Understanding Standard Sewing Machine Needles Sizes Guide

Sewing Machine Needles SizesIf you are new to sewing and not aware of standard sewing machine needles sizes, then worry not. Here you will find all about different sewing machine needles sizes available. For some of us who are still beginning to use sewing machines, we might think that once the machine is properly threaded, we can start sewing away. For most part that is true especially if we use standard fabrics as prescribed by your sewing machine.

In reality however, we try out different fabrics and different projects that require more specialized stitching. We may then notice that the stitching quality isn’t the same. Some stitches may become uneven and will result to poor quality work. Some stitches may begin to unravel and you find yourself constantly going back to redo the stitches.

Sometimes these are caused by dull needles. That is one very important factor in sewing. You must have sharp needles in order to produce quality stitches. But we also have to understand that keeping our needles sharp is not the only thing we need to consider about needles. We also need to consider needle sizes for different fabrics and designs.

Different Sewing Machine Needles Sizes

Hearing about the different sewing machine needles sizes may intimidate us to thinking that this is something that requires a higher skill set to understand. However, understanding the different needle sizes are fairly simple.

There are two standards used for needle sizes: the American and European. It’s just like understanding shoe sizes that there is a corresponding size in Europe for every American size available. For needles, the American needle sizes are from 8 to 19 with 8 being the lightest among them. There are nine different sizes namely 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19. For European needle sizes you also have nine different sizes namely 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120. The lightest needle is the size 60 needle which is also the counterpart of size 8 in American standards.

The lightest needles are the sharpest and thinnest needles. They are used for lighter and sheerer fabrics to avoid any damage that may be caused by the thickness of the needle. The heavier needles (19/120) are used for thick fabrics that need a more-sturdy needle to avoid breaking or bending.

Different Needle Types

On top of the different sewing machine needles sizes, there are also different needle types for different fabrics and stitching. Some are more appropriate for intricate and complicated stitching work. Some are meant for more heavy duty sewing.

The sharp point needles are used for fine fabrics to avoid any damage caused by the needle. They have to be sharp to pierce through the woven fabric and not leave any distinguishable marks. Otherwise, your needle might bend or break if it doesn’t pierce through the fabric easily. Such needles are available from the lightest needle sizes to the heaviest needle sizes.

Ball point needles on the other hand have rounder points that makes them suitable for stretch and knit fabrics. The essence of ball point needles is not to pierce through the baric but rather to push the fabric weave. This will avoid snagging of these kinds of fabrics when being sewed.

Universal point needles are the all-time favorite of many household sewing machine users. This primarily used in everyday general sewing works. The point is slightly rounded like in ball point needles but also tapered so that it easily cuts through woven fabrics. This allows versatility of use as it can easily pierce through any fabric even knit fabrics.

Embroidery needles have bigger eye holes to accommodate the specialty thread used for embroidery stitching. This will keep the embroidery threads from breaking and fraying. More often than not, embroidery threads are also thicker than ordinary threads.

Quilting needles have tapered points that allow them to sew through thick layers of fabric. Quilts are usually thick and heavy. You will need a special needle (quilting needles) to be able to work with them properly. Quilting needles are usually smaller but stronger than regular needles.

For heavy duty sewing like leather and vinyl, you need a superior kind of needle to allow it to pierce through the material without breaking. These are called wedge point needles. These needles can pierce through the toughest materials and also comes in various sizes. The softer kind of tough materials would require only the lighter needles.

Matching your Fabric and Needles

Now that you are familiar with the different available sizes and types of needle, all you need to do now is to be able to match the right needles with your fabric. An additional consideration would be the kind of stitching you need to go into your fabric.

For light and sheer fabrics, this would usually require the lighter needles as not to create a big gaping hole in the fabric once you are through stitching. While the end product may be trying to create something functional, it also has to look good aesthetically. However, as your fabrics get heavier and thicker, you have to switch to heavier needle sizes also to avoid bending or breaking your needle.

The kind of fabric is also important in choosing your needle. If the fabrics are woven, it will be more difficult to pierce through these kind of fabric. So you need the sharp point needles for these kind of fabrics. However, woven fabrics can easily be pierced or rather “pushed” aside. Here you will need rounder point needles. The idea is just to push through the knit without causing it to run.

Fabric is not your only consideration in needles however. You also have to consider the kind of stitches that you need. You may be working on a thin lightweight fabric but the thread that you will use is a heavy one as the stitch requires it. For the lightweight fabric you would have chosen a needle size that is light. However, the thread and stitch work requires a heaver sized needle. The best solution for this is to experiment with a mid-sized needle.

When testing fabric and needle compatibility, always test on a scrap fabric first before doing the actual sewing on your work. Experiments can be very successful but they can also fail at times. Save yourself the trouble of finding out the incompatibility of your fabric and needle the hard way. And always remember to practice utmost caution in handling your needles.