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Sewing Machine Needles & How to Choose the Right One

Do you find yourself dealing with the broken thread, tugs in your fabric, or uneven stitches more than you would like? The number one cause of problems like these is not having the correct needle for your particular project.

It is easy to find yourself stuck in the rut of simply using the universal needle that comes with your machine. Let Banasch’s help you understand the basics of choosing the right sewing machine needle for your project.

What you need to know about the needle itself:

  1. Blade – the blade of the needle determines its size. A needle is measured on the diameter of the blade in millimeters times 100. For example, if a needle has a diameter of .8 mm, then the size is 80.
  2. Shank – this is the part of the needle that fits into the sewing machine.
  3. Groove – the groove of a needle runs the length of the shaft and holds the thread. The diameter of the thread should take up no more than 40% of the groove.
  4. Tip and Point – this area of the needle determines the overall Needle Type.

Needle Types:

There are a variety of needle types available. In order to know what needle you need, it is important to understand the structure of the textile you wish to sew. Here is a breakdown of the most common needle types:

  1. Universal Needle – Also known as a Round Point, this is the most common needle that can be used for most sewing on sturdy woven textiles.
  2. Ballpoint Needle – This needle is great for knit fabrics because the rounded ballpoint tip is able to slip between the fibers instead of cutting through and damaging them.
  3. DI Leather Needle – This needle is designed with a diamond shape tip that is able to cut though leather.
  4. Stretch Needle – This needle is similar to the ballpoint needle. As the name would suggest, this needle is designed for extremely stretchy material.
  5. Embroidery Needle – This needle is designed to be non-damaging and have a larger eye to accommodate thicker embroidery thread.
  6. Quilting Needle – This needle is small yet strong, designed for sewing though multiple layers, or overlapping seams. The tapered point keeps from damaging delicate fabric.

Needle Size:

As mentioned above, the size of the needle is determined by the diameter of the blade. The needle should be chosen based on the fabric you are using. Heavier fabric requires a bigger needle, and lightweight fabric will require a smaller needle.

There is a lot to keep in mind as you choose the right needle for your particular project. Be sure to read the requirements for your particular sewing machine. If you would like to know more about when to replace your needle, please take a look at our blog post – “How to Change a Sewing Machine Needle

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