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Guide To Home Sewing Machine Needle Types

Updated: Jun 6

Using the right needle is one of the easiest things you can do to make your machine sewing easier and cleaner than ever. Learn more about the different types of home sewing machine needles below, and save our handy guide for future reference. When you're ready to shop, we've got home sewing machine needles in all of your favorite brands at WAWAK.

Two rolls of interfacing on professional sewing workroom table
Choose the best home sewing machine needle for your project. Learn more about each needle type.


Depending on their intended use, home machine needles have different features that make them ideal for different fabric types and projects. Universal Needles are the ones you'll probably see and use most often, because their slightly rounded yet sharp tip is very versatile and can be used on a variety of fabrics. These needles are ideal for all-around sewing and suitable for knit or woven fabrics.

Ball Point Needles feature a rounded tip designed to move between a fabric's threads instead of puncturing them. This is great for knit fabrics, which can unravel when the fibers are cut. These needles are best for sewing knitted fabrics like jersey and fleece.

Double Eye Needles are the same as Universal Needles, but with two eyes. Using a Double Eye Needle, you can sew with two upper threads at once to create a unique visual effects like decorative texture or shading. These needles are great for embroidery or topstitching and suitable for woven or knits.

Embroidery Needles are designed to protect embroidery threads during sewing. Their larger eye, wider groove, and special scarf (the indent on the back of the needle) minimize friction to protect fragile threads and prevent fraying. These needles work best for embroidery applications when sewing with thicker threads.

This distinct-looking needle is used to create a hemstitch, a decorative stitch commonly used in cutwork and heirloom sewing. Hemstitch Needles feature a "wing" on either side that separates the fabric's threads to create this unique stitch. These needles can be used on light or medium weight woven fabrics.

Jean/Denim needles feature a sharp, durable tip and extra-strong shaft designed to puncture heavy fabrics and prevent deflecting. These needles are excellent for thicker fabrics like jeans, canvas and coated fabrics, and can even be used with several layers of fabric.

These sharp, strong needles feature a triangular point for cutting tough materials like leather, suede, or vinyl. Because of their cutting point, Leather Needles are not suited to use with textiles; they'll most likely damage your fabric. Leather Needles are ideal for all types of leather and suede sewing.

Metallic threads can be notoriously delicate to work with, so the right needle makes a huge difference. Similar to Embroidery Needles, Metallic Needles have an elongated eye to help protect the thread from shredding and breaking. These needles are ideal for metallic thread and other specialty threads.

Microtex Needles are very sharp, with a fine point: perfect for precisely piercing woven fabrics. They're great for creating very neat, intricate topstitching as well as working with fine or dense woven fabrics like silk, microfibers or coated materials.

Quilters, this one's for you! These slim needles feature a tapered point that allows the needle to sew through multiple layers smoothly, preventing skipped stitches. Quilting Needles are best for quilting applications or sewing multiple layers and can be used on buttonholes.

Stretch needles feature a rounded ball point and special scarf that prevent puncture holes in extra-stretchy materials. These needles are best for slinky knits, spandex, foundation garments, elastic, lycra and silk jersey.

For anyone who has trouble threading needles or just wants to save some time, Self-Threading Needles can be super handy. These needles feature a universal tip/point and a slip-in thread slot in the eye for quick threading. Like Universal/Regular Needles, these are best for woven and some knit fabrics.

With a very long eye and deeper groove, these sturdy needles are great for both protecting decorative threads and sewing thicker seams. Topstitch needles work best when sewing thicker seams and are ideal for decorative stitching and buttonholes.

Use this handy guide to help determine what type of needle works best for your project.

Choosing The Right Needle | Choosing The Right Home Machine Needle | Which Needle Should I Use
Our "Choosing The Right Needle" guide includes descriptions and illustrations of ball point, double-eye, embroidery, hemstitch, jean/denim, leather, metallic, microtex, quilting, universal, stretch, self-threading, and top stitch needles.

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