Sewing Machine Needle Sizes

We usually don't think about how sewing machine needle sizes will affect a project when we sit down to sew. But the truth is that your sewing machine needle plays a vital role in the performance of your sewing machine. And using the wrong size needle for the job can potentially cause you some frustration down the road.

The typical rule of thumb is that you should first select the correct thread weight for the fabric you will be using in your project. Once you know that, it's a simple matter of using the chart below to make sure you are using the correct sewing machine needle size on your machine.

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes

A handy reference chart
Icon for sewing machine needles

FabricsProjectAppropriate
Thread
Recommended
Needle Size
US/EUR (POINT TYPE)
Quilting Weight CottonPatchwork/Piecing100% Cotton - 50 wt75/11 (H-J)
Quilting Weight CottonQuilting100% Cotton - 50 wt or
80/12 (H-Q)*
Quilting Weight CottonEmbroidery 40 wt
100% cotton, silk or rayon
90/14 (H-Q)
Heavier Cottons, Denim, Upholstery FabricsPatchwork/Piecing
Bag making
Polywrapped CottonsDenim 80/12 (H-J)
All Cotton FlannelAny100% Cotton - 50 wt90/14 (H-Q)
SilkPatchwork100% SilkMicrotex 60/8 (H-M)
SilkQuiltingSilk or HiSheen Polywrapped cotton80/12 (H-Q)

* When quilting heavily layered projects (such as art quilts) a denim needle may be necessary.