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Are Sewing Machine Needles Universal? Let’s Find Out!

Do Sewing Machine Needles Fit All Machines?

Sewing machine needles are an essential part of every sewing machine. They are used to stitch fabric together.

The needle is usually threaded onto a spool of thread before being inserted into the machine.

There are different types of sewing machine needle guide. Some are designed for specific machines while others are universal.

There are also some that can be used with both domestic and industrial machines.

This article will discuss these various types of sewing machine needles, their uses and how they fit on your particular machine.

What Are The Different Types Of Sewing Machine Needle?

A sewing machine needle has three parts:

1) The Shank or body which holds the eyelet through which the thread passes

The shank connects the needle to the rest of the needle assembly.

It may have one end which fits over the top of the bobbin case or it may have two ends which connect to the lower strong shaft.

2) The Eyelet

The eyelet is where you insert the needle through the material. This hole allows the needle to pass through the cloth without damaging it.

3) The point at which it pierces the material.

The point or tip is what actually sews the stitches in the fabric. It’s made from hardened steel so it won’t bend when pushed down into the fabric.

There are many different styles of sewing machine needles available in today’s market.

These include straight-needle, curved-needle, smooth buttonhole, zigzag, overlocker, blanket, embroidery, quilting, decorative, etc.

Each type of needle has its own purpose and use.

Straight Needle

Straight needles have one sharp end and no curve. This makes them ideal for stitching seams where you want the stitches to lie flat against each other.

They are most commonly found on home sewing machines but may also be seen on commercial ones.

Curved Needle

Curved needles come in several shapes including round, oval, square, triangular and diamond shaped.

These needles are often referred to as “curvy” because they give a more rounded appearance when stitched.

Round needles are best suited for hemming and finishing edges such as ruffled hems.

Oval needles are good for making bias cuts. Square needles work well for appliqué projects.

Triangular needles are useful for creating intricate designs. Diamond needles are great for free sewing motion quilting.

Buttonhole Needle

Also known as a ‘button hole’ needle, this sewing machine needle type features three permanent holes along its length.

It allows you to make small buttons without having to sew around the entire circumference of the button.

It is mainly used by handstitchers who prefer not to waste time cutting out large circles from fabric. However, it does require practice to master.

Zigzag Needle

Also called a ‘zigzagging’ needle, this type of needle creates a series of diagonal lines across the fabric.

Its name comes from the way it looks like a zigzag pattern.

Its main advantage is that it produces very neat looking stitches. Zigzag needles are mostly used for piecing fabrics together.

Overlocker Needle

An overlocker needle is similar to a regular sewing machine needle except that there is a looped section between the eyelet and the tip.

When using an overlocker sewing machine needles, you need to hold the heavyweight fabric taut so that the loops do not slip off the needle.

Overlocking gives extra strength to the seam and prevents fraying.

Blanket Needle

The blanket topstitch needle is created by moving the presser foot up and down while holding the needle stationary.

A blanket stitch is usually done with a long continuous line of stitching rather than individual short stitches.

Embroidery Needle

Used primarily for embroidery purposes, this needle has a blunt pointed tip and a larger eyelet compared to standard sewing machine needles.

Quilter’s Needle

This needle is designed specifically for quiltmaking.

The eyelets are smaller than those on normal sewing machine needles and the decorative thread passes through the eyelets instead of being held onto the surface of the needle.

Decorative Needle

A decorative or fancy needle can add interest to your project.

They tend to feature unusual tips and eyelets. Some even incorporate beads into their design!

What Do the Size Numbers Mean on Sewing Machine Needles?

Sewing machine needles have numbers which indicate how thick the sewing metallic needle shaft is.

The thicker the number, the stronger the needle will be.

Needles range from size 1 all the way up to size 8.

Size 3-5 needles are generally considered strong enough for general use.

They are suitable for many types of sewing tasks. However, if you want to create fine details in your finished product, then consider getting more expensive sizes.

For example, size 6 quality needles are ideal for detailed embroidery thread.

If you plan to make lots of items at once, get several different size of needle. This will save money because they won’t wear out quickly.

What size needle is best for sewing cotton?

For most home seamstresses, an 8 mm size of sewing needle should do just fine.

However, if you plan to sew delicate materials such as lace, chiffon, tulle, satin, etc., then you’ll need a finer needle.

A 10 mm sizes of machine needle is ideal for these types of fabrics.

How Long Should I Use My Sewing Machine Needles For?

You should change your sewing machine needles every few months depending on what kind of work you’re doing.

Generally speaking, you don’t need to replace them as often as other parts of your sewing machine.

However, some people recommend changing their separate needles after each garment.

That said, most machines come with a recommended life span for their various components including the needles.

Most manufacturers suggest replacing these parts when they start making noise or feel loose.

Some also say that you shouldn’t sew with old serger needle longer than two years.

It may take time before you notice any difference but eventually you’ll know whether or not your new needles are working well.

How do I know what sewing machine needle to use?

Sewing machines are an essential part of every home. They allow us to create beautiful clothing and accessories for ourselves and others.

However, choosing the right sewing machine needle can be tricky.

There are different types of needles available in the market.

Some are designed for specific fabric threads while others are meant for general purpose.

Knowing which type of proper sewing needle use to buy can be confusing.

There are three main factors to keep in mind when choosing a popular needle.

1) The type of material you intend to sew.

There are four basic categories of fabrics:

• Cotton – These include cotton, heavy linen, silk, rayon, etc.

• Wool – These include wool, mohair, angora, alpaca, llama , cashmere, etc.

• Nylon – These include nylon, polyester, spandex, acrylic, etc.

• Synthetic fibers – These include polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, etc.

Each category has its own characteristics.

Cotton blend threads tends to stretch knits easily while synthetic fabrics like nylon resist stretching.

Wool resists heat better than synthetics so it works best for projects where you might overheat the finer fabric.

Nylon doesn’t absorb water very well so it’s good for waterproof garments.

Synthetics are great for creating durable clothing since they hold up against repeated washing.

2) Your intended purpose for the item.

We must think about our intended purposes for the piece.

  • Do you want something casual and comfortable or formal and elegant?
  • Is this going to be worn by yourself or someone else?
  • What sort of weather conditions does it have to withstand?
  • Will it see heavy traffic or only occasional use?

These questions help determine which type of needle would suit your needs best.

3) How much pressure you apply during the process.

Finally, there’s the matter of applying force to the fabric.

This can vary greatly depending on the project.

When you press down hard on the fabric, you increase friction between the needle threader.

As a result, the stitches become smaller and tighter.

If you pull lightly through the fabric, however, the metallic thread is less likely to get caught under the foot pedal.

The resulting stitch will be looser and more open.

Conventional sewing machine needles

This come in various sizes. They range from 1/4″ all the way up to 3-5/8″.

Most people choose one size because it fits their hand perfectly.

But if you’re looking for something extra special, consider getting a larger sizes needle.

You could even go as far as using a 6mm ordinary sewing needle for embroidery work!

It may seem counter-intuitive but some people find that bigger needle type make stitching easier.

They believe that the wider surface area allows them to push harder without causing too many problems with the fabric.

How To Choose A Good Quality Sewing Machine Needle?

Choosing a quality sewing machine durable needles isn’t easy.

After all, not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars just to replace an inexpensive needle breakage.

So how do we know what makes a good quality choice needle?

First off, look at the manufacturer name.

  • Does it say “Universal”?
  • Or maybe “All Purpose?”

That means that these sewing machines needles were made specifically for different types of materials.

For example, cotton, wool, silk jersey, rayon, nylon, leather , faux suede, denim, etc.

Next, check out the gauge number.

A higher number indicates a finer ballpoint sewing needles.

And finally, pay attention to the length of the needle.

Longer needles tend to create longer stitches.

While shorter ones produce short lines.

In general, most manufacturers recommend choosing a life-changing needle based on the material being used.


Sewing machine needles are designed to sew fabrics together.

However, they also serve other functions such as holding buttons, zippers, snaps, hooks, eyes, etc.

Therefore, when selecting a sewing machine needle, keep in mind its intended usage.

Also remember that every time you change the needle, you’ll need to adjust the tension accordingly.

With practice, you should soon learn how to achieve perfect results while minimizing stress on your hands.

Good luck!

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts