A close-up of three sewing needles with thread in the background.

Choosing the Right Needle for Your Fabric: A Guide

There are many aspects of sewing, from the type of fabric to the pattern. 

There are many aspects of sewing, from the type of fabric to the pattern. However, one thing every sewist must know—whether they’re a professional or an amateur—is the type of needle to use. Each fabric requires its own needle specifications to ensure a smooth, even, wrinkle-free sew. Read this guide to choosing the right needle for your fabric to find out how.

The Anatomy of a Sewing Needle

Before you learn the different types of fabrics to use needles for, you must know the basic anatomy of a sewing needle. Every sewing needle consists of a shank, shaft, front groove, point, scarf, and eye. The shank is the top of the needle, which is inserted into a sewing machine. It typically has a round front and a flat back to sit at the right position in the machine. The shaft is the body below the shank; this can vary in thickness. The front groove cradles the thread to provide a smooth stitch. The point is the needle tip , which passes through the bobbin hook to form the stich. It can come in various shapes. The scarf refers to the indentation at the back of the needle. Long scarves eliminate skipped stitches and allow the bobbin hook to loop the thread easily. Short scarves work better in computerized machines that perfectly time the stitches. Lastly, the eye is the hole at the end of the needle through which the thread passes. The size of the needle will determine the size of the eye.

Different Fabrics Require Specific Needles

Different fabrics require different needles to thread them. Knits require a ballpoint needle to push through the fibers. This maintains elasticity and prevents the stitches from puckering or skipping. Use an extra-fine point with denim since it’s a tougher material. Depending on the thickness of the denim, you may want to opt for a larger needle size. Alternatively, leather requires a cutting point needle. Its durability prevents breakage, and it slits the fabric to give it a better appearance. Finally, you can use a standard needle for sheers, but consider a small size if you notice consistent puckering or broken threads.

Using this guide on choosing the right needle for your fabric, be sure to buy your apparel fabrics from us at Fabric Wholesale Direct. We carry the best apparel fabrics to fit any pattern, including polyester fabrics, cotton fabrics, silk fabrics, and faux fur fabrics at wholesale. We also sell face mask fabric to protect you and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact us today with any questions or concerns!

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