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Sewing Machine Needles | What Do the Numbers & Colors Mean? (2023)

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Many people don’t know what the colors as well as number on the sewing machine needles mean. We have actually put together a simple and also fast overview that everybody can comprehend.

What do the colors and also numbers on sewing needles suggest? The numbers suggest exactly how robust the needle is. Greater numbers for heavy textile as well as reduced numbers for fine material. The colors show

That’s the quick answer. Currently allow’s dive a little deeper as well as learn the basics about needles


It’s crucial to understand the essentials regarding needles for the sewing machine before you begin your initial tasks. There are great deals of various needles, as well as they are produced different functions and sorts of materials.

The numbers on the needles

Reduced numbers: Fine needles for slim fabric High numbers: Strong needles for hefty material

The numbers are noted in 2 various rows, one for use in the U.S as well as one to be utilized in Europe.

It can be a little complex in the beginning, yet you will quickly learn the numbers by heart. Up until then we have actually made a little graph for you right here: [su_spacer]

European dimensions U.S dimensions To be used for.
60 8 Extremely great textile: Lingerie, Fine Lace, Silk and so on.
70 10 Net, Chiffon, Lingerie, Silk, Cotton
75 11 Voile, Chiffon, Organza, Denim, Satin, Sweater, Silk, Dress Shirt, Lycra, Spandex etc.
80 12 Tricot, Silks, Canvas
90 14 Syn Velvets, Poplin, Linin, Light Wool, Jersey, Muslin etc.
100 16 Cord, Denim, Heavy Suiting, Corduroy etc.
110 18 Heavy Denim, Leather, Upholstery Fabric, Faux Fur and so on.
120 20 Super heavy fabrics: Cord, Denim, Heavy Suiting

[su_spacer] We have tried to detail many of the material types, so you will certainly understand which needle to use.

If you are puzzled or don’t find your kind of material on the checklist, simply select a medium dimension global needle. That will be your option for many projects.

The colors of the needles

The colors are generally made use of to show the kind of needle. However you should not rely on the shade alone, you constantly need to consider the message composed on the bundle, to see to it you have the kind of needle you desire.

The makers are not using the shade codes consistently, but if you stick to the same brand name, you must locate the same kinds of needles packaged with the very same color on the packaging.

So what are the kinds of needles Let’s look.

The parts of the needles

The needles consists of several parts:

  • The Shank (rounded and also level part) The shaft is the component you utilize to install the needle on the machine It has a round and also a flat part. On commercial machines, the needles are round completely.
  • The Shaft This is the component from completion of the shank to the idea of the needle. So it includes the Groove, the eye, and also the idea.
  • The Groove The groove is the remainder of the needle from the shaft and also to the sharp suggestion. To make sure that consists of the eye and also the idea.
  • The eye The eye of the needle must work with the string. For thicker string, we have the topstitch needles which has a bigger opening for a thicker string.
  • The Point The last part of the needle is the point. It can be sharp or rounded. The basic needles is sharp and the ballpoint needle has a rounded shape like a sphere.

Kinds of needles

Currently we covered the needles sizes and know what the numbers represent. Allow’s take a look at the various types of needles

There are 3 fundamental needles types: Universal needles, Ballpoint needles, and also stretches needles

# 1 Universal needles

These are the needles you will make use of a lot of the time. They are for woven as well as knit material as well as can be used in most situations. If you do not understand which needle to use you need to constantly select this set.

It’s the common needle that will obtain the majority of your daily projects done.

# 2 Ballpoint needles (same as “jersey needles)

These are needles with a rounded pointer. They are not sharp however round, so it won’t pierce the material. Instead, it will certainly push the threads in the material apart, and also slide in between the yarns. The ballpoint needle can likewise be a twin needle.

Review a lot more concerning when you utilize a ballpoint twin needle (stretch material) These needles are for stretchy material.

Check out a lot more here about stitches for elastic fabric

# 3 Stretch needles

You would assume these coincide as ballpoint needles, but they vary. These needles are likewise (as the name shows) for elastic textiles, yet they are specifically for two-way stretch fabrics such as Lycra and also spandex.

They are for thicker kinds of textile than the ballpoint types, and also they are a little extra sharp, yet still rounded on the pointer.

# 4 Denim needles

These needles are specifically made to sew denim, jeans, and also canvas fabric. They are heavy needles that are very sturdy. These sorts of fabric are difficult as well as need special needles similar to leather (listed below).

# 5 Twin and triple stitch needles

The twin needle resembles a common needle at the top. It has a conventional shaft, however after that branch off and also has two needles:

Twin needle with one shank

And also as you have actually probably guessed, the three-way stitch needle has 3 needles

These kinds of needles are often made use of for decorative work, as well as the twin ballpoint needles are specifically produced sewing hems on elastic material.

# 6 Leather needles (as well as vinyl)

These are very robust as well as thick needles, that will certainly have the ability to sew leather, vinyl, and various other thick kinds of textile. You need a heavy duty machine to do so like the Singer 4411

This sort of needle will certainly be a dimension 90/14 or 100/ 16.

# 7 Topstitch needles

A topstitch needle is unique due to the fact that the little opening is dual to the dimension of a normal needle. These are a good choice if you are using an extra thick thread or a low quality string, as it will certainly protect against the thread from breaking.

This is also fantastic if you have a problem seeing the opening. Maybe you are aesthetically damaged or elderly. Learn more here regarding sewing makers for the elderly

The topstitch kind is likewise thicker and will conveniently go through numerous layers of material.

# 8 Handicap/Self-threaded needles

These are made individuals who have a difficult time getting the string with the opening. These needles are simpler to string the needle.

The way this is done is by running the thread down the side of the needle, and it will delve into the hole. The hole is “opened up” on the one side. Due to the fact that they have a little hole on the side as you can see in this little video clip:

Sewing machine needles letters

What happens if I make use of the wrong size needle?

Points can go actually wrong if you make use of the wrong needle size.

Let’s first check out what occurs if you make use of a needle that is also thin.

When the needle is also thin

(as well reduced a number) If you utilize a needle with also reduced a number (as well slim) the needle will easily break. It could also simply flex a little, which could be also worse

You will additionally get bird nesting on the back of the material (when the string makes a hideous knot). A great needle on jeans will definitely flex, damage, and miss stitches.

In the most awful situations, a curved needle can go in as well as damage on the within the machine It can get stuck inside the machine and do damages.

When the needle is as well thick

(too expensive a number) When sewing with a needle that is too thick you will most likely end up with creases on the textile. It can leave openings in the fabric and create drags and grabs on the material. It will not look good, despite the fact that the needles will certainly not break or be damaged.

Either means, the result will not be optimal, so you need to constantly make sure you are utilizing the appropriate needle dimension.

Make it a habit to constantly inspect the needle before you start sewing

Which brand names are best

That actually depends on your sewing design along with the machine you use. Everybody should explore different brand names to discover what they such as and what jobs best with their machine

Some will certainly vouch to a specific type of needle. We don’t advise one brand name over the other, since they function differently with each machine

Some needles will certainly not sit well on some machine while it will certainly be entirely different for an additional person on another machine

If you are having a trouble with your needles, just attempt an additional brand name or the following dimension (up or down), and see if the issue lingers. You will probably get the best arise from utilizing needles made by your sewing machine brand.

So if you have a Singer, try and begin with vocalists needles If you have a Janome, try the Janome needles initially and more.

You may discover that your kind of machine will demand a slightly various needle than the machine on which you learned to stitch.

Relevant inquiries

What are the best needles for sewing makers? The greatest needles are the 120/20 needles You will certainly make use of these for jeans, natural leather, as well as other strong materials. The number describes the thickness of the needles You need to make certain you understand exactly which needles you are using for this type of fabric.

Air sewing machine needles universal? Universal needles are one of the most pre-owned needles on sewing machines. It’s a cumulative term for the most pre-owned needles There are likewise 7 other sorts of needles for various other unique purposes as well as specific sorts of textile.

sewing machine needle types and sizes

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.