Superior Education

Needle Points

  • Home Machine Needles
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Serger Needles

Let's get to the point, the needle point

There are many different types of fabrics and materials available in the sewing world. Depending on the type of fabric used, there are certain cases where a specific needle point is best. When sewing on leather or heavy duck cloth, you don't want to use a ballpoint needle; it won't make a stitch! Fabric and material choices are usually based on the application - cotton for quilting, vinyl or leather for upholstery, knit for clothing, etc. We'll highlight the popular needle points and explain what makes them work the best for specific stitching applications.

The most common needle point for quilting is the regular round and regular rounded sharp. This needle point does an excellent job at separating the fibers of quilting fabric instead of cutting through the fibers. Because the majority of quilts are made from cotton fabric with a tight weave, a needle point that separates instead of serrates the fiber of the fabric will provide a lasting stitching experience. Most needles used for quilting will be labeled as R, RG, FFG, or use the 130/705H designation. Superior's Topstitch Needles have a regular rounded sharp point and are excellent for quilting, piecing, embroidery, and clothing construction. If you've been by our booth at a quilt show, visited our showroom, or have seen photos of any of the quilts Mother Superior has made, she only uses our Topstitch needles in the creation of her quilts.

Different sewing machine needles
The universal needle at top has an R point
Topstitch needles
The Microtex needle at the top has a sharp point

Embroidery needles are available in several different points. This largely depends on the material which is being embroidered. For example, stiff items such as hats need to have a sharp point so the needle can penetrate through the tough material and stabilizer. Most embroidery needles have a variation of a sharp point and are commonly labeled as RS or ST.

Most serger applications involve knit or stretchy fabrics. You don't want to use a sharp needle on knit fabrics, as it may cut through the loosely-woven material and the stitches won't hold. Ballpoint needles are widely used on knit fabrics and sergers. These needles are commonly labeled as G, SP, or SKL.

The most common needle point available is the regular round point (sometimes referred to as the standard point), also labeled as R. This needle type is used for all types of sewing including clothing construction, crafting, quilting, and much more.

Heavy-duty sewing:
When sewing through thick fabrics such as canvas or leather, a sharp needle point or cutting point is recommended. Many leather sewing needles will also have a different shape to the point, a slight angle to help cut through the material with minimal impact on the top thread. Leather needles are commonly labeled as ST, LR, RS, and TRICUT.

For home sewing, quilting, and embroidery applications, we recommend our Titanium-coated Topstitch needles. The special titanium-nitride coating extends the life of the needle up to 6 times over a standard nickel or chrome-plated needle.

We've created a handy guide that matches our thread lines to the recommended needle size and includes tension recommendations too! View our Home Machine Reference Guide.

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