Needle Types

There are three main types of needles that are used for the majority of sewing, as well as many specialty needles.

  • Universal needles have a slightly rounded tip, and this general purpose needle should be used on woven fabric.
  • Jersey needles have a medium ballpoint tip designed especially for knit fabrics because it slips between the knit fibres and does not break or damage them while sewing.
  • Stretch needles, often confused with Jersey needles, are also a medium ballpoint tip, they have a special eye and scarf that are designed for very stretchy fabrics and elastic. Swimwear is an ideal a for this type of needle.


Needle Sizing

There are two needle sizing systems: American and European. American needle sizes range from 8 to 19, and European sizes range from 60 to 120. The larger the number, the larger the blade of the needle.  Both sizing numbers are on the needle package, such as 60/8 and 70/10.


Needle Lifespan

Needles are not  expensive, so feel free to change your needle with each new project. Sewing machine needles only have a lifespan of 6 to 8 hours of sewing time, but that can be even less if the fabric is particularly thick to sew. . It’s not worth the risk of damaging your project by using a dull needle.