Which Way Round Does A Sewing Machine Needle Go

Whether you are a complete beginner, or an experienced tailor, the way a sewing machine needle is inserted and secured into place is essential for your success. As a result, it’s important to make sure that you always know which way round a sewing machine needle goes in, as every machine and needle type differ in terms of size, shape, and design.

Let’s start with the basics. Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes and styles, ranging from universal needles for general purpose use to those that are specific to particular fabric types and weights. They will almost invariably have a flat side, and a slightly more rounded side – the latter is always inserted into the machine first.

Essentially, the most important thing to remember is that the pointy end of the needle always faces downwards – away from you in the direction of the machine. You should also take care when inserting and replacing the needle, handling it delicately as the slightest amount of bending could cause damage to the needle itself.

When changing a needle, it is recommended that you always remove the one you are replacing before inserting the new one. This makes it much easier to line up the new needle correctly and to ensure that everything is seated properly. Be sure to replace the needle clamp and secure it using the screwdriver provided with your sewing machine, so that the needle does not wobble or become loose.

Once the needle is correctly secured in place, it is important to check the machine tension when you start stitching. This will ensure that the stitches are even, and the tension can be adjusted until you are satisfied. If you are working with a delicate fabric then you may also want to use a smaller sized needle and reduce the tension accordingly.

Thread Tension for Different Fabrics

When operating a sewing machine you will also need to understand the different types of thread tension available and pick the best one for the fabric you are working with. For light fabrics such as chiffon, you will want to adjust the machine tension to a lower level, while heavier fabrics could require more tension in order to achieve the desired results.

It is also important to know what type of sewing machine foot you should use for different types of fabrics. For instance, a satin stitch foot should be used for lightweight materials, while a roller foot is typically better for stitching heavier fabrics. Additionally, fabric stabilisers should be used when necessary to reinforce the fabric, allowing you to achieve the best results.

Selecting Needles for Different Projects

When choosing the correct needle for a particular project, it is important to consult the manual that came with your sewing machine and check the needle section. Here you will find the correct sizes and types of needles that are compatible with your machine, and information on how they should be inserted.

In general, needles should be selected based on the type of fabric you are creating. A universal needle is a good starting point as it is suitable for most regular fabrics and is the most popular for general sewing. However, for fabrics such as leather or faux fur, you may need to use a speciality needle.

When working with knits and stretch fabrics, an wedge or ball-point needle should be used as these are designed to prevent the fabric from being damaged as the needle moves through it. Different fabrics also require different levels of needle sizes, so it is important to pick the right size for the fabric thickness to ensure optimal results.

Maintaining Your Sewing Machine

Finally, it is important to keep your sewing machine well maintained to ensure that it is always in good condition. This means regularly checking the needle, thread and tension, and oiling the machine on a regular basis. Additionally, you should read the instruction manual whenever possible, as this will provide useful information on how to maintain your machine and get the most out of it.

Overall, knowing which way round a sewing machine needle goes in is an important step in creating successful projects. By understanding the various needle sizes and types, as well as the correct tension settings and fabric stabilisers, you will be able to make sure that your sewing machine is in good condition, and that each stitch is precise.

Other Useful Tips for Sewing

Learning the basics of sewing is the first step towards success and there are several tips that can be useful for those new to the craft. Always check the grainline of a fabric before sewing, as this will ensure that the design lines up correctly. Additionally, it is best to pre-wash the fabric prior to cutting so that any shrinkage or fading can be avoided.

Steaming is a good way to press fabrics and to help remove wrinkles, but it should be done on the wrong side of the fabric to prevent damaging the fabric’s fibres. Additionally, using pins to help keep the fabric in place is a great way to ensure an even seam allowance. Finally, it is always best to test a stitch on a scrap of fabric before committing to the real project.

Learning to Master a Sewing Machine

When it comes to using a sewing machine, practice makes perfect. The more time you spend using the machine, the more comfortable and confident you will become. It is important to take your time and to be mindful of the stitches that you are making, as well as the tension and fabric choices.

Taking a formal sewing course is a great way to learn the fundamentals of sewing, as well as the various techniques needed to create stunning projects. During course, you will be able to build on the theoretical knowledge and improve your sewing skills by completing specific tasks.

Moreover, attending a class or workshop can be a great way to network and connect with like-minded people. Whether you are looking to enter the fashion industry, or simply improve your sewing skills, having a support network around you can be essential.

Choose Quality Sewing Supplies

When it comes to choosing your sewing supplies, it is best to invest in quality items. Poor quality needles can result in skipped stitches and cause damage to the fabric, so it is important to select the best needles for your sewing projects. Similarly, using good quality thread is essential for successful sewing and embroidery.

Additionally, investing in quality haberdashery items such as scissors, buttons, zips and interfacing can be beneficial as these products will last longer and offer excellent results. Furthermore, good quality tools and accessories can enable you to work more efficiently and enable you to achieve better results.

Alternative Uses for Sewing Machines

Although sewing is the main use of a sewing machine, there are numerous other ways you can use them. For starters, you can use a sewing machine to make patches for clothing, decorate items such as cushion covers and even create intricate quilt designs.

In addition to this, embroidery machines are becoming increasingly popular and can be used to embellish clothing and accessories, as well as creating beautiful home decorations and wall art. Other items such as bags and purses, toys and shoes can also be crafted using a sewing machine, making it a truly versatile tool.


In conclusion, it is important to understand how to correctly insert and secure a sewing machine needle as this can be essential for successful sewing projects. The pointy end of the needle should always be facing downwards, while the correct thread tension and fabric stabilisers should also be used to achieve the best results.

Remember to select the best needle for the fabric type and to maintain your sewing machine by regularly checking and oiling it. Finally, with regular practice and by devoting time to learning the basics of sewing, you can become a skilled tailor in no time.

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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