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16 Different Types of Needles: Names, Sizes, and Types In 2023

Types of Needles

Curious about embroidery needles for that baby sweater you want to stitch? You may get confused by the hoard of needles that’s out there as there are different types of needles for different purposes, fabrics, etc. Whether you sew by hand or machine, you need to have different needles at your disposal to get the right stitch. Here we have curated a list of the different types of needles. But before that let’s check out the different parts of a needle.

What Is the Use of Needles?

You can identify a needle with its thin, polished metal shaft. It is usually sharp at one end with a hole at its other end. The thread used for stitching is run through this hole. Knitting needles are, however, different. They are thin sticks made of metal or plastic and have a pointed end and no holes at their other end.

Parts of a Needle

In the anatomy of a needle, it has 5 parts:

  • Shank: The head of a needle is called a shank. It sits in the socket of the sewing machine.
  • Blade: The blade is used to determine the size of the needle.
  • Shaft: The body of a needle is called a shaft. It has an eye at its end through which the run thread is to be run.
  • Point: The tip of the needle is referred to as a point and it varies according to the type of needle.
  • Scarf: The flattened part of the needle near the eye is called the scarf of the needle.

Different Types of Needles

You must select needles based on the type of fabric you are stitching. Selecting the correct fabric, stabilizer, and thread is as important as selecting the correct type of needle. Here comes the different types of needles and the different sizes they are available in.

1. Universal

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  • The point of the universal needle is slightly rounded.
  • It is perfect for woven textiles like cotton.
  • For knitted fabrics, universal needles may be sharp.

2. Ballpoint

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  • The point of the needle is rounded so that the needle can easily pass through fabric ends rather than pierce them.
  • This needle is perfect for knitted fabrics.
  • Ballpoint needles can also be used for spandex and heavy knits.

3. Quilting

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  • Quilting needles have a tapered point so that they can sew through intersecting seams and thick layers.
  • For machine quilting, quilting needles are a perfect choice.
  • These needles can also be used for piercing.

4. Sharp

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  • Sharp needles have narrow shafts with a sharp point to pierce woven fabrics.
  • It is suitable for microfiber, lightweight faux suede, silk, and chintz.
  • You can also use sharp needles for heirloom sewing or other types of topstitching.

5. Leather

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  • A leather needle has a wedge-shaped point and it will leave permanent holes in the fabric.
  • It is ideal for sewing thick non-woven fabric, heavy faux suede, vinyl, suede, and leather.
  • Do not backstitch as it will perforate the fabric. Instead, you can tie the ends of the thread.
  • These needles must not be used for knits.

6. Denim

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  • These needles have a string shaft and a sharp point.
  • It can stitch through multiple layers without breaking.
  • You can use denim needles for heavy, tightly woven fabrics like a duck, canvas, and denim.

7. Topstitching


  • Needles used for topstitching have a sharp point, a large groove, and an extra-large eye.
  • These are used for embroidery threads, heavy decorative threads, or even 2 strands of all-purpose threads.

8. Stretch

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  • Stretch needles are used for lightweight knits such as lycra, silk jersey, or any other fabric with high elasticity.
  • Using a ballpoint needle on these fabrics is not advisable as it may skip stitches, so it’s better to switch to stretch needles.

9. Serger


  • Serger needles are specifically used for overlock machines.
  • It has a sharp point and can be used on all fabrics.

10. Embroidery


  • These needles are used for machine embroidery.
  • Specialty threads, acrylic, and rayon need these types of needles.

11. Metallic


  • These needles have a sharp point, a large groove scarf, and an extra-large eye.
  • This needle is used for metallic threads and monofilament threads.

12. Wing


  • These needles have flared “wings” on either side of their shaft.
  • This type of needle is used for stitching heirlooms and for decorative stitches on linen and Batiste.

13. Twin

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  • These needles have a single shaft that connects 2 needles together.
  • It is used to obtain perfectly parallel stitches.
  • Parallel stitching can be found in decorative stitching and jeans.

14. Triple

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  • These needles are a type of needle that is universal and is similar to the twin needle but with a single shaft to connect 3 needles.
  • It needs a triple needle-compatible machine to work successfully.

15. Spring


  • These needles are a type of needles to be used for monogramming, embroidery, and free-motion sewing.
  • It has a wired, coiled shaft that acts as a presser foot. You can depress it and release the fabric from the needle.

16. Metafil

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  • These needles are used to embroider or sew on knitted or woven fabrics with rayon or metallic threads.
  • These types of needles have an extra-large eye so that fancy threads do not split or thread while being run through it.

Sizes of Different Types of Needles Based on Fabric

Sizes of needles are as important as selecting the right needle and fabric. Here’s a table with the different types of needles, their sizes, and types of fabric you can sew with them.

Sl. No. Types of Fabric Types of Needle Size of the Needle
Lightweight to Sheer fabrics
(Micro denier, microfiber, Voile, Organza, Georgette, Chiffon, and Batiste)
Regular point needles 9/70 or 11/80
Lightweight fabrics
(Tissue Faille, taffeta, Silk, Handkerchief Linen, Gauze, Crêpe de Chine, Charmeuse, Chambray, and Challis)
Regular point needles 11/80
Medium-weight fabrics
(Velvet, Terry, Taffeta, Synthetic Suedes, Satin, Poplin, Linen, Flannel, Corduroy, Chintz, Chino, Brocade, and Broadcloth)
Regular point needles 14/90
Medium to heavy-weight fabrics
(Woolens, Ticking, Gabardine, Fake fur, Drapery fabrics, Damask, and Coating)
Regular point 16/100 or 18/110
Canvas and denim Jeans/Denim 16/100
Lightweight to sheer knits
(Tricot, Spandex, Single knit, Jersey)
Ballpoint 10/70 or 12/80
Medium to heavy-weight knits
(Sweater knit, Sweatshirt, and Double knit)
Ballpoint 14/90
Specialty fabrics
(Buckskin, Suede, and Leather)
Wedge point 14/90 or 16/100

Sizes of Needles Based on Different Types

Here’s another table based on the different types of needles and the fabric, needle size, and thread that you can use those needles on.

Sl. No. Types of Needles Size of the Needle Type of Fabric Types of Thread
Universal needle 70 (10) Delicate silk, sheers, voile Gutermann Sew-All
80 (12) Light wool, rayon, poplin, shirtings Gutermann Sew-All
90 (14) Linen, medium-heavy fabrics, calico Gutermann Sew-All
100 (16) Heavy fabric, bag making, upholstery Gutermann Sew-All
110 (18) Upholstery and extra-heavy fabric Gutermann Sew-All and Gutermann Extra Upholstery
Sharp needles 70 (10) Microfiber and voile Gutermann Sew-All
80 (12) Patchwork, microfiber, and shirtings Gutermann Sew-All
90 (14) Topstitching Gutermann Sew-All
Ballpoint needles 70 (10) Tricot and light knits Gutermann Sew-All
80 (12) Lacoste and interlock Gutermann Sew-All
90 (14) Double knit and medium-heavy knits Gutermann Sew-All
Stretch needles 75 (11) Elasticised fabrics and light lycra Gutermann Sew-All
90 (14) Elasticised fabrics, elastic-heavy lycra Gutermann Sew-All
Jeans needles 90 (14) Tightly woven fabrics and denim Gutermann Extra Upholstery
100 (16) Furnishings, vinyl, and heavy denim Gutermann Extra Upholstery
Leather needles 90 (14) Suede and leather Gutermann Extra Upholstery and Gutermann Sew-All
100 (16) Not for synthetic leather Gutermann Extra Upholstery and Gutermann Sew-All
Metafil needles 80 (12) Decorative sewing on different fabrics Gutermann Extra Upholstery and Gutermann Sew-All
Quilting needles 80 (12) Quilts made from polyester, wool, or cotton with a wadding center Gutermann Natural Cotton
Embroidery needles 75 (11)  Decorative sewing on lightweight textiles
90 (14) Decorative sewing on heavy textiles
Twin needles various Mostly decorative sewing on multiple fabrics

To Conclude

Remember that choosing the right needle for your stitching work is as important as choosing the right fabric, sewing machine, and size of the needle of your chosen type. Hope our table on what needle goes for which fabric helped you in finding the right needle for that baby sweater you have in mind.

Types of Needles FAQs:

1. What do you mean by the scarf of a needle?

The indentation above the eye of the needle is called the scarf of the needle. It allows you to grab the thread by a bobbin hook under the throat plate. This will help you create a stitch. A long scarf will help you to avoid skipping stitches as it allows the hook to loop the thread easily.

2. What is the purpose of a needle with 2 holes?

The second hole keeps the needle eye as close to the thread as you sew it. Your thread may shred as you run it through a needle with two holes and may also come unthreaded. The top points might also hurt your finger if you push the needle while stitching.

3. What do needle sizes mean?

Needle sizes indicate the thickness of the needle, i.e., the larger the number indicated as size, the thicker the needle will be. A smaller number in the American system indicates a needle with a thickness range from 8 to 20 whereas a larger number indicates needles with a thickness f=range from 60 to 120. The sizes of the common sewing machine needles are 100/16, 90/14, 80/12, 75/11. 70/10, and 60/8.

4. Will all types of needles fit the sewing machine?

Yes, most types of sewing machine needles will fit all sewing machines. Brands such as Schmetz, produce needles that can work with all sewing machines brands. However, brands like Sergers, embroidery machines, overlock sewing machines, or other special sewing machines need special types of needles to stitch accurately.

5. How should I choose the right needle for my sewing machine?

Here are some points to remember while choosing a needle for your sewing machine:

  • Light fabric = small-sized needle
  • Heavy fabric = large-sized needle
  • Depending on the thread you are using
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