Last Updated on August 30, 2021

Knowing the different types of sewing machine needles can help you choose which one is ideal to use for a particular project. Utilizing the right needle makes a huge difference between skipped stitches, broken threads, and a professional-looking seam. Since different types of sewing machine needles also vary in thickness, this post will walk you through each type’s uses and sizes for a better sewing experience.

What are the different types of sewing machine needles? There are eight types of sewing machine needles. It includes the Ballpoint Needle, Regular Point Needles (Sharp), Quilting Point needles, Topstitch Needles, Embroidery Needles, Wedge Point Needles, Universal Point Needles, and Jeans Needles.

Read on to learn which type of sewing machine needle should be used on your next project. This article will also discuss the different characteristics of each sewing machine needle type and which one should be used for a particular fabric.



Different Sewing Machine Needle Types


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Ballpoint Needle


The first type of sewing machine needle is the ballpoint needle, intended for stretch fabrics and knitting. Instead of having a sharp tip, the ballpoint needle has a round pointed tip.

Aside from that, it pushes between the fabric’s yarns compared to what a sharp-pointed sewing needle does. A ballpoint needle is quite large, ranging from 9 to 16. Compared to all types of needles, it is the most rounded and is the largest.


Regular Point Needles (Sharp)


When your sewing project involves woven fabric like linen, cotton, or embroidery cloth, use regular point needles. This type of sewing machine needle is known as a self-threading needle as it has a groove located on top above the eye. When you position the thread in the groove, tugging at it, the needle will thread automatically. Regular point needles let you sew even stitches without causing harm or damage to your fabric.

You can also see this type of needle in most basic sewing kits. It is also an excellent needle to use for edge stitching woven fabrics. Regular point needles are available in different sizes. You can choose from 9 to 18, 9 as the finest and 18 as the thickest size.


Quilting Point Needle


Another type of sewing machine needle is the quilting point needle. It has a trapped point, letting you stitch layers of fabrics together. The needle’s tapering point preserves the quality of the fabric you sew. Usually, quilting point needles are smaller and more durable than typical hand or sewing needles. You can choose from 9 to 12 quilting needle sizes.


Topstitch Needles


As its name suggests, topstitch needles are intended for topstitching, a decorative stitching activity where an individual makes a row of continuous stitches on the fabric’s surface. Topstitch needles have a deeper groove and a large extra eye. Also, it is among the essential sewing tools for heavy topstitching jobs.


Embroidery Needles


Just like regular point needles, embroidery needles are also self-threading. It is used for embroidery as it can smoothly pass through embroidery fabric or cloth. This type of sewing machine needle has larger eyes than a regular needle to accommodate thicker or large threads. Its size is also designed to prevent the unraveling of embroidery threads.


The throat plate


Wedge Point Needles


Wedge point needles are stronger and a little bit thicker compared to most types of sewing machine needles. For this reason, it is usually utilized for sewing vinyl or leather.

It also comes in a smaller size, which is used for pliable and soft leather. Its bigger size, on the other hand, is used for sewing heavier layers. Wedge point needles are available in sizes 11 to 18.


Universal Point Needles


Universal point needles are generally utilized for knit fabric sewing projects and sewing machines. When sewing knit and woven fabric, use this needle as it can easily slip through fabric waves. Since its needle is not too sharp, it protects delicate knit fabrics while sewing. You can choose from needle sizes 14/90 and 11/75 according to your needs.


Jeans Needles


You guessed it right! This type of sewing machine needle is intended for sewing denim. But aside from that, it is also ideal for canvas, heavy twill, and other densely woven fabrics. It has a heavy-duty shank to prevent bending and breakage and a very sharp point to push through heavy fabrics quickly. When using this type of needle, choose cotton wrapped polyester, 100% polyester, synthetic or blended threads, and heavier topstitching threads.


Choosing The Right Sewing Machine Needles


Below is a guide that can help you determine which type and size of sewing machine needle are ideal for sewing a particular type of fabric:

  • Sheer to lightweight fabrics – When sewing fabrics like chiffon, batiste, georgette, voile, organza, and all micro denier or microfiber, use a regular point needle with sizes 9/70 or 11/80.
  • Lightweight – Use a regular point needle size 11/80 when sewing lightweight fabrics like chambray, challis, charmeuse, gauze, crepe de chine, silk, handkerchief linen, tissue faille, and taffeta. 
  • Medium-weight – Use a regular point needle size 14/90 when sewing medium-weight fabrics like chino, brocade, broadcloth, corduroy, chintz, satin, linen, flannel, synthetic suedes, Polin, terry, taffeta, and velvet.
  • Medium to Heavy-weight – Use a 16/100 or 18/110 regular point needle when sewing medium to heavy-weight fabrics like damask, coating, fake fur, drapery fabric, ticking, gabardine, and woolens.
  • Sheer to Lightweight Knits – When sewing sheer to lightweight knits like spandex, jersey, single knot, and tricot, use a ball point needle with sizes 10/70 or 12/80.
  • Denim and Canvas – Use a Jeans needle size 16/100 when sewing heavy fabrics like denim and canvas.
  • Medium to Heavy-weight Knits – You will need a size 14/90 ball point needle when sewing medium to heavy-weight knits like sweatshirts, double knits, and sweater knits.
  • Specialty Fabrics – Use size 14/90 or 16/100 wedge point needle when sewing suede, leather, or buckskin.





In summary, each type of sewing machine needle comes with unique characteristics. It allows them to bring desirable results when used the right way. So, choosing the type and size of sewing machine needle according to the fabric you will work with is essential. Failing to do so might damage your fabrics and result in dull stitches.


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