How Often Should You Change Sewing Machine Needle

Importance of Changing Sewing Machine Needles

One of the most important aspects of sewing is the machine needle. It is used every single time a sewing machine is used, so it is essential to keep the needle in top condition. Not only can an old, worn-out needle cause snagging and fraying fabric, but it can also damage the machine. That is why it is essential to understand how often needles need to be changed.

Periodic Needle Changes

Most needle-working professionals and experienced sewists advise that the general rule of thumb is to change the needle after 8 hours of sewing. This may not sound like a long time, but it adds up quickly, especially for those who love sewing, or craft sewing as a profession. It is important to keep track of the time to ensure needles are frequently and consistently replaced.

Although 8 hours is a good time to change out a needle, depending on the type of fabric, the frequency of the use, the type of sewing machine, and the technique being used, it may need to be changed sooner. Most needles are designed to last 8 hours, but heavier-duty fabrics and constant use of the machine can wear the needle much faster.

Signs that It’s Time to Change the Needle

Though it is good to periodically check and replace needles, it is also important to be aware of the signs that a needle is no longer good. If the needle is misshaped, has become blunt, has pitted or discolored surface, is bent, or if it starts snagging or breaking the thread, it should be replaced as soon as possible.

A quality needle should cut cleanly through the fabric without fraying it or breaking the thread. There should also be no build-up of fabric and thread on the needle. If the needle is not performing well, it should be changed before any more stitching is done.

Types of Needles

Not all needles are created equally. The most common needles are: Universal needles – These are regular-duty sewing needles used for general sewing of all fabrics and many fibers; Jeans/Denim needles – These heavier-duty needles are great for heavier fabrics like denim and others with a strong weave; Embroidery needles – These are extra-long needles used for embroidery and decorative stitching; and Microtex needles –These fine needles are designed for topstitching and quilting.

Choosing the correct needle for the job is one of the most important steps to ensure successful sewing. Using the wrong needle can cause fabric or thread damage and lead to unsatisfactory results.

Safe Needle Changing Practices

It is equally important to practice safe needle changing practices. When changing a needle, be sure to unplug the machine first and remove any attachments or fabrics that are in the way. This will help to avoid accidental needle sticking or any other mishaps that may occur.

When changing the needle, it is vital to make sure that it is securely in place and facing the right direction before operating the machine. Sewing with an improperly put needle can cause dropped stitches, bobbin jams, and other machine malfunctions. It may also lead to fabric or thread damage as well as needle breakage.

Frequently Check Needles

To prevent any accidents or fabric and thread damage with the sewing machine, it is important to often check the condition of the needle and replace it when necessary. 8 hours of sewing time is a good timeframe, but that may need to be reduced or increased depending on the type of fabric or the machine being used. Being aware of the signs of a worn-out needle, selecting the correct needle for the job, and practicing safe needle changing practices can help ensure sewing success.

Accessories for Changing Needles Easily

For those who frequently change their needles, having certain accessories on hand can be helpful. Needle threaders that help with inserting the needle into the machine are essential, as are needle clamps, which keep the needle secure while changing it. For those who use their machine frequently, it is also a good idea to keep spare needles on hand.

Needles are important and need to be changed regularly. Those who don’t change their needles often enough may often experience issues with their machine and fabric. Using the right needle, checking it often and replacing it as needed, and practicing safe needle changing practices can help ensure successful sewing results.

Other Considerations When Changing Sewing Machine Needles

It is also important to make sure that the needle is appropriate for the fabric being used. Using the wrong needle can damage the fabric or the machine, leading to costly or time consuming repairs or replacements. That is why it is important to always match the appropriate needle to the correct type of fabric.

Another factor that needs to be considered when changing a needle is the needle size. Needles come in varying lengths, such as 50 to 110. This number is usually marked on the side or point of the needle, and it refers to the length, or the thickness, of the needle. In general, thinner fabrics require finer needles, while thicker fabrics require thicker needles.

Lastly, when changing a needle, it may be helpful to check the tension of the machine. This will ensure that the needle and the thread are working together properly and that no unnecessary friction or tension is present. If the tension is too tight, the needle may be more likely to break or get damaged.


Overall, needles are an important aspect of sewing and need to be changed often. Knowing when and how to change the needle can help ensure sewing success. With the right combination of knowledge, need supplies, and safe practices, changing a sewing machine needle can be a simple and effective process.

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.

Leave a Comment