What Is The Size Of Sewing Machine Needle


The size of a sewing machine needle affects the overall outcome of a seam, and it’s important to choose the right needle for the job. Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and lengths, each of which is suited to a specific style of sewing. The right choice of needle can make all the difference in a sewing project, as the size will determine things such as how easy the needle is to thread, how well the fabric passes through the needle’s eye, and how much strain it puts on the machine itself. To help you understand the different types of needles available and decide which one would be the best fit for your sewing project, this article provides an overview of the different sizes and shapes.

Understanding Needle Sizes

Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes, from very small sizes to large ones. Generally, the larger the needle, the heavier the fabric it can handle. Sewing machine needles are available in sizes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16. Size 8 needles are the smallest, while size 16 needles are the largest and they can handle heavy fabrics such as denim and canvas.
The size of the needle is generally indicated on the needle’s shaft, alongside other information such as the type and brand. The size is indicated by a number, with higher numbers representing larger needles. In some cases, the size may also be indicated by a letter, with A representing the smallest size, B representing a medium size, and C representing the largest size.

Selecting the Correct Needle

The correct needle size for a particular project should always be chosen based on the type of fabric being used. For instance, quilting fabrics usually require a size 11 or 12 needle, while lightweight fabrics such as chiffon requires a size 8 or 9 needle.
When selecting a needle, it is also important to take into consideration the type of stitching being used. Thicker threads may require a larger needle to create a strong, stable stitch, while thinner threads need a smaller needle to avoid damaging the fabric. Furthermore, some fabrics such as velvet require an even larger needle size due to their thickness and stretchiness.

Types of Needles

In addition to size, there are also different types of needles available. The most common type is the universal needle, which can be used for a wide range of sewing tasks. Other types of needles include ball point needles, which are suitable for knit fabrics; stretch needles, which are designed for stretchy fabrics; and leather needles, which have a unique cutting edge design that helps to prevent the needle from slipping while stitching leather or other heavy fabrics.

Benefits of Using the Correct Needle Size

Using the correct size needle for a particular project is essential for achieving the desired results. In addition to using the correct type of needle for the fabric, the correct size needle is important for avoiding skipped stitches, broken needles, and other issues that can cause the sewing project to fail. As the right size needle allows the threads to form a tighter stitch, it can also prevent the fabric from bunching, slipping, or fraying.

Caring For Needles

After a project is finished, needles should be cleaned and stored in a safe place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to ensure that they remain sharp and in good condition. To clean the needles, use a soft brush to remove any fabric particles, and then gently wipe the surface with a damp cloth.

Maintenance Considerations

To ensure that the sewing machine needle performs properly, the following maintenance steps should be taken:

Check for Wear and Tear

All sewing machine needles should be checked for signs of wear and tear before each use. If there is any visible damage or wear, the needle should be replaced.

Adjust the Thread Tension

The thread tension should be adjusted every time the needle is changed in order to ensure that the stitches have the proper amount of tension. The tension should also be adjusted if the thread appears to be looping or too loose.

Checking the Hook Timing

The hook timing of the machine should also be checked periodically, as this is an important component that ensures that the needle and thread are in sync. If the hook timing is off, it can cause skipped stitches, broken needles, and uneven stitching.

Replacing the Bobbin

The bobbin should also be checked and replaced regularly, as a worn out or damaged bobbin could lead to thread that is too tight or too loose.


When it comes to sewing machine needles, it is important to choose the correct size and type for the particular project. Doing so will help ensure that the sewing project turns out the way it should and that the threads form the correct pattern. Furthermore, proper maintenance and care of the needles will help them to remain in good condition and last longer.

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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