It's All About the Needle

With all the sewing machine needles out there it can be difficult to know which one to use for your project. Not only are there many different types of needles, but most types come in a variety of sizes. If you're new to sewing or just in need of a refresher on which needle to use, this blog post is for you.

Sewing Machine Needles

Some of the first considerations to make when choosing needles in Cedar Rapids Iowa are the type of needle and the size. Sewing machine needles come in sizes that can be confusing at first glance. Keep in mind there are two types of needle sizes, American and European. With both systems, the lower numbers indicate lighter needles. Needles increase in thickness and weight as you move up the numeric scale. The two systems use different numbers but should be relatively easy to tell apart once you know the differences. The sizes are:

  • 60-120 for European sizes
  • 8-19 for American sizes

If you're uncertain about which size needle will work best, it can be helpful to test out the needle and thread you have chosen on a scrap of your fabric. This allows you to get a feel for what you're working with without risking a mistake on your project.

Which Needle for Which Fabric?

Beyond choosing the right needle size, choosing the right needle type for your project can make a world of difference. Here are some tips for different sewing machine needles to use with different materials.

Cotton Fabric

Depending on your skill level, medium-sized needles such as 80/12 and 90/14 sizes should work well with cotton fabric. Some sewing needles for cotton fabric you can consider, are universal needles and sharp needles. Both these options should work well not only with cotton, but with a variety of natural woven materials including wool, linen, and others.


When considering needles for denim, the most obvious choice can be a jeans needle. While the name may make this needle seem very specialized, keep in mind that it can also work well for other dense and heavy materials besides denim.


Needles for leather are usually referred to as chisel point needles or leather needles. Similar to jeans needles, these can also be used for similar materials outside their namesake, such as suede. Keep in mind that synthetic or imitation materials are different from natural leather and suede and may require different needles.


Sewing machine needles for quilting, simply called quilting needles, are the perfect option for piercing through the multiple layers of a quilt. Shorter than the average needle, they are designed especially for quilting and may not be a good option for other kinds of projects.

Find Needles for all Your Projects

It is helpful to have a variety of sewing machine needles of different types and sizes on hand to make sewing easier and give you a better chance of success with your project. There are many different options for needles in Cedar Rapids, IA. You should easily be able to find the right needle for the materials you decide to use.

Inspired to Sew is a family-owned business in Cedar Rapids Iowa that offers a wide variety of sewing needles. People of all skill levels are welcome as we strive to create a community that inspires everyone. Shop for all the needles listed above and more on our website.

Featured Image: Bignai/Shutterstock