Superior Education

Needle Points

  • Home Machine Needles
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Serger Needles

How to choose the correct needle point

With many different types of fabrics available, what needle point type should you use when sewing, quilting, serging, upholstering, or constructing? Different fabrics work better with specific needle points. We'll go through the most popular needle point types and explain what makes them the best an application.

The takeup lever of a sewing machine
Thread not properly seated in the takeup lever
Eyelashes from bad tension
Example of eyelashes from uneven tension

The most common needle point for quilting is the rounded sharp. This needle point does an excellent job at separating the fibers of quilting fabric instead of cutting through the fibers. The majority of quilts are made from cotton fabric with a tight weave. Most needles used for quilting will be labeled as FFG, R, or use the 130/705H designation. Superior's Topstitch Needles have a rounded sharp point and are excellent for quilting, piecing, embroidery, and clothing construction.

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 fabric 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 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/Leather:
When sewing through thick fabrics such as canvas or leather, a sharp needle 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, TRICUT, and more.

Remember that not only does the needle size affect the stitchability, but the type of needle you are using. When sewing on heavy fabrics, a ballpoint needle will not give you the best results.

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

View our Home Machine Reference Guide for tension and needle tips.

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