Types Of Needles (Sewing Machine Needle Sizes, Colors)

Types Of Needles For Sewing Machine:

For beginners, how to identify sewing machine needles is a common question. There are various types of needles for various purposes, but the parts of a sewing machine needle differ in their construction. This post is an overview and check out more elaborated sewing needles codes definitions etc on types of needles for sewing machines.

Many people know that there are different types of thread depending on your project, but did you also know there are different sizes and types of needles. Different Types of Needles for Different Fabric. Regular Point Needle (Sharp): Universal Point NeedleBall Point NeedleEmbroidery NeedlesQuilting Needles: Topstitching Needle: Wedge point Needle etc… Whether sewing by hand or machine, you will find that there are sewing needles for every task.

Here’s the anatomy of sewing machine needle to identify it better.parts of needle

    • Shank: The shank is the head of the needle that sits into your sewing machine socket. Set the flat side to the back.
    • Blade: The blade determines the needle size. We’ll look into needle sizes further in this post.
    • Shaft: The shaft is the body of the needle which has an eye at the end to run the thread through.
  • The point varies according to the type of the needle based on usage. 

Types of needles:

There are different types of needles for different types of materials. The needles differ in shape at the tip. Types of needles, how they work, what they are used for etc… You should select the types of needles based on the type of textile (i.e. knit vs. woven)

Selecting the correct needle for your project is just as important as selecting the fabric, thread, and stabilizer. The different sizes and types of needles are as follows.


The point is slightly rounded. Very good for woven fabrics like cotton. It is sharp for knits and good for woven fabrics. 

Types Of Needles universal


This needle is good for knits. It is rounded point slightly such that the needle passes between the fabric threads rather than pierce them. Also suitable for heavy knits and spandex.

Types Of Needles ballpoint


It has a tapered point designed for thick layers and intersecting seams. This is the best choice for perfect machine quilting. Quilting Needles can also be used for piecing.

Types Of Needles


This needle has a sharp point and narrow shaft for piercing wovens. Suitable for finely woven fabric like chintz, silk, lightweight faux suede, and microfiber. Also great for heirloom sewing or any other type of topstitching.

Types Of Needles sharp


The leather needles have a wedge-shaped point which is ideal for sewing leather, suede, vinyl, heavy faux suede, and thick non-woven fabric. This needle leaves permanent holes. Avoid backstitch so that the fabric doesn’t get perforated. Instead, tie the thread ends. Not for use with knits.

Types Of Needles - leather


Denim Needles have a sharp point and strong shaft. These needles can stitch through many layers without breaking. Use on heavy, tightly woven fabric, like denim, canvas, and duck.

Types Of Needles denim


It has an extra large eye, large groove, and sharp point for heavy decorative threads, embroidery thread, or 2even two strands of all-purpose thread.


These needles are for lightweight knits such as Silk Jersey, Lycra, or anything with high elasticity. For these fabrics a ballpoint needle may skip stitches, so switch to stretch needle.

Types Of Needles - stretch


These are specifically designed for Overlock machines. It has sharp point and used on all fabrics.


These are needles for machine embroidery, when sewn with Rayon, Acrylic, or speciality threads.


It has an extra large eye, large groove scarf, and sharp point which goes well with monofilament and metallic thread. This needle must be used when sewing metallic thread.


It has flared ‘wings’ on each side of the shaft. Used for heirloom and decorative stitches on Batiste and linen.


It has a single shaft connecting two needles. This needle is used when the sewer wants perfectly parallel stitches. Usually seen on jeans and decorative stitching.


This needle only comes as a universal needle. Just like the Twin needle, the Triple needle has a single shaft connecting three needles. The machine must be Triple needle capable.


This needle is most commonly used for free motion sewing, embroidery, and monogramming. the wire coiled shaft acts as a presser foot to depress and release the fabric. Only available in universal, stretch, and quilting.

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes:

After you’ve identified the sewing machine needle, what puzzles you are, are sewing machine needles universal. Well, No! there are different sizes and colours for different materials to sew.

What size sewing machine needle for cotton/ satin is a question after you’ve ruined your lightweight satin by stitching it with a wrong sewing needle. For example, a size 75 needle has a blade that is .75 mm in diameter.

Here’s a table with the fabric types with suitable needle types and sizes. The fabric types include cotton, linen, silk, wool, synthetic, rayon, blends and listed in the order of weight.

Fabric Type Machine Needle Type Machine Needle Size
Sheer to lightweight: Batiste, Chiffon, Georgette, Organza, Voile and all microfiber or micro denier fabrics. Regular Point 9/70 or 11/80
Lightweight: Challis, Chambray, Charmeuse, Crepe de Chine, Gauze, Handkerchief Linen, Silk, Taffeta, Tissue Faille. Regular Point 11/80
Medium-weight: Broadcloth, Brocade, Chino, Chintz, Corduroy, Flannel, Linen, Poplin, Satin, Synthetic Suedes, Taffeta, Terry, Velvet Regular Point 14/90
Medium to Heavy-weight: Coating, Damask, Drapery Fabric, Fake Fur, Gabardine, Ticking, Woolens Regular Point 16/100 or 18/110
Denim and Canvas Denim/Jeans 16/100
Sheer to Lightweight Knits: Jersey, Single Knit, Spandex, Tricot Ball Point 10/70 or 12/80
Medium to Heavy-weight Knits: Double Knit, Sweatshirt, Sweater Knit Ball Point 14/90
Speciality Fabrics: Leather, Suede, Buckskin Wedge Point 14/90 or 16/100

90/14 – Mid-heavy fabrics, like Corduroy, raw Silks, bottom weight fabric.

100/16Heavy fabrics, like Denim and Duck Cloth.

110/18 –  For Very Heavy Fabric, like Canvas or tapestry.

120/19 – Heaviest Fabrics, like luggage handles and boat canvas.

Sewing Machine Needles Color Codes:

And what do the colors on sewing machine needles mean? Here’s a picture with details of sewing machine needles color codes.

types of needles- color codes

Singer Number And Color Codes

Singer colors and numbers its needles with the following system of codes to indicate the needlepoint type and shaft size:

Code And Shank Color Needle Point Type
2000 – uncolored a chromium-coated regular point, for high-speed embroidery stitching
2020 – red a regular point, for woven fabrics (most common Singer needle type)
2022, 2053, 2054 – uncolored overlock needles, only for overlocking machines
2044 – uncolored embroidery needle
2045 – yellow ballpoint, for knits
2026 – blue a heavy-duty point, for denims
2032 – brown chisel or wedge point, for leathers
2025 – uncolored twin needles
2040 – uncolored hemstitch or wing-needle, for “heirloom” or decorative sewing, best on woven cottons and linens
Shoulder color Shaft size
green 9
orange 11
blue 14
purple 16
gray 18

Kenmore color codes

Kenmore colors its needles with a different system of color codes which indicate the needle’s size:

Shank color Shaft size Shaft size (Europe)
blue 11 75
orange 12 80
red 14 90
purple 16 100
green 18 110

Schmetz color codes

The colored band on some types of Schmetz needles indicates the needle type.[2]

Shank color Type
yellow Stretch
blue Jeans
green Quilting
red Embroidery
purple Microtex (sharp)

The types of needles are varied in the shape of the point for different materials and the shaft that fits into the required type of sewing machine.

Are there different types of needles for sewing?

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes The American system uses 8 to 19, 8 being a fine needle and 19 being a thick heavy needle. European sizes range from 60 to 120, 60 being a fine needle and 120 being a thick heavy needle. Either way, the higher the number, the thicker/heavier the needle.

How are needle types classified?

A needle point is classified broadly into two types: Round, set or cloth points. Cutting or leather points.

What are needles used for?

A needle is a small, very thin piece of polished metal which is used for sewing. It has a sharp point at one end and a hole in the other for a thread to go through. Knitting needles are thin sticks that are used for knitting. They are usually made of plastic or metal and have a point at one end.

What are 80 12 needles used for?

knits Double Eye 80/12 A Universal needle with two eyes, used on wovens and knits. Used with two threads for topstitching, shading and texturing effects and for embroidery. Stretch 75/11, 90/14 The medium ball point, special eye and scarf are specially designed to prevent skipped stitches.

How do I choose a needle for my sewing machine?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: the lighter the fabric the smaller the needle size and the heavier the fabric the larger the needle size. Many times the thread you will be using for your sewing project will also determine the type of needle you choose.

Do all needles fit all sewing machines?

Most sewing machine needles will function in all sewing machines. Sewing needle brands such as Schmetz needles work with all sewing machine brands. However, Sergers or overlock machines, embroidery machines, or other specialty machines may use different types of needles.

What do needle sizes mean?

In simple terms, the larger the number the thicker the needle. The smaller number relates to the American system and ranges from 8 to 20 and the larger number is for the European system and ranges from 60 to 120. Common sewing machine needle sizes are 60/8, 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14 and100/16.

How do I identify a needle?

American sized needles are numbered from size 8 to size 19. The finest, sharpest American needle will be a size 8, whereas the thickest needle is a size 19. European sized needles range in size between 60 and 120. Here, the finest needles start at size 60, whereas the thickest needles are size 120.

Why are singer needles different?

The smaller size numbers indicate a smaller (thinner) needle size, used for lighter weight fabrics. There is a wide range of sizes available, but the most common sizes used are SINGER® sizes 11/80 (for light weight fabrics), 14/90 (for medium weight fabrics) and 16/100 (for medium to heavier weight fabrics).

What are the three types of needle points?

Needle Points Needles fall into three primary categories — ball point, sharp, and rounded-sharp.

Why do some needles have two holes?

The second hole is created by the bridge they use to keep the needle eye stay closed as you sew with it. Unfortunately, your thread may shred as you thread your needle. It often times comes unthreaded as you sew. And the top points tend to hurt your finger if you push the needle when you stitch.

What is the scarf of a needle?

Scarf: The scarf is the indentation above the eye that allows the thread to be grabbed by the bobbin hook under the throat plate to create a stitch. A long scarf helps to eliminate skipped stitches by allowing the hook to more easily loop the thread.

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