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Which Needle Should I Use?

Posted: 4 June 2014 at 6 a.m.

Needle Points

Having the right size needle is key to avoiding many frustrations when sewing, embroidering, serging, or quilting.  Many believe the size of the needle depends on the fabric you are using.  This is only partially true. 

Choose your needle size based on the size of the thread.  The groove and eye of the needle enlarges when needle sizes increase (70 to 80, 80 to 90, etc.).  Having a thicker thread means you need a deeper and wider groove to protect the thread as it penetrates the fabric.  Using too-small of a needle is like squeezing into that dress that you know is just a bit too small (does this happen to anyone else?!).  After a lot of jumping, sucking it in, praying  and cursing, and beads of sweat you may be able to zip it up, but one false move and that dress could rip.   The same goes with thread squeezing through a needle just a bit too small for it.  The thread might work, but one false move could lead to frustration or shredding.   Your thread will work a lot better with the right size.

So now you might be wondering if you are using the right needle size with your thread.  We have great thread reference guides for home sewing machines and longarm machines which show the correct needle size to use with each of our Threads.

Here’s the basic break down with needle size and thread weight.

Thread Weight

Home Machine Needle Size

Longarm Needle Size

#100, 60 wt, MonoPoly

70/10

14/3.0

50 wt

80/12

16/3.5

40 wt

90/14

18/4.0

30 wt

100/16

21/5.0

Selecting your needle based on the material you’re using comes down to this:  are you using a knit and loosely-woven fabric? Knits perform well with ballpoint needles.  Dense fabrics require a sharp needle while leather or canvas calls for a sharp needle with a slightly different blade shape. Since most of the time we are sewing on high-quality cotton fabrics, we use and recommend our Superior Titanium-coated Topstitch needles.  They’re great for embroidery, sewing, and quilting.  You can read more about needle points in this great article

Do you have a favorite needle size and thread combo?

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Comments

  • 2. Patricia (11 July 2014 at 3:05 p.m.)

    One also must also account for density of the fabric. When quilting a quilt that was batik front and back, with many seams on front, I had to move up to a #100 needle before I achieved problem free quilting with King Tut thread. Laundering the finished quilt made all of those needle puncture marks disappear.
  • 1. Elaine Sheppard (05 June 2014 at 5:32 p.m.)

    Thanks for the information. Much appreciated.

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