Sewing Machine Needle Types

Machine Needle Sizes

The size of a needle is calculated by its diameter, thus a 90 needle is 0.9mm in diameter. You will see that the higher the number the thicker the needle will be. A previous method of numbering was from 8 to 20 and those numbers equate to the current system as follows.

Size 8 = 60, Size 10 = 70, Size 11= 75, Size 12 = 80, Size 14 = 90, Size 16= 100, Size 18= 110, Size 20 = 120.

Quick Guide

No.60/8 - Silks

No.70/10 - Lightweight fabrics

No.75/11 - Medium weight fabrics

No.80/12 - Medium weight fabrics

No.90/14 - Medium heavyweight fabrics

No.100/16 - Heavy weight fabrics

No.110/18 - Upholstery fabrics.

No. 120/20
- Denim and Heavy Canvas

Most of the specialist threads need to be run through a size 80 or 90 needle.

If in doubt, it's cheaper to buy some new needles than repair your machine!

We carry a comprehensive range of needles. Here is a quick preview.

To see all the needles on the website then click here 

Superior Titanium Coated Needles

Titanium-coated needles have been available for longarm and industrial machines for many years, but these are the first titanium-coated Topstitch style needles made for home machines.

Superior Threads (USA) and Organ Needle Company (Japan) have applied the latest technology of titanium-coated needles to the Topstitch style for home machines. These new titanium-coated needles have an ultra thin coat of titanium nitride layered on the surface to extend their productive life by five to eight times that of conventional needles.

Most professionals recommend changing the needle every project or, if you count, every 8 hours. Imagine having a needle that will last 40 to 60 hours. This is equivalent to saving 80% on the cost of needles.       

Schmetz Universal Needle

The Universal needle has a sharp point for most general sewing applications from dress making to machine embroidery and machine quilting. The Universal needles can be used on the majority of fabrics including jerseys and synthetics.

Schmetz Super Universal Needle

When using self-adhesive embroidery backing, spray adhesive or when sewing on self-adhesive hook-and-loop, a build up of adhesive residue can occur on the needle.

Schmetz have introduced the new Super Universal Needle which features a particularly smooth non-stick coating with NIT (= nickel-phosphorus PTFE). The special coating means significantly less adhesive residue remains on the needle (no needle sticking) which in turn reduces thread breakage at the needles.

In addition, the Super Universal needle has a larger eye, making the needle particularly suitable for embroidery work. The eye matches that of a 2 NM thicker needle. This means that the eye of a NM 70 Super Universal Needle is similar to the eye of a normal NM 90 needle, for example.

The special design of the scarf and eye section also helps to prevent skipped stitches. The slightly rounded point shape means that the needle can be used with most materials without problems. The blade has an extremely strong, conical blade reinforcement, so that even thick fabrics like jeans are no challenge at all.

Schmetz Topstitch Needle

The Topstitch and Metallica needle are exactly the same needle with different names. The best attributes are taken from all the other needles and are combined together to create these superb machine needles. 

Topstitch needles have a sharp point for most general sewing applications from dress making to machine embroidery and machine quilting with the added bonus of a double length eye to allow Metallic Threads and thicker threads to pass through smoothly. This needle will easily take two or three threads at a time. 

We cannot recommend the Topstitch needle enough, it is the best needle by miles and the needle we always suggest you use if you are using metallic or thicker threads. 

Schmetz Embroidery Needle

The Embroidery needle or 'E' Needle has an elongated eye. The eye is 1.5 times the length of the eye of the standard Universal Needle but not as big as the double length eye of the Topstitch needle. The elongated eye makes it easier to thread thicker threads and helps reduce 'thread stripping'.

Embroidery Needles have a sharp point for most general sewing applications from dress making to machine embroidery.

Schmetz Quilting Needle

The specially designed Quilting needles are made stronger than regular needles to cope with the layers of fabric and wadding.  Quilting needles are especially sharp with a special taper on the shank of the needle for optimum fabric penetration.

Schmetz Jeans Needle

The Schmetz Jeans needles are strong needles used extensively by quilters and are great for denim and heavier densely woven materials, artificial leather, waxed cloth and vinyl.

Schmetz Ballpoint (Jersey) Needle

Ballpoint needles are used generally in fine and medium needle sizes to prevent needle damage and laddering in light and medium weight man-made and knitted fabrics.

The ball on the needle point parts the fibres of the fabric rather than piecing them as a sharp needle would do.


Schmetz Microtex Needles

The schmetz microtex needle has a very thin and sharp point, which allows it to penetrate dense fabrics and layers of fabric without breaking or damaging the thread. It is designed specifically for use with fine and delicate fabrics, such as silk and chiffon, as well as synthetic and microfiber fabrics.

The schmetz microtex needle has a small eye, which reduces the risk of damaging the thread and ensures smooth, even stitches and is suitable for a variety of embroidery quilting and decorative stitching techniques, including straight, zigzag, and satin stitches.

The schmetz microtex needle is available in a range of sizes, which allows users to choose the right needle for their specific sewing project starting with the finest machine needle, size 60 to the size 90 for standard to thicker threads.

The Schmetz brand, in our opinion is the  best high quality sewing needle brand.  the needles are made from high-quality materials and are durable and long-lasting, providing excellent value for money.

The schmetz microtex needle is compatible with all domestic sewing machine brands

Schmetz Twin & Triple Needles

Schmetz Twin Embroidery Needles are great fun. Before ordering check that the hole in the base plate of your machine is wide enough to take the needle. Use the twin needle for tuck-piping and ornamental seams.

Schmetz Triple Embroidery Needles are half as much fun again as twin needles. As most machines have only two tension discs your will need to feed one thread on one side and two threads on the other. You will also need to place the third cop of thread in a cup or bowl behind the machine and thread from there.


Schmetz Wing Needle

The Wing Needle has a blade on each side of the needle that cuts holes in the fabric when the needle penetrates, creating a spoke stitch effect.

Popular for heirloom sewing and to create decorative cutwork.

One (1) needle per card.


Schmetz Double Eye Needle

Schmetz Double Eyed Needle Size 80/12 - Pack 5

The double eyed needle is a great needle that can add texture and unique colour combinations to your work.

Unlike a twin needle, the double eye has one eye above the other.  The needle is threaded as normal with both top threads going through the tension discs.  At the eye, thread one goes into the bottom eye, thread two into the top eye.  A single bottom thread catches the two top threads and the results are amazing! 

Having two threads on one stitching line adds thickness, so you can produce a stitch that appears heavier than your standard sticthing line and the two threads intertwine to produce your own colour combination.

Available in size 80/12 suitable for your fine to standard weight threads

Schmetz Quick Threading Needle

This needle is great if you find it difficult to thread the needle.  Each needle has a small 'gate' on the side.  When you draw the thread down the needle the gate opens and the needle is threaded.

Schmetz Spring Needle

Spring Needle to give complete freedom allowing free machine embroidery without a darning foot or even a hoop. When the needle is withdrawn from the fabric the spring holds the fabric in place preventing any 'popping'.

The needle is a size 80.

Schmetz Stretch Needles

The special design helps to avoid skipped stitches and is flatter than on other needles with the same diameter. This means that the needle is closer to the hook, which also helps to avoid skipped stitches.