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VINU NAKUM (11607)




A sewing needle is a long slender object with a pointed tip. The

first sewing needles were made of bone or wood; modern ones are
manufactured from high carbon steel wire, nickel- or gold plated
for corrosion resistance. The highest quality embroidery needles
are made of platinum. Traditionally, needles have been kept in
needle books or needle cases which have become an object of

A needle for hand sewing has a hole, called the eye, at the non-
pointed end to carry thread or cord through the fabric after the
pointed end pierces it. Hand sewing needles have different names
depending on their purpose.
Needle size is denoted by a number on the packet. The convention for sizing is that the
length and thickness of a needle increases as the size number decreases. For example, a
size 1 needle will be thicker and longer, while a size 10 will be shorter and finer.
History of sewing needles

A variety of archeological finds illustrate sewing has been

present for thousand of year. Even earlier stone edge find
such as the excavation on the island of eland at Ably,
Sweden revel object such bone needle case. Ago 40,000
yeas at the Kostenki side in Russia needle was found.
Native of American was also known to use sewing needles
from natural sources. One such sources, “the agava plant” it
provides both the needles & thread. The first sewing needle
was made of bone or wood. Modern one is manufactured
from high carbon steel wire, nickel or gold plated.
Needles made from steel and in the final stages of
manufacturing they are polished, especially in the area of
the eye. In many cases they are then electroplated to give
corrosion resistance , resistance to mechanical wear,
reduction of friction during sewing and a good overall
performance, the material used for plating are chromium
or nickel. One requirement of surface finish of needles is
that they should not easily pick up any particles of
synthetic fabric or synthetic sewing threads which are may
have caused to melt as a result of excessive friction
generated heat. It has been found that chromium plated
needle resist the adherence of synthetic residue rather
better than nickel plated needles do, despite the fact that
chromium plated needles actually develop higher
temperature during sewing than do non plated or nickel
plated needles.

1) Shank
2) Shaft
3) Groove
4) Scarf
5) Eye
6) Point

The upper thick part of a sewing machine needle is called
the shank. This part of the needle is inserted in the
machine. Home sewing machine needles are composed of a
flat and a round side, to assist in always having the needle
in the correct position.

Always refer to your sewing machine manual for the

correct way to insert the needle in your machine.

Industrial machine needles have a completely round shaft

and the groove is used to know which direction to put a
new needle in the machine.


The shaft of a sewing machine needle is the area from the

bottom of the shank to the point. The shaft contains the
groove, scarf, eye and point of the needle.

A groove is in the side of the needle leading to the eye.
The groove is a place for the thread to lay into the
Use your fingernail and feel the groove of the needle on
various sizes to understand why a different size thread
would be needed for heavier thread.

The scarf is a groove out of one side of the needle. The
scarf allows the bobbin case hook to intersect with the
upper thread and form stitches.


The eye of the needle carries the thread so the machine

can keep forming stitches.
The size of the eye can vary and works in conjunction
with the groove of the needle.
Using a needle with an eye that is too small or too large
can cause your thread to shred and break.

The point of the needle is the first contact with the fabric
and responsible for how the needle pierces the fabric.
The most common types of point are sharps, ballpoint
and universal.


1. Hand sewing needles.

2. Machine sewing needles.
3. Special purpose needles.


• Sharps are needles used for general sewing. They
have a sharp point, a round eye and are of medium
length. The difference between sharps and other
sewing needles can mainly be seen in their length.
• Embroidery needles, also known as Crewel needles,
are identical to sharps but have a longer eye to enable
easier threading of multiple embroidery threads and
thicker yarns.
• Betweens or Quilting needles are shorter, with a
small rounded eye and are usually used for making
fine stitches on heavy fabrics such as in tailoring, quilt
making and other detailed handwork.
• Milliners' needles are longer than sharps, are useful
for basting and pleating and are used in millinery
• Easy- or Self-threading needles, also called Calyx-
eyed Sharps, have a slot, rather than an eye for the


The most common machine needles for standard

running stitch are universal &ball point needles, letter it is
used for knits & woven material.
 stretch needles
 Jeans needles
 denim needles
 leather needles
Are all fashioned to work well with material.

Stretch needles

The stretch needle is the Last resort needle when

Ballpoint still leave skipped. Many people will not
attempt Sewing lyecra & swimwear without a stretch


These needles have an extra sharp point and stiff shank,
making it a strong needle for sewing tough fabrics and
many layers of fabric.

Leather needles

The point of the leather Needle is well shaped so that it

penetrates leather & other heavy nonwovens.

Wing needle
A wing needle is used for heirloom sewing. The sides of
the wing needle shank are flared and create openwork
stitching on woven fabrics.


There are several specially machine sewing needle which

mentioned. Twin & triple needles are both used for
decorative stitching.

• Ballpoints have a rounded point and are used for

knitted fabrics. Sizes 5-10.
• Beading needles are very fine, with a narrow eye to
enable it to fit through the centre of beads and sequins.
They are usually long so that a number of beads can
be threaded at a time. Sizes 10-15.
• Bodkin. This is a long, thick needle with a ballpoint
end and a large, elongated eye. They can be flat or
round and are generally used for threading elastic,
ribbon or tape through casings and lace openings.
• Chenille needles are similar to tapestry needles, but
with large, long eyes and a very sharp point to
penetrate close weave fabrics. Useful for ribbon
embroidery. Sizes 13-26.
• Darning needles have a blunt tip and large eye,
similar to tapestry needles, but are longer, with a yarn
darners being the heaviest with very large eyes to
thread yarn. Various types, with sizes ranging from 1-
• Doll needles are long and thin and are used for soft
sculpturing on dolls, particularly facial details. Size
2.5"-7" long.
• Leather needles, also known as Glovers needles have
a triangular shaped point for piercing the leather
without tearing it. Used on leather, suede, vinyl and
plastic. Sizes 3/0-10.
• Sail maker needles are similar to Leather needles but
the triangular point extends further up the shaft of the
needle. Used for sewing thick canvas or heavy leather.
• Tapestry needles have a large eye and a blunt tip.
They are used for working on embroidery canvas,
even-weave material and other loosely woven fabrics.
The blunt tip allow the needle to pass through the
fabric without damaging it. Double ended tapestry
needles, with the hole in the middle, are also available
for the convenience of embroiderers who work with
fabric mounted in a frame. Sizes from 13 (heaviest) to
28 (finest).
• Tatting needles are long and are the same thickness
for their entire length, including at the eye, to enable
thread to be pulled through the double stitches used in
• Upholstery needles are heavy, long needles that can
be straight or curved. Used for sewing heavy fabrics,
upholstery work, tufting and for tying quilts. Curved
needles are used for difficult situations where a
straight needle is not practical and are also used in
fabric box-making. Heavy duty 12" needles are used
for repairing mattresses. Straight sizes: 3"-12" long,
curved: 1.5"-6" long.

 Understanding the numbers associated with sewing

machine Needles will help you make the correct
choice and possibly solve machine problems.
 The American system uses 8 to 19, 8 being a fine
needle and 19 being a thick heavy needle.

 European sizes range from 60 to 120, 60 being a fine

needle and 120 being a thick heavy needle.
 Think of a fine sheer window curtain. You will need
a fine needle such as a 8/60 needle. Using a 19/120
would leave holes in the fabric.

 Now let's look at heavy upholstery fabric. If you were

to try and sew through upholstery fabric with a 8/60
needle, it would bend or break. Using a 19/120
provides a needle strong enough to penetrate the fabric
and carry a thread strong enough for this type of fabric

 Now let's look at a combination … You have a

lightweight fabric but you want to do a heavy
topstitching detail with heavy thread. Normally the
heavy thread would call for you to use a heavy needle
such as a 120/19, but that would leave holes in your
fabric. Now you would experiment with a needle that
falls somewhere in the middle such as an 80/12.

 You may find a needle size listed as 90/14 or 14/90.

The order of the numbers does not effect the size.
 Sewing m/c needles are pushed to their capability
limits in the demanding high speed production of
beautiful flat seam. It resulting in the high quality
requirements of such needles.

1. Stitch skipping
 Poor needle alignment and needle with an insufficient
straightness are often the cause of stitch skipping.

 They aggravate needle deflection and cause an

irregular operational distance between needles and

2. Damage to throat plate

 This damage basically has the same cause as skipping,
insufficient straight or deflected needles strike upon
the finger of the throat plate.

3. Needle breakage
 Lake in method of heat treatment as well as a careful
adoption of the needle design to the specific m/c
function causes needle breakage.

4. Fabric damage

 High penetration resistance also reflects the

outstanding functional quality of needle & it damages
the fabric.
5. Needle point damage

 A sharp needle point will be damaged rather quickly

through the unavoidable dynamic impact with the
looper back.
 These in turn reduce the life of needle.

6. Thread breakage
 The fiber of the sewing thread will be damaged if the
surface of needle eye is not perfectly smooth. After
short period of sewing thread breakage will be occur.

The basic division of needle point is into
cutting point & cloth point. This division is necessary
because of the fundamentally different construction of the
two types of material which must be sewn, namely leather
and plastic which are essential sheet material with no gaps
within the structure and textile fabric which, woven, knitted
or made from bonded textile fibers in a non-woven form,
have spaces within the structure through which a needle
can penetrate. In a sheet material, the needle point must cut
a sufficient hole that the needle blade and thread can pass
through it without excessive friction, but there must be
sufficient strength of material left between the holes that
do not run together, especially under stress, and cause the
garment to split.
Cloth point needles, as their name suggest, are
used for sewing textile material rather than the sheet
material. It has a round cross section as opposed to the
various cutting shapes of the leather needles and the tip at
the end of the point can vary in shape to suit the particular
material being sewn.
Knitted fabric consist of yarns with spaces them
and if a yarn in a knitted fabric is broken the knitted
structure may begin to unravel. This yarn breakage can
happen in two way,
- By the needle directly striking the yarn &
damaging it.
- By the needle entering a knitted loop which is not
large enough to accommodate it.
This situation is generally referred as needle
damage but it is not the result of the needle of the
needle itself damaged but of the point type and
fabric combination being unsuitable. Thus the
requirement in sewing knitted fabric is for a needle
which will slightly deflect the yarn and enter the
spaces, one which is not itself so deflected that it
fails to form the stitch properly, a needle of small a
size as possible consistent with needle strength and
sewing thread size and finally a fabric which is
sufficient lubricated that is flexibility of in relation
to the movement of the needle. The shape of the tip
of the needle is referred to as a Boll point needle.
Woven fabric consists of yarn which can
have greater or lesser amounts o twist interlaced
with each other at various degrees of density. Thus
woven fabric may have quite sizable spaces within
the structure if loosely woven from low twist yarns
or they may be extremely dance if high twist yarns
have been packed closely together. Due to this the
needle does not go between the fibers and does not
strike and break them. The shape of the tip of the
needle point which is best achieves this penetration
between the fibers has the appearance of being
slightly cone shaped which s referred as set point
needle. This construction strengthens the point and
reduces the possibility of damage at the tip.
Both ball and set point needle are available
in a no. of types shown in the fig.

1. Light ball point

2. Slim set point
3. Set point
4. Medium ball point
5. Heavy ball point
6. Heavy set point

As the needle size decrease the radius of each

ball point decrease. A heavy set point or stub point can
be used for button sewing.

We know that most readily available machine needles

are sized from 9 to 18 - the smaller the number, the smaller
the needle. This remains true, even if the needles you
purchase use a different numbering system.
Use standard sharp sewing machine needles in sizes
11 to 14 for most sewing projects. A smaller-sized needle is
best for sheer or lightweight fabrics. Sizes 16 to 18 are used
for heavyweight fabrics like denim.
Use ball-point machine needles to sew knits or other
stretchy fabrics. Their blunt edges allow the thread to pass
between the fabric's fibers rather than through them. This is
crucial for maintaining the fabric's elasticity.
Use wedge-point machine needles to sew leathers,
suede and vinyls. The shape of this needle will create a slit
(rather than a large hole) through which the thread will
Change your needle at the start of each project. A
worn or damaged needle will cause skipped or uneven
stitches and may damage your fabric
Purchase a package of assorted needle sizes if you are
unsure which is appropriate for your fabric. Test the
various sizes on some scrap fabric until you determine the
correct size to use.

Check the label on the needle package before you

make a purchase. For most brands, there will be a sizing
guide that will tell you which fabrics can be sewn with the
enclosed needles.