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Welcome >> Facts, Tips & Care >> Sewing Machine Needles >>
Sewing Machine & Overlocker Needles
You'll find Sewing Machine Needles, Bobbins, Bulbs & Accessories at The Sewing Machine Doctor, Nambour, Sunshine Coast, Australia
SCHMETZ Needles since 1851

“Replace your needle…

It’s the easiest way to improve your stitch quality”


• Universal Needle

• Embroidery Needle

• Metallic Needle

• TopStitch Needle

• Microtex Needle

• Jeans Needle

• Quilting Needle

• Embroidery Spring Needle

• HemStitch Needle

• Twin & Triple Needles

Download PDF here for more details about different types of sewing machine needles >>

The Sewing Machine Doctor recommends & sells Schmetz Sewing Machine Needles. Schmetz are German engineered & have been producing superior quality sewing machine needles since 1851. Schmetz needles work with all new, current & older household sewing machines.
The most common needle is the 130/705 H.
130/705 H needles are equivalent to 15x1 H needles (Japanese) & 2020 (Singer). Household sewing machines require a needle with a flattened shank. All needles in this system have a flattened shank for perfect positioning in the needle bar in relation to the hook.

Change Your Needle Regularly

Damaged or worn needles result in:
• Broken or shredded threads • Skipped stitches • Puckered fabrics
• Damaged fabrics • Uneven threads

Anatomy of a Needle

The key features of a sewing machine needleThe key features of a standard machine needle are called out below. Their configuration varies from needle type to type.

Top of needle that inserts into machine; most often has round front and flat back, which seats needle in right position.

Body of needle below shank. Shaft thickness determines needle size.

Front groove
Slit above needle eye, should be large enough to "cradle" thread for smooth stitches.

Needle tip that penetrates fabric to pass thread to bobbin-hook and form stitch. Shape of point varies among needle types.

Indentation at back of needle. A long scarf helps eliminate skipped stitches by allowing bobbin hook to loop thread more easily. A shorter scarf requires a more perfectly timed machine.

Hole in end of needle through which thread passes. Needle size and type determine size and shape of eye.

6 Types of Standard Needles

Universal NeedleUniversal needle

Uses: Safest needle choice for most fabrics.

Configuration: Has slightly rounded point and elongated scarf to enable almost foolproof meeting of needle and bobbin hook.

Troubleshooting: When fabric is not medium-weight woven, consider needle specifically suited to fabric. For example, size 18 universal needle works on heavy denim, but size 18 jeans needle works better.

Ballpoint & Stretch NeedlesBallpoint & Stretch needles

Uses: Ballpoint needle for heavier, looser sweater knits; stretch needle for highly elastic fabrics, like Spandex, or Lycra.

Configuration: Both have rounded points that penetrate between fabric threads rather than pierce them. (Stretch-needle point is slightly less rounded than ballpoint.)

Troubleshooting: Test-stitch knits with ballpoint, stretch, and universal needles to see which doesn't cut yarn and yields best results. If ballpoint skips stitches, try stretch needle.

Microtex & Sharp NeedlesMicrotex & sharp needles

Uses: Sewing microfiber, silk, synthetic leather; precisely stitching edges; and heirloom sewing.

Configuration: Has an acute point.

Troubleshooting: Essentially trouble-free, but fabric may require a Teflon, roller, or even/dual-feed presser foot.

Leather NeedleLeather needle

Uses: Excellent for sewing natural leather.

Configuration: Has slight cutting point (almost like an arrowhead).

Troubleshooting: On synthetic leather, unless it's very heavy synthetic, cuts rather than pierces stitch hole and can tear leather. Most synthetic leathers require Microtex or sharp needle.

Denim NeedleDenim (Jeans) needle

Uses: For heavyweight denim, duck, canvas, upholstery fabrics, artificial leather, and vinyl.

Configuration: Has deeper scarf, acute point, and modified shaft to sew without pushing fabric down into needle-plate hole. Goes through fabric and meets bobbin hook better on dense woven fabrics.

Troubleshooting: If stitches skip when sewing very heavy fabrics, try larger needle and sew more slowly or walk needle through fabric (by turning hand crank).

Handicap NeedleHandicap/Self Threading needle

Uses: Enables easier threading for sewers with vision problems.

Configuration: Universal needle with slip-in threading slot at the eye.

Troubleshooting: Always pull sewn piece back away from needle before cutting thread so needle doesn't unthread. Needle works well on woven fabrics, but may occasionally snag knits, so test-sew to check for fabric and needle compatibility.

The configuration of these needles is based on the particular fabric to be sewn.

4 Types of Decorative Needles

Topstitching NeedleTopstitching needle

Uses: Topstitching.

Configuration: Has extra-acute point, extra-large eye, and large groove for heavy thread.

Troubleshooting: Use smallest size needle that accommodates your thread to avoid punching large holes in fabric.

Embroidery NeedleEmbroidery needle

Uses: Machine embroidering or embellishing with decorative thread.

Configuration: Has light point (neither sharp nor ballpoint) and enlarged eye to keep decorative threads from shredding or breaking, and prevent skipped stitches.

Troubleshooting: If thread still shreds on dense or heavily stitched design, use larger size needle or Metallica needle.

Metallic NeedleMetallic (Metafil and Metallica) needle

Uses: Sewing with decorative metallic threads.

Configuration: Has universal or standard point; large, elongated eye; and large groove to allow fragile metallic and synthetic filament threads to flow smoothly.

Troubleshooting: Metallic threads are very sensitive to problems in machine: Tiniest burr on thread path or needle can cause problems.

Quilting NeedleQuilting (stippling) needle

Uses: Piecing, quilting, and stippling.

Configuration: Has special tapered shaft to prevent damaging fabrics when stitching multiple layers.

Troubleshooting: Move fabric smoothly without pulling on needle when free-motion stitching to prevent breaking needle.

4 Types of Special Purpose Needles

Hemstitch or Wing NeedleHemstitch (Wing) needle

Uses: Hemstitching or heirloom embroidery on linen and batiste.

Configuration: Has fins on sides of shank to create holes as you sew.

Troubleshooting: Stitch is more effective when needle returns to same needle hole more than once. If needle pushes fabric into needle hole, put stabilizer under fabric.

Twin or Double NeedleTwin (Double) needle

Uses: Topstitching, pin tucking, and decorative stitching.

Configuration: Two needles on single shaft produce two rows of stitches. Measurement between needles ranges from 1.6mm to 6mm, and needles come with universal, stretch, embroidery, denim, and Metallica points.

Troubleshooting: Be sure throat plate allows for distance between needles.

Triple NeedleTriple needle

Uses: Same uses as for double needle.

Configuration: Cross bar on single shaft connects three needles to sew three stitching rows. Comes with universal point in 2.5mm and 3mm widths.

Troubleshooting: Same as for double needle.

Spring NeedleSpring needle

Uses: Free-motion stitching with dropped feed dogs.

Configuration: Has wire spring above point to prevent fabrics from riding up onto needle, eliminating need for presser foot.

Troubleshooting: Before using, practice free-motion stitching with heavy regular needle, paper, and dropped feed dogs. Don't pull paper/fabric; instead gently guide it through stitching. Wear safety glasses for free-motion work, since needles often break.

These needles are used only with front-to-back threading machines with zigzag features.
Make sure your throat-plate needle hole is wide enough to accommodate needle's width,
and zigzag width function is set at zero to prevent sideways movement.