Can You Hand Sew With A Sewing Machine Needle

Most people are familiar with sewing machines, but they often wonder if they can use a sewing machine needle to complete hand-sewn projects. The answer is yes, but it isn’t always the best option. Here, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of using a sewing machine needle vs. a hand needle, and provide some expert tips for successful hand sewing.

The needle size and shape will tell you what kind of effect you can achieve with a project. Whereas a machine needle is designed for quick and efficient stitching, hand needles are designed for finer and more detailed stitching, making them ideal for craft projects. Compared to machine needles, hand sewing needles are usually smaller and lighter, and the size of their eyes is smaller as well.

According to experts, one of the advantages of using a machine needle for hand-stitching is that the needle will remain sharp for longer. This allows for a more efficient stitch, and also decreases the amount of effort needed to perform a task as the stitches are more precise. In addition, hand needles are usually longer than machine needles, which allow for more control over the needle while stitching.

Despite the advantages, hand sewing with a machine needle has its own set of issues. According to sewing professionals, machine needles can be difficult to handle due to their shape and size, and they are more prone to breaking when compared to hand needles. In addition, the eye of the needle can be too large, making it more difficult to thread the needle. Furthermore, the material used in the needle is thicker than that of a hand needle, meaning it won’t move as smoothly through the fabric.

To ensure success when hand sewing with a machine needle, experts offer the following advice:

  • Always use a needle of the correct size for your thread, fabric, and project.
  • Choose a needle size that is appropriate for the thread and weight of your fabric.
  • Look for needles with a sharp point and an eye that is just smaller than the thread size.
  • Sharpen the needle using an emery board or file before use.


Your thread is just as important as the needle when it comes to successful hand-sewing. In order to get the best results, you should choose a thread that is designed for hand-sewing, such as polyester. Cotton is also a great choice for hand seals, as it is strong and has very little stretch.


When sewing with a machine needle, the fabric used is just as important as the needle and the thread. You should choose fabric that is lightweight and not too thick or stiff, as this will make it easier to sew with a machine needle. Also, avoid fabrics with a high pile or nap, as they can be difficult to sew on with a machine needle.

Knotted Stitches

A knotted stitch is one of the most popular stitches used in hand-sewing, and it can be done with a machine needle. To do this, simply thread your needle, tie a knot at the end of the thread, and make a small running stitch. This can be done over and over again until the desired length is achieved.

Adjustable Stitches

Adjustable stitches are a great way to secure and add strength to a sewing project. To do this, thread the needle and knot the end of the thread, then make a series of small stitches in the same line. The stitches should all be tight and close together, but slightly adjustable in size. This technique can be used to reinforce seams or give shape to garments.

Stitches for Garments

When hand-sewing garments, it’s best to use a machine needle with a small eye. This will help to make sure that the needle can properly pass through the fabric without snagging or breaking. Depending on the desired effect, you may even wish to use a double-eyed needle, as this can make it easier to sew multiple small stitches in one go.

Knotted Hems

For a strong and neat hem, you should opt for a knotted stitch. To do this, thread the needle and knot the end of the thread, then make a series of tight and compact stitches at the edge of the fabric in the same line. This will help to hold the hem in place, and also create a smooth and finished look.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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