Are Sewing Machine Needles Universal?

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Sewing needles are standardized by the diameter of their shaft, which is measured in millimeters. The smaller the number, the skinnier the needle. You might have heard that sewing machine needles are designed specifically to fit into a specific sewing machine. But what does that mean?

Just as there are different sizes for thread, each size of the needle has a corresponding size for its machine needle counterpart. Even the most expensive sewing machine needles have a range of compatibility with other machines and their needle sizes.

Sewing machine needles are not universal, and they also come in different sizes. If you are new to sewing and have a hard time finding the right needle for your machine, then this article will help you determine which needle is best for your needs.

Are Sewing Machine Needles Universal?

While it’s true that every machine needle has its size, there are also universal fitting sewing machine needles that will fit many different machines. To determine if your sewing machine will accept a universal needle, check your manual for the recommended needle size for the specific type of thread you plan to use.

These are needle sizes that fit most, if not all, sewing machines in their entire range. The sizes range from 12 through 18, with each smaller number representing a smaller needle shaft. Some needles are universal and fit many machines, while others are designed to fit specific types of sewing machines or brands.

A universal needle fits into the machine’s throat plate as well as the needle clamp. For an open-hole throat plate, this means the needle will have a long shank and a large eye. Conversely, closed-hole throat plates have a short shank with a small eye since they will accommodate straight needles instead of those with an eye.

If there is no information in your manual about thread and needle sizes, try looking at the sewing machine itself to see if you can find any information about its corresponding needle size. If all else fails, call the manufacturer or search online for additional information on your specific model.

What Are Needle Sizes?

When you’re shopping for sewing machine needles, you’ll have a lot of choices to make. Before you commit to buying a needle that’s not the correct size for your particular machine, it’s important to understand what the term “needle size” entails.

Needle size is a standardized measurement for the length of the shaft on a sewing machine needle. The sizes range from 08 through 16, but some sewing machines allow needles up to a larger number. The smaller the number, the thinner (or smaller) the shaft will be, and vice versa.

What Are The Different Types of Sewing Needles?

There are seven types of needles which are given below,

Ball Point Needles

Ball point needles are designed with a rounded tip (or ball) that evenly distributes the thread during the sewing process to reduce stress by virtually eliminating snags and pulls. Since there is less pulling on the thread, ballpoint needles are ideal for knits and elastic fabrics.

Stretch Needle

A stretch needle is great for decorative sewing, especially when working with knits or stretchy fabrics. These needles have a duller point than ball point needles, and they often have an oval eye instead of a round. The oval eye helps to prevent skipped stitches from forming loops that distort the fabric’s surface. The dull tip prevents you from accidentally piercing or tearing your fabric as you sew.

Sharp Needles

Needles that are classified as sharp are ideal for woven fabrics and double-layered cloth. These needles have an extra-sharp tip that can pierce through thick fabrics without difficulty. This makes them ideal for sewing projects where you will be sewing through multiple layers of fabric or when you need to pierce thick materials repeatedly.

Sharps needles have a longer shaft than regular sewing machine needles. This allows a sharper needle to easily maneuver through thicker fabrics without clumping or tangling.

The long shaft also provides more space for a fuller, more even weight distribution of your threads. This helps eliminate sewing knots that can occur if the needle is not heavy enough to consistently pierce the layers of fabric.

Quilting Needles

Quilting needles have a narrow point that pierces cloth easily but doesn’t leave any large holes in the fabric. This makes them ideal for sewing projects where stitches need to be virtually invisible on the final product. Such projects include quilting and embroidery.

Jeans Needle

A jeans needle has a wider point that can penetrate thick fabrics without a problem. Jeans needles are especially useful when sewing thick fabrics like thick denim or leather. Since jeans needles are wider and shorter than their sharp needles counterparts, there is less thread tension for longer stitches.

Leather Needles

The shape and material of a leather needle help it cut through leather easily. Some leather needles have a sharper point that allows you to use them with a sewing project that has several layers.

Metafil Needles

Metafil needles are longer eye needles and may be made of stainless steel and coated with titanium. These needles are ideal for making invisible, jersey, and micro-metallic stitches. They are appropriate for working with soft and or sheer materials.

How to Choose the Right Needle Size

Generally, you will use a straight needle when you’re working with non-stretch fabrics. This is especially true when you’re using a half-stitch, blind stitch, or blanket stitch on a quilt because these stitches tend to run.

Needles that are smaller than the size recommended by your machine’s manufacturer will allow you to use less thread and less fabric. However, if your machine is designed to use a larger needle, don’t force it. Instead, try sewing with the needles that work for your specific machine as these will result in better stitches.

Once you know what size needle you need for your particular machine, take note of how vast the selection of needles is. If you don’t have many sewing machines, then buying a universal needle from a reputable dealer may be easier. You’ll also want to make sure that the needle fits into the needle clamp plate on your machine.

What Is A 90 (14) Size Needle Used For?

A 90 (14) needle is one of the most widely used sewing machine needles because of its versatility. The 90 indicates that the needle has a diameter of 0.90 millimeters (mm), while the 14 indicates the imperial size in millimeters.

You can use these needles to sew multiple types of materials and fabrics, including denim, leather, canvas, and other thick materials. While they work well with many types of fabrics, they are best suited for clothes that require lots of stitches. 

The diameter of the needle determines how the thread passes through it, which in turn dictates the strength of the material you are sewing. The size of the needle also determines how much thread to use in your project.

The higher a thread’s breaking strength, the thinner it is and the more strands it has. The breaking strength also affects how well your fabric holds up over time. Lighter-weight threads will not last as long as heavier-duty threads.

What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Denim?

The size of your needle is determined by the diameter (or thickness) of the needle. This directly impacts how much room it is for your thread and bobbin to pass through. It also determines how flexible a needle is.

The best machine needle for sewing denim is 90 (14) or 100(16). The 90 means that it has a .90 millimeter (mm) diameter, which provides lots of room for your thread and bobbin to pass through. The 14 in the imperial size indicates that it’s a 14 mm needle with a circular shank.

How To Buy Sewing Machine Needles?

You can buy your sewing machine needles anywhere that sells fabric, thread, or sewing supplies including sewing supply stores and online retailers. To find the best needle for your machine at an affordable price, try looking for sellers who offer free shipping because this will cut down on costs.

Does Singer Produce Needles?

The singer does not produce a needle specific to their sewing machines, but their needles are generally compatible with all major brands of sewing machines. Using a different needle may harm the fabric you’re sewing, so you must take note of the dimensions and specifications of your machine’s needle before buying a replacement.

Are All Sewing Needles The Same?

There are three main types of sewing machine needles: straight, circular, and quilting. They differ in shape and function, which is why they are measured in millimeters (mm) or even inches (inches). The width or diameter at the tip influences how easily your needle can penetrate through different fabrics. The amount of space between each hole also influences how sharp each point is.

What Size Needle For Machine Quilting?

Quilting needles are short, thin, and extremely sharp needles with round tips that make it easier for you to sew through several layers of material evenly. These needles are used specifically for machine quilting and their size is 80(12).

Can You Use Any Needle In A Sewing Machine?

Some sewing machines come with interchangeable needles, but this may not be the case for all brands. Some sewing machines come with one or two interchangeable needles such as Bernina, Janome, and Babylock. If you find that your machine has an interchangeable needle, it’s a good idea to have it in the package when you buy your machine because the manufacturer may have included it with your purchase.

Can Singer Sewing Machines Use Universal Needles?

The Singer Universal needle is an interchangeable needle that is compatible with most sewing machines. You don’t necessarily have to buy this needle, but it’s a good idea to check when you buy your machine as it may have come with it.

If you’re looking for a universal needle, then the Singer Universal Sewing Machine Needle fits most machines that use interchangeable needles. This includes all of the major brands such as Brother, Baby Lock, Janome, and others. More than 90% of Singer machines have this interchangeable needle, so if your machine doesn’t come with one already there’s a chance it will gain one shortly.

Can I Use Singer Needles On Janome Machine?

Yes, you can use Singer needles on a Janome Machine because they are both universal sewing machine needles. You should check your manual and see which type of needle is compatible with your model before purchasing one. If the Singer universal needle will work then you will have fewer choices when it comes to brands and sizes.

When Should I Replace My Sewing Machine Needle?

You should replace your sewing machine needle every 100 hours of use or once every 500 hours, whichever is sooner. This may seem like a long time, but the reality is that you’re using your machine much more than that. So, it’s not enough time to go by if you want to get the most out of your machine.

Most sewing machine needles should be replaced more often than you think when it comes to standard materials such as denim. Once the material starts to wear out, the threads start to fray and break, which then makes it impossible for you to continue sewing. The needle will also wear down at a much faster rate than other types of needles over time. 

What Do The Two Numbers Mean On Sewing Machine Needles?

The two numbers found on a sewing machine needle are called the tip and shank measurements. Each is an indication of how thick the needle is. The tip measurement tells you how thick or thin the point of your sewing needle is before it gets sharpened. This will determine how well it penetrates through the fabric and what kind of material it can be used on. The shank measurement is the thickness or diameter of your needle at the end where the thread and bobbin go.

The two numbers are separated by a forward slash, like 90/14. The first number is called the needle size and it’s always represented by a fraction of an inch or millimeter. The second number tells you how big your shank is in millimeters.

Final Thoughts

It is best to choose the right needle based on your fabric type, machine type, and project type. To find out more about what kind of needles you should use for your sewing projects, contact a local sewing store and get in touch with a representative from there. They will help you understand how to choose the right needle for crafting.


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I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

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