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Are Sewing Machine Needles Universal or Interchangeable?

The needle is one of the main components of a sewing machine. Different fabrics had different textures and thicknesses, some are really thin and some are really thick.

To get the elegant finish out of your sewing and prevent the threads from shedding different sizes and different types of needles were invented. Some needles are great for embroidery, some are great for leather.

There are needles which will wave out its way even though fine silk and chiffon. Let’s get a deeper look into the sewing machine needles. 

Are sewing machine needles universal or interchangeable?

A large number of sewing machine needles are universal. One can easily interchange them according to their preference. Actually, there is a universal needle-type available on the market. Universal Needles are great for domestic uses but not that suitable for industrial sewing machines.

Do all needles fit all sewing machines?

Most of the time any needles will fit into all kinds of sewing machines but when it comes to embroidery and overlocking, the needles are different in shape and sizes.

The sewing needles made for industrial uses are more robust. The industrial needles can handle heavy thick material and have a long service life. 

What are universal sewing machine needles?

Universal needles are the most frequently used needles in modern households. These are best for all sorts of domestic purposes.

The universal needle has a flat face on the needle shank which helps it get into any regular fabric pretty effortlessly.  Here are a few universal needle sizes and details.

  • 70/10: These size needles are used for sewing delicate fabrics such as silk, chiffon, etc.
  • 80/12:  these size needles are best for any kind of cotton, synthetics & spandex fabrics.
  • 90/14: these needles work best on velvet, Lenin, muslin
  • 100/16: These needles are best for sewing denim & leather fabrics.
  • 110/18: These size needles are well known for handling heavy fabric, faux fur & other heavy fabric.

Do sewing machine needles come in different lengths?

You might find different lengths in hand sewing needles but when it comes to sewing needles for the machine, the lengths are somewhat similar. 

The size of the machine sewing needles is determined by the dia of the shaft. The length of the needles doesn’t really affect that much on the sewing process.

Does the sewing machine needle size matter?

The sewing machine needle size is quite an important factor while working with different types of fabrics. The right size needle will provide you with an elegant and efficient outcome. The size of the needles also represents the robust quality of the needles.

The higher the size the more robust and thicker it gets. 

  • When you are working with delicate & fine fabrics like silk, chiffon & voile, the right size needle should be chosen for effective results. Machine needles size  8/60, 9/65 & 10/70 will be great to work with while sewing fine fabrics.
  • When you are working with cotton, synthetics, spandex, and other lightweight fabrics, using 11/75, 12/80 size needles will be most effective.
  • For velvet, linen, muslin, & other medium-weight fabrics the 14/90 size needles will be the best choice.
  • For denim, leather, and other heavyweight fabrics the preferable needle size is 16/100, 18/110, 19/120, 20/125. The heavier the material the higher the size number.

How much are sewing machine needles? 

Generally, the sewing machine needles will cost you from $5 to $12. They are available in 10/70, 12/80,14/90,16/100,18/110 sizes.

Needle typeSizePrice
Price may vary from $2 to $9
Starting at $6 to $11
Starting at $4 to $8
Quilting14/90Price may vary from $4 to $11
The price range is in between $5 to $14
Starting at $5 to $7
Available at $6 to $10
Available at $5 to $11
Starting at $5 to $7
Wing16/100Available at $3 to $8
Can buy at $2 to $7
Available at $4 to $10
The price range is in between $4 to $8

How do I know what sewing machine needle to use?

Selecting the sewing machine needles will depend on what type of fabric you are working with. The right size and the appropriate type of sewing machine needles will work perfectly with your fabric.

The chance of damaging the fabric texture will reduce and you will get an elegant and smooth finish.

Needle typeDescription
UniversalThese types of needles work great with all kinds of material. But working with heavy-duty material will surely put a toll on its longevity.
StretchThese needles will work great on spandex. These needles won’t skip while sewing.
MicrotexIt is a thin and sharp needle. It will be great for sewing fine fabrics. 
QuiltingIt has a strong built, the shaft is quite robust. It can sew multiple layers of fabrics quite effectively.
IndustrialThese needles are mostly used for industrial sewing purposes. It can efficiently accomplish the overlocking.
MetallicIt is mostly used for using metallic threads on fabrics or leather.
TopstitchingIt’s mostly used for topstitching threads.
TwinTwo or more needles work as a unit and sew. Mostly used for fine decorative sewing. Needs a special machine to accomplish the action.
LeatherThese needles are specifically manufactured for dealing with leather & similar material. You can get a fine sewing finish on your leather with these needles.
WingIt’s a large size needle, well known for its decorative finish.
DenimThese are great for working on denim and other heavy and tightly woven fabric.
EmbroideryThese needles are great for embroidery work, the body is designed in such a way that you won’t have to deal with any kind of thread shredding
BallpointWork great on closely-knit fabrics. It can smoothly wave out its way around the fabric.

What do the different sizes of sewing machine needles mean?

The Diameter of the shaft represents the size of the needles. In the American system, you would find sizes from 6 to 18 sizes. Size 6 is the thinnest needle size and size 18 being the thickest needle.

In the European system size beginning at 50 and rising to 110.  You may find 70/10, 80/12, or 14/90, 16/100 on the body of the needles.

These are the size indications. When you are working with fine and delicate fabrics try to use the smallest size needle, it won’t shred the threads or cause any major damage to the fabric. For thick, heavy-duty fabrics try to use a large size needle, it will effortlessly go through them.

Are Singer/Brother sewing machine needles universal?

The singer/Brother sewing machine needles are pretty much universal & can be easily interchanged. You can use singer machine needles on a Brother sewing machine without any hustle. 

Keeping their needles universal makes them a flexible  choice for consumers. It also increases the likelihood of getting the word of mouth advertising.

Frequently asked question 

What is a size 14 sewing machine needle used for?

Size 14 sewing machine needles are used for sewing cotton, linen, and other medium-duty fabrics.

What is an 80/11 needle used for?

80/11 needles are used for sewing synthetics, spandex, and other lightweight fabrics.

What is an 80/12 needle used for?

It’s used on lightweight and closely woven fabrics.  Also great for topstitching and embroidery.

What is a 70/10 needle used for?

70/10  size needle is used on fine fabrics like silk, chiffon & voile

What is a 75/11 needle used for?

It’s a standard size needle, great for fine embroidery work.

I hope you got an in-depth idea of the size, type, and price range of different machine needles. Based on your fabric try to use the most suitable needle size.

For delicate fabrics try to use the smallest needle size and for the thickest fabrics use the biggest size needle. Best of luck with your sewing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are The Parts of a Sewing Machine and Their Functions?

Can Sewing Machines Be Recycled?

Can Sewing Machines Do Overlocking?

Does Sewing Machine Oil Get Old or Go Bad?

Do Sewing Machine Needles Get Dull?