Sewing machine needle guide

Why replace your sewing machine needles?

Needles go blunt quicker than you might imagine. After 3-4 projects your needle is past its best, you might end up getting skipped stitches or hear a sort of plucking noise as it goes through the fabric. You can stock up from a range of different needles in our online shop so you always have a fresh one ready to go.  

If you’re sewing with a wide variety of fabric you will need to change your neeedles around. A stretch swimsuit material sewn with the wrong needle will leave you with holes in your seams. 

If you’re topstitching with thick thread you will need to use a different needle.

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes

It’s not as complicated as you think! the first number is the European size and the second is the American size, this is written in the format European/American. The larger the number the thicker the needle is and generally the thicker the fabric you use it for.

60/8 Very light: Delicate silks, voile, organza

70/10 Light: Cotton lawn, voile, lining fabrics

80/12 Medium: Shirting, quilting cotton, viscose

90/14 Medium: Linen, curtain fabrics, wool, leather

100/16 Heavy: Denim, canvas, upholstery fabrics, leather

Common sewing machine needles


The most common needles, they are suitable for a wide variety of woven fabrics. They typically come in sizes 70-90

Jeans needles 

A stronger needle with a very sharp point and a design specifically for heavier weight fabrics such as denim and canvas.

Jersey/Ballpoint needles

These needles have a ball point rather than sharp point so that they push between the fibres rather than tearing them. They are used for jersey fabric found in t-shirts, dresses and jumpers.

They come in a variety of sizes at the larger end a 90 size would be great for a sweatshirt and a 70 for a very fine jersey.

Stretch needles 

For very stretchy fabric such as for a swimming costume or a leotard. They also have a ball point tip but they also have a larger eye than other needles. This gives the stitch more stretch and can stop you getting skipped stitches.

Top-stitch needles

Used for the thick topstitch thread you typically find on jeans, they are designed to cope with the much thicker thread and to give a nice even stitch.

Microtex needles (also known as sharps)

These needles have a very fine sharp point, which helps the needle go through very dense fabrics.

Leather Needles

Leather needles have a blade shaped tip that slices through the leather rather than just piercing it. They also have a wider eye to allow for a thicker thread.

Organising your sewing machine needles

If you sew with a variety of fabrics you might find you are frequently changing your needle but there’s still life left in the needle you’re taking out.

Our Needle Store allows you to store your needles by type and size, and to keep the used needles separate from the new ones. Find out more here

Needle storage box for sewing