Sewing Needles: 101

When I just started learning how to sew, anything that required changing needles (or basically anything else) on my sewing machine intimidated me. It seemed like there was too much I didn’t know and I was scared I’d wreck something. So, anytime a different sewing needle was suggested, I avoided that particular project.. for a long time.

Luckily, I have since gotten over it and have learned a lot about different sewing machine needles and their uses. I thought I’d share this knowledge for others who may be experiencing the same thing I went through!

Take a look at the list and descriptions below. Hopefully it will help make choosing a sewing needle seem a little less scary!

Universal Needles

Universal needles are appropriate for most woven fabrics and can be used for linens, cottons, and even finer fabrics. They can also be used for quick fixes and can even be substituted for most projects- I actually didn’t need any other type of needle for my first 3 or 4 years of sewing!

Top-Stitching Needles

These needles have enlarged grooves that enables sewing with thicker threads. They are used for thicker fabrics and are very sharp. They have a large eye and a long thin point that enables it to go through very thick fabrics or multiple layers. It’s often used for decorative stitching on denim, quilting, and embroidery.

Regular-Point Needles

These needles come in a variety of sizes. The larger the number, the heavier fabric they can go through and vice versa- the smaller the number, the finer fabrics it can go through. Regular point needles are often used for basic sewing machine stitches.

Ball Point Needles

As its name suggests, ball point needles had a little ball at the tip instead of a point. They can be used for closely knit fabrics that are stretchy. The rounded tip helps to ensure that the needle will be able to smoothly glide through the yarns of the fabric without pulling or ripping anything.

Wedge Point Needles

This needle is meant for very thick fabrics such as vinyl or leather.

Quilting Needles

These needles are perfect for quilting because they are tapered in a way that makes them very good a passing though multiple layers including batting. They also have a slightly rounded tip that prevents damage to the fabric.

Embroidery Needles

Embroidery needles have extra strong shafts and tapered points that enable the needles to go through multiple layers of fabric without damaging it. These needles also have a large eye (though not as large as top stitching needles) that is great for working with fabrics such as polyester and rayon.


Microtex needles are more thin compared to universal needles. They were originally intended for sewing straight stitches with delicate microfibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, and laminates. They are also often used for woven fabrics, applique, and quilting.


Needle Guide

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