Sewing Machine Needle Guide
for Quilters

This Sewing Machine Needle Guide will help you through the maze of needle types you're confronted by in the quilt and sewing stores.

Confused about what size needle to get? Go to Sewing Machine Needle Sizes.

Choose the Point Style

Always choose the point style (type of needle) based on the fabric you use in your quilt.

Ballpoint needles are for knits. Because of this, we won't discuss ballpoint needles further.

Sharp needles with acute points are needed for high thread count fabrics like batiks. Regular quilt store cottons are happy with about any type of needle in between.

Needle Types

The needle types discussed here are all from the Schmetz line. Schmetz makes a high quality sewing machine needle that is available at most quilt stores.

PointSlightly rounded
Sizes60/8, 65/9, 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18, 120/19
Schmetz Color CodeNone

A multi-purpose needle especially good for the casual sewer who hems a skirt one day and repairing a tee shirt the next. Do not use on high thread count fabrics or for stitching through many layers. In a bind, go ahead and piece or quilt with this one, but there are better choices.

PointSlim and acute
Sizes70/10, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18
Schmetz Color CodeBlue

A strong, sharp needle with a reinforced blade. This needle is designed for use on tightly woven fabrics. Quilters also like it for high thread count fabrics like batiks.

PointSmall ball point prevents damage when stitching through embroidered areas
Sizes75/11, 80/12, 90/14
Schmetz Color CodeRed

Designed for use with rayon and other specialty threads. It has a special scarf, a long smooth groove and large eye which protects fragile threads like metallics from excess friction and shredding.

PointSlim, acute, slightly rounded
Sizes75/11, 80/12, 90/14
Schmetz Color CodeGreen

Engineered for use in both piecing and machine quilting. The shaft is thin and tapered to pass through many layers of fabric smoothly. The design keeps stitches nice and even and helps eliminate skipped stitches.

TypeMicrotex Sharp
PointVery slim and acute
Sizes60/8, 65/9, 70/10, 80/12, 90/14
Schmetz Color CodePurple

A slim needle with a thin shaft. Produces a very small hole and less puckering. It's my choice for any piecing.

The extremely sharp point makes for nice straight stitches. It is designed for microfibers which makes it perfect for use on batiks, pima cottons, cotton sateens.

Use this needle for quilting with 100wt silk. Start with a 75/11 and work down to a 60/8. Breaking needles? Move up a size. This is a thin needle, almost like quilting with a staple but the results are wonderful!

Because the point is so fine (which makes it fragile), change this needle more often.

PointSharp, extra pointy
Sizes80/12, 90/14, 100/16
Schmetz Color CodeNone

Designed with a very long (2mm) eye and large groove for use with heavy topstitching thread. The eye is the same size in all topstitching needles. Use with decorative machine quilting threads that need some babying like metallics. This needle comes in large sizes, that are a bit too large for my taste. Larger needles leaves larger holes. Match your needle to your chosen thread.

And no Sewing Machine Needle Guide would be complete without this last needle.

PointUniversal point
Sizes80/12, 90/14, 100/16
Schmetz Color CodeNone

My absolute favorite needle to use with any thread. It has a very large (2mm) eye that is polished and Teflon coated to help thread flow smoothly through to prevent breakage. The eye is the same size for all metallic needles.

The groove down the front is deep to protect delicate threads from shredding. The needle scarf is larger and designed to prevent skipped stitches.

This needle is well worth the extra price. Stock up when they are on sale! When I was first machine quilting, I used this needle (size 80/12) exclusively. I could change threads and not change my needle. It didn't break often or leave behind large holes.

This concludes the Sewing Machine Needle Guide for Quilters.

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