Now that we’ve covered the basic parts and pieces of sewing machine needles and that the variation in needles is determined by the shape and size of the parts, let’s look at some actual examples of the different types of sewing machine needles:
Universal Needles have a slightly rounded point and come in various sizes. These needles are the safest choice for many general projects and fabrics.
Topstitch Needles have a larger eye which makes them perfect for topstitching with heavier threads. Due to its larger eye, topstitch needles are easier to thread and the thread is less likely to fray.
Embroidery Needles have a special scarf, a slightly rounded point, and a slightly larger eye which makes them ideal for metallic and specialty threads. The thread used for embroidery is thinner and more fragile so the larger eye and special scarf prevent that thread from breaking or fraying.
Denim Needles have an extra sharp point so as to penetrate finely woven fabrics without impacting the needle.
Quilting Needles have tapered point and light ballpoint to glide through layers and batting easily.
Stretch Needles have a unique design to help eliminate skipped stitches due to fabric flex. The eye of the Stretch Needle is shorter and narrower and the scarf is deeper.
Twin Needles, as you can imagine, have two separate needles mounted to one shank. These are used for decorative sewing. The larger the number the wider the space between each needle. There are also Twin Stretch Needles that have two stretch needles mounted to one scarf.
Leather Needles have a wedge shaped point so penetrate the thicker material of leather and faux leather.
It’s also important to remember that dull needles will negatively impact your project so use new needles every time! Sewing machine needles can bend and become dull quickly so a it’s a good idea to switch needles after around 7 hours of continuous sewing.