven seams
  • Damaged fabrics due to snagged threads
  • Needle plate damage
  • Dropped stitches

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes : Choosing the best for your fabric

Sewing needle happens to be the least expensive part of your sewing machine and you think about it the least. But it’s worth is far far more. Think of what all it could do if you wait till it gets worn  bend or damaged. All the above problems can be results of either using the wrong, unsuitable needle or using worn out or damaged needle. Ever read the  story “For want of a nail”.

There are many types of sewing machine needles available. Choosing the best one for you project is dependent on many things like 

  • The type of fabric
  • The technique you are using
  • The thread used for the project  

The sewing machine manual you got when you purchased the machine also can guide you in which needle to choose. Then you have to take into consideration the fabric you are going to sew on and also the thread being used and the technique. Some machines will have a label on its body indicating the type of needle it takes.

Sewing Machine Needle sizes

Machine needle size numbers indicate the needle’s width. Basically, the thicker the needle, the bigger the number. As a general rule, the lighter weight fabrics use smaller needles and heavyweight fabrics use larger needles.

In selecting the sewing machine needle You need to know the appropriate number for the fabric you are sewing.


Finer the fabric, lower the number of the needle.


The most common sizes used among the universal needles  are 12 and 14. This is the American number system. For the most common needles European metric needle sizes number needles from 60 to 120. So the first number on the needle is the American number system and the next European metric sizing. For both numbering systems, the lower the number the finer the needle and the higher the number the larger the needle.

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