Sewing Machine Needle Sizing

Improving the Outcome

Every successful sewing project begins with the right sewing needle. There can be a lot of information printed on the sewing needle packages.  One of the most important bits of information you will find on the package is the notation of the needle size.

Using the incorrect needle can cause many problems for you as you sew.  The process of sewing will be easier if you use the correct size for the job!

 

Number Sense

The numbers on a pack of needles indicate the diameter of the sewing machine needle shaft. The blade of the needle will make that same sized hole in the material it punctures.

The first number listed corresponds to the diameter of the needle shaft in European sizing, based on its measurement in millimeters.   A European Size 70 needle has a 0.7-millimeter shaft.

The second number (after the slash) indicates the American (Universal) sizing, based on a mathematical relationship to the European (Number Metric) sizing.

In both sizing methods, a smaller number means a smaller sized needle shaft.

Sewing Machine Needle Anatomy

The most important thing to know about these numbers is that they designate the size of the needle hole that will be made in the fabric by the needle blade.

A fine or lightweight fabric needs a fine needle.  A size 60/8 is good for lightweight fabrics such as silk chiffon.

A durable or heavyweight fabric needs a larger needle to help the thread move easily through the fabric. Needle sizes of 90/14 and 100/16 are used for heavy fabrics such as denim.

 

Where to Go from Here

For simplifying your projects, we have a library of fabrics and the needle sizes you will need to sew them successfully.  Click here for that library.

Next up, you’ll find out about the different types of needles, and we’ll show you the other writing you may find on these sewing machine needle packs.

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing machine needles to you?

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