Skip to main content

How to Select & Change a Sewing Machine Needle

Learn how to select and change a sewing machine needle from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi. I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social, and we're going to talk a little bit about sewing machine needles.

So, there are lots of different kinds of sewing machine needles. The three that you'll probably primarily work with are ball-point, universal, and sharps. Today we're going to use with sharps, and sharps are used for woven fabrics. Universal needles, like their name, can be used on knits and on woven fabrics. And then ball-point needles are used on knit fabrics.

So, anytime you're buying a sewing machine needle, you should always refer to your instruction manual for your machine to see if they have a certain type that is preferred. My machine is a very general, any home sewing machine needle is fine, and they're pretty standard. And then you can always look at the packaging when you go to buy needles, that will tell you the size of needle for the weight of fabric you're sewing.

So, today, we're just sewing a quilting-weight woven fabric. So, we're going to go with a medium-size, which is an 80 or 12; there's a dual number system. But don't fret. Just look at the packaging anytime you're buying something.

So ,what you want to do is, you'll get a pack of needles, and you'll just take one out, and I want to put this needle now into my sewing machine. My sewing machine has a little dial on the right, and so I'm just going to twist it counter-clockwise, to the left, lefty loosey, and I'm going to take my old needle out. I'm going to put that aside. Now I'm want to put my new needle in.

Now the needles have two main areas that you should pay attention to. The first is the eye of the needle, here. And on the front side, there's a little, tiny groove, and that's where your thread sits. You want to make sure that's facing you on most standard sewing machines. And then on the back side, you'll notice that they eye is flat, so you don't want to use that because there's nothing for your thread to sit in. But you'll notice up at the top of the needle, there's a flat side versus on the front, is round. So, you always want the flat side of the top going towards the back of the machine.

So, you'll just put it up into the machine. And now, you want to make sure that you really push it up as far as it can go. If your needle isn't all the way in the sewing machine, then you might have some stitching problems, including skipped stitches, which is never fun. So, then tighten your dial to the right, clockwise, until it won't go anymore, and then you've changed your sewing machine needle. It's time to sew.

Popular Categories