Machine needles for domestic sewing machines come in different brands, different sizes, and different types. The brand, whether Schmetz, Organ, Klasse, or other name, is a matter of personal preference, unless your machine is unusual and requires a needle that is not of standard size. Machine Needles come in sizes ranging from sizes Metric Size 60 to 120 (Imperial Sizes 8 to 20). This size essentially represents the thickness of the needle. The lower the number, the finer the needle. Thread, however, is the opposite, the finer the thread, the higher the number.
Most of the time, although there are some exceptions, it's good to choose the needle size according to the thread you're using. 50-60 weight thread (a midweight) usually does well with an 80/12 size needle when you are piecing. A lighter or heavier thread may do best with another size. When sewing, the thread lies in the needle groove, if the needle is too fine for the thread, the thread will not fit into this groove causing faulty stitching.
The needle TYPE can make a big impact on your stitch quality! If you have been using a universal needle for piecing or quilting, I hope you'll reconsider after reading this!
Needle Types and Why they are Important
The eye of an Embroidery needle is larger than a universal needle. Topstitch and Metallic needles have an even larger eye, helpful for thicker or fussier threads and dense fabric.
Each Needle type has different specifications. For example, a ball point needle is blunt, so it can slip between the threads of a knit fabric, rather than snag it. A universal needle is a cross between a sharp and blunt point - it's semi blunt. Save those universal needles for crafts and garments.
Needle Types with SHARPER POINTS include Quilting needles, Microtex Needles, Topstitch Needles and Denim Needles. And between these, there are differences in the shape, the eye, and the groove!
|An extra large eye and deeper groove to accommodate thick topstitching thread and fussy threads. The extra sharp point allows the needle to sew easily through all fabrics.
||Use this needle type for piecing and quilting layers of cotton fabric and batting. Long, sharp point penetrates multiple layers and maintains straight stitches.
||AKA Microtex. Use this needle type for silks, microfiber fabrics and tightly woven fabrics. A nice choice for Batiks. A sharp point to produce perfectly straight topstitching and smooth buttonholes.
||Use this needle type for denim, canvas and other tightly woven fabrics. The sharp, strong point sews through dense fabrics. These needles are also ideal for topstitching woven fabrics.
Embroidery Needle - Designed for rayon and polyester embroidery applications.
Metallic Needle - The larger, specially coated eye accommodates metallic thread flow at all stitch speeds. The needles' large groove in the shaft prevents thread from breaking.
Hemstitch Needle - A single "wing" blade on the side of needle cuts a narrow hole in your fabric, creating the popular heirloom-style decorative hemstitching.