Universal Sewing Machine Needles are needles that can be used for MOST woven and stable knit fabrics like cottons, cotton blend and silks; just good ole’ general home sewing. Since you are a Beginner Seamstress and most likely will be using cotton or cotton blend fabrics, these universal needles will be the perfect sewing machine needle!
What are Universal Sewing Machine Needles?
There are different sizes of needles, the weight of the fabric you’ll be sewing with will determine what size of needle you’ll use.
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Home Sewing Machine Needle System number
Did you know that Home Sewing Machine Needles have a system classification? I just recently learned this…..The home sewing machine needles are classified as the 130/705H system. You can see this number on the package, in the picture above.
Home sewing machine needles have a flat side on the shank (top of needle) which makes it easier to help you quickly figure out which direction to insert the needle in your machine.
Sewing Machine Needle Sizes
If you take a look at the above photo, of the sewing needle package, you’ll see that the needles are labeled with sizes: 70/10 80/12 90/14 The first sizes “70, 80 and 90” are European sizes. the second set of sizes “10, 12 and 14” are American Sizes.
70/10 Sewing Machine Needles
Use for sewing with sheer to very light-weight fabrics.
80/12 Sewing Machine Needles
Use for sewing light-weight fabrics such as simple cotton broadcloth
90/14 Sewing Machine Needles
Use for sewing ‘medium-weight’ fabrics. Examples: Velvet, fine corduroy, linen, muslin, light wool, sweatshirt knit, and fleece, flannel.
Keep it simple when it comes to choosing a needle size for your fabrics. I’ve always gone by MY simple weight method. I use mostly 70/10 and 80/12 universal needles; 70/10 for real LIGHT fabrics and 80/12 for medium weight cotton/blend fabrics. I use 90/14 for heavy fabrics like denim or when I’m sewing with multiple and sometimes thick layers that the smaller needle sizes just can’t sew thru the fabric. I also use 90/14 with some of my quilting projects.
You’ll get the feel when you start sewing if a certain size needle may or may not work for a certain weight fabric, just because of the needle size. The smaller needle sizes are more slender than that of the bigger needle sizes. The bigger needles have more thickness to them for piercing thru heavier fabric/multiple layers.
Please know that there are other types and sizes of sewing machine needles and many other types of fabrics. As you get more advanced in your sewing you’ll most likely use a wide variety of fabrics and other types/sizes of needles. For now, we are keeping it simple.
If you’ve ever started a sewing project and had to take the needle out of the machine and weren’t able to put the needle back in the packaging where you got it from. How will you know what size of needle it is?
Two Simple Ways to find out what size needle you have.
1st Way- Find the stamped size on the Needle Shank
Did you know that sewing machine needles have the sizes stamped into the top/shank of the needle? You might need a magnifying glass or your glasses to see this information.
2nd Way- Notice what Color Band is on the Needle
This is the easier way to quickly see what size/type of needle you have to make sure you are using the correct needle for the fabric you are using. You’ll see the color band just below the top/shank of the needle. These color bands are not for decorative purposes, they have meaning. 😉
What do those Color Bands represent?
I have added a website link by one of the more popular brands of sewing machine needles that show you what the color bands represent. This link is a PDF file that you can download or print out for future reference.
Shopping for Sewing Machine Needles
You can buy smaller packages like the package shown in the photos; this package has the multiple sizes. You can also find packages with only ONE size. You also may consider buying your machine needles in bulk. Buying in bulk ensures you always have the size needle you need and can save you money and extra unneeded trips to the store! (Well, maybe NOT unneeded cause I usually find something extra when I make a needle trip😁) If you’ll be ‘sewing up a storm’, consider buying bulk.
See the Amazon Link Below? This IS A DEAL! 10 Schmetz Sewing Machine Needles for $5.37! I bought a single pack of 5 needles; for $4.15 at my local fabric store. The link for Amazon saves you close to $5!!
See you soon & Happy Simple Sewing to you!