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How Are Sewing Machine Needles Different

Sewing Machine Needle Information from Schmetz

SCHMETZ is internationally known as the finest sewing machine needle manufacturer in the world. Sewers everywhere count on the quality of their products. Your choice of high quality sewing machine needles can result in the same high quality of maintaining smooth, even stitches in your work. The details on sewing machine needle use and selection below is taken from their website. You can find Schmetz Needles on our website here.

Choosing a Sewing Machine Needle


SCHMETZ makes a variety of needles created especially to do particular sewing jobs very well. What many sewers don’t know is how to choose the correct type and size of needle for the work that they are doing. It is crucial to choose the correct needle to complement your thread choice and the kind of sewing work that you are doing.

Many just continue to use the needle that came in their machine until it breaks. Sewing machine needles are not indestructible. They will not last forever. The points get dull from repeated use and the shaft may get bent from hitting pins in the fabric. A general rule of thumb is to replace the needle after eight (8) hours of use and at the beginning of each project. Each time you buy thread or fabric you should be asking yourself what kind of needle will work best with the project you have in mind.

Choose your needle size based on the type and weight of thread that is being used as well as the fabric that is being sewn. The goal is to have the needle slide easily through the fabric without damaging the fibers or creating too large of a hole, and to carry the thread smoothly without damaging it when sewing.

Change Your Needle - Damaged or worn needles result in:
• Broken or shredded threads
• Skipped or uneven stitches
• Puckered or damaged fabrics
• Popping sounds made by sewing machine

Replace Your Needle. It’s the easiest way to improve your stitch quality.
Schmetz Needles

Schmetz Needles

•Each package of SCHMETZ needles has European and U.S. size equivalents written at the very bottom of the front of the plastic case. Typically they range from 8/60 (the finest) to 20/120 (the largest). This number, indicating the size, will help determine the suitability of the needles to the fabric, thread size and the kind of sewing being done. In general, the finer the thread and the finer the fabric that is being sewn, the finer the needle should be.


•Each package has the name of the needle it contains. These names can help you choose the right type of needle for the work you are about to do (i.e., "Universal," "Quilting," "Sharp," "Metallic," "Topstitch," "Embroidery," etc.). Each type of needle is made for a particular job and should be chosen according to the type of fabric and thread used.
Anatomy of Sewing Machine Needle

Anatomy of Sewing Machine Needle

Butt: The beveled end allows easy insertion in the needle bar.

Shank: Household needles have a flat shank, while commercial and industrial needles have round, threaded, notched or other special shanks. Shanks allow perfect positioning of the needle in the sewing machine.

Shoulder: The sloping area transitioning between the shank and blade. SCHMETZ color codes appear on the shoulder.

Blade: Needle size is determined by the blade diameter (i.e., size 75 is .75mm).

Groove: The groove cradles and guides thread to the eye. The length and size of the groove vary according to needle type.

Scarf: The indentation above the eye that allows the bobbin hook to smoothly grab the thread under the throat plate to create a stitch. The shape and size of the scarf vary according to needle type.

Eye: The hole through which thread passes. The shape and size of the eye vary according to needle type.

Point & Tip: Length, shape and size vary according to needle types.

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