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Notions & Tools: Sewing Machine Needles

Anyone out there managed to ruin some fabric or a garment because they used either the wrong kind of needle or an old needle? It's okay, I have my hand raised too. The lessons I learn the best, are the ones that cost me money.

So let's see if we can save you some of the headaches and frustration from using the wrong needle. While these charts are not all encompassing, they're a great starting point.

Needle Legend
  • B = Ball Point
  • E = Embroidery
  • J = Jeans Sharp
  • L = Leather
  • MT = Metalfil/Metallica
  • S = Sharp
  • ST = Stretch
  • U = Universal
Needles Used in Regular Sewing
Fabric Thread Type Size
Very Light-Sheer Wovens
Batiste, Chiffon, Lace, Crepe d' Chine, Georgette, Netting, Organdy, Voile, and Silk
Polyester, Cotton, and Silk S 9/65
Light Weight Wovens
Batiste, Broadcloth, Calico, Challis, Chambray, Crepe, Eyelet, Gingham, Lawn, Handkerchief Linen, Microfiber-Peachskin,  Rayon, Ripstop Nylon, Satin, Muslin, and Silk
Polyester, Cotton, and Silk S 9/65, 11/70
Medium Weight Wovens
Broadcloth, Cotton, Calico, Chino, Challis, Denim, Felt, Flannel, Muslin, Linen-Linen types, Poplin, Rayon, Satin, Twill, Raw Silk  
Polyester, Cotton, and Silk S, J, U 80/12, 90/14
Heavy Weight Wovens
Canvas, Cotton Duck, Denim, Coat Fabric, Drapery Fabric, Fake Fur, Sail Cloth, Tapestry, Upholstery, and Wool-Wool Blends
Polyester, Cotton J, U 90/14, 100/16
Light-Medium Weight Knits
Cotton Knits & Blends, Jersey Knits, Tricot, Lycra & Swimwear Fabric,  Spandex, Stretch Velour & Stretch Velvet
Polyester B, ST 80/12, 90/14
Medium- Heavy Weight Knits
Double Knits, Stretch Terry, Stretch Velour, Stretch Velvet, Sweater Knits, Sweatshirt Fabric, and Spandex
Polyester B, ST 80/12, 90/14
Non-Woven Fabrics
Leather, Synthetic Leather, Genuine-Synthetic Suede, Plastic, and Vinyl
Polyester L, U 80/12, 90/14
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