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By Debbie Colgrove, About.com Guide
See More About: • sewing machine needles • machine trouble shooting • buying a sewing machine online • sewing machine information Understanding the numbers associated with sewing machine Needles will help you make the correct choice and possibly solve machine problems. 2 of 9 Gallery Index Prev Next
Sewing Machine Needle Size Chart Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
All the numbers associated with sewing machine needles can stop you in your tracks. It's actually a simple labeling system; the confusion comes in because they are using a European and American labeling system. • 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. Now let's look at fabric associated with needle size. • 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.
topstitching. Universal Knits or wovens 60/8 – 120/19 Point is very slightly rounded for use on knits. such as silk.Now let's look at a combination … You have a lightweight fabric but you want to do a heavy topstitching detail with heavy thread. Prev Next Related Articles • Make a Purse out of a Pair of Jeans . lightweight faux suede and microfiber fabrics.Attach a Yo-Yo • Tapestry Needle . Consider the needle as dangerous as a scissors going into your fabric. Normally the heavy thread would call for you to use a heavy needle such as a 120/19. You may find a needle size listed as 90/14 or 14/90. Use for stitching smooth. but that would leave holes in your fabric. pintucks and edge stitching.DIY Fashion • Superior Threads • Sew Your Freezer Pop Sleeve . These needles are available in the widest size range. Always test your thread and fabric combination on scraps of fabric rather than the item you are working on. Specialty Needles Needle Fabric/Use Sizes Description Denim/ Jeans Heavy wovens and denims 70/10 – 110/18 These needles have a thick. Use when stitching synthetic or natural wovens and knits. chintz. Ball-point needles ensure more even stitches on coarse and heavy knits and won’t damage spandex. The order of the numbers does not effect the size.Cross Stitch Needle . finely woven fabrics. Sharp/ Microtex Finely woven fabrics 60/8 – 90/14 These needles feature a narrow shaft and sharper point to pierce the threads of woven fabrics. they’re also ideal for heirloom stitching. Because these needles enable perfectly straight stitching. Now you would experiment with a needle that falls somewhere in the middle such as an 80/12. strong shaft and a very sharp . but sharp enough to pierce woven fabrics.Freezer Pop Sleeve Craft • How to Hand Sew a Blanket Stitch -.Blunt Point Needle • Needle Fabric/Use Sizes Description Ball-point Knits 70/10 – 100/16 This needle has a medium tip that is a slightly more rounded than a universal needle and passes between the fabric threads instead of piercing them. interlocks and other knits that snag or run easily.
General Purpose Needles Sewing Machine Needle Charts 22. Tie thread ends. tapered point and are designed to stitch through thick layers and intersecting seams.point. Because the needle has a slight cutting point. It has a special. never use it on woven or knit fabrics.115 Page 2 6/05 Needle Fabric/Use Sizes Description Overlock Serging all fabrics BLX1: 2-11 and 2-14. Machine Embroidery For embroidery 70/10 – 90/14 Machine embroidery needles have a larger eye and specially designed scarf that protects the thread against breaking or shredding. Metallic For use with metallic threads 80/12 Metallic needles are designed especially for use with metallic threads. a fine shaft and a sharp point to prevent thread breakage and shredding. suede and thick nonwovens 80/12 – 110/18 Leather needles have a wedge-shape point that penetrates leather. large-groove scarf designed to protect the thread and prevent skipped stitches. tightly woven fabrics. Use for machine embroidery with rayon. to prevent perforating the surface. Choose the size system recommended by your serger manufacturer. Leather Leather. it’s important to stitch accurately because the needle leaves a large. canvas. duck and other heavy. permanent hole. It’s also ideal for use with monofilament thread. They are also ideal for stitching through multiple fabric layers without breaking. as well as other thick. and DCX1: 2-11 and 3-14 Overlock needles are specially designed for use with a serger. nonwoven fabrics. heavy faux suede and leather. suede. even when stitching dense designs. When using a leather needle. Quilting Machine quilting 75/11 and 90/14 Quilting needles feature a sharp. without tearing them. They are used for stitching denim. This needle features an even larger eye than the embroidery needle. They feature a sharp point that is suitable for all fabrics. vinyl. instead of backstitching. Selfthreading . acrylic or specialty threads. Use them for piecing quilts and machine quilting the layers together.
any highly elastic.6/70 – 4. These needles can only be used on a sewing machine with zigzag capabilities that threads from front to back. There are also twin hemstitch needles that have one wing needle and one universal needle. Use this general-purpose needle if you have difficulty threading a needle. It works well with woven fabrics but may snag knits. stretch. Twin Double topstitching 1. Stretch Lightweight knits 75/11 and 90/14 Stretch needles feature a deep scarf so the bobbin hook gets closer to the needle eye. lightweight knit fabrics.5/80 and 3. as well as lightweight faux suede. Lycra. Try this needle if you’re getting skipped stitches using a ball-point needle. accurate stitching. and quilting sizes 75/11 and 90/14. stretch sizes 75/11 and 90/14. Triple needles are available in universal only. These needles are ideal for stitching silk jersey.Wovens 80/12 and 90/14 Self-threading needles have a slot on one side of the eye. Spring needle Free-motion embroidery or quilting See at right Spring needles are used for free-motion quilting. preventing skipped stitches on fine.0/100 Twin needles are constructed with two needles attached to a single shaft. They also feature an extra-sharp point for straight. the second number represents the European needle size. Use them to stitch parallel rows in a single pass—especially for heirloom or decorative stitching and hemming. embroidery and monogramming. Sizing for triple needles is different from . embroidery and metallic. The first number represents the distance (in millimeters) between the needles. It’s designed with a wire coil that surrounds the shaft and acts as a presser foot that depresses the fabric as the needle goes down into the fabric and releases the fabric when the needle raises. Use closely spaced needles for fine fabrics and needles that are set farther apart for heavy fabrics. so you can slide the thread through it and into the eye—much easier than trying to poke a frayed thread end through a small eye. lightweight knits. 90/14 and 100/16 Topstitch needles have an extra-large eye and a large groove to accommodate heavy topstitching thread or two strands of all-purpose thread.0/80 Triple needles are constructed with three needles attached to a single shaft. Triple Triple topstitching 2. Sizing for twin needles is different from other specialty needles with two numbers listed on the packaging. Topstitch Topstitching 80/12. Available in the following needle types: universal sizes 70/10 – 90/14. Twin needles are available in denim.
The first number represents the distance (in millimeters) between the needles. Wing/ Hemstitch Decorative and heirloom stitching 100/16 and 120/19 Wing/hemstitch needles have a flared shaft.other specialty needles with two numbers listed on the packaging. openwork. flannels etc = 40 to 60 heavy woollens = 20 to 40 for dressmaking = 50 to 70 or silk nos 24 or 30 for hemming silk = silk 36 embroidery = silk 80 to 10 braiding = silk 30 or cotton 70 I know modern machinery embroidery is "30" and a very fine crochet cotton is "40" but do these still equate to the older sizes? . the second number represents the European needle size. nainsooks etc = 100 to 150 fine linens = 80 to 120 light woollens. Specialty Needles (continued) calico. For more info see Twin needle above. Use this needle for heirloom stitching. long cloth = 60 to 80 fine lawn. and creates a decorative hole in tightly woven fabrics. which looks like wings. hemstitching and other decorative stitching on fabrics such as fine batiste and linen.
Denier was the first methodology for measuring threads. 40 denier is much heavier.a pair of tights (pantyhose to our American cousins) is measured in Denier and the higher the number the thicker the material. Example Conversions are not always 100% accurate. the lower the metric number. With metric numbering systems for thread. very confusing when the exact opposite formula applies to the denier/decitex and metric systems.9 = 243 ÷ 2 = Denier 121x2Den 120 x 2 converted to Decitex = 120 x 2 = 240 ÷ 0. then along came the decitex system. Any or all systems may be used in the trade. Using an example from the Madeira CLASSIC shadecard.. but a general guide. the current Metric system was introduced. the opposite applies . Moving on..9 = 267 ÷ 2 = Dtex 133x2Nm 74/2 = No 37No 37 converted to Decitex = 10000 ÷ 37 = 270 ÷ 2 = 135 x 2 DtexNo 37 converted to Denier 9000 ÷ 37 = 243 ÷ 2 = 121x 2 Denier = . Confusion arises because although the rationale makes sense. Madeira CLASSIC No 40 Dtex 135x2 Den 120x2 Nm 74/2No 40 (which is actually Nm74/2 = 74÷2 = 37) Dtex 135 x 2 converted to Denier = 135 x 2 = 270 x 0. So a number 12 thread is thickerthan a number 40 weight. the finer the thread.000 ÷ dtex 1000 ÷ metric Denier & Decitex measuring Systems In the Metric system. the lower the number the thicker the thread' or that it is the opposite to a pair of tights! The explanations and calculations are for the more technically minded. logic is different and for some. As an example . all you really need to remember for embroidery and sewing thread is: 'the higher the number the finer the thread. Using the metric system. the higher the number and the number itself is usually rounded to the nearest 5 or 0. Metric measuring Systems <><><><></></></></> International Metric Count Nm Denier to metric Metric to Denier Dtex to metric Metric to Dtex = = = = = = Nm or No number of 1000 metre hanks per kilo 9000 ÷ denier 9000 ÷ metric 10.the thickerthe thread. So a pair of 10 denier tights are fine.
(No 40 converted to Decitex = 10000 ÷ 40 = 250 ÷ 2 = 125x2 Dtex) (No 40 converted to Denier = 9000 ÷ 40 = 225 ÷ 2 = 112x2 Denier) = weight in grams of 1000 metres of yarn Tex = weight in grams of 10.000 ÷ dtex 1000 ÷ metric In the Metric system. the higher the number and the number itself is usually rounded to the nearest 5 or 0.9 Dtex to Denier = denier ÷ 0. but a general guide. the higher the number <><><><></></></></> International Metric Count Nm Denier to metric Metric to Denier Dtex to metric Metric to Dtex = = = = = = Nm or No number of 1000 metre hanks per kilo 9000 ÷ denier 9000 ÷ metric 10. the thicker the thread.9 Denier to Dtex In these systems.9 = 243 ÷ 2 = Denier 121 x 2 = 120 x 2 = 240 ÷ 0.111 decitex 1 denier = dtex count x 0.000 metres of yarn dtex = decitex = two plys of yarn dtex x 2 = weight in grams of 9000 metres of yarn Td = den count = denier = two plys of yarn den x 2 = 1.9 = 267 ÷ 2 = Dtex 133 x 2 = No 37 = 10000 ÷ 37 = 270 ÷ 2 = 135 x 2 Dtex = 9000 ÷ 37 = 243 ÷ 2 = 121 x 2 Denier (No 40 converted to Decitex = 10000 ÷ 40 = 250 ÷ 2 = 125x2 Dtex) (No 40 converted to Denier = 9000 ÷ 40 = 225 ÷ 2 = 112x2 Denier) Yarn Count Conversion (1) Yarn Count Definitions Metric Count (Nm): Nm = m / 1-g Denier Count (den): Den = g / 9000-m . Example Conversions are not always 100% accurate. Madeira CLASSIC No 40 <></> Dtex 135 x 2 converted to Denier Den 120 x 2 converted to Decitex Nm 74/2 No 37 converted to Decitex No 37 converted to Denier = 135 x 2 = 270 x 0. the finer the thread. Using an example from the Madeira CLASSIC shadecard.
3: NeB 20 = Nm 1. From NeB: To Nm: To Tex: To Den: þÿ From tex count (tex) to others: Nm = 1000 / tex NeB = 590 / tex Den = 9 x tex Enter a number in Tex field. then click outside the text box or enter. 2: 150 den = NeB 5315 / 150 = NeB 35 ] [ Ex. From Tex: To Nm: To NeB: TO Den: þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ Conversion examples: [ Ex.59-g Tex Count (tex): Tex = g / 1000-m (2) Yarn Count Conversion Factors From metric count (Nm) to others: Tex = 1000 / Nm NeB = 0. From Nm: To Tex: To NeB: þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ From denier (den) to others: Nm = 9000 / den NeB = 5315 / den Tex = 0.1-m / 453. then click outside the text box or enter.693 x 20 = Nm 34 ] . 1: NeB 30 = 5315/30 den = 177 den ] [ Ex. then click outside the text box or enter. From Denier: To Nm: To NeB: To Tex: þÿ þÿ þÿ þÿ TO Den: From English cotton count (NeB) to others: Nm = 1.111 x den Enter a number in Denier field.English Cotton Count (NeB): NeB = 840-yd / 1-lb or NeB = 768. then click outside the text box or enter.693 x NeB Tex = 590 / NeB Den = 5314 / NeB Enter a number in NeB field.59 x Nm Den = 9000 / Nm Enter a number in Nm field.
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